Royal Navy Shipboard Chapels

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Royal Navy Shipboard Chapels

Postby revstroud » 11 Apr 2013 20:45

Last year I secured a piece of Royal Navy tradition that had found its way across the Atlantic some years ago. It is the altar rail from a ship's chapel. (My intention is to restore it and enjoy it during my remaining life, whereupon I will donate it to a suitable museum for all to enjoy.) The rail is rather modest, consistent with others I've found evidence of during my research. It was accompanied by several congregational chairs which are identical to those pictured in the postcard reproductions below.

I am almost certain the rail comes from the HMS Dolphin (1882) which ultimately became a Training Ship. However, she did see combat as part of the Mediterranean Squadron. She participated in actions against a Sudanese slave dealer named Osman Digna, whose stronghold was in Suakin. One of her captains during the war, retired as a Rear Admiral, Horatio Nelson Budding.

The reason for my conviction that this is from the Dolphin comes from the fact that it was from the "last sailing ship in the British Navy." However, the (American) clergyman from whom I received the altar rail thought it might be from the HMS Britannia. (This would have been Queen Elizabeth's yacht and its removal would have occurred when it was refurbished for "her anniversary trip to Australia.) My research suggests the Dolphin was the likelier source.

I would appreciate any leads that might help me settle the question. The images are: (1) the altar rail, (2) HMS Hood Chapel and (3) HMS Nelson Chapel.

altar rail.jpg
Royal Navy Altar Rail
altar rail.jpg (36.63 KiB) Viewed 1366 times

HMS Hood Chapel 1931.jpg
HMS Hood Chapel
HMS Hood Chapel 1931.jpg (48.67 KiB) Viewed 1366 times

HMS Nelson.jpg
HMS Nelson Chapel
HMS Nelson.jpg (172.92 KiB) Viewed 1366 times
Robert C. Stroud
Chaplain, LtCol, USAF (Retired)
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Re: Royal Navy Shipboard Chapels

Postby colsjt65 » 11 Apr 2013 23:12

Technically, HMS Victory is the "last sailing ship in the British (sic- Royal) Navy". She is the flagship of the First Sea Lord and is the oldest naval ship still in commission. Not that she's going anywhere ever again :D

Great to see that the rail has found a loving home.

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