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‘Good karma’: Stolen heirloom ship’s bell returned to Island family

Mike Rose thought he would never see his father’s treasured heirloom again after it was taken
After being stolen in April, Mike Rose (left) got a call Sept. 7 that his father Clyde’s (right) family heirloom ship’s bell from his time in the navy had been found and returned to the family. (Courtesy of Mike Rose)

A West Shore family has been reunited with a family heirloom five months after it was stolen from their Colwood property.

On April 17, Mike Rose was in the process of cleaning out his father Clyde’s house after he moved into a care home when he discovered the 50-pound brass ship’s bell his father had proudly displayed in his yard for decades had been taken.

A report to the police left him feeling like the family heirloom would never be seen again – likely sold as scrap metal by whoever took it – but on Sept. 7, he got the call he never expected to receive.

“A young lady phoned us up and said, ‘I think I have something of yours,’ so we met her in Esquimalt and she gave it back to us,” said Rose. “We didn’t ask her anything about how she got it. I gave her a reward and we are just happy as can be to get it back.”

Rose said his father was even happier when he got the news, joking he could “die happy now” knowing it was back in the family’s care.

He said the woman who returned the bell told him she had planned to gift it to someone, and while researching exactly what it was, she came across media stories from the spring about its theft.

While the exact dates of when it came into the family are not clear, Rose said the bell is the ship’s bell from the submarine HMCS Grilse, which was loaned to the Royal Canadian Navy by the U.S. Navy during Clyde’s navy service.

He served on the boat and was gifted the bell sometime in the 1970s when the boat was decommissioned to be sunk as a target by the U.S.

Rose said the bell was returned in good condition, though the rope attached to it was not returned with the bell, and will have to be replaced.

For now, the bell is resting safe, but plans for its future display are being figured out between Rose and his siblings.

“I think we’ve used up our good karma for a long time with the bell’s safe and unexpected return,” joked Rose.

READ MORE: Colwood family seeks return of stolen family bell

Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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