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Returning To Anguilla

by Alastair
(Lochgelly, UK)

Sandy Ground (Where We Stayed)

Sandy Ground (Where We Stayed)

I'll be returning to Anguilla in July, for the first time in over 30 years. I was first there as a member of the Metropolitan Police, London, during the struggle for independence.

I spent three glorious months at Sandy Ground, where, along with about 8 other officers, we were guests in the upper floor of a house overlooking the beach. I was the cook and, after peeling the potatoes and preparing the vegetables in the morning, spent the rest of the day snorkeling in the bay.

One day, while busy preparing the evening meal, a snake came in through the door and headed towards my chair. I beat a hasty retreat and, because of the rumpus I was causing, so did the snake.

The lady owner of the house gave me a real good rollocking for not killing the snake. Apparently if a snake finds its way onto your property it will stay there and can be dangerous. I don't know if there are still many snakes on Anguilla - there are probably too many tourists now.

During my stay on Anguilla I travelled to most of the beaches and agree that they are the best in the world. I saw them before the arrival of the tourist - at that time there was only Blake's hotel in The Valley and another one down the west end of the Island (can't remember the name).

Now I'm returning, with my wife, two daughters and one son and their husbands and wife - eight of us in total to see the place I've been raving about for the past 30 years. Unfortunately we are not living in Anguilla but at the Sapphire Beach Club on St. Maarten - we own time share and it was easy to book an exchange.

I've no doubt we will be spending most of our time a 30 minute boat trip away on Anguilla. My wife and I have the family to thank for this experience.

My wife was 60 in December and the holiday is a present from the family. I hope it will not be 30 years till we return again.

Lochgelly, UK

Reply by Ken: A fascinating story, Alastair!

"Dickiebo," another member of that 1969 British unit, wrote a heart-warming story on the "invasion of Anguilla." It is full of photos documenting the times and warm relationships that developed.

It does not have all of the history correct (Anguilla actually did not want to be part of the St. Kitts/Nevis/Anguilla entity). But the rest of it, told largely by his photos from his time on-island during 1969, was a story of how "invasion" quickly became love for Anguilla and its people.

Thank you for sharing your story, too, Alastair.

And for those who are interested in Anguilla's history, you can read how the invasion fits into the timeline of Anguilla's history.

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Apr 30, 2017
Radio Anguilla etc.
by: anguillian

Hi everyone,

I am the Anguillian mentioned below. Glad to hear that Tommy Thompson is still alive. you say his brain is still ticking. Ask him if he remembers the "girl" who did the request programme on Radio Anguilla each night.

I'm sure he remembers those goat stories that HE recorded and were played on the station weekly I think.Let him know that Radio Anguilla has been moved closer to the airport now. Menes Hodge is still alive but he is an Anglican priest now.

Linda banks is doing fine and so is Ralph Hodge. Now Tommy Thompson can guess my name.

Thank you guys for Radio Anguilla. Can you believe that there are SEVEN radio stations here?

Thank you for paving our roads and introducing electricity, building Cosely School and the Library.

You owe it to yourselves to come back. Thank you for the invasion.

Sincerely, an original Radio Anguilla announcer.

Sorry to hear of the death of his wife.

Apr 10, 2017
Fond Memories
by: Christina Fletcher

My parents were posted to Anguilla: Charles and Roely Fletcher. They're both dead now but they had such fond memories of the island.

I still visit Willoughby 'Tommy' Thompson who was High Commissioner at the time and later went on to Montserrat before retiring. Sheila Thompson died some years ago but Tommy will be 98 this year and still has a button-bright brain.

Mar 28, 2017
please come back
by: Anonymous

Hi Gentlemen,

I am Anguillian and I was a teenager when the paratroopers landed here.

This year, May 30th, we are celebrating our 50th anniversary of separation from St. Kitts. BIG PLANS.

Our island is a tourist's paradise now and it would be great if some of you would come back to see our island. Many - including Tony Lee - have come back.

Paved roads, electricity island wide, telephones, five star hotels, jets on the airport; read about us on the internet.

See you soon - before 2019!

Mar 28, 2017
Police Officers Seconded to Anguilla 1969-71
by: Marion James Secretary FOMPHC

Friends of the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection (FOMPHC)

I am the Secretary & Vice Chair for the FOMPHC, I have recently come across a list of police officers who were seconded to Anguilla between 1969 - 1971.

I am wondering if anyone has any history on the officers and do any of these officers names feature in any of the photographs currently displayed on this page.

They appear to have traded their beats in South London for an idilic lifestyle in Anguilla.

PC 319 SWEET 'MT' W/N 148741 Seconded 29/12/1969
PC 127 FIELD 'MD' W/N 148603 Seconded 29/12/1969
PC 553 RULE 'MR' W/N 147199 Seconded 12/01/1970
PC 519 ARTLEY 'MR' W/N 149520 Seconded 24/02/1970
PC 339 CRUICKSHANK 'MM' W/N 156560 Seconded 24/02/1970
PC 704 HILL 'MS' W/N 152690 Seconded 10/03/1970
PC 357 COMMINS 'MT' W/N 148561 Seconded 21/04/1970
PC 143 COLEMAN 'MS' W/N 152246 Seconded 05/05/1970
PS 67 EVERETT 'MD'W/N 140357 Seconded 25/08/1970
PC 212 BAINBRIDGE 'MD' W/N 139560 Seconded 15/09/1970
C/INSP SOMERVILLE 'MS' Seconded 16/10/1970
PC 152 COLE 'MS' W/N 151879 Seconded 16/10/1970
PC 381 WISEMAN 'MD' W/N 140705 Seconded 27/10/1970
PC 565 SINTON 'MS' W/N 155462 Seconded 17/11/1970

PC 319 SWEET 'MT' W/N 148741 Rejoined 14/03/1970
PC 127 FIELD 'MD' W/N 148603 Rejoined 30/03/1970
PC 553 RULE 'MR' W/N 147199 Rejoined 12/04/1970
PC 519 ARTLEY 'MR' W/N 149520 Rejoined 22/05/1970
PC 704 HILL 'MS' W/N 152690 Rejoined 07/06/1970
PC 357 COMMINS 'MT' W/N 148561 Rejoined 28/07/1970
PC 143 COLEMAN 'MS' W/N 152246 Rejoined 30/07/1970
PC 339 CRUICKSHANK 'MM' W/N 156560 Rejoined 06/08/1970
PS 67 EVERETT 'MD' W/N 140357 Rejoined 20/11/1970
PC 381 WISEMAN 'MD' W/N 140705 Rejoined 27/11/1970
PC 152 COLE 'MS' W/N 151879 Rejoined 31/12/1970
CH/INSP SOMERVILLE W/N 139961 Rejoined 'MS' 09/01/1971
PC 565 STINTON 'MS' W/N 155462 Rejoined 06/03/1971
PC 212 BAINBRIDGE 'MD' W/N 139560 Rejoined 15/08/1971

please send any replies to

Feb 05, 2017
Looking for help
by: Keith Savidge

I too was there when Alan Whicker filmed. Does anyone have a copy of the Alan Whicker programme that could be copied? Or would you know where I can get a copy?

Jan 03, 2017
Anguilla 1969
by: Anonymous

I was a member of British company to Paraguay and spent over 6 months on Anguilla, hard work on hearts and minds projects and very very friendly people.

Would love to go back.

Jan 09, 2016
by: Jake Spriggs

I was there from august '69 to march '70 with the Royal Engineers. We were the second half of our squadron ( 33 Fld, Sqdn ) from Longmoor.

We built a jetty in Road Bay. I was one of the surveyors on the job. I remember the Met Police lads helping to offload the barges of greenheart wood which we built the jetty out of.

Lots of good times and sing songs on a friday night in the police club.

Jul 12, 2013
Remembering Alan Whicker
by: Christina Fletcher

My father(the late Charles Fletcher of the FCO) was filmed there by Alan Whicker. Willoughby 'Tommy' Thompson, then British High Commissioner, is 93 and about to become a silver surfer and will, I hope, be reading this soon.

Jan 03, 2013
Ron Davis
by: Anonymous

My Dad was there with the Met, Ron Davis

Sep 03, 2011
Met Police In Anguilla
by: dave davies

My father Emrys Davies was with the Met police in Anguilla when Alan Whicker was there,they even filmed them and put it in the programme.

Jun 26, 2011
Days gone by
by: Mick

I was in Anguilla in 1971 when the Met Police were there.
I was with the Royal Engineers and we spent 6 GLORIOUS months building roads and a school for the fantastic people on the island.
We lived in a tented camp and most of my time was spent producing crushed stone from a quarry near the airport.
The local people would collect and pile up rocks then we would tour the island with a lorry and loading machine,pay and take the rocks back to the quarry where they would be crushed and then used as a road surface.
Absolutely fantastic 6 months.
We also had a visit from Alan Whicker (Whickers World)

Sep 18, 2007
Great Story
by: Anonymous


Aug 28, 2007
I am amazed
by: Chris Wigg

to find a boat that size moored so near to the beach (see picture). I can only assume the beach drops away very steeply from the waters edge.

I wonder what the struggle for Independence was like for a policeman 30 years ago on Anguilla?

Aug 09, 2007
A 30-Year Full Circle
by: Nori


What a great story. I can't imagine what Anguilla must have been like 30 years ago. No electricity. No running water. And the island was so poor.

I know one thing... you'll still love it! Have a fantastic return trip to Anguilla!

Wishing you safe and happy Anguilla travels,

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