Tuesday, August 11, 2015


11 August 2015: Microsoft founder and zillionaire Paul Allen has successfully recovered the bell from the sunken remains of the British battlecruiser HMS Hood. The ship was sunk in an engagement with the German battleship Bismark in the Denmark Straits in 1941. She sank with shocking loss of life: 1,415 of 1,418 men died when she exploded and went down.

The above image is Hood shortly before the action with Bismark, so is the last photo of her in existence. She was protecting the flow of supplies to England sent from America (before America joined the war) which Germany had vowed to stop.
Allen, using his expedition ship Octopus and a remote controlled submersible, had found the bell and photographed it in 2001, but did not attempt to recover it until 2012. Bad weather and technical glitches precluded that attempt. Ordinarily, salvage of the ship would be prevented under international law (Military Remains Act of 1986), but Allen got special permission to get the bell as a memorial to those who los their lives. He was assisted in the effort by Blue Water Recoveries. the bell, seen in the photo below, appears to be in pretty good condition, given it has sat on the ocean floor for 74 years.
Once it has been conserved, the bell will be presented to the National Museum of the Royal Navy where it will serve as the center piece of a new exhibit on the 20th and 21st century navy.
Thanks to US Naval Institute for this great story!
Until next time,
                                    Fair winds,
                                      Old Salt

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