BAPTISM BY BELL - THE NAVY WAY
This story appeared in the April 2000 issue of The Compass Rose, newsletter of the Oshawa Naval Veterans Association. Submitted by S/M John Haslip, past president, Chatham and Area RCNA.
Many offspring of navy ratings had the honour of being christened aboard ship when the opportunity presented itself. It is a Navy tradition that goes back to the days of sailing ships and was continued as recently as 1963. The bell would be disconnected from its mounting, turned upside down and filled with holy water. The chaplain would then perform the baptism ceremony. Upon completion of the service, the blest water was poured over the side of the ship into the sea.
NOW CHATHAM'S BELL
The Chatham And Area RCNA branch recently acquired the HMCS Sioux's ship's bell. On the bell is inscribed the names of 48 children christened aboard the 'V' Class destroyer. The Chatham shipmates wish to inform those individuals who would now be in their '30's to '50's that if they wish to see their names on the bell, it is presently on display at the Chatham Museum until April of this year.
The names on the bell are:
Bruce Polly; Sandra Moodie; Brian and Donna Henderson; Alan and Kathleen Wade; Emily Charlotte Miller; Daniel, Timothy, Joseph, Frederick and Robert Perkins; Barbara Braithwaite; James, David and Catherine Ann Irwin; Jeffrey Cumming; Sandra and James Dallin; Gail Frances Bligh; Georgianna Grant; Janet Whitworth; Karen Joy Belcher; Deborah Gurney; Sharron and Brenda Watson; Ellen Douglas; David, Patricia and Lynda Hill; Jennifer Baldock; Alana, Donald and Alfred Carlson; Anthony Francis; Christopher Cohrs, Andrew Leir; Bruce Read; Richard McClung; Edward Finch-Field; Theresa and Isla Meikle; Kenneth and Heather MacLeod; David and Bruce King.
The bell is also used for the Chatham Branch general meetings and the Annual Battle of Atlantic Service held on the first Sunday of May each year.
Chatham and area RCNA branch member Cec Massender poses with HMCS SIOUX'S ship's bell. The bell contains the names of 48 children who were christened from 1944 to 1963.
There is an update to this story as of Feb 20, 2017. The bell with the christening names has been moved from the Chatham RCNA and is now on display at the Naval Museum of Manitoba (HMCS Chippewa). The bell from Sioux , circa 1944, is held at the Halifax Naval Museum.