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Bell from sunken warship HMS Hood a centrepiece at 75th anniversary memorial

May 24, 2016 - UNITED KINGDOM

Germany's Bismark shelled and sank HMS Hood, a warship thought to be invincible, during the Battle of the Denmark Strait on May 24, 1941.The bell from the Hood will make it back home to England in time for 75th anniversary memorial services for the 1,415 sailors who died. The bell will have the place of honour in the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.

Several German shells struck the Hood, which exploded and sank in minutes, early in the battle. The loss of the vessel - pride of the British navy in WW2 - had a profound effect on the British people. Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave the order for the Royal Navy to "sink the Bismarck," which was accomplished May 26-27.

HMS Hood inherited the bell from an earlier battleship of the same name. It was recovered in good condition from wreckage on the seabed in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland, during an expedition mounted by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen on Aug 8, 2015.

The Hood sinking represented the worst loss of life in a British warship disaster. Only three crew members survived, the last - Ted Briggs - dying in 2008 aged 85.

Details of the special events will be announced closer to the date. They are certain to include commemorative services at the major Royal Navy memorials. The HMS Hood Association is asking for photographs of the crew which will be displayed on the association's website for the anniversary.

Bell recovered from battleship HMS Hood (Guardian 10 Aug 2015)

HMS Hood's bell recovered from seabed (BBC 11 Aug 2015)

HMS Hood Association

Date written/update: 2015-10-05