Family ecstatic after stolen sub bell returned

Michael Rose and Clyde Rose display the returned bell. Photo provided

Michael Rose and Clyde Rose display the returned bell. Photo provided

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer

Happiness rings loud and clear for a Westshore family after a stranger returns a cherished family heirloom.

A 22 kg brass bell, stolen from the property of an 87-year-old Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) veteran, has been returned.

The bell once resided in the former Balao-class submarine HMCS Grilse, which served Canada’s Navy during the Cold War. It belonged to Clyde Rose, 87, who served 43 years in the RCN before it was stolen off his property in April.

Mike Rose, Clyde’s son, couldn’t believe the bell was returned safely after being gone for nearly five months.

“We wouldn’t have the bell back without the Lookout publishing an article about it,” Rose said.

After months of searching and almost giving up on hope for its return, Rose received a call from a stranger named Alex on Sept. 7.

The stranger didn’t provide any details of how she acquired the bell. She originally intended on gifting it to a friend, but after discovering a news article she contacted the Rose family to see it safely returned.

“She said, ‘I think I have something that belongs to you’,” Mike said.

They met up in Esquimalt. She pulled it out of her knapsack, and it was the missing bell.

“Dad truly cherishes that bell, has it professionally polished and cared for and even goes to the trouble of replacing the bell’s knotted rope,” Rose said.

Clyde Rose received the bell as a present following the vessel’s decommissioning in 1969. A bell from a decommissioned ship is a prized item often gifted to those making substantial contributions during its operations. During his navy days, Clyde worked as a mechanical engineer and retired as Chief Engine Room Artificer (ERA) in the ship’s engine rooms.

“I can die a happy man now that the bell is back in the family and now resides with my son,” Clyde said after getting the news.

Mike was cleaning out the Rose family home in Colwood when he realized the bell disappeared from its wooden post at the top of the driveway sometime between Apr. 16 and 17.

The family still doesn’t know who took the bell or why, but is happy it was returned and paid the reward.

Clyde Rose suffered a broken hip after a fall on Aug. 1 and has since been recovering in a hospital. Rose says that Clyde’s morale boost upon hearing the news was priceless.

“We went to the hospital and showed him the bell while celebrating its return with him,” said Mike. “He immediately lit up after seeing it had been returned and was still in great condition.”

Navy veteran Clyde Rose stands in the backyard of his Langford home. Photo: Michael Rose

Navy veteran Clyde Rose proudly displayed his bell from HMCS Grilse at the front of his family’s home in Langford for decades. The bell was stolen from the home. Photo: Michael Rose

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