H.M.S. Hood’s Bell Recovered From the Seabed

August 2015

IWM HU 50190

IWM HU 50190

On the 24th of May 1941 H.M.S. Hood, the Royal Navy’s largest warship, in company with the brand new battleship H.M.S. Prince of Wales, intercepted the powerful German battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen in the Denmark Strait, beginning one of the most famous naval battles of the Second World War. At 0600, just eight minutes into the battle, Hood tragically exploded and sank. There were only three survivors from her crew of 1,418.


The wreck of Hood was finally discovered and surveyed in 2001 by top shipwerck hunter David Mearns, of Blue Water Recoveries, at a depth of over 2,800 metres.


In 2012 a second expedition, lead by Mearns, with the support of the H.M.S. Hood Association, and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, whose yacht Octopus was the base for the operation, unsuccessfully attempted to recover Hood’s bell for display in the National Museum of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth.


Mearns and Allen recently returned to the wrecksite, aboard Octopus, with Allen announcing the successful recovery of the bell on Twitter



HMS Hood bell: Credit Paul G Allen

HMS Hood bell: Credit Paul G Allen

The bell is reported to be in good condition, but will require a year long preservation effort due to its long immersion in seawater. Director General of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Professor Dominic Tweddle has said “it will be an honour and priviledge to display the bell from H.M.S. Hood.


For more on the operation to recover H.M.S. Hood’s bell, see Paul Allen’s website

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