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WHAT'S NEW >Curator's choice > November 2004

Curator's choice of 'Object of the Month'.

What is it?

The Beira Bucket

The Beira Bucket is known to the many hundreds of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary servicemen involved in one of the most mundane duties the RN has ever undertaken.

In 1965 Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) made an illegal unilateral declaration of independence against the wishes of the colonial power and administrator, Great Britain. A UN resolution was passed to ostracise Rhodesia politically and weaken her economically with an oil embargo.

During the UN oil embargo of Rhodesia between 1966-1975, the RN patrolled the coast off the port of Beira in Mozambique. Beira was the port most closely associated with Rhodesia, which was itself, landlocked. Patrols lasted 4-6 weeks and the boredom was broken by sports events during handover days. An old ‘Dhoby’ bucket was offered by HMS Diamond as a trophy, to be flown proudly from the yardarm of the winning ship.

Over time the bucket became emblazoned with the crests of the ships and became known as the ‘Beira Bucket’. Another trophy the ‘Beira Bloater’ was introduced for last place! This light relief brought a welcome release from boredom for the crews of the ships involved in the Beira patrols.

The Beira Bucket was presented to the Royal Naval Museum in 1975 by Commander in Chief Fleet and was allocated the Accession Number 1975/43.

The choice of: Richard Noyce, Curator of Artefacts

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