You may recall that the location of the Royalist Bell was raised some time ago. The reason for this quest was that Graham Cadwallader (ex EW) was serving in Royalist in 1962 when his twin girls were born. His twin girls Lynda and Pamela were subsequently christened on Royalist and their names engraved in the bell. The following is their story as written by Lynda (one of the twins).
Where’s that Bell Dad?
In 1962 7th May, two bonny baby twins were born to Beverly & Graham Cadwallader. Lynda Lee & Pamela Dawn Cadwallader.
At the time Graham was serving in Royalist and as was the tradition at the time we were Christened on the ship ( So wish I could remember that!! ) in October ’62.
Navy tradition was to engrave the names of the christened on the bell (Very cool Tradition!)
The Royalist was decommissioned in 1965 ( I think !) and so began the Hunt for The Bell!
Over the years it became a bit of a legend as I used to tell my kids –“I was christened on a Navy ship” – but sadly had no evidence. I think the kids were starting to think I had been telling stories.
So in conversation over many years we would ask Dad –where do you reckon that bell is Dad ? Dad and I ( Lynda ) even went to the museum to see it – but were told it was in storage .
Eventually I wrote to the Navy Communications website and Frank Rands responded saying he would do some hunting on my behalf. He also contacted dad and after much toing and froing managed to find the Royalist bell at the Narrow Neck Officer Training School (OTS) in Devonport (She hadn’t strayed too far from home at all !)
My original idea was to just get a photo so I could show my girls a part of my legacy (and that I hadn’t been telling porkies all these years!)
Unaware to me, Dad was pulling strings behind the scene and had arranged with Frank to view the bell in all her glory. He also arranged for our Godfather John Garrett (and Jan his wife ) to travel up from Tauranga. Our God mums have since passed away otherwise I’m sure they would have been there too!
Pamela & I (and my husband Doug ), Dad, John & Jan met out the front of the Training school to find Frank Rands, Anna Hill, Navy Photographer Chris Weissenborn, the Navy Chaplain Micheal Berry & Navy Historian Micheal Wynd. (Quite a gathering!) All there to greet us and make the day.
We all gathered in the foyer of the OTS where she is hanging and used every morning to start the day at 8am. After a wee chat about her history and a good look inside (For some reason I thought the names were on the outside! )We found our names phew! Yay! Chaplain Berry also said a blessing and prayed for us which was awesome.
And to top that, Chaplain Berry even went and got the original register of Christenings and showed us the original entries of our Christening. Photos were taken to mark the occasion. Anna even came and had a coffee at the café and listened to old navy stories shared by Graham & John (Both long time service in the navy)
On behalf of my family and also my sister Pamela, and Dad- we would like to thank the Navy for the HUGE effort to make this day for us –I know I personally didn’t expect it ! As we were brought up as Navy Brats, (as we were all called back then, sort of endearing) We really appreciate all you do and how we have and always will have a connection to The Navy through the BELL.
You certainly went the extra Mile –bless you all .
Kind Regards Lynda Brittain (nee Cadwallader ,Twin #1)