Navy Hymn – CPO Verse
Trivia: What is the Navy hymn and what’s the origin of the song?!
ANSWER: The Navy hymn is “Eternal Father, Strong to Save.”
The song known to US Navy Sailors as the “Navy Hymn,” is a musical benediction that long has had a special appeal to seafaring Sailors, particularly in the American Navy and the Royal Navies of the British Commonwealth and which, in more recent years, has become a part of French Naval tradition.
The original words were written as a hymn by a schoolmaster and clergyman of the Church of England, the Rev. William Whiting.
Rev. Whiting resided on the English coast near the sea and had once survived a furious storm in the Mediterranean. His experiences inspired him to pen the ode, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save.”
In the following year, 1861, the words were adapted to music by another English clergyman, the Rev. John B. Dykes, who had originally written the music as “Melita” (ancient name for the Mediterranean island of Malta).
Rev. Dykes’ name may be recognized as that of the composer given credit for the music to many other well-known hymns, including “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “Lead, Kindly Light,” “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” and “Nearer, My God to Thee.”
In the US, in 1879 the late Rear Adm. Charles Jackson Train, an 1865 graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis was a Lieutenant Commander stationed at the Academy in charge of the Midshipman Choir.
In that year, Lcdr. Train inaugurated the present practice of concluding each Sunday’s Divine Services at the Academy with the singing of the first verse of this hymn.
The hymn, titled “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” is found in most Hymnals.
The words have been changed several times since the original hymn by Rev. Whiting was first published in 1860.
The original first verse is below. Also a Verse for Navy Chief was also added in recent years:
ORIGINAL FIRST VERSE:
Eternal Father, Strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid’st the mighty Ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee,
for those in peril on the sea,
Eternal Father, bless Thy Chiefs
Who guide and lead with firm beliefs
In Courage, Commitment and Honor bright.
Strengthen with Thy holy might
Those who wear the anchors of the Chief.
O, guard them, Lord, where’re they go.