For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
The Ship's Bell from
the WW2 Spanish Tanker
This bell is located at St Brendan's Chapel, CFB Halifax
The bell has been polished so many times that some of the letters are no longer legible. The bell was donated to the Church of the Redeemer in Shannon Park in 1956 by the East Coast Diving Unit, and was moved to St Brendan's Chapel after Shannon Park was closed down and the buildings demolished.
(photos inverted to show the visible letters of the ship's name)
Photos courtesy of Brian Lapierre
An article from the Jun 1957 issue of the Crowsnest magazine reads as follows:
BELL BECOMES BAPTISMAL FONT
The bell of the Spanish tanker which sank off Herring Cove during the Second World War has become a baptismal fount in the Church of the Redeemer at Shannon Park.
At a brief ceremony on board HMCS GRANBY in Halifax, Lt-Cdr Charles S. Smedley, commanding officeer of the ship, which is Atlantic headquarters for the RCN's Operational Diving Unit, presented the font to Chaplain A.G. Faraday of the Church of the Redeemer.
The bell came from the Spanish tanker Nueva Andalucia, which sank at Mars Rock, near Herring Cove in 1943 after having been in collision with the battleship HMS REVENGE.
The bell was recovered by divers from the GRANBY on August 3, 1956, during diving operations at the site. Later, the bell was cleaned and plated by members of the ship's company and a stand to support the bell was build at the unit.
The new font was dedicated at a Sunday service in the Shannon Park church
While the Crowsnest article states she sank after a collision with the battleship REVENGE, a write-up from the website warsailors.com has the following:
Nueva Andalucia ran aground on the approach to Halifax due to heavy weather with snow on March 22-1942, when en route to Halifax from Port Arthur with 14 000 tons petrol for the U.K., having left Port Arthur on March 12; again, see Page 2. On the bridge at the time were 1st Mate Christensen, 2nd Mate Aarestad, Captain Solh°y and the helmsman, Ordinary Seaman Ulvers°y. Ordinary Seaman Edvardsen was on lookout duty.
She had stopped at around 13:00 near Chebucto Head to wait for a pilot, and when a patrol boat approached 15 minutes later it was believed to be the pilot boat, so they signalled for a pilot. The reply was that they would probably get a pilot near the examination vessel so they continued at slow speed. When a buoy was spotted ahead at 13:45, hard starboard wheel was ordered to the helmsman, but 5 minutes later she hit the ground at what was at first believed to be Litchfield Shoal, but later the buoy they had seen was found to be a mile further in. The engine was stopped and the starboard anchor dropped, while a request was sent out for a tug and pilot.
Upon examination the No.'s 1 and 2 center tanks and the pumproom were found to be leaking, and petrol was seen around her. Other ships nearby were warned of the situation, and everything was turned off on board (boilers, electric lights etc.).
All the men donned their survival suits and were told to be ready by the lifeboats, and at 16:30 they signalled to a patrol boat to come alongside and take on board some of the crew. Several attempts were made, but this eventually had to be given up because the patrol boat was damaged due to the heavy breakers. The lifeboats were not launched for the same reason.
At 21:30 the ship broke in 2 with a horrendous bang, and the after part started drifting towards land. Fearing mines, both aft lifeboats were now launched. In doing so, Carpenter Helle and Mechanic Tangen were injured. Around 22:00 all the men were in the boats and heading for shore, picked up by a guardboat about 30 minutes later.
This page was last updated on 18 Sep 2019