A Psalm of David. Blessed be the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle— My lovingkindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer, My shield and the One in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me.
Today, we spent the day exploring two of the fifteen forts that are on this small island that is two miles by twenty-three miles. Obviously, from the first British colony in Bermuda in 1612 until after WWII, they have felt very threatened. First from the Spanish, then the Americans. Once Britian lost the American War for Independence, they heavily fortified Bermuda since it and Halifax were the only ports that they had to protect their shipping lanes to the new world.
First, we took a hotel ferry to Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda, where the sister hotel of the hotel we are staying at is located. From the ferry dock, we walked up to the fort that overlooks the city, Fort Hamilton. It was built in response to the new American iron-clad warships, i.e. the Monitor class ship, which ended the British dominion of the seas. The fort had a complete moat around it which has now been planted to be a botanical garden. The moat walls are approximately thirty feet high. It was a dry moat, so it was protected by gun ports that are accessible via tunnels that are open to the public.
A view of the dry moat from a gun port.
We then took a ferry from Hamilton to Dockyard. Bermuda has one of the highest population densities in the world, so rather than using roads it is frequently faster to get to your destination by ferry which is the same cost as a bus. The Dockyard Keep is also from the nineteenth century and is the largest fort in Bermuda. It houses the Bermuda Maritime Museum which covers many aspects of the history of Bermuda. Most of the museum exhibits are located in the restored commisioner's house, which is a very large three story building with a beautiful view over the harbor toward Hamilton.
A cannon at the dockyard.
Bermuda was a significant island during WWII, primarily because it was the staging area for convoys to cross the Atlantic to supply Europe. They would gather in Bermuda and then cross under the protection of battleships. Also, it was where much of the mail crossing the Atlantic to the United States was censored. At the peak, there were about a thousand women, called censorettes, busy examining the flow of mail. Also, a German u-boat was captured and brought to Bermuda. It contained two Enigma machines along with the German code books allowing the Allies to decipher the German missives. Because of the importance of hiding the breaking of the code from Germany, it was never leaked that the u-boat was captured even though over a thousand people knew about it. The capture was finally announced nine days after the surrender of Germany. After the war, the u-boat was repaired and is now on display in Illinois.