The Bell of HMS Javelin

Credited to Mr Levi Jorgensen - President Royal Canadian Legion
Branch 28, PO Box 399, Burin Bay Arm, Newfoundland, A0E1G0

For centuries Newfoundland Seamen had strong ties with the British Royal Navy and many Newfoundlanders served in its famous Fleet. During World WW I and WW II thousands of Newfoundlanders volunteered for the Royal Navy and served their country and the mother country well in the fight for freedom. Many gave their lives in the war at sea. The presentation of this Bell is a link in the chain of the historic service and sacrifice of the Newfoundlanders in the Royal Navy.

H.M.S. Javelin was completed in 1939 and was engaged in battle with the enemy soon after launching and took part in many actions. In November, 1940, H.M.S. Javelin was leading ship in the Fifth Flotilla with Captain Louis Batten on board under command of Commander A.F. Pugsley.

Serving on board were Newfoundlanders Enos Darby and Malcolm Hollett of Burin, Gordon Bowdridge from Burgeo and William Eaton from St. John’s. On November 29th, 1940, the Fifth Flotilla engaged a Flotilla of German Destroyers in the English Channel. In the Battle, H.M.S. Javelin was struck by two torpedoes – one in the bow and one in the stern. Gordon Bowdridge was killed. Enos Darby was severely injured and badly burned. Malcolm Hollett survived, but died the following January from pneumonia. William Eaton survived the attack and the ship was towed back to port.

After the war ended, the ship’s bell came into possession of Captain Pugsley (later Rear Admiral). Michael Hart was serving as a Seaman on the Javelin and later became Lt. Commander. William Eaton and Michael Hart kept contact and in 1993, through the efforts of Michael and his son, Nigel, the Naval Association was in a position to advise Burin Branch 29, the Royal Canadian Legion that arrangements could be made to set up the Bell in Burin Branch as a Memorial to Salvation Army Major Enos Darby, Malcolm Hollett and Gordon Bowdridge and a tribute to the Newfoundlanders who served in the Royal Navy. The presentation of this Bell was made on June 3rd, 1995 by William Eaton and President Jim Shields of the Naval Association of Newfoundland, Eastern Division, and dedicated by Rev. John E. Currie RCN-WWII Chaplain of the Naval Association.

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