The Princess Royal visits Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard to unveil HMS Hood Bell and to open the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s new exhibition 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle that Won the War.
Nine months after its retrieval from the murky depths of the Denmark Strait, the bell from HMS Hood was unveiled by The Princess Royal during a commemorative service to mark the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the ship. Hood was the largest Royal Navy vessel to have been sunk, causing the biggest loss of life suffered by any single British warship.
Her Royal Highness struck eight bells at midday at a ceremony at The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as descendants of some of the 1,415 sailors who lost their lives when the ship was hit by Bismarck on 24 May, 1941 looked on. Only three of Hood’s crew survived and it was the expressed wish of one of them, Ted Briggs, to recover the ship’s bell as a memorial to his shipmates.
HMS Hood’s bell provides an extraordinary and moving link between the sacrifice of the Royal Navy in 1916 at Jutland and those made by a new generation of sailors in World War 2
Prof Dominic Tweddle, National Museum of the Royal Navy
Following the unveiling, the bell was carried by a Royal Navy guard to Boathouse 5 for the official opening by The Princess Royal of the exhibition 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War, which marks the centenary of the Battle of Jutland.
With the bell in place, the Jutland exhibition was officially opened by the Princess Royal, who remained in the historic dockyard for the afternoon to spend a couple of hours discussing plans for next year’s centenary of women serving in the RN, Wrens 100; HRH is the Chief Commandant for Women in the Navy.