Make your own free website on Tripod.com

  lph9s1.gif (41825 bytes)

USS GUAM SHIP'S BELL HISTORY

 

cautio4.gif (3660 bytes)cautio4.gif (3660 bytes)cautio4.gif (3660 bytes)cautio4.gif (3660 bytes)

Decom Info Page

USS GUAM
Commanding Officer
Executive Officer
Command Master Chief
Links

USS GUAM  PW 3
USS GUAM CB 2
USS GUAM LPH 9

Commanding Officer's
Mission
Bell History
Battle of Guam
Decom Info Page

Plank Owners
Decom Crew
Reserved
Reserved
Reserved

Reserved


homeon.gif (1358 bytes)

In the days before the electronic intercom system called the 1MC, naval vessels relied solely upon the ship’s bell to signal important announcements throughout the ship. These included virtually everything from reveille to the sounding of General Quarters.

Ships’ bells remain in use today primarily to announce important dignitaries arriving on the quarterdeck. They are also sounded over the 1MC to sound the alarm for fires and to announce the time every one-half hour.

The history of the USS Guam’s bell can be traced back to the island of Guam where, in 1927, the local Chamber of Commerce organized a campaign to raise funds to buy a plaque and bell for the original USS Guam, the gunboat deployed to the Yangtze River in China. Guamanian school children were each encouraged to contribute one penny and by December 1928, over $700 had been raised. The bell and plaque were officially presented to USS Guam’s commanding officer, LCDR R. K. Autry in 1929.

It is unclear whether the bell disappeared when USS Guam was captured by the Japanese during World War II or when the ship was officially re-christened USS Wake. Regardless, the bell was unaccounted for until May 1954, when the governor of Guam, Governor Ford O. Elvidge,

received a letter from RADM M. E. Murphy indicating that the bell had somehow reached the Marine barracks on the island of Guam. The bell was presented to the Governor by Marine Captain Peter C. Siguenza who had contributed a penny to the fund as a schoolboy on 1927. The bell was put on display at the Nieves Flores Memorial Library on Guam.

During a visit to the island of Guam, Bill Banning, , a former US Marine, noticed the bell and plaque at the library and began his crusade to have the bell returned the USS Guam so that it could once again serve the proud ship for which it was created. Though many supported his idea, he encountered substantial resistance. It was only through perseverance and a 45-month letter writing campaign that Mr. Banning finally convinced the then-Governor of Guam, Ricardo J. Bordallo, to loan the bell and plaque to the US Navy for service on USS Guam (LPH 9).

On March 2, 1985, Governor Bordallo presented the bell and plaque to Captain John M. Quarterman during a formal ceremony at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Also present was the "Guam flag" hoisted by the Marines who recaptured Guam during World War II.

After almost 70 years of service on three US warships, the Guam bell will be returned to Guam after today’s ceremony.