To many of the survivors of Flying Tiger 923, the name of the Swiss ship, Celerina, means “rescue, safety. survival and life.” But what is the true meaning of the name?
Immediately after the ditching in late September 1962, several news reporters made reference to the name Celerina as meaning “The Swift One.”
We attempted to find the origins of the name by translating name from Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German. None resulted in a meaning other than “Celerina.” In other words, Celerina in those languages simply means Celerina” (a name).
So, how did the ship get the name and does it have a meaning?
Our friend Pierre-Andre Reymond, who was a 19-year-old crew member of the Celerina at the time of the rescue, tells us how the name came about:
The shipping company, Suisse-Atlantique, was based in the Swiss state of Graubunden. That is the part of Switzerland where the “4th” Swiss language is used, the Retorromano or Romansh. This language is actually Latin. In use today it sounds a lot like Italian or Spanish. The three official languages of Switzerland, each dominating their own geographic region, are French, German and Italian.
Reymond said that the company chose the names of the villages of the State of Graubunden for their ships. Among them are Corviglia, Sils, Silvaplana, Bregaglia, and Celerina. He sailed on all of these ships during his tenure as a deck hand.
Our rescue ship was given its name after the village of Celerina ( 46° 31′ N / 009° 52′ E, altitude 1714 meters or 5623 feet) in the mountains close to Italy and neighboring the better known village of St Moritz. You can see what the village of Celerina looks like by clicking these links:
Wikipedia Descriptions and Details:
The major language of the Graubunden region today is German, however many people of the region still speak the Romansh language. Approximately 1,500 people live in the village of Celerina, making their living largely through the tourism industry.
Reymond also noted that there is a flower of the “Acanthaceae” family named Celerina. There is no association there with the ship.
Celerina, he said, is a feminine name of Latin origin and the meaning in that language is “the speedy one” or “the quickest.” From that came the name dubbed by several journalists as “The Swift One.”
The Celerina, The Swift One, is a very nice name.
[Note: Pierre-Andre Reymond