BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Mayor Shari Decter Hirst and Lt.-Cmdr. Michael Sorsdahl, former commanding officer of the HMCS Brandon, take a closer look at the inscribed names of children christened on the ship after the handing-over of the ship’s bell at city hall on Friday.
The bell from coastal defence vessel HMCS Brandon will be in the Wheat City for safekeeping while the ship undergoes long-term, routine maintenance.
Lt.-Cmdr. Michael Sorsdahl, former HMCS Brandon commanding officer, was in the ship’s namesake city Friday to hand over the bell to Mayor Shari Decter Hirst.
"We’re delighted, first of all for our long-standing partnership and the honour and the recognition ... of having a ship named after our city," Decter Hirst said.
Sorsdahl took command of the HMCS Brandon in San Diego, Calif., in August. He was at the helm for four months.
"It was a very busy time," he said. "We exercised doing search and rescue, we actually participated in San Francisco Fleet Week … we carried on working with the North American security initiative that works with the Mexican navy, the American navy and ourselves."
The ship’s "godmother," Betty Coleman, attended the special ceremony Friday morning.
Coleman has been the ship’s sponsor ever since it was launched in 1998.
"It’s been great. I’ve had a marvellous time," Coleman said.
"I’ve been lucky enough, I’ve had three days and nights at sea with them, which was quite an experience."
The ship is going through a period of refit between Victoria and Vancouver. Large pieces of equipment will be taken out for maintenance.
"The ship will also be brought out of the water at one point and the whole hull will be cleaned off and re-painted, sealed and ensure that all the watertight integrity is done," Sorsdahl said.
It is expected to be out of service until October.
"Every ship gets it, every ship needs it … this is Brandon’s turn," he said.
It’s a tradition for the ship’s bell to be kept in its namesake city while maintenance is conducted.
"The bell sails with the ship wherever we go," Sorsdahl said.
"We do our morning ceremonial colours with it. It is the epitome of the representation of the ship."
Sorsdahl took over HMCS Whitehorse in December.
A new commanding officer for HMCS Brandon is expected to be named this summer.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 26, 2013