May 5, 2014

Daniel's Head (former CFS Bermuda)

Unfortunately, this is going to be a sad story with even more terrible pictures but many of my old comrades want to see this so here we go.


My story starts right at the front of the base with the street sign.   As many of you know since the old station closed in 1993 I have been back at least every few years and have photographed the demise of the station over the past 21 years.  I never thought it would get his bad.

Two years ago I made a video about the condition of the station, I have posted it below for those who wish to view it again and compare with the pictures I took today;


Bermuda has a very unforgiving environment.  Over the past 2 years there hasn't been any big hurricanes but there have been the usual winter storms but nothing to cause the destruction that has happened.   The majority of this has happened due to negligence of the Bermuda government and people disrespecting a beautiful piece of land.   I won't get into the history of the government squabbling and indecision, that's something better over a beer.


This was the front gate to the station.   In 1993 you would have been able to see the junior ranks mess straight ahead and the Canex to the right.  Both of these were leveled in the late 90's.


This would have been the view if I was parked in front of the junior ranks mess on the lower station.  Ahead was the senior ranks mess.   As you can see all the vegetation is grown up.   To the left, out of picture which I did not include, is an abandoned bike and coach along with a massive pile of garbage.


A closer view shows the mold and decay of the buildings.


The former senior ranks mess.   Yup, that is a boat abandoned along with a car and front part of another car.  I would guess a squatter moved into the building.



Moving up to the upper station the road is pretty messy.  To the left remain the cow farm, to the right (below) is a beautiful view out over the water looking towards Cambridge Beaches Resort.



The Longtail Barracks.  Badly damaged in a hurricane back in the early 2000's the roof was repaired but neglect has pretty much killed the building.  From what I can see, it appears there are squatters in some of the rooms.  At this point I was trespassing by jumping a gate that wasn't there 2 years ago.  I didn't see anyone around so figured I'd play "dumb tourist" if challenged.


The front of the barracks.


I was trying to get a picture of the old observation tower on the hill that contained the hamshack (VP9CB).  You can just see it in the center of the picture (the green building).   It's in very poor shape with the roof looking pretty bad.   The 9 Beaches cabana's are blocking the view and everything was fenced off, it appears the farmer is now using that piece of land for something.  I should have jumped the fence but I was already trespassing on the station :-)

Speaking of 9 Beaches, their website - http://www.9beaches.com/  Claims they are currently undergoing a 55 million dollar reno and will be open by 2015 - BULLSHIT!





Leaving the barracks and heading towards HQ and Ops.  But first lets go up behind HQ and look at the old supply, CE shop and Vehicle Bays.


Back of the HQ building


This was where I lost my mind.  Illegal dumping!  If you zoom in on my original images you can see it's nothing but garbage that someone was too lazy to drive up to the dump.  


Even another boat.



Front of the HQ.  All grown up and everything is in very poor condition.


The front of Ops.  Need I say the obvious?



This was the new "rec" building that was built in 1992 before the announcement of the closure of the base.  This is by far the newest building on site and even it is falling apart.



The backside of Ops, the fuel pumps used to be to the right.  This was where I found an illegal pitbull (banned animal in Bermuda) chained to a post.  He decided to scare the shit out of me.  Probably protecting someones stash.


Behind the old Ops is a couple of the cabana's above the beach.


Most of these have been destroyed by either the wind, people or both.


Looking out towards the antenna platform shows the same.



However it does appear that the beach and docks are again in use.  Not sure by who but they were painting the old scuba shed and overall it didn't look in too bad shape.   Below is the old gym and washrooms, last time I was down there they were closed.    Most of the big pine trees are gone as well.


This was the "no trespass" fence that I had jumped, right beside the abandoned van.

I think this will be my last visit to Daniel's Head until I know that something has been done to the property.  It's just to painful and sad to witness it go to waste.  It's been 21 years since we closed the station and absolutely nothing constructive has been done to the site.   9 Beaches was short lived and a complete disaster.  Government has done nothing to return this "crown land" to the people of Bermuda.   The west end could use a place like this as a park.  At this point it's not worth even trying to save the buildings.  Bulldoze them, clear the crap away, restore the tower and mow the lawns turning this 13 acres into a prime park for all Bermudians to use.  Maybe someday government here will wake up and fix this mess.

Tomorrow I will be more light hearted :-)   I did take some nice pictures of the west end but didn't want them to get lost in these rather depressing images.   Time to get back to blue skies, pink beaches and great Bermudian people.

12 comments:

  1. Agree with you Scott. Terrible neglect by a very dumb government.... 13 acres is a lot of land in that neck of the woods and as you say, would make a lovely park..........For the people!

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  2. Thank you Scott for the memories .... it has been over 27 years for myself ...

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  3. Thanks Scott!
    I was there in 85-86... Ops was closed for a few weeks, so we helped build the Dive Shack (Bev Nickerson, Neil O'Hare, etc...), the Jungle Jim for the kiddies, and I used to drive the daily run to Kinley Fields on the big Toyota Diesel truck. Happy Days.
    Hurts a bit to see it gone to hell like this...
    Thanks for the memories.
    Andre Ravary
    ComRsch291 75-86
    AESOp 86-2002

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  4. Very sad! A great time back in the day 76-78 then even sadder when I was tasked by NSGA to write the impact statement for BDA closing 93 - the "Stats" proved it was the most important site DF wise in the net. But .. our government strikes the military another blow even then.
    Les

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  5. Does anyone remember a Canadian family, the "Skillingtons"? Not sure of the spelling. They were my neigbours in Somerset. Mr Skillington taught me to ride my bicycle on Christmas morning and their daughter Cheri was my friend. This would have been about 40 years ago. My email is kwoollery@chw.com Thanks

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  6. Thanks for the memories though it surely does not look like it used to be when my wife, Barbara and I, were there in 1964-66. We went there on November 1st, 1964 - the day after we got married (nearly 50 years ago). Guy Savard, Radioman Special and the 291er: 1958 to 1980

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  7. I was there 74-77 and the place sparkled like a diamond. It was one of my most enjoyable posting geographically. Mother Nature can be cruel but man can be even more destructive. Most of the buildings that existed when I was there are barely recognizable now. What a shame. To bad for the Bermudian Government and the local people when Canada left. I'm almost sorry I discovered these photos, but thanks anyways Scott. Tom J

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  8. I was stationed there from 1981 to 1984. Lovely island with very nice people. I agree with the comment above, I too am almost sorry to have come across these pictures. I didn't recognize much and what I did was nothing like I remember it. Nonetheless, thanks for the memories Scott.

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  9. I lived on Daniels Head as a child from 1959 to 1962 when it was owned by the British Government. We are returning to Bermuda for 2 days on a cruise ship very soon and will be interested in seeing 'my beach' just inside the gates to the right. From Google Maps I can see the plot of land where our neighbours house stood just inside the gates and just ahead looks like the shape and size of the 'barrack house' where we lived.

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  10. We had a great posting to CFS Bermuda from 1974 - 1978. It was really beautiful at that time.
    We returned on a cruise ship a couple years ago and decided to go see how things were. Rather than hunt around for the old Base we stopped at the Somerset Police Station to ask for directions by bus. As luck would have it, one of the Police officers - we knew. He was our neighbour and he and our son use to hang out together. He was kind enough to escort us, in his Police vehicle, to the CFS Daniel's Head Base. Along the way he told us what has happened since we had left the Island. "BE WARNED." VERY DANGEROUS. There are now THREE (3) Drug Gangs on the Island. One at each end of the Island and one in the center of the
    Island. Yes... One of the Gangs is residing at CFS Daniel's Head. That is why the beach and dock area seem to be USEABLE. Bermuda does not want "White People" on the Island .
    A young Beautiful White Canadian Girl ( I think her name was "Middleton" ) was rapped and Murdered on the Island not to long ago. Most of the White folk of Bermuda have moved to England, Canada U.S.A. etc. (too dangerous to live on the Island). The Officer, we were with has already sent his family to Canada and by now he has caught up with them.
    When you think about it... once the British, American and Canadian's left the Island.. what was left ? Well now you know. So Please DO NOT Travel ALONE , if you decide to visit , what once was an Island Paradaise of Bermuda.
    Anonymous

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    1. Anonymous, I was going to delete your comment but instead I will talk about it. I visit the island twice per year and still consider myself half Bermudian and your statement is racist and insulting. Bermuda does not want "white people" off the island. Yes there is some racial discontent as there is in every country. Yes there is a drug problem, as there is in every country. The Rebecca Middleton incident happened over 20 years ago and had nothing to do with white vs black. It was a young lady who made a bad choice (not her fault) and ended up raped and murdered by 2 young men. Hmmm, something that happens in every country (unfortunately). Daniel's Head is now being cleaned up. The squatters have been evicted and the government is beginning cleanup of the site. There is also a gang task force that is cleaning up the gang and drug problems. Bermuda is still a very safe place to visit, but like any town there are a few places to stay away from during certain hours of the day/night. All tourists learn these lessons traveling anywhere in the world. It is still safer to walk the streets of Bermuda then it is in my home town of Ottawa. The Bermudians who have left the island have left for financial reasons that have been brought on by tourism declining due to cheap destinations in the Caribbean and the lack of jobs given the small island that has a real over population problem. Yes there are some who left because the PLP were in power for a number of years (who are considered the "black" party by some) but the left because of mismanagement and corruption, not race. Check your facts. Bermuda is still a paradise and I will continue to promote it as such. A shame that you have such a limited view of the island anonymous and I encourage you to return and experience the hospitality of Bermudians (both black and white) you will find no better people on earth.

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