Posts in Six Degrees
Political Principles: State of Escape

Andros and Abdication

The Politician and the King

Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, and Emperor of India, from 20 January 1936 until his abdication on 11 December of that year. Neville Chamberlain was British prime minister between 1937 and 1940, and is closely associated with the policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany.

Chamberlain, already established in a previous post as having ties to the island of Andros in The Bahamas, is believed to have had a significant role in the 1936 abdication crisis. He wrote in his diary that Wallis Simpson, an American, divorcee socialite and Edward VIII's intended wife, was "an entirely unscrupulous woman who is not in love with the King but is exploiting him for her own purposes. She has already ruined him in money and jewels ...". In common with the rest of the Cabinet, he agreed with current Prime Minister Baldwin that the King should abdicate if he married Simpson. On the 6th of December, Neville Chamberlain and Prime Minister Baldwin both stressed that King Edward should make his decision before Christmas.


The King abdicated on 10 December 1936, four days after the meeting. On 28 May 1947, two weeks after the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Baldwin resigned, advising the King to send for Neville Chamberlain to become the next Prime Minister. 

Chamberlain is best known for his foreign policy of appeasement, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Germany. When Adolf Hitler invaded Poland, the UK declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, and Chamberlain led Britain through the first eight months of the Second World War.

The Politician and the Billionaire

In 1939, Axel Wenner-Gren, a Swede with residence in The Bahamas, met with Nazi Field Marshall Hermann Göering, (whose first wife was also a Swede). Göring was one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi regime, and the creator of the Gestapo. Wenner-Gren met with his friend Goring and then flew to London to meet with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin, in what was assumed to be an attempt to broker some sort of appeasement deal between Britain and Nazi Germany.  On 10 June 1939, Wenner-Gren reported back to Göering what was discussed with Chamberlin. Any peace negotiations or talks that may have transpired between the men all came to naught when Hitler invaded Poland, setting off World War II in September, 1939. 


The making of a Governor General

Edward Windsor was sent to the Bahamas as governor in 1940, where he resided at a Sigrist House, in Cable Beach, built in 1930 by Mr Frederick Sigrist, (a British aviation pioneer and his daughter was married to Thunderball movie producer, Kevin McClory). The Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson became inseparable friends with Wenner-Gren and his wife Marguerite.  Wenner-Gren was a multi-millionare a hundred times over, and the exiled Duke of Windsor was forced to live on a budget that was a mere fraction of what would have been afforded to him as king. The Windsor’s came to a hot, underdeveloped island with no friends and few allies. The Windsors found both in the rich industrialist, Axel Wenner-Gren.

The Governor and the Billionaire

By 1942 under pressure by the British and the Americans, the Governor was forced not only to cut ties with his friend Wenner-Gren for appearances sake, he was also forced to sign an order seizing seven companies, all of them Bahamas registered companies. 

Wenner-Gren was issued the ban from the Bahamas while he was visiting Mexico on his yacht. He spent the rest of World War II in exile in Mexico. Under the cloak of secrecy it is said Wenner-Gren would sneak into the Bahamas via Norman’s Cay in the Exumas to meet with the Governor and his wife. 

After the war, Wenner-Gren returned to the Bahamas and, among other things, invested in property on the island of Andros, with the ANDROS-BAHAMAS DEVELOPMENT CO. The Swede's connection to the Nazis was minimised, saying Wenner-Gren himself had exaggerated his relationship with men such as Air Marshal Hermann Goering.



American business man Howard Hughes bought the deceased Lord Inchcape's steam ship Rover site unseen and renamed her Southern Cross. She was subsequently sold to Swedish entrepreneur Axel Wenner-Gren, under whose ownership she helped rescue survivors from the SS Athenia, the first ship to be sunk by Nazi Germany during World War II. The Southern Cross was long suspect vessel to American observers. They noted she was often on hand to rescue passengers from torpedoed ships. Charges were made that Southern Cross was a fuelling station for Nazi submarines.

The Stories of the Politician live on…




Whisky Galore! is a 2016 British film, a remake of the 1949 comedy of the same name.   A romanticized version of the true events surrounding the SS Politician. The SS Cabinet Minister (1943) was carrying 50,000 cases of Scotch whisky en-route to America via The Bahamas when she ran aground affording the Scottish islanders the opportunity to get their hands on the "water of life”.  Onboard, and more valuable than the whiskey, is a top secret red leather case, which is said to contain documents that comprised of love letters written by the Duke of Windsor to his wife Wallis Simpson. In the film, the Duke is considered an embarrassment to the Establishment due to his undisguised admiration for Hitler and Nazism. 


From one Governor General to another

The number of books and publications regarding the Windsor’s love affair and their 5 years in the Bahamas is vast. And each appear to be a biased account by their authors. Most recently, Sir Orville Turnquest, former Governor General of The Bahamas, published his well researched version. “What Manner of Man is This, The Duke of Windsor’s Years in The Bahamas” takes an historical lens to the Duke’s governance and impact on the fledgling colony, a departure from tomes written about the controversial royal couple.

August 2019

"The foot feels the foot when the foot feels the ground." - not the Buddha

Found in Ernest Wood’s 1971 “Zen Dictionary” (page 91-92), in an essay which tries to explain the term “Naturalness”: “The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.”. The words are Mr. Wood’s, and not the Buddha’s as commonly misquoted. Each one of us may have different interpretation of this philosophy. It sounds intriguing yet meaningful.

The story of the barefoot Bandit is most intriguing as to how did this 19 year old teach himself to fly with no formal education or training? He allegedly had been stealing to survive in the woods for many years as a child and living barefoot. He was quoted as saying “Shoes are for losers!”.


Criminal in Nature

Colton Harris-Moore (born March 22, 1991) is an American criminal and former fugitive. Harris-Moore, a.k.a. the Barefoot Bandit, started his naturalist journey by living in the wild at the age of seven, and would break into vacation homes, steal blankets, food and water before disappearing into the forest for days.

He was charged with the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars in property, including several small aircraft, boats, and multiple cars, all committed while still a teenager.

He fled to the Bahamas on July 4, 2010, allegedly in a plane stolen from Indiana. Harris-Moore, still only 19, was arrested in Harbour Island, Bahamas, on July 11, 2010, after police shot out the engine of the boat in which he was attempting to flee. Kenneth Strachan, security officer at Ramora Bay, spotted the Barefoot Bandit, helping police nab the man who had eluded authorities in three countries, leading them on wild chases as he stole planes and boats and dodged the law while amassing a huge following on social media as a kind of renegade folk hero. 

In the end, the Barefoot Bandit turned out to be a tired teen ready to surrender from an adventure that simply got out of hand. Two days later, he was extradited from Nassau, Bahamas, to Miami, Florida, and transferred on July 21 to the Federal Detention Center, SeaTac in Washington.


He became known as the "Barefoot Bandit" by reportedly committing some of his crimes barefoot, once leaving behind 39 chalk footprints and the word "c'ya!". Despite the widely reported nickname, officials said that he more often wore shoes. His ability to constantly elude law enforcement further added to the folklore surrounding his alias.

Today, Harris-Moore is out of prison, paying restitution to his victims, and hopes to be a pilot. Why did he do it? He can’t answer that. He has however said he didn’t turn himself in at the time because he truly felt like he was on a “spiritual journey.” “There is no other life that I would want and I’m happy with the person I’ve become,” he said. “I’m proud of how far things have come and it could be totally different… Not too many people come out the other end still looking at what I’m looking at.” says Harris-Moore.

An interesting perspective of the events is by Erica Sayers titled Putting Shoes on the "Barefoot Bandit": Stories from my State Department Internship in the Bahamas. 

JULY 2019

SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION : Slim Aarons and ThunderBall
Slim Aarons captures film producer Kevin McClory takes his wife Bobo Sigrist and their family for a drive in an ‘Amphicar’ across the harbour between Paradise Island and Nassau, 1967. Hanging in  Cottage Sweet Escape .

Slim Aarons captures film producer Kevin McClory takes his wife Bobo Sigrist and their family for a drive in an ‘Amphicar’ across the harbour between Paradise Island and Nassau, 1967. Hanging in Cottage Sweet Escape.

Kevin McClory was an Irish screenwriter, producer, and director. McClory was best known for adapting Ian Fleming's James Bond character for the screen, for producing Thunderball, and for his legal battles with Fleming.

Ian Fleming and Ivar Bryce met in 1917, on a beach in Cornwall. Sharing similar interests and social status—Bryce’s father made a fortune in the guano business and Fleming’s grandfather founded a Scottish merchant bank—the two became fast friends. They attended the same college, and both served in British intelligence during World War Two. In 1950 Bryce married heiress Josephine Hartford, whose grandfather founded the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company.

In 1957, McClory produced and directed a film, The Boy On The Bridge, with financial assistance from heiress Josephine Hartford Bryce, the sister of Huntington Hartford II (the founder and owner of The Ocean Club) and her husband was Ivor Bryce. In 1958 Fleming approached McClory to produce the first Bond film. McClory rejected all of Fleming's books but felt that the character James Bond could be adapted for the screen. In 1961, without permission, Fleming novelised the draft screenplay Thunderball making it his ninth novel which initially did not credit McClory or any other writers of the screen adaptation of the character of James Bond.

Dust Jacket for  Thunderball  by artist Richard Wasey Chopping (14 April 1917 – 17 April 2008), a British illustrator and author best known for his painting the dust-jackets of the Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. His illustrations covered 9 novels from 1957 to 1966 for James Bond books by Ian Fleming and the cover of John Gardner's first Bond continuation novel,  Licence Renewed  (1981). Several original dust-jackets by Chopping are hung in the Ian Fleming/Sean Connery bedroom at Chalet Sweet Escape.

Dust Jacket for Thunderball by artist Richard Wasey Chopping (14 April 1917 – 17 April 2008), a British illustrator and author best known for his painting the dust-jackets of the Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. His illustrations covered 9 novels from 1957 to 1966 for James Bond books by Ian Fleming and the cover of John Gardner's first Bond continuation novel, Licence Renewed (1981). Several original dust-jackets by Chopping are hung in the Ian Fleming/Sean Connery bedroom at Chalet Sweet Escape.

Having received a pre-released copy of Thunderball, the novel by Fleming, McClory sued in 1961, postponing its release. In 1963, in an out-of-court settlement, McClory gained the literary and film rights for the screenplay, while Fleming was given the rights to the novel, although it had to be recognised as being "based on a screen treatment by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham and the Author”. Fleming, unfortunately, was unwell through most of this process and passed away August 12, 1964. The film, staring Sean Connery as Bond, premiered on 9 December 1965 in Tokyo and opened on 29 December 1965 in the UK; it remained the highest-grossing Bond film until Live and Let Die (1973).

The legal rights McClory had previously gained in 1963, allowed him to retell the Thunderball movie as 1983’s “Never Say Never Again”, marking the return of Sean Connery in the lead role, and also his last time as 007. It also was the only Bond dramatic feature made outside of the family of producer Cubby Broccoli. In fact, the movie was released the same year as another Bond pic, “Octopussy,” starring Roger Moore.


The Battle for Bond (2007), by Robert Sellers, is a cinema history book of how the literary character James Bond metamorphosed to the cinema James Bond. The book details the collaboration among film producer Kevin McClory, novelist Ian Fleming, screenwriter Jack Whittingham and others to create the film Thunderball.

The first release of the book features unpublished letters, private lawsuit documents and cast-crew interviews; there are also five Thunderball screenplays, two by Fleming, three by Whittingham, and two treatments by Fleming that document the creation and development of this James Bond project. The Ian Fleming estate, the Ian Fleming Will Trust, protested the inclusion of several Fleming letters in the book, which it said were used without permission. The book was subsequently withdrawn and unsold copies sent to the estate for disposal. The publisher, Tomahawk Press, later published a second edition without the letters, which it claimed were not fundamental to the story.

May 2019


Plantation to Politician

Arthur Neville Chamberlain (18 March 1869 – 9 November 1940) was a British statesman and Conservative Party politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. 

Joseph Chamberlain, Neville’s father, made his career in Birmingham, first as a manufacturer of screws and then as a notable mayor of the city. He was a radical Liberal Party member.  In 1891, Joseph sent his 21 year old son, Neville Chamberlain, to establish a sisal plantation on Andros Island in the Bahamas in an effort to recoup diminished family fortunes. Neville spent time on many islands of The Bahamas including much of his youth in Green Turtle Cay. At one point it was incorrectly reported that the Chamberlain family purchased the whole of Mayaguana Island in the Southern Bahamas.


Neville Chamberlain spent six years on Andros but the plantation was a failure.  Neville left Andros finally in 1897, and went on to a successful political career. Joseph Chamberlain lost £50,000; the family finances were severely impaired from the loss but they soldiered forward in the years to come. 

Visit Andros onboard Yacht Sweet Escape

Divers exploring Andros's Ocean Blue Hole, an underwater cave system. - Jad Davenport

Divers exploring Andros's Ocean Blue Hole, an underwater cave system. - Jad Davenport

Andros is rich with cultural and historical landmarks, including a lighthouse with cannons from an old wreck, an old pirate's well and cave, native colony ruins, quaint towns with evocative names, plus a sisal and a batik factory. You’ll also want to experience crab-catching, a staple of the economy, and an outing can be arranged for you to see locals in-action.

The Andros dive experience ranges from shallow water, wreck and blue-hole dives to dramatic wall dives off the 6,000-feet-deep Tongue of the Ocean. About 1-1½ miles off the east coast of Andros sits the Andros Barrier Reef, the world’s third-largest fringing barrier reef, measuring 190 miles long and home to more than 160 species of coral and fish. Divers will find endless fascination entering the blue holes found all over the island, legendary sites where you can peer into the lair of the Lucsa (a mythical blue-hole dwelling monster) or see the holes “breathe” as water flows in and out with the tides. Experienced local guides are available to lead you to all of the sites safely. 

Visit Andros for an eco-tour to learn more about Chamberlain’s sisal farm. This seasonal tour which features the farms of North Andros gives visitors a glimpse into Bahamian agriculture at its best. While on the tour, you will be given an opportunity to speak with local farmers concerning methods used in growing crops, as well as sample produce in season. Guides will talk about the unique soil structure of the island and the crops that are grown seasonally and year round. They would also give a lecture on the history of farming in Andros going back to the Chamberlain Sisal Plantation to date.


Captain Morgan’s Cave

Captain Morgan’s Cave

Andros has many ecotourism options and for the treasure hunter, you can visit Captain Morgan’s cave. Morgan’s Bluff, the highest point in Andros, is named for the 17th-century Welsh privateer of the Caribbean. Sir Henry Morgan, 1635- 25 August 1688, was a very successful pirate and earned the title of Sir as a result of his daring and spectacular raid on one of the richest cities at that time - Panama City. It is said he was particularly fond of The Bahamas and that much of his bounty was buried there. Since 2011, the spice rum label has used the slogan "To Life, Love and Loot."

Dive site map of Andros


May 2019