Hood’s bell saved, retrieved from Poseidon
The ship blew up, her magazines detonated by a German shell, and she sank in minutes, taking all but three of her 1,418 crew down with her. She remains the largest British warship lost and the Royal Navy’s heaviest loss of life in a single ship.
As Hood sank, the battlecruiser broke in two and debris, including the bell, was scattered around the sea bed.
The bell was mounted on a high wooden stand, which was kept on the warship’s quarterdeck in harbour and typically outside the captain’s quarters when at sea.
It was sounded by a Royal Marine to mark daily routine and watches on board, but would also be struck in the event of fire or other calamity aboard.
And now it has been saved.
Once restored – the conservation work is likely to take around 12 months – it will be reunited with the bell of HMS Prince of Wales, which took part in the same Denmark Strait action with the Bismarck but survived, only to be sunk at the end of the year by the Japanese in the South China Sea.