Of Shellbacks and Pollywogs
the U.S. Navy, when a ship crosses the equator a time-honored ceremony
takes place. This is a Navy tradition and an event no sailor ever forgets.
With few exceptions, those who have been inducted into the "mysteries of
by Neptunus Rex and his Royal court, count the experience as a highlight
of their naval career. Members of Neptunus Rex's party usually include
Davy Jones, Neptune's first assistant, Her Highness Amphitrite, the Royal
Scribe, the Royal Doctor, the Royal Dentist, the Royal Baby, the Royal
Navigator, the Royal Chaplain, the Royal Judge, Attorneys, Barbers and
other names that suit the party." Excerpted from an article by
John Muldowney USS J. R. Y. Blakely,
DE 140... For the full article visit
The men of the George E. Davis had their own
little wangdoodle upon the high seas...and nobody was excepted...not even
the pollywog captain. There were enough Shellbacks available on the George
E. to assist Neptune and his ministers, to induct the rest of the crew
into the "mysteries." It boded well for the Mighty George E. as good luck
followed her ever afterwards...
||The mission or our website is not to present
art, as the pictures below purely reflect. Rather, it is to do what is
possible to show the life and times of the crews of the DE-357. The
pictures are old and fading, some beyond repair of even the most talented
artist. Even the most weary of the lot, though, is precious, as it reminds
of us of a time and sacrifice that must not be forgotten.
Find to the left Good King Neptune, God Of The Deep.
||Good King Neptune's helpers aboard the
George E. Davis, DE-357, Shellbacks getting ready to administer the
mystical rites to the pollywogs. If you know names, let us know so we can
||Some pollywogs were reluctant..
||A pollywog is aided in receiving his ritual
||A gleeful Shellback administers the
delightful fluid. It was said that the liquid was a concoction of the
worst things aboard ship.
||It looks like a Jacuzzi, but in reality it
is the dunking pool used for the ritual bathing ceremony. Every bad and
awful thing imaginable from kitchen wastes to...well, not that......But
every other bad thing was put into this container and then the men were
tossed over into it...backwards. Although only the Shellbacks were
authorized by Neptune to run the ceremony, everyone, regardless of status,
pitched in to help make the devices and donate the noxious substances that
made it possible. Regardless of their good service to good King Neptune,
each pollywog in their turn took the dive.
||Another prepares to address the mysteries.
||A shipmate, EM/2c Morrison reluctantly applies
voltage to pollywog, Stanley Cohen, sitting in the electric chair.
Morrison himself was a pollywog. Perhaps he was a good pollywog, and thus
was allowed to actively participate to administer the Shellback Training
||Another view. Another participant.
||This has always been my favorite picture.
Even as a very small child, I loved this picture. I still like it a lot. I
hope you do too.
Click here to go to the Neptune Pictures