Royal Navy Ships Bells - Location of after decommission?

I know this is an odd request, but are there any Matelots on the site who would know what happens to a Royal Navy Ship's Bells after a ship is decommissioned/broken up?

Any Help either here or through a PM would be appreciated...



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Gundulph - try Rum Ration, there are bound to be some among the RumBumnBaccy crowd who can give you the info.
Auld-Yin said:
Gundulph - try Rum Ration, there are bound to be some among the RumBumnBaccy crowd who can give you the info.
True Auld-yin, Thanks ... Can we use our ARRSE details to sign in?


Members of a ship's company are entitled to have their children christened in the bell. The names of all babies so christened are engraved on the inside of the bell. Upon decommissioning, the bell is given to the last child to have been christened in it.
They're not treated with the reverence you seem to expect. Sometimes they're presented to a town council or a museum, but usually they're just sold off.


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There is no real answer to this question, the ship's bells can end up in various different places. As previously pointed out there is the well known christening dit, however I don't know of this ever actually happening. If a ship is affiliated to a town or Army Regiment, the bell might be handed to them as Sandman pointed out, this happened with HMS Exeter recently and I believe the recovered bell from the Coventry is in Coventry cathedral. Sometimes the bell is kept by the last Captain but more often than not it is just sold to the highest bidder.
The RN have a 'Trophy Centre' in Portsmouth, which 'owns' about 17000 valuable items like this. They will sell some items to official museums if they are no longer requred, or if no museum or other official body wants them, may sell them as they see fit. Ships bells are indeed engraved with the name of those christened onboard, should the parents request and pay for it. When a ship de-commissions, the bell and other trophies, such as Wardroom silver, ashtrays, framed photographs etc. are returned to the Trophy Centre. Some of these may be loaned out to other ships or shore establishments, or they may be sold as described above. If the Trophy Centre no longer wishes to keep the bell, and no museum or other official body is interested in buying the it, traditionally those whose names are inscribed on it have the opportunity to buy it before it is placed on the open market. If you want to speak to the Trophy Centre, you can ring them on 02392 720120 (mil 9380-20120)
My little sis was christened on HMS Glasgow, no idea what happened to the bell now but was told it would likely be sold. Hope it went to a good home.
DERR's used to have one:
"Wherever the Regiment was stationed, placed outside the Guardroom was a large ship's bell. This bell was presented to the Regiment by HMS VERNON, a Naval shore establishment in Portsmouth, with whom there was an affiliation. This affiliation was at the request of the Duke of Edinburgh, who wished to continue the association of the Wiltshire Regiment and the Royal Berkshire Regiment with the Royal Navy, which had existed for over two hundred years.

Throughout the day the bell was struck by the Regimental Police or Guard Commander to indicate the time of day, in the same manner as is the custom in the Royal Navy. The Regiment was the only Regiment to observe this custom. This custom of striking ship's time stems from the Wiltshire Regiment. Just two years after their formation, the 62nd were employed as Marines and were in action as such when they formed part of the force of the sea-borne attack on French Canada, gaining the Battle Honour of Louisburg.

To commemorate their service as Marines, the band was permitted to play Rule Britannia on special occasions.

Later the Regiment acquired a ship's bell and started to strike time throughout the day. This developed into a custom which became unique in the British Army.

Regimental Customs


Are you looking for a particular ship's bell?
Christie's and Phillips have specialist maritime auctions with bells, honour boards, name plates which have been released from MOD.

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