SS Camito Souvenir Bell
November 30, 2010 at 3:17 am #11642GarryParticipant
Ok Need some help identifying which one this is from!
Bell itself is Brass (no magnetic parts anywhere).
2 1/4 inches high with an Anchor (wire ‘rope work” on it) that adds another 3 1/4″ to the height.
3 inches diameter.
Interestingly, an Off set eye hook is used to hold the clapper while the anchor add on is screwed in to the center top of the bell. First time I have seen that method, most simply add a hook to the bottom of the screw holding the ‘handle’ in place. This is an actual eye bolt type screw tapped in to the bell about 1 mm to the side of that!
The brass bell has been chromed, and the anchor sports a circular shield of the Elders & Fyffes owners and the ship’s name “SS Camito”.
Also of interest is that the top of the bell is stepped, in that instead of a rounded shoulder to a domed top, where the shoulder normally is, the bell is actually sporting a concave ring all around (it looks as if another bell is pushing upward through the bell from the inside.) This is a shape I haven’t seen before.
There are actually TWO SS Camito’s (also called Banana Boats as they were in the banana trade), both owned by Elders & Fiffes. Both carried just under 100 first class passengers up top and general cargo / bananas below in the South Hampton to West Indies trade route.
The first one SS Camito, (aka HMS Camito, aka F-77) was built in 1915, requisitioned by the Admiralty during the war as an ocean boarding vessel, and was torpedoed and sunk by U97 killing 6 Officers and 22 ratings, in the Atlantic while escorting the captured Italian vessel Sangro (also sunk by U97) in 1941.
The second SS Camito, (aka SS Camito II) was built in 1956, but was retired in 1973 and then scrapped in Taiwan. It also served the same route and had passengers.
So the question is, which one was this bell from? The Chrome process itself was perfected in 1900 so that doesn’t give much of a clue – both vessels could have used it. The bell is of an earlier thickness but is also lighter than I would expect so it’s an unusual alloy of brass.
So I am hoping that some of the unusual features of the bell might trip somebody’s memory as to when that type of bell was produced and therefore figure out which ship by process of elimination.
So how about it? Any ideas?
April 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm #16118pillhobblerParticipant
I found this when searching about the Camito because I have a interest in shipping and the fact that my grandfather was on board the Camito when she was torpedoed by u97.
This was the first Camito and my grandfather has now passed on so he wont be much help in identifying the bell but my uncle and various other men from the village i’m from were on the second Camito so when I see him next I will ask him.
My father and both his brothers all went to sea and it was only when looking in their discharge books I noticed that my uncle was on the second Camito so you never know his memory might be good enough to remember the bell.
I would think you have the one from the second Camito as the first Camito rest at the bottom of the Atlantic as you know.
Can I please ask how you acquired the bell and where in the world?
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