Bells have a centuries-long tradition of varied use in the navies and merchant fleets of the world. Signaling, keeping time, and sounding alarms are important in a ship’s routine and readiness. Their functional and ceremonial uses have made them a symbol of considerable significance to the United States Navy. It has long been a naval tradtion for the ships’ Bosn’ to make the first pot of coffee on the mess decks, while the cook would polish the ships bell. Additionally crew members sometimes asked the ships’ chaplin to christen newborn babies in the bell filled with water.
uss concord ships bell
The ships bell on naval vessels has much heritage and history. Legend has it that the Cook shined the bell daily and the boatswain made the first pot of coffee each morning. A tradition that I personally witnessed was baptisms conducted on our ship (Concord) performed by the ship’s chaplain and witnessed by the babies parents and select crew members. As a young Hull Technician I was tasked with taking the bell from its bracket, turning it upside down and positioning it inside a holder which was dressed with decorative bunting. The baby was then placed inside the bell and the chaplain sprinkled the child and said a blessing. Once the ceremony was over, the bell was engraved (using a letter punch set) imprinting the child’s name and date of baptism. It was this event that sparked my desire to locate our ships bell, and try and locate the babies and families and tell their story to our members. After much writing back and forth to the Navy History Heritage Command the bell was located. Unfortunately the bell was polished so well that the names have been removed. If you had a child that was baptised in this bell I would like to hear from you. Regardless the bell has been located and you can go visit it and touch the only available piece of ships history (other than the ships minuteman statue) available.
USS Concord’s bell was removed prior to sinkage and has since been relocated to the below information. In addition a search has begun to locate the ships bronze minuteman statue and commissioning plaque. As these items are located we will provide the details at this page. Anyone with knowledge relating to these treasures are asked to contact the webmaster below.
Those of you who have visited our Concord History page, or are History buffs know that our USS Concord “AFS-5” is the 6th ship to wear that name. USS Concord, CL-10, was the 5th, and launched December 15, 1921 and commissioned November 3, 1923. During WWII she served in the Pacific in the Kurile Islands and Japan. She was decommissioned on December 12, 1945 and sold January 21, 1947. CL-10’s Bell however was preserved and presented to the Town of Concord in 1947 at the Concord Free Public Library. It was later moved to the basement of the Town House (in 2003) where it remained unseen until now. The Rotary Club of Concord held a dedication ceremony honoring the Bell’s installation at the Veterans’ Memorial on Main Street in Concord Center.
The below links describe the actions and dedication of the Rotory Clubs work:
Also below is a picture of our club members with the CL-10 Bell during Reunion 2012 in Boston