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 eight bells 
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Midshipman

Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:36 pm
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Location: virginia beach, viginia
Post eight bells
i have always thought that the only time one would hear eight bells sounded would be at 12, 4 & 8. i was informed that eight bells was also struck at the end of the 1st. dog watch 6pm. has anyone else heard of this being done?


Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:15 pm
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Post Re: eight bells
Capt. Silver wrote:
i have always thought that the only time one would hear eight bells sounded would be at 12, 4 & 8. i was informed that eight bells was also struck at the end of the 1st. dog watch 6pm. has anyone else heard of this being done?

I could not find any instance of eight bells being struck at 18:00 (6 PM). Of course, others may be more successful. Would you share your source?

I did find that the Dog Watch changed after the Nore Mutiny (1797) since five bells (at 18:30) was the mutiny signal. I don't remember reading about this change in the bells before.

According to the British Horological Institute, the Dog Watch bells were the same as all the other five watches prior to 1797. Of course, the ship's crew treated the Dog Watch as if it were two 2 hour watches. After 1797, the bells were modified but 8 bells continued to be rung only at 20:00 (8 PM) during the Dog Watches. According to the chart, 8 bells were only rung at 4 AM, 8 AM, noon, 4 PM, 8 PM, and midnight.

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Don Campbell
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Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:44 am
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Midshipman

Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:36 pm
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Location: virginia beach, viginia
Post Re: eight bells
the ref. is suppose to be "the generall historie of virginia, new england &the summer isle, together with the true travels, adventures and observations and a sea grammer- vol 2" john smith. i don't see it (8 bell at 1800) i think that someone has miss interpeted the text. but another question comes to mind i always assumed that the (noon to 1600 afternoon) watch would stay on watch till 1800 end of the 1st dog watch, where the 1st. watch(2000 to midnight) would pick up the watch at 1800 the 2nd dog watch. your thoughts?


Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:54 pm
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Post Re: eight bells
Capt. Silver wrote:
another question comes to mind i always assumed that the (noon to 1600 afternoon) watch would stay on watch till 1800 end of the 1st dog watch, where the 1st. watch(2000 to midnight) would pick up the watch at 1800 the 2nd dog watch. your thoughts?
I do not believe that any watch worked six hours in a row as in your question.

For example: assuming a two watch system (larboard and starboard), the larboard watch would be on duty from 1200 to 1600, the starboard watch would take over from 1600 to 1800, the larboard would take over from 1800 to 2000, then the starboard for the next four hour period. I believe that the Dog Watches were implemented to facilitate feeding dinner to the crew.

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Don Campbell
"Whoever is strongest at sea, make him your friend."
Corcyraeans to the Athenians, 433 BC


Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:53 am
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Commander

Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 12:27 am
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Location: Australia
Post Re: eight bells
I do not think that RN ships ever struck 8 bells at 1800. The only anomalous practice I know of in respect of the dog watches is that post 1797 only 1 bell was struck at 1830 in the Last Dog instead of 5 bells.


Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:15 am
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Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:36 pm
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Location: virginia beach, viginia
Post Re: eight bells
i have discovered while researching the 8 bells at 1800 to end the 1st dog watch that john smith states nothing about ringing a bell to report the upseting of the sand glass as time passes. i read sir w. monson's 1569-1643 "naval tracts" and he also has nothing to say about the bell system of reporting time. he refers to the trumpeter as being the one to call the men to watch. has anyone read a reference as to when did the custom of ringing the bell to sound the time started?


Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:56 pm
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