Pictured above: Aquarium Curator James Burnett-Herkes “rescues” a 20-ft. sperm whale which had got itself trapped in Castle Harbour. Mr Burnett-Herkes and helpers bent a line on to the whale’s tail and towed it out through Castle Roads. Last seen the whale was high-tailing it to the deep blue.

  • In May 1907, Anna Jarvis held a ceremony at Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, honouring mothers. A larger ceremony was held at the same church on May 10, 1908. May 8, 1914, the second Sunday of May was declared an official national Mother’s Day holiday in the US. Andrew’s Methodist Church now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine.
  • Fortunately, today the whale season in Bermuda means an opportunity to watch these beautiful mammals on their migration to the North Atlantic. As a report in the Gazette of May 9, 1818 reminds us, they were once hunted, caught and killed for their blubber and meat. A whale fishery was established that year on the south side of Paget and on May 3 two whaling boats brought in a very old whale and a very small young one. “The former unfortunately sunk in deep water, but the latter was brought in, and afforded a spectacle to many persons in this part of the country, who had never had an opportunity of seeing a whale out of water before.”
  • In May 1837, almost three years after Emancipation in Bermuda, the Gazette published the following extract from the minutes of the House of Assembly: “The thanks of this house be given to William Jones, Esquire, captain of HMS, “Vestal”, as well as the office and crew, for the late valuable services in the course of Humanity, in having in a very short space of time and in the immediate vicinity of this island, captured four vessels loaded with Africans, who, but for the perseverance of the gallant officer, would long now have been in a state of bondage.”
  • 24 May 1844, Samuel Morse demonstrated his new system of telegraphing in front of crowds of congressmen and dignitaries by relaying a message down a 38-mile telegraph line connecting the Supreme Court Chamber of the US Capitol to a railroad station in Baltimore. The message was: “What hath God wrought?” His system used combinations of dots and dashes to represent letters. The most well-known message is ··· — ···, SOS, the internationally recognised call for help.
  • The General Election held in Bermuda 16 May 1963 was the first to be held under the new Parliamentary Election Act introducing universal suffrage and the first to include political parties. Independents won 30 of the 36 seats in the House of Assembly, with the Progressive Labour Party, founded three months before the elections, winning six of the nine seats it contested. Before 1963, the franchise was restricted to property owners.
  • 18 May marks the anniversary of Mount St Helen’s Volcano eruption in Washington State, USA in 1980. The eruption caused a massive ash cloud, which could be seen from space, and blew over a thousand feet from the top of the mountain making it 8,3639 rather than 9,677 feet high. Fifty-seven people lost their lives while more than a million trees were destroyed.