Crossing the line

As HMS Protector and her Ship’s Company crossed the equator earlier this month, it was time for everybody to be presented to Neptune’s Court during the infamous ‘Crossing the Line Ceremony’.

Naval tradition dictates that any ship crossing the equator must pay their respects to the Lord of the Seas, King Neptune to gain his acceptance. 

This ritual requires all those who had never previously crossed the line (and a few extras) to be ‘charged for their crimes’ and get the justice they deserve. 

The ceremony started on the evening prior with Davy Jones, The Bears and The Police taking over the ship - all of whom bore a striking resemblance to our Senior Rates on board. 

Each mess on board was visited by this motley crew and those charged were read out to be summoned at the ceremony the following day.

During the official ceremony, Neptune held his court, accompanied by his ‘gorgeous’ wife and judge. 

Leading the way in justice, Commanding Officer Captain Bryan bravely faced the jury first and was closely followed by Executive Officer Commander Fox. Thereafter each nominated crew member was called forward to listen to their crimes and receive their ‘punishment’. 

All of which was taken in good heart. After a ‘shave’ with some potato mash from The Barber, a spicy ‘pill’ and sweet ‘medicine’ from The Surgeon, a dunk in the ceremonial pool by The Bears followed. 

For those few who tried to escape from their fate, The Police ensured that their efforts were wasted. 

Approximately a third of the ship’s company or ‘non-shellbacks’ as they are called, crossed the line that day, including the Executive Warrant Officer WO1 Tompkins RM who had managed to evade Neptune’s justice for some 27 years.

Much effort and creation had gone into the event by the Senior Rates on board and a fun day was had by all in the sunshine as HMS PROTECTOR continues to travel South on her deployment to the Antarctic. 

The ceremony was finished off with a BBQ cooked by the Wardroom, further testing the bravery and taste buds of the Ship’s Company and allowed all those lucky victims to recover from their day of judgement. 

All those involved, received certificates as proof of their ‘Crossing the Line’ which they will no doubt clutch as proof to avoid a similar fate next time! 

Only of course, if Davy Jones and Neptune are feeling lenient…