Dear Mr Bell,
I was recently informed that you have acquired the ships bell from HMS Kelly. I have always been interested in various aspects of military history and worked for many years in the museum 'industry'. I was curator of the York & Lancaster Regimental Museum during my last 15 years up to retirement in 1998 and had served 18 years in the RAF in my earlier years. My son-in-law is currently a Commander in the RN and his last command was HMS Exeter (built on the Tyne).
I find it intriguing that HMS Kelly should have left the Hebburn shipyard after repairs in 1940 without her bell. Being very inquisitive and having spent many, many, years delving into military historical research, I would love to find out where the bell has been lingering all these years and who has been claiming ownership/title to it all this time. My questions are simple but only a beginning to my quest.
1. Who placed the bell on the auction market?
2. What evidence do you have to place the Bell's provenance beyond question?
I have a close but sad tie with your museum. My father (William Robson Scott) worked as an assistant there and died on the main staircase due to a heart attack (1976). I never ever met him as he and my mother parted company when I was only two years old (1940), but that is another story. However, it is interesting that at the time of HMS Kelly leaving the Tyne without her bell, I was living with my grandparents in Arthur Street, Hebburn (only half a mile from where the ship had undergone repairs). Even better, my mother told me that on the day that Lord Mountbatten come out of the shipyard gates, he patted me on the head when I toddled into his path. I have suffered no ill effects from that encounter !
Anyway, I have gone on long enough but hope that you can set me on the path of my research. There are many leads that I can follow but I thought that a word from you might be a good start.
With kind regards,
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