For whom the bell tolls at Royal Dornoch


The Type 23 Royal Navy Frigate HMS Sutherland was named after the Highland County and throughout its career has enjoyed a special relationship with the shire and its people, including historic Royal Dornoch Golf Club.

Crew members have made several visits to Royal Dornoch in recent years to enjoy a game of golf as well as the friendship of the members.

The Club has been very supportive of this special relationship so when they required a bell for the bar in the clubhouse there was only one place to go.

HMS Sutherland last visited her namesake county in March this year, when the ship was open to visitors. 

Neil Hampton, the General Manager at the Golf Club, was in discussion with  WO2ET(ME) Chris Jones, the propulsion manager on the vessel and the organiser of the most recent golf excursion to the Club in November last year, to enquire whether they had a bell going spare.  

Neil received a call from ETWE Mike Brown, one of the engineering team on the ship, to say that they had “fashioned” something that they thought was suitable and could they come up to present it to the Club now that the ship was in Plymouth for a few weeks.

It was with great curiosity that Neil and Club Captain Hamish Macrae met with Mike and Leading Chef Andrew “Dickie” Davis to receive the bell... a 4.5” shell casing that had been beautifully turned on a lathe and then suitably engraved with the ships crest and a message to the Club. A fine piece of rope work was the perfect finishing to hang on the clapper that is a Royal Dornoch golf ball.

Commander Roger Readwin who is just about the leave the ship after two successful years in charge commented “We are delighted that we could help the Club. They always extend a warm welcome to us.

"My team all feel that there is a special bond with both the Club and the town and they desperately wanted to show how much this meant to them.”