Ship's bell in safe hands

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Published Date: 

12 Sep 2012 - 13:03

THE ship’s bell from HMS Campbeltown is coming back to the town for safekeeping this week when Royal Navy staff hand it over to Argyll and Bute Council provost Isobel Strong this week.

Provost Strong will welcome Captain Chris Smith, Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland, and former HMS Campbeltown Commanding Officer Commander Gordon Abernethy, to the town’s Burnett Building on Wednesday 12 September.

They will be joined by community representatives at a civic reception when the bell is handed over.

It will remain in safe keeping until a new ship is named after Campbeltown at some point in the future.

HMS Campbeltown was commissioned in May 1989 and paid her last visit to her namesake town in March 2011 shortly before her decommission in April that year.  

Her predecessor played a crucial role in the Second World War after being involved in a deliberate explosion at the French port of St Nazaire, to prevent its use by enemy warships.  

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s civic reception, Provost Strong said: “I look forward to welcoming Captain Smith and Commander Abernethy to Campbeltown and I am delighted to receive the ship’s bell on behalf of the town.

“HMS Campbeltown holds a special place not only in history but in the heart of the community. We look forward to the day when another ship might bear the town’s name and the bell will come back into service again.”

Captain Chris Smith, Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland added: “It is an honour to be part of this presentation ceremony of HMS Campbeltown’s ship’s bell. Campbeltown has a long and proud maritime heritage and association with the Royal Navy, and it is fitting that the town becomes custodian of this piece of history in thanks for the enormous support and fondness shown to the ship and her sailors over the years.”