Information courtesy of Steven John, West Wales Memorial Project.
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HMS Hood (51) – March 17, 1924.jpg
Hood, 17 March 1924
Namesake: Admiral Samuel Hood
Ordered: 7 April 1916
Builder: John Brown & Company
HMS Hood (pennant number 51) was the lead ship of her class of four battlecruisers built for the Royal Navy during World War I. Already under construction when the Battle of Jutland occurred in mid-1916, that battle revealed serious flaws in her design despite drastic revisions before she was completed four years later. For this reason, she was the only ship of her class to be completed as the Admiralty decided it would be better to start with a clean design on succeeding battlecruisers, leading to the never-built G-3 Class. Despite the appearance of newer and more modern ships, Hood remained the largest warship in the world for 20 years after her commissioning, and her prestige was reflected in her nickname, “The Mighty Hood”.
Hood was involved in several showing-the-flag exercises between her commissioning in 1920 and the outbreak of war in 1939, including training exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and a circumnavigation of the globe with the Special Service Squadron in 1923 and 1924. She was attached to the Mediterranean Fleet following the outbreak of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. When the Spanish Civil War broke out, Hood was officially assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet until she had to return to Britain in 1939 for an overhaul. By this time, advances in naval gunnery had reduced Hood’s usefulness. She was scheduled to undergo a major rebuild in 1941 to correct these issues, but the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 forced the ship back into service without the upgrades.
When war with Germany was declared, Hood was operating in the area around Iceland, and she spent the next several months hunting for German commerce raiders and blockade runners between Iceland and the Norwegian Sea. After a brief overhaul of her propulsion system, she sailed as the flagship of Force H, and participated in the destruction of the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir. Relieved as flagship of Force H, Hood was dispatched to Scapa Flow, and operated in the area as a convoy escort and later as a defence against a potential German invasion fleet.
In May 1941, Hood and the battleship Prince of Wales were ordered to intercept the German battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, which were en route to the Atlantic, where they were to attack convoys. On 24 May 1941, early in the Battle of the Denmark Strait, Hood was struck by several German shells, exploded, and sank within 3 minutes, with the loss of all but three of her crew. Due to her publicly perceived invincibility, the loss affected British morale