Up to, and during, the second big one [ww2] any one crossing the IDL became a knight.
There was no induction [hazing]—just recognition for having had a great deal of ‘blue seas under’.
Like so many of the old traditions it was lost off the fantail a long time ago.
The shellback and knight stuff waned during the war-----with thousands of people entering distant waters on hundreds of ships the practice faded.
The shellback ritual on merchantmen and travel-liners never reached the idiotic proportions achieved on the navy ships of the line-----but then we’ve pretty much eliminated fraternity hazing also.
All for the better I might add.
So-----with a stiff breeze and full sheets I’m homeward bound