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Eternal Father

Dear Sally

The "Navy Hymn" or to Brits Melita was written by William Whiting B: 1
November 1825, Kensington, London, D.:3 May  1878, Winchester, Hampshire,

Whiting was educated in Chapham and at King Alfred’s College, Winchester. He
became master of Winchester College Choristers’ School in 1842  for 36
years. Whiting  wrote the lyrics as a poem for a student about to sail for

John Bacchus Dykes, who wrote the music  named the tune after a locale
associated with a Biblical shipwreck. Melita was the island the Apostle Paul
reached after his ship went down (Acts 28:1).  The modern name for Melita is

In America, “Eternal Father” is often called the “Navy Hymn,” because it is
sung at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. It is also sung on ships
of the  Royal Navy and has been translated into French (Le Père éternel). It
was the favourite hymn of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and was sung at
his funeral in Hyde Park, New York, in April 1945. The Navy Band played it
in 1963 as U.S. President John Kennedy’s body was carried up the steps of
the U.S. Capitol to lie in state. Roosevelt served as Secretary of the Navy
Roosevelt often signed his letters to Churchill "Former Navel Person"
Kennedy was a Navel officer in World War II. It is moving I admit. No wonder
your eyes tear.

I wonder, having no musical ability if it fit for the pipes.


. The verses are, I believe enclosed also are the Alternate verses speaking
of air forces the Whiting had no idea about

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy Word,
Who walked on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our family shield in danger’s hour;
>From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect us wheresoever we go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Alternate verses:written in 1915 by Mary C. D. Hamilton , an American

Lord, guard and guide the men who fly
Though the great spaces in the sky.
Be with them always in the air,
In darkening storms or sunlight fair;
Oh, hear us when we lift our prayer,
For those in peril in the air!

Aloft in solitudes of space,
Uphold them with Thy saving grace.
Thou Who supports with tender might
The balanced birds in all their flight.
Lord, if the tempered winds be near,
That, having Thee, they know now fear.

other alternate verses are
Author unknown

God, Who dost still the restless foam,
Protect the ones we love at home.
Provide that they should always be
By Thine own grace both safe and free.
O Father, hear us when we pray
For those we love so far away.

Hugh Taylor (date unknown)

O Father, King of earth and sea,
We dedicate this ship to Thee.
In faith we send her on her way;
In faith to Thee we humbly pray:
O hear from heaven our sailor’s cry
And watch and guard her from on high!

Author/date unknown

And when at length her course is run,
Her work for home and country done,
Of all the souls that in her sailed
Let not one life in Thee have failed;
But hear from heaven our sailor’s cry,
And grant eternal life on high!

Author/date unknown

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