HMS Hood

By | June 20, 2016

The first ship to carry the name Hood was H.M.S. Lord Hood 1797-1798

She was hired by the Admiralty from her owners and commissioned on 3rd of May 1797. she was a 361 ton vessel of 14 guns. She was employed on convoy duties in the North Sea. Her captain was Commander John Larmour. No other records of her service have survived, other than that she was decommissioned and returned to her owners in December, 1798. The war with France was still ongoing at this time, but Lord Nelson’s victory of the Nile the same year meant that the Navy could reduce the number of ships it required.

The second ship to carry the name Hood was H.M.S. Hood 1858 – 1888

She was laid down on 13 August 1849. As a 2nd Rate sailing ship of 80 guns. After years of delay she was converted to steam while she was still on the stocks. Her length was increased by 40 feet making her 198 feet long with a beam of 56 feet and a displacement of 3,308 tons and now carrying 91 guns. She was launched on the 4th of May 1859 and named “Edgar” the following year she was renamed “Hood”. Due to the design changes it would appear that she little value as a fighting ship and was never commissioned, but passed straight into the Second Reserve at Sheerness. In 1872 she was lent to the War Office as a barracks at Chatham for the Royal Engineers (Submarine Miners) who carried out harbour defence mining. She continued in this duty until 1883, and in 1888 She was sold out of the navy. Her fate is unknown.

The third ship to carry the name Hood was H.M.S. Hood 1891 – 1914

HMS Hood

HMS Hood was a Royal Sovereign class pre-dreadnought battleship, launched on 30 July 1891.  She was 410 ft 5 in feet long, 75 ft wide, had a displacement of 15,020 tons and a draught of 27 ft 6 in. The ship was powered by two 3-cylinder vertical triple expansion steam engines, giving her a top speed of 17.5 knots. The ship was armed with four 13 1/2-inch guns in two twin cylindrical gun turrets, one fore and one aft of the superstructure. Her secondary armament was ten 6-inch guns mounted in casemates in the superstructure.

She was commissioned on 1 June 1893, and assigned to the Mediterranean fleet. She was reassigned to the Home Fleet in 1902. In 1905 she was placed in the Reserve Fleet. On 4 November 1914 H.M.S. Hood was scuttled to act as a blockship across the southern entrance of Portland Harbour.

HMS Hood

The wreck of HMS Hood in Portland Harbour

The forth ship to carry the name Hood was H.M.S. Hood 1916 – 1941

HMS Hood

HMS Hood was the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy. Commissioned in 1920, she was one of the largest and, most powerful warships in the world, Hood was the pride of the Royal Navy and was known as ‘The Mighty Hood’. She was well armed with eight  15 inch guns in four twin turrets, that could fire a 1,920 lb shell nearly 18 miles.

HMS HoodIn May 1941, HMS Hood and the Prince of Wales were ordered to the Denmark Strait to stop the Bismarck and the  Prinz Eugen passing through to the Atlantic. The Germans ships were spotted at 05.37 on the 23rd of May. At 05.52 the Hood opened fire on the Prinz Eugen at a range of about ten miles, the German ship returned fire at 05.55 hitting the Hood. At just before 06.00 one of Bismarcks 15 inch shells struck the Hood, setting off an explosion in one of the magazines blowing the ship apart. Only three members of the crew survived out of the 1418 men on broad.