Titles. Titles and more titles! Britain loves its titles, and so does the Bahamas for that matter. Titles confer honour, ownership and most of all responsibility. In 1942, every official proclamation came from the Governor. These official proclamations, depending on the level of importance, usually appeared from about page 3 onward, to anywhere lost on the back pages of the newspaper, next to ads for things like rheumatism pills and salts to clean your false teeth.
In 1942, when the Duke of Windsor was Governor of the Bahamas, and his extensive list of royal titles were often longer than the proclamation itself. Take for example this proclamation on Monday, May 4, 1942 in the Bahamas Daily Tribune. The proclamation was an official notice that any police station or any other suitable premises could be declared an official prison.
It is curious why this proclamation was even necessary. The answer lies in remembering the times. In 1942, World War II, was well underway. Mini wars and battles were being fought around the world and espionage was everywhere. If the enemy happened to be caught anywhere the Bahamas, they would be held as POWs Prisoners of War. It would not have been entirely feasible to transport prisoners immediately to Fox Hill Prison on New Providence, if caught, say in, Mayaguana or Bimini. All conventions of war were strictly observed in terms of prisons. It was practical to make any police station, any part of a police station, no matter where it was within the Bahamas, or any other suitable premises for housing a prisoner, a prison within the Bahama Islands. In fact, in March 1941, the Bahamas was warned of the potential of a U-Boat attack on the capital city and there was nothing to stop the enemy from attempting to kidnap or kill the Duke of Windsor. With the bombing of Pearl Harbour in December 1941, the Bahamas was put on an even higher alert for the potential of attack.
Governor and Commander-in-Chief
His Royal Highness Edward Albert Christian George Andres Patrick David, Duke of Windsor, Knight of Our Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of Our Most Ancient And Most Noble Order to the Thistle, Knight of Our Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, Knight Grand Cross of Our Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Knight Grand Commander of Our Most exalted Order of the Star of India, Knight Grand Cross of Our Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Knight Grand Commander of Our Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Knight Grand Cross of Our Royal Victorian Order, Knight Grand Cross of Our Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Companion of Our Imperial Service Order, upon whom has been conferred the Decoration of the Military Cross, Governor and Commander-In-Chief in and over His Majesty’s Bahama Islands and all Forts and Garrisons erected and established within the same.
WHEREAS under sub-section (1) of section 4 of The Prisons Act (Ch. 19), it is enacted that it should be lawful for the Governor-in-Council by Proclamation to declare any Police Station or part of any Police Station or any other suitable premises to be a prison:
NOW THEREFORE, His Royal Highness Governor-in-Council doth hereby proclaim and declare that the place mentioned in the schedule hereto shall be prisons, within the meaning of the said Act and an annexe of The Nassau Prison.
Such building or buildings for the accommodation of prisoners situate on the premises to the East of and adjoining the Fox Hill South Side Road in the Eastern District of the Island of New Providence and Bounded on the North by a tract of land occupied by the Boys Industrial School on the East by land the property of the Sans Souci Estate on the South by the Yamacraw Road and on the West by the Fox Hill South Side Road.
Given under my hand and the Public Seal of the said Island, at Government House in the City of Nassau, in the Island of New Providence, this 2nd day of May 1942, and in the sixth year of His Majesty’s reign.
By His Royal Highness’ Command,
W. L. HEAPE
GOD SAVE THE KING