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Belgammel (FitzWilliam) Ram

Final Report - International Journal of Nautical Archaeology

ijna12001.pdf - - - ijna12001.rar

Bronze Ram Bronze Ram from a Greek Galley, found by the diving club
Courtesy Albert Webb

Hi Don,
I was at El A and Tobruk 1962-64 as a fireman and 69-70 as safety equipment when Kadafi asked us to leave.
Mick Lally was a fireman at that time and was with the sub-aqua club. He found the ram. Your tours may have overlapped.
I have been with the club to the waddi’s as surface cover and had some enjoyable times.

Yes I live looking out over Moreton Bay at a place called Wynnum near Brisbane Australia. Been out here 33 years and the best move we ever made.
Beautiful one day and perfect the next as the saying goes, but it is true.
Look forward to hearing from you again.
Thank you.

Best Regards,

I belonged to the Sub-Aqua Club in 1961, it was affiliated to the British Sub-Aqua Club then and I still have my log book. I did not have the luxury of a wet suit, just shorts and a jumper to stop the straps chafing and of course lead belt, flippers and harpoon gun.
I remember we had two cylinders and a cousteau demand valve. I then moved to the Bombing Range and lost touch. [Don]

That ram was raised from the deep in a wadi by the diving club. It was from the bow of a galley back from who knows when. I believe it should have been given to a museum out there.

I wish I had a memory for names of my mates of so long ago, but if you can post the photos I believe you will receive some response.
If you look closely at the market photo, you will see the crowd who are gathered to hear a speech given by Kadafi. Our Gaffir walked away. He told us that Kadafi was stirring up violence against the English and he wanted no part of it. So then all our vehicles running to town had to have protection over the windows against thrown stones.
Other than graffiti, there was no trouble against us and it was always safe to walk anywhere. I did not want to leave Tobruk, I happily lived the simple life as long as I had the sea close by.

On the morning of the coup, I was out at sea in my sailing boat and on sailing past airman's beach, could not understand why it was deserted so late in the morning. When I arrived back at the sailing club I was told by the marine craft section of the curfew that was on and that I was to go home and stay there. Let me know if you need any more info, as long as it is not names.

All the best.

Dear Webmaster,
I just came across the page of Albert Webb on BARDIA/BARDIYA and would like to get in touch with him regarding the present whereabouts of the Bronze Ram. Could you help please?
Jean-Pierre MISSON

Hello Don,
By all means, I will be glad to give the gent all the info I can.
Nice to have new contacts.

Dear Don,
Thank you so much for being the "Link" with Albert Webb.
I enjoy reading the messages and watching the pictures on your site.
Best regards

[To Albert Webb]

Bingo , Contact made !
Well this Internet is really a wonderful toy !!!
The story of the Ram is somewhat mysterious and two out of the three main actors having passed away we might never know the REAL story : WHO TOUCHED IT , FIRST ??? (as this is the criteria for being declared the "Discoverer" of the object) .

I guess it makes the saga all the more interesting . I will later tell you what Derek told me . The first time I saw the Ram was in HIS house in DERNA , in early 1964 (Picture 2) .
It will be nice to continue exchangeing our memories before they fade out !
Best regards from Brussels .

Hello Don,
Thank you for passing on my address to Jeane-Pierre, He sent me a very interesting letter with some photos.
Seems they are going to return the RAM to its rightful owners, the Libyan Museum, I am pleased and relieved at that, as I always felt a sense of guilt sending it to young Lally (now deceased sadly) in the UK.
He told me he had an American buyer for it who was going to pay 600 pounds. I always believed the RAM was priceless. I did not want to do it but felt compelled because I said I would. It was a lot of work, as I had to find materials to knock up a very strong box.
I believe it got through because authorities did not know what they were handling even though I declared it as a bronze RAM.

Does this go to the group Don? I have no problem with it as it would be interesting to anyone involved in the finding of it originally.
I always have a strong feeling of nostalgia reading the group letters and to be sure, if I did not live so far away I would have taken a few trips back to Tobruk.
Looking at it from Google Earth it has changed and expanded a lot.
Can you let me know the group email address please Don? Like yours, I have individual addresses but I don't know if they automatically are posted on the group notice board.
I have a couple of amusing stories to tell of section pets.

All the best.




Permission to post these messages

Dear Mr Webb (Albert OK ?)
I only reached the website yesterday, found your page...and the picture of the Ram.
In the 60's I was in El Beida, working with the P&T as a microwave engineer and my colleague in Derna was Derek Schofield.He was a member of the Tobruk/El Adem Subaqua Club . I used to drive to Derna and give my cylinders to Derek as he was going to Tobruk quite regularly and would refill our bottles.
We explored a few shipwrecks in Apollonia and the German plane in the lee of the island in the gulf of Bomba between Derna and Tobruk. When he found the Ram and got it out of the water with the help of Mick Lally and Ken Oliver I was not with them as this took place near Tobruk (Wadi Belgamel).
After his stay in Libya Derek went to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as an Instructor for British Aerospace.We kept in contact until he passed away in July 2004 (brain tumor).
I visited him a few times in Exeter where he had settled.I saw the Ram at his place as he had taken it back from the Fitzwilliam Museum where it had been on loan for many years.

In his Will, Derek left the Ram to the last remaining person who helped him salvage it : Ken Oliver (as Mick Lally passed away many years ago in an accident while diving on an oil rig in the North Sea). Ken Oliver decided it was time to return the artifact to Libya and handed it to Professor Nicholas Flemming an Archaeologist/Diver who had been exploring the underwater remains of Apollonia,back in the late 50's and who is now at the University of Southampton.The Ram is said to be undergoing a final analysis and possibly a treatment against further oxidation before being returned to Libya probably through the "Society for Libyan Studies" (London).

This is all for a first mail and is only meant to back up your viewpoint in your Page (Ram ending up in a local Museum).
I will prepare some pictures of the Ram for my next mail to you. From your address I see you are now in Australia ?
I am Belgian,70,living in Brussels. My father served in the British army and stayed in Libya after the war and until ...1969.

I am very grateful to Donald Simmonds for acting as a Link between us two.

Best regards.
Jean-Pierre Misson

Hello Don,
Thank you for your letter, you made my day.
I wondered how I was going to be in touch with anyone again as my hard drive had gone bust and I lost everything that was not saved on a back up disc.
So your letter has put me in touch.
Yes of course you can put it on the site. [Jean-Pierre letter] I am a little disappointed that there is no mention anywhere as to how the RAM ended up in the UK.
At the time it was in my possession it was a serious toss up as to whether I hung on to it or most likely handed it over to the Libyan museum as it was quite a hassle to make the strong box it required for shipping. Mick was a bit laid back and was no help, more interested in being tour ex.

I remember Ken Oliver and very likely I saw you as well, being stationed at the garrison I spent a lot of time at the yacht club and met most of the fellows in the diving club, even went on a diving excursion with them once as top cover to Wadi Belgamel when we were all washed along and off a rocky ledge by a giant wave and myself and a young lady suffered bad grazing. I did not visit sick quarters on returning and developed a little coral poisoning which kept breaking out on occasions for years after.
Nice hearing from you.

Dear Don,
I have just discovered your website, and can give you an update on the bronze ram.
I was teaching in Tobruk from 1963 to 1967, and was one of the group that found and recovered the ram, along with Mick Lally and Derek Schofield. Another teacher named Sky Yule was also present when we recovered it.

When it was returned to the UK, Derek and I as co-owners did not want it to be sold and we arranged for it to be displayed in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, where it was known as the Fitzwilliam Ram.

Mick was killed in a North Sea diving accident in 1972, and Derek died in 2004.
I later heard that a lovely museum had been built in Tripoli, and decided that the ram should be returned to Libya. It was arranged through Paul Bennett of the Society for Libyan Studies. The ram was handed over together with other Antiquities at a ceremony in Tripoli last month [June 2010], and is now known as The Belgammel Ram.
The attached photos show the recovery with Derek on the left, myself and Mick. The second shows Sky, and the others are at the hand- over ceremony. Please feel free to pass the information on.
Does anyone have news of Sky Yule? She married Captain Peter Lenthal of the Signals.

Ken Oliver.

[Update 2013]

Dear Don,
The saga of the Belgammel Ram has finally concluded, and a full report is now published in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, volume 42, No. 1. It might be available on line, I haven't checked, but it is a very interesting journal. I am forwarding you the pdf of our submission and you are welcome to pass it on to any who might be interested. There is still a possibility of an expedition to survey the site.
Ken Oliver.

Hello Ken
Here is a link.
Regards, Don


Many thanks Don, quick work!
I confirm that you may post the pdf and email on your site.
I am quite happy for any ex-Eladamites to contact me.
Regards. Ken.

All Pictures Courtesy Ken Oliver