Marine

Paul Allen recovers bell from HMS Hood

Paul Allen recovers bell from ...
The bell of HMS Hood recovered after 74 years
The bell of HMS Hood recovered after 74 years
View 12 Images
The ROV used to recover the bell of HMS Hood
1/12
The ROV used to recover the bell of HMS Hood
The bell of HMS Hood reaches the surface
2/12
The bell of HMS Hood reaches the surface
Paul Allen's M/Y Octopus controlled the operation
3/12
Paul Allen's M/Y Octopus controlled the operation
The bell of HMS Hood being secured
4/12
The bell of HMS Hood being secured
The bell of HMS Hood recovered after 74 years
5/12
The bell of HMS Hood recovered after 74 years
Manipulators of the ROV
6/12
Manipulators of the ROV
Uncovering the bell
7/12
Uncovering the bell
The previous attempt to recover the bell in 2012
8/12
The previous attempt to recover the bell in 2012
Pulling the bell free
9/12
Pulling the bell free
Dragging the bell of HMS Hood out of the wreckage
10/12
Dragging the bell of HMS Hood out of the wreckage
HMS Hood was sunk in 1941
11/12
HMS Hood was sunk in 1941
Inscriptions on the recovered bell of HMS Hood
12/12
Inscriptions on the recovered bell of HMS Hood

One of the great tragedies of the Second World War has been remembered with Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G Allen recovering the bell from the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, which was sunk in battle 74 years ago by Hitler’s flagship Bismarck. The brass ship's bell was recovered from a mile and a half (2.4 km) down in the Denmark Straits by a remote operated submersible (ROV) controlled from Allen's private yacht M/Y Octopus.

The recovery operation, which successfully concluded on August 7, marks 13 years since the bell of the Hood was discovered. The salvage effort was spearheaded by the Paul G Allen Family Foundation using a ROV built by Blue Water Recoveries, which made the initial discovery. Allen led a previous attempt to retrieve the bell in 2009, which was abandoned due to poor weather.

As a warship, the Hood remains the property of the Crown and is officially designated a war grave. Salvage is therefore prohibited and Allen was given extraordinary permission by the British government to recover the bell.

HMS Hood was sunk in 1941
HMS Hood was sunk in 1941

HMS Hood was commissioned in 1920 and, as the flagship of the British Battlecruiser Squadron, it was one of the most advanced (and generally regarded as the most beautiful) of the Royal Navy's interwar capital ships. She was sunk on May 24, 1941 while engaging the pocket battleship Bismarck, which was attempting to break out into the Atlantic Ocean to prey on Allied shipping.

Ultimately, the Bismark was cornered and sunk, but not before landing a shell on the under-armored deck of the Hood. The shell pierced the deck and detonated the cruiser's magazine. The resulting explosion killed 1,415 officers and men with only three survivors. The Hood was the largest Royal Navy ship ever sunk and the greatest single loss of life.

The inscribed bell is made of brass and is 18 in (46 cm) high. It was cast for the previous HMS Hood, which was a Victorian battleship that served until 1914. The recovery effort was aided by the fact that when the later ship broke apart in 1941, the bell landed well away from the main wreckage.

The ROV used to recover the bell of HMS Hood
The ROV used to recover the bell of HMS Hood

According to the Royal Navy, the bell will undergo a year of restoration and will then go on display at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.

The video below shows the recovery of HMS Hood's bell.

Sources: Paul G Allen Family Foundation, Royal Navy

HMS Hood Bell Recovered

5 comments
Luminarycrush
The ship types mentioned in the article are inaccurate and misleading. The Bismarck was not a "pocket battleship", but was a "battleship". There is a *big* difference - the pocket battleship was a somewhat slow, cruiser-sized vessel; a battleship was several times larger and much faster capital ship. The Hood would never be called a "cruiser". It was a "battlecruiser" - again, very different ship type than what the article suggests. Really, more accurately, the Hood was a "fast battleship", although an under-armored one (armor was based on WWI combat ranges, not WWII) in need of refit. The outbreak of WWII prevented a rebuild/refit that might have saved her in this battle.
BZD
While I think all loss of life is really tragic in some ways I gotta wonder if the use of the word "tragic" really is justified when it comes to the loss of military personnel in combat. But lets say we do accept the use of the word tragic in this context then certainly the loss of lives due to the sinking of Bismark is just as tragic if not more so and thus should also have been mentioned in the article. Out of the 2,200 men on board the Bismark all but 114 was killed and for most of those killed their deaths did not come in an instance, but during the many hours where the disabled Bismark was being reduced to ruble.
Nelson
A rich guy with too much time and money on his hands. Boy that money could be better spent than fulfilling Allen's wet dream.
boxer
Many believe that it was not the Bismark but the Cruiser Prinz Eugen that fired the fatal round into the weakly armoured seam on the Hood.
John Dziki
Extra trivia German cruiser Prinz Eugen was sunk by a nuclear bomb.