May 24, 2016 - Seventy-five-years to the day it ended up on the bottom of the Denmark Strait with the tortured remains of HMS Hood and 1,400 souls, the battle-cruiser’s bell was rededicated in Portsmouth.
Recovered from nearly three kilometers beneath the surface of the down last summer, the icon of the ship now takes pride of place as the last of 350 artefacts in new exhibition to the Battle of Jutland.
At mid-day precisely eight peels echoed around Victory Arena as Princess Anne rang the bell for the first time since May 24 1941 when Hood sailed to intercept Hitler’s flagship Bismarck and prevent it from breaking out into the Atlantic to maul British shipping.
Instead, the battle-cruiser – pride of the RN between the wars – blew up after just a few minutes in the duel between the British and German ships; 1,415 men were killed, just three survived.
It was the last wish of one of those survivors, telegraphist Ted Briggs, that the bell be recovered if possible as a memorial to his shipmates.Last summer, an expedition led by Microsoft co-founder Paul G Allen succeeded in raising the bell, since when its undergone conservation and assessment in the hands of experts from BAE and the Mary Rose Museum to ensure it could be displayed safely without deteriorating.