This post presents photographs taken during HMS Ajax’s first commission, from April 1935 to August 1937, during which she travelled 61,217 nautical miles on a cruise of South America. They are taken from the remarkable photograph albums of Ship’s Petty Officer James Edward Harvey. Two posts dedicated to his albums have already been published: HMS Ajax and the Patagonian Indians (1936) and A Whale of a Time: HMS Ajax in the Antarctic, 1937.
The ‘Crossing The Line’ ceremony is an initiation ceremony for sailors, who have not crossed the Equatorial line of zero degrees latitude. These fledgling sailors are known as ‘pollywogs’ and upon completion of tasks set forth by King Neptune & His court, they become ‘shellbacks’. The longer a shellback serves, the higher-ranked he becomes in Neptune’s Court.
This is an outline of the ceremony.
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