• Hood
  • Historical background

Historical background

HMS Hood

HMS Hood (was the last battle cruiser built for the Royal Navy. Commissioned in 1920, she was named after the 18th-century Admiral Samuel Hood.

When war with Germany was declared, Hood was operating in the area around Iceland, and she spent the next several months hunting between Iceland and the Norwegian Sea for German commerce raiders and blockade runners.

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, she 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 and exploded; the loss had a profound effect on the British people.

The Royal Navy conducted two inquiries into the reasons for the ship's quick demise. The first, held very quickly after the ship's loss, concluded that Hood 's aft magazine had exploded after one of Bismarck 's shells penetrated the ship's armour. A second inquiry was held after complaints that the first board had failed to consider alternative explanations, such as an explosion of the ship's torpedoes. It was more thorough than the first board, and concurred with the first board's conclusion. Despite the official explanation, some historians continued to believe that the torpedoes caused the ship's loss while others proposed an accidental explosion inside one of the ship's gun turrets that reached down into the magazine. Other historians have concentrated on the cause of the magazine explosion. The discovery of the ship's wreck in 2001 confirmed the conclusion of both boards, although the exact reason why the magazines detonated will always be a mystery, as that area of the ship was entirely destroyed in the explosion.

Hood sank with 1418 men aboard. Only three survived: Ordinary Signalman Ted Briggs, Able Seaman Robert Tilburn, and Midshipman William John Dundas.[68] The three were rescued about two hours after the sinking by the destroyer Electra, which spotted substantial debris but no bodies.

Hood House at Royal Hospital School is one of 3 senior girls’ houses and was in fact the first girls' house at the Royal Hospital School , having converted from boys some 22 years ago.