#52ancestors: So Far Away

The Royal Navy has a tradition that any ship crossing the equator has to pay its respects  to King Neptune, to gain his acceptance. The ritual requires that all those who had never previously crossed the line are charged for their crimes and get the justice they deserve.

My father in law, Basil, and his father, Carl, both served in the Royal Navy and both took part in a ‘crossing the line’ ceremony.

This is Carl’s certificate. He joined up in 1910, but didn’t cross the equator until 1931.

Basil’s certificate is dated 1943. He was on Board HMS Ramillies, sailing from Casablanca to Freetown. I wonder how they got all the props and costumes while sailing around Africa in the middle of the war! We have the booklet of the ceremony too.

The booklet gives some idea of the ceremony but, even better, I found a Pathe clip on Youtube from 1922 filmed on HMS Hood. There’s no sound.

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