Historic Moment as HMS Blyth’s Bell Handed Over to Blyth Town Council

03rd April 2024

A significant moment in maritime history was commemorated as the ship’s bell and other historic artefacts from HMS Blyth were officially handed over to Blyth Town Council by the Royal Navy.

HMS Blyth was a regular visitor to its adopted town but in 2023 the vessel was sold to Romania, one of the UK’s NATO allies. As is the tradition, the ship’s bell, battle honours board and name plate were handed over to Blyth Town Council for safe keeping until the next HMS Blyth enters service in the future. 

To mark this occasion, a celebration was held at Blyth Bede Academy, featuring a stirring opening performance by the Royal Marines Corps of Drums, static displays by various units of the Royal Navy, Maritime Reserves, and military charities. An inspiring speech was delivered by Commodore Tom Knowles VR ADC Royal Navy, the Naval Regional Commander for the North of England and Isle of Man. The Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland was represented by Deputy Lieutenant Andy Collier and the event was further graced by the presence of esteemed local dignitaries, including Cllr Catherine Seymour the Ceremonial Head of Northumberland County Council, Members of Parliament and the Mayor of Blyth Town Council, Warren Taylor. In addition, Bede Academy (North) Combined Cadet Force and Ashington Sea Cadets supported the event. Amongst the 240 guests were members of the local community and voluntary groups representing the people of Blyth. 

Amongst those groups invited were Northumberland Freemasons who were represented by Gordon Craigs and Gary Breach. 

Gordon said: “This was an excellent occasion and a great opportunity to meet other community groups in the town. We chatted with the Maritime Volunteer Service who we previously donated a boat to. I was pleased to hear that the “Northumberland Freemason” is actively patrolling the Tyne and has worked at the Blyth Tall Ships event.” 

Mayor Warren Taylor said: “This was an event to be proud of, but it was also tinged with sadness as our adopted ship has been decommissioned. We are a proud naval town having had a major submarine base in South Harbour during World War Two and our relationship with the Royal Navy is very strong. We will take great care of the bell and will ensure that as many people as possible will be able to see it over the years. I’d like to thank the Royal Navy for making this happen and Blyth Bede Academy for hosting this wonderful event.”