King Neptune Certificate

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Item Details

Title

King Neptune Certificate

Subject

Certificates

Description

"King Neptune's certificate of crossing the equator - Sgt. Frederick H. Hill Aboard the USS General John Pope en route to New Guinea from New Port News Virginia" From "Darkroom Soldier": "Loyal Order of the Deep. The ceremony of 'crossing the line' is a naval initiation rite commemorating a sailor's first crossing of the equator. Dating back to the 18th century, originally the tradition was created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long, rough times at sea. Sailors who have already crossed the equator are nicknamed (Trusty) Shellbacks, often referred to as Sons of Neptune
those who have not are nicknamed (Slimy) Pollywogs. 'King Neptune and his court' (usually including his first assistant Davy Jones and her Highness Amphitrite and often various dignitaries, who are all represented by the highest ranking seamen) officiate at the ceremony, during which the Pollywogs undergo a number of increasingly disgusting ordeals: wearing clothing inside out and backwards
crawling on hands and knees on nonskid-coated decks
being swatted with short lengths of firehose
being locked in stocks and pillories and pelted with leftovers from the galley
crawling through large tubs of garbage
kissing King Neptune's belly coated with axle grease. Once the ceremony is complete, a Pollywog receives a certificate like Sgt Hill's declaring his new status. As late as World War II, the rite was still rather rough, and beatings or other forms of hazing were often still common, usually with wet firehoses. Several World War II Navy deck logs speak of untold sailors visiting sickbay after crossing the line." ("Darkroom Soldier" caption authored by George Venn)

Creator

Anonymous

Date

10/13/1943

Contributor

Helten, Paula (curator)

Rights

(c)Eastern Oregon University. This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/). Acknowledgement of Eastern Oregon University as a source is required. For print quality images, prints, or high resolution tiff files, or commercial uses please contact the Library Director at Eastern Oregon University.

Identifier

2010.1.061

Spatial Coverage

Enroute/Equator Crossing

Provenance

From the Collection of Fred Hill