William Hall keel-laying ceremony uses 2006 silver dollar

A 2006 Canadian silver dollar commemorating the Victoria Cross completed a Feb. 17 keel-laying ceremony for the future HMCS William Hall, the fourth Arctic and offshore patrol vessel (AOPS) being built for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).

Named after Petty Officer William Hall for his actions at the 1857 Relief of Lucknow during the Indian Rebellion, the vessel has now entered full production as marked by the centuries-old ceremony.

“The keel laying is a naval tradition that, in modern times, involves welding a coin into a large piece of the ship’s frame,” reads a report by the Trident, the official Maritime Forces Atlantic newspaper since 1966. “The gesture is meant to provide good luck and safety to the ship and those who will eventually crew it.”

Another 2006 Victoria Cross coin will also be presented to the ship’s commanding officer for display on board throughout William Hall’s service.

The RCN received the first AOPS, the HMCS Harry DeWolf, last July, and the final vessel is due for delivery by 2024. A new vessel class, it was designed specifically for Canada’s northernmost waters, “better equipping the RCN to assert Canada’s Arctic sovereignty for years to come,” according to the Trident report.

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