John Everitt
Herbert Francis "Bert" Kilbride

My project “Building the Wave” began in 1988 soon after I moved to the (British) Virgin Islands. Inevitably this meant that some of the people who would fall into my category of ‘builders before the wave’ were no longer available for interview because for a number of reasons. Once such person was Bert Kilbride (“The Last Purate of the Caribbean”) who died in January, 2008. In such cases I have endeavoured, for the sake of completeness, to include something about these people. Fortunately there were some good obituaries published one of which is reproduced below. It can be found at
Birth: Mar. 8, 1914
Hampden County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Jan. 8, 2008
Siskiyou County
California, USA

"Last Pirate of the Caribbean"

"I have been called; A Treasure Hunter by my peers, Keeper of the Wrecks by the Queen of England, A Pirate by the BVI Government, A Living National Treasure by the Governor of the BVI, the Oldest SCUBA Diver by Guinness Book of World Records and a Legend in many magazine articles. I have been an Explorer, an Adventurer, an Inventor, a SCUBA Instructor, a father and a husband. I've also been called a ladies man and a scoundrel, plus a few other names that I won't mention here.

I have starred in movies and TV Specials. There have been numerous magazine and news paper articles written about me. In the SCUBA Diving industry I am well know and have many many friends.

This is my story". . . . Bert Kilbride

Bert was born on March 8, 1914, in Ludlow near Springfield, Mass., to the late Thomas and Sylvia Duquette Kilbride.
Bert moved to South Florida in 1945 and was in the construction business. He moved to St. Croix in 1956 and moved to the British Virgin Islands in 1964, living there until 2005.

In a 1999 Sport Diver magazine article about Bert the author, A.J. Bernstein, called him the "Last Pirate of the Caribbean."

Bert had been a diver for almost a century and a treasure seeker for more than five decades. He was an inventor, a builder, a contractor and an entrepreneur.

He had bought and developed two barren islands and owned a scuba diving tour business for 30 years. In the 1960s, he created the "Resort Course" for beginners interested in scuba diving. It is now taught worldwide under the name "Introductory Scuba Course." In 1987, he was awarded the NOGI Award for Sports/Education for the creation of the resort course.

He was made the "Receiver of Wrecks" by Queen Elizabeth in 1967 and called a "pirate" by others in the BVI government when he would not produce a map of the shipwrecks he had found on Anegada Reef (138 wrecks). In the 1990s, the governor of the BVI called him a "living legend" in a radio speech. In 2004, for his 90th birthday, Guinness Book of World Records proclaimed him the "Oldest Scuba Diver" in the world.

Bert is survived by his wife, Gayla; sons, Gary, Burt, Michael, Patrick (wife Linda), James (wife Susan) and Tyrel Kilbride; stepson, Dan Valls; daughters, Ellen Christopher and Jeanie Mesler; grandchildren, Patrick, Christina, Kathleen, Maureen, Ryan (wife Catlin), Katie, Jacob, Shaun and Dylan Kilbride, Lloyd Christopher, Bryan and Kimberly Mesler and Kelly (husband Jorge) Nunez; great-grandchildren, Ben Vennard, Brianna Marshall, Spencer Christopher, Sean Christopher and Kailyn Nunez; brother, George Kilbride; sister, Sylvia O'Connor; numerous nieces and nephews and their families; and other relatives and many friends. In addition to his parents, his brother, Everett, preceded him in death.

He is dearly missed by all.

Neptune Memorial Reef
Key Biscayne
Miami-Dade County
Florida, USA
Plot: Gatekeeper Column
Created by: Gayla
Record added: May 11, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26751587

See also:

Draft of February 20th 2010.

Builders of Tortola Guide

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