Press Release

Premier's Office
Release Date:
Friday, 12 December 2014 - 1:30pm

British Virgin Islands World War 1 Veteran James Rymer’s outstanding service in World War 1 was recently celebrated at the annual Premier’s reception hosted by Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith.

The reception was held in London and the occasion marked the centenary of the ‘Great War’. Premier Smith and His Excellency the Governor Mr. John S. Duncan, OBE paid tribute to James Rymer, by honouring his family who were on hand for the occasion. Mr. Rymer in 1919 received the Mercantile Marine Ribbon, Mercantile Marine Medal and British Medal for his service to Britain as a seaman during World War 1.

Speaking on the role of the Overseas Territories in the British War effort in World War 1, Governor Duncan said, “The Overseas Territories in the British West Indies made an important contribution to Britain during the First World War, exemplified by the service of James Rymer”.

In his remarks Premier Smith said, “James Rymer was a native son of the British Virgin Islands of whom the Territory is proud.”

His grandson James Rymer, who is coincidentally named after his grandfather, thanked the Premier and Governor on behalf of the Rymer family. He said, “It means so much to us to have my grandfather’s service recognised.  We are proud of our BVI roots”.

The annual reception attracted over 150 guests which included diplomats from the UK, Caribbean, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, among others. 

The Premier’s Reception is held annually during the Premier’s official visit to London for talks with the United Kingdom Government.

Left to right: His Excellency Governor John S. Duncan, OBE; Mrs. Jacqueline Rymer, James Rymer, Jonathan Rymer and Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE.  (Photo Credit: BVI House London)