Monday, May 12, 2008

Ship's Bell

The Ship's Bell is as important to the ship symbolically as any other piece of equipment. Lore has it that a ship's soul resides in its bell. A Ship's name is inscribed on the bell and it is rung at various intervals to mark the hours. Hence the terms, six bells, etc...

The US Navy has specific traditions for their bells as well
An old Navy tradition has it that the ship's cook shines the ship's bell and the ship's bugler shines the ship's whistle. This tradition may still be observed in some of the ships of the modern Navy. However, in normal practice, the ship's bell is maintained by a man of the ships' division charged with the upkeep of that part of the ship where the bell is located.
The Bell was rung in case of fire and was the voice of the ship in times of trouble.

Ship's Bell mythology really starts up when dealing with ship's that have sunk at sea. Some believe that until a ship's bell has been recovered, the souls of dead sailors cannot leave the wreck and move on to the afterlife. Others believe that a bell should stay with the ship.

A famous modern bell was aboard the Edmund Fitzgerald that sank in the 1970s. The Bell was recovered and as it was brought up it rang very loudly. The families of those who died inscribed a bell with the names of the 30 men lost and put it in the bell's place in the cold waters of Lake Superior.

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