At the reception for the RMonRE (Militia) on Saturday, March 24 following their Freedom Parade, the frame and encased bell was presented to the town and will eventually find a home in the Shire Hall.
The bell from HMS Monmouth - decommissioned in a surprise move in 2021 - was handed over to the town mayor, Terry Christopher at a ceremony in 2022 by Lieutenant Commander Steve Reah, the last Senior Naval Officer of the ‘Black Duke’ as a token of appreciation for the Welsh town’s support for the type 23 frigate.
It was in 2004 that Monmouth honoured the ship and her crew with the Freedom of the Town, a similar honour that was bestowed on the RMonRE (M) in 1953, so it was fitting the frame and the bell have both been given to the town by the ship and the regiment adopted by Monmouth.
Lt-Col Al Robinson, Commanding Officer of the RMonRE, told the Beacon: “There’s quite a lot of history behind the frame: The bell is encased in a Christchurch crib, a piece of bridging equipment, a part of a Bailey Bridge carrying handle from which the bell is suspended and the bell itself is hung on a sappers belt”.
Adrian Hamilton, Secretary of the Monmouth branch of the RNA said how pleased he was to see the bell hung in such a dignified frame and is looking forward to seeing it in its new home in the Shire Hall.
“This is a wonderful example of the craftsmanship by the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers and a perfect link between the Regiment, the Town and HMS Monmouth - I know that the members of the First Commission of HMS Monmouth (1993-1995) will be delighted to see it when they visit Monmouth in August. Well done everyone concerned,” he added.
HMS Monmouth’s last deployment was to accompany the Royal Navy’s first fifth-generation aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, in 2018 when she sailed to the East coast of the United States on trials.
The Christchurch Crib, properly known as the Bridging Crib 20 ton, was used in WWII in place of trestles and piers.