Sunday, April 16, 2017

Invading Jamaica

I have really enjoyed our brief holiday in Jamaica where I have been busy editing America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil.  Our new book will be published later in 2017.  The Jamaican raised troops to fight on American Soil during the American Revolution (i.e. the Jamaica Rangers in 1779) but it is not clear that any actually did fight in the thirteen colonies.  Some did fight with Nelson against the Spanish in the Caribbean.

Ian Fleming at Goldeneye

I have been inspired by my visit to Ian Fleming's home on Jamaica.  It was here that he wrote all of the James Bond novels on a golden typewriter.  I even had a chance to play tennis on courts once used by Ian Fleming.

In we discussed the American invasions of Jamaica in America Invades...

Ian Fleming's Goldeneye, 2017
"A fascinating island, Jamaica has inspired many people. James Bond’s author, Ian Fleming, for instance, had his home Goldeneye (also the title of one of the Bond films) there, a house also later connected with Jamaican legend Bob Marley.

Some armed Americans were active around Jamaica even before the Revolution, though not at that stage fighting the British. They were fighting on their side. For instance, Thomas Paine of Jamestown, Rhode Island, was a privateer with a commission from Jamaica’s then British governor, Sir Thomas Lynch. And in 1740, a large contingent of Virginia troops was shipped to Jamaica to assist the British war effort.

But during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, our ships were active in targeting assorted ships bound for Jamaica or coming from there. In 1779, for instance, the frigates Providence and Queen of France with the sloop Ranger suddenly found themselves in fog in a British convoy headed for Jamaica and managed to capture eleven ships.

In 1873, a ship sailing under the American flag, the Virginius that had been running guns to insurgents in Cuba, picked up another load on Jamaica, only to be pursued and captured in Jamaican waters by a Spanish ship. The Spanish executed some of its crew before a diplomatic deal was finally worked out.

As we’ve already noted elsewhere, the use of our forces for humanitarian purposes isn’t just a modern idea. In 1906, US marines and seamen landed at Kingston, Jamaica, to help in the aftermath of an earthquake.

However, during World War II when we were on the same side as Britain, we took most interest in the island militarily. Under the Destroyers for Bases agreement of September 1940, the UK got some old destroyers, and we got access to much British-controlled territory to establish bases there. One of the areas involved was Jamaica.

The USN got a naval air station on Little Goat Island and the use of naval facilities at Port Royal. And the USAF got Vernam Army Airfield. A group of officers and enlisted men known as “Force Tuna” arrived there in late 1941 to set things up. Vernam was initially used for anti-submarine flights, but eventually it became a major destination for long-range training flights. It closed in 1949.
Jamaica became independent from Britain in 1962, and in 1972 democratic socialist Michael Manley came to power. His attitude towards Cuba scared some in Washington, and there has been speculation by some that America may have conducted covert attempts to undermine him.

Red Stripe

In 1983, Jamaica offered military and political support to the American invasion of Grenada.
In the years since World War II, we’ve had assorted other military links with Jamaica, including training, exercises, exchanges, ship visits, and shared humanitarian projects. Jamaica’s military connections to the United States and Canada grew as its connections to the UK decreased. The District of Columbia National Guard is partnered with Jamaica.

General Colin Powell, who also served as secretary of state, is of Jamaican descent."

Travel Notes: Those interested in staying at Goldeneye should visit

For more Bond blogs see...

Tennis with Gary at Goldeneye

Ya Mon, you can find signed copies of America Invades

Or you can get regular copies here on

America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil is coming in 2017...

1 comment:

scuba diving in cabo said...

Thats great you got to do all that, I am also a fan of all the James bond Novels, would love to go to the place in jamaica which inspired him!