Monday, December 15, 2008

HMS Hood and the Bismarck

Postcard of the Battle Cruiser H.M.S. Hood, WW2
This was the Flagship of the Royal Navy's Atlantic Fleet
The 'Hood' was sunk by the Bismarck on 24 May 1941.
The Bismarck was sunk by British Naval forces a few days later, on 28 May 1941.
In May 1941 the German Chancellor Adolph Hitler visited his newest and strongest battleship, the Bismarck. It was the most heavily armoured ship then afloat, and mounted eight 15-inch guns. Hitler told the crew, "You are the pride of the Navy".

Before the month was out, the Bismarck would sink H.M.S. Hood (seen in the photograph above), the Flagship of the Royal Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. The Bismarck itself was lost in battle a few days later, following a concentrated attack by the British Navy, and especially aeroplanes from the Aircraft Carrier Ark Royal.

For additional information, click on 'Comments' below



3 Comments:

Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

From the viewpoint of the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill the one battle the Allies could not afford to lose to the Germans was the Battle of the Atlantic. In the early hours of 21 May 1941, Churchill and the British War Cabinet learned of two large German warships with a strong escort heading towards the North Atlantic. They were the Bismarck and the Prinz Eugen - a new 8-inch gun Battle Cruiser. One of the many steps taken to counteract this strong, new menace to the essential Atlantic convoys was to despatch the Hood, the Prince of Wales and six naval destroyers from Scapa Flow. The intention was to locate the Bismarck and engage it in battle.

In the ensuing battle, the Hood was sunk on 24 May 1941 after being hit by a salvo from the guns of the Bismarck. More than 1500 British sailors lost their lives. Only three of the crew survived - the last survivor passed away in 2008. The Bismarck would itself survive only a few days longer, being sunk after an attack by the British fleet and Swordfish aeroplanes from the Aircraft Carrier Ark Royal. The British Navy rescued about 110 German sailors, with a handful being rescued by U-Boats. Nevertheless, more than 2000 German sailors were lost when the Bismarck went down.

In 1950 Sir Winston Churchill wrote about how he heard of the news of the Hood and the Bismarck in Volume III of his work 'The Second World War' ('The Grand Alliance'). This is how Winston Churchill explains how he learnt the Hood had been sunk on 24 May 1941 (p.246):

" At about seven I was awakened to hear formidable news. The Hood, our largest and also our fastest capital ship, had blown up. Although somewhat lightly constructed, she carried eight 15-inch guns, and was one of our most cherished naval possessions. Her loss was a bitter grief, but knowing of all the ships that were converging towards the Bismarck I felt sure we should get her before long, unless she turned north and went home".

This is what Winston Churchill wrote about his statement to the House of Commons reporting the sinking of the Bismarck on 28 May 1941 (p.255):

"At 11 o'clock I had to report to the House of Commons, meeting in the Church House, both about the battle in Crete and the drama of the Bismarck. "This morning," I said, "shortly after daylight the Bismarck, virtually at a standstill, far from help, was attacked by the British pursuing battleships. I do not know what were the results of the bombardment.

It appears, however, that the Bismarck was not sunk by gunfire, and she will now be despatched by torpedo. It is thought that this is now proceeding, and it is also thought that there cannot be a lengthy delay in disposing of this vessel. Great as is our loss in the Hood, the Bismarck must be regarded as the most powerful, as she is the newest, battleship in the world."

I had just sat down when a slip of paper was handed to me which led me to rise again. I asked the indulgence of the House and said, "I have just received the news that the Bismarck is sunk." They seemed content."

Monday, 15 December, 2008  
Blogger Boabbie said...

THE hOOD MUST HAVE BEEN SOME SHIP WITH A GREAT CREW.I HAD AN ELDERLY FRIEND " EDWARD GOGGINS" WHOTOLD ME MANY TIMES BEFORE HIS DEATH IN HIS 80s THAT HE WISHED HE HAD GONE DOWN WITH HER AND ALL OF HIS MATES.
HE HAD SERVED ON HER FOR MANY YEARS
BUT WAS TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER SHIP
THE WEEK BEFORE SHE SAILED TO HER DEATH.
BOB.H.

Sunday, 21 December, 2008  
Blogger Frank mee said...

My Uncle Frank Holland went down with the Hood, he shared the name Holland with the Commander.
I remember him coming home on his last leave and telling his mother she could stop worrying, he was posted to HMS Hood the best ship in the fleet.
I had the Dinky Toy ship Hood along with quite a fleet, wish I still had them.

Monday, 05 January, 2009  

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