Interview with Michael G. Marsh
Mike attended Saltus Grammar School, Bermuda. In 1961 he was the first Bermudian to achieve Membership as an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute (ACII). In 1970 he went into his own Money Management business, and retired in 2000. Mike has been a Member of the Society of Authors for many years, and wrote a monthly International Investment Newsletter (The Troy Report), and an Investment book (1985). More recently he wrote The Purple Grumblies, a series of 14 fun adventure books for young children. He is currently working on a further Purple Grumblies’ adventure series, this time set in Bermuda.
“The Defining Story of Bermuda’s GREAT GUNPOWDER PLOT 1775” the title of your book sounds intriguing… but why GREAT?
What about “The GREAT Train Robbery”? In terms of Bermuda’s history, the gunpowder theft was a GREAT achievement right under the nose of the poor Governor. As I said in the book, “It was a masterpiece of deception, planning and execution”… even if some call it TREASON! No one was ever charged with treason or even theft.
Was it TREASON?
On August 23rd, 1775, King George III officially announced that there was an America Rebellion. The theft of gunpowder occurred on August 15th. Technically, you could argue that it wasn’t treason. After all the thieves sold the gunpowder to the American Rebels for a profit!
It is astonishing how many versions of this story exist. There have been many unanswered questions. I have used the word “Defining” because I have tried to answer these questions. For example the LOCATION of the powder Magazine; the SIZE and NUMBER of the barrels stolen; the AMOUNT of of gunpowder ultimately delivered to General Washington in Boston; the NAMES of those responsible for the theft; the sort of BOATS and SHIP used for the transport of the powder, and WHO carried out the theft; and whether there was an INTRUDER during the theft. The list of questions goes on and on.
What compelled you to write a book on this particular subject?
I did it for FUN. I didn’t enjoy history at school, but the reason was that it wasn’t presented in an interesting way. Too many long-winded pages of words hardly ever split into paragraphs or sub-headings. In my book I have tried to make the stories flow by breaking the stories down into sections, sub-headings and paragraphs. Bermuda has an exciting history. Every Bermudian child should be taught our local history, and our long standing friendship with the United States should be a drawing card for U.S. visitors. The Gunpowder Plot and Attack on Washington are just two episodes which I found fascinating.
Why did you end the book with the Attack on Washington? Isn’t that out of context?
Not as much as it would appear at first glance. For example, the site of North Rock in Bermuda was of critical importance in both stories.
You have obviously gone to some lengths to have an accurate Front Cover picture which shows the theft taking place during that moonlit night. The powder Magazine is very different.
Different from what?
What we have depicted should be the accurate version of the Magazine. Michael Cacy did a wonderful job in painting this picture. And Ann Spurling took some wonderful pictures for the book. I have gone to some lengths to explain the location, size, design of the 1767 Magazine from which the powder was stolen in 1775. I hope you enjoy the book!