Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

HMS Hood

There have been three HMS Hoods, named after members of the Hood family. This family produced several notable Royal Navy officers in the 18th and 19th century.

The first HMS Hood, 80 was an Edgar class warship commissioned in 1859. She was named after Admiral Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood of Whitley. Constructed of wood and sail-powered, she later had a steam engine fitted. She was decomissioned in 1888.

The second HMS Hood was a Royal Sovereign class battleship built at Chatham, England and commissioned in 1891. She was named after the Admiral Sir Arthur Hood, Viscount Hood's eldest son. In its day, the Royal Sovereign class were the largest warships ever built. She was mostly based in home waters although there was a short period in the Mediterranean fleet. The low freeboard meant that it was rather wet in rough weather.

She was scuttled in 1914 in Portland Harbour to block a potential access route for U-boats. The ship is a popular and easily accessible dive for local scuba divers. She is at a depth of 4-18 metres (depending upon the tide) and keel-upwards - a common position for sunk battleships because the weight of the turrets tends to turn them over as they sink.

General Characteristics

Laid down:September 1916
Commissioned:May 15, 1920
Fate:sunk on May 24, 1941
General Characteristics
Displacement:42,100 tons
Length:860 feet 7 inches (262.3 metres) overall
Beam:104 feet 2 inches (31.7 metres)
Draught:29 feet 5 inches (8.9 metres) light; 33 feet 1 inch
(10.1 metres) deep
Speed:31 knots
Propulsion: Oil fired steam turbines, 145,000 s.h.p. total, 4 screws
Armament:Eight 15 inch (38.1 cm) guns in four turrets; Twelve 5.5 inch (13.97 cm) anti-aircraft guns (removed by May 1940); Seven twin 4 inch (10.2 cm) guns, Four 21 inch torpedo tubes (two removed in 1937)
Complement:1421 officers and men
Armour: Belt - 12 inch (30.5 cm) max, 15 inch (38.1 cm) gun house face
Motto: Ventis Secundis - Latin "With the Winds Favourable"

The third and most recent HMS Hood was a battlecruiser. Based on a 1915 design, four ships of this class were ordered in mid-1916 under the Emergency War Programme.

Construction of Hood began at Clydebank, Glasgow, Scotland in September 1916. Following the Battle of Jutland 5000 tons of extra armour and bracing was added. The four ships were Anson, Hood, Howe, and Rodney. Construction on Anson, Howe, and Rodney was stopped in March, 1917. Hood was launched on August 22, 1918 and commissioned following first of class trials on May 15, 1920 under Captain Wilfred Tomkinson. She had cost 6 million.

In the inter-war years she was the largest warship in the World at a time when the British public felt a close affinity with the Royal Navy. Her name and general characteristics were familiar to most of the public, and she was popularly known as the Mighty Hood. Because of her fame, she spent a great deal of time on cruises and "flying the flag" visits to other countries. In particular she took part in a World-wide cruise between November 1923 and September 1924 in company with HMS Repulse and several smaller ships. This was known as the Cruise of the Special Service Squadron and it was estimated that 750 000 people visited Hood during it.

She was given a major refit in 1930 and was due to be modernised in 1941 to bring her up to a standard similar to other modernised WW1 era capital ships. The outbreak of war made it impossible to remove her from frontline service, and so she never recieved the scheduled update.

During the Battle of Denmark Strait on 24 May 1941, she was hit by a shell fired by the Bismarck which caused the catastrophic explosion of her aft magazines: of the 1,415 crew only three survived. The dramatic loss of such a well-known symbol of British naval power had a great effect on many people, some later remembered the news as the most shocking of World War II.

The wreck of Hood was discovered in 3000 metres of water in July 2001.

External link