Crossing the Line Ceremony occurs when a ship crosses the Equator. Every member who crosses the Equator for the first time undergoes an initiation process. It is practised in many navies around the world, including the Royal Navy. Originally the tradition was created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long, rough periods at sea. It is a highlight of the ship’s tour and the whole ship’s company turns out to see the Ceremony.
This Gallery shows some of the certificates awarded for completing the induction and more photos of the ceremony itself. Learn more about the ceremony in “Crossing the Line across the Century” in the Navy’s People Section.
Crossing the Line Certificate of Frank Miles
The crossing the line certificate of Frank Miles, received whilst onboard the submarine HMS Regent on 20th February 1939. Frank William Miles, born in 1910, enrolled at HMS Ganges as a boy seaman aged 15. He joined the submarine service in 1932 and eventually became a submarine Coxswain, first serving in this position in 1937 onboard HMS H31. The following year, he was Coxswain of HMS Regent in Hong Kong and was still serving in her when she went to the Mediterranean in 1940 after the start of the war against Italy. From 1941-42, he was Coxswain of HMS Tribune, first at Blyth in Northumberland, and later in the Mediterranean. Miles was awarded the Distinguised Service Medal (DSM) for eight patrols in Regent from October 1940 to August 1941. After the war, Miles was the personal Coxswain to the Admiral Submarines at HMS Dolphin in Gosport, before leaving the Navy in 1950. He died in 1997. Crossing the Line is an initiation ceremony to commemorate a sailor's first crossing of the equator. It is practised in many navies around the world, including the Royal Navy. Originally the tradition was created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long, rough periods at sea.