HMS Hood (1920 - 1941)

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HMS Hood, a 42,100-ton battlecruiser built at Clydebank, Scotland, was completed in March 1920. For more than two decades, she was the World's largest warship and, with her long, low hull and finely balanced silhouette, was to many the embodiment of "big-gun" era seapower. During her travels in European waters and far away, Hood actively represented Great Britain throughout her career. Her first cruise, in 1920, was to Scandanavia. The next year she went down to Gibraltar and Spain and in 1922 visited Brazil and the West Indies. After a brief call on Denmark and Norway in 1923, Hood was flagship on a eleven-month cruise around the World, accompanied by the smaller battlecruiser Repulse and a number of light cruisers. In 1925, she called on Lisbon to help commemorate Portugal's contributions to navigation and exploration.

For ten years after 1925, Hood was assigned to the Royal Navy's Home and Atlantic Fleets, operating primarily around Europe, with a visit to the West Indies in 1932. She served with the Mediterranean Fleet in 1936-39, protecting British interests during the Spanish Civil War. Back with the Home Fleet after mid-1939, Hood operated in the North Atlantic and North Sea through the first part of World War II and received minor damage in a German air attack on 26 September 1939, an event that demonstrated the relative ineffectiveness of contemporary anti-aircraft gunfire. In June and July 1940, the battlecruiser was in the Mediterranean area. She was flagship during the 3 July Mers-el-Kebir battle, the most dramatic and destructive of several incidents in which the British Navy seized, interned, destroyed or attempted to destroy the warships of their recent ally, France. These acts were undertaken on Government orders to allay fears that the French Navy might fall into German hands.

Hood spent the remainder of her service operating from Scapa Flow, covering the North Sea and Atlantic from the threat of German surface raiders. She was now elderly, overloaded, and burdened with an inadequate armoring arrangement. However, her great operational value had acted through the 1930s to prevent the Royal Navy from taking her out of service for a badly-needed modernization, and now it was too late. In May 1941, in company with the new battleship Prince of Wales, she was sent out to search for the German battleship Bismarck, which had left Norway for the Atlantic. On the morning of 24 May, the two British capital ships found the enemy to the west of Iceland. In the resulting Battle of the Denmark Strait, one or more of Bismarck's fifteen-inch shells got into Hood's after magazines. They erupted in a massive explosion. The great ship sank in moments with all but three of her large crew, an event that shocked the Royal Navy, the British nation and the entire World. HMS Hood's remains were located and photographed by a British deep sea expedition in July 2001.

Hood

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Mighty_Mech

Newbie
Just had a recent trip to Ascension Island and was very surprised to find that Hoods guns were mounted on the hill above Georgetown. Was it really Hoods guns, and if so, whats the story about how they got there?

Bit quiet on this site innit? Do the Matelows know about it yet??
 

Mighty_Mech

Newbie
Ah! but I'm on Falklands time which is 3 hrs before GMT so I aint that naughty for staying up late.

That was really interesting about the guns - it did surprise me a bit to see them on Ascension. Thanks
 

Mighty_Mech

Newbie
Ah! but I'm on Falklands time which is 3 hrs before GMT so I aint that naughty for staying up late.

That was really interesting about the guns - it did surprise me a bit to see them on Ascension. Thanks
 

PartTimePongo

War Hero
My father was taken by his father to see Hood at the Spithead review in 1937? Back in those days we had a Navy etc etc. Dad said every schoolboy in those days who wanted to join the Navy , wanted to serve in Hood , it was a ship with a real 'celebrity' status.

Actually on reflection , it's probably one of the few ships , along with Victory and Ark Royal that the general public would actually know something about.
 
My Great Uncle served on Hood and left the ship before she embarked on her final mission.

I reckon he was pretty lucky.

In the late 1960's I met the father of one of my neighbours who was one of the survivors. He told me that until he was rescued he was treading water in nothing more than pyjamas and seaboot socks!
 

Geoff_Wessex

Lantern Swinger
Many Navy Communicators that went through Ganges in the 60s will remember Lt. Ted Briggs, who ran the Signal Skool. One of "the three" - he was a signalman and I think he said he was 'lucky' because he was blown straight off the signal deck and thought he'd been in a 'bubble' that came up from the ship and pushed him away. Nice chap.
 

sooms

Newbie
Always been fascinated by Hood and her last mission. Thoroughly recommend 'Pursuit' by Ludovic Kennedy who took part on a destroyer (HMS Tartar I believe).

Thoroughly enjoyed the tv programme on a while ago on CH4 about it and the successful attempt to find the remains of Hood.

Happened to be reading the Daily Telegraph letters page a few days later and happened upon a letter from a lady in Pompey
Can't remember the exact words but was something like-

' I would like to thank channel 4 for the programme 'Hood Vs Bismark'. I was at last able to say goodbye to my father who I never knew'.

Brought a lump to my throat and just shows that for some people it's not history.
 
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