Online Library of Selected Images:
-- SHIPS of the BRITISH NAVY --

HMS Hood (Battlecruiser, 1920-1941)

HMS Hood, a 42,100-ton battlecruiser built at Clydebank, Scotland, was completed in March 1920. For more than two decades, she was the World's largest warship and, with her long, low hull and finely balanced silhouette, was to many the embodiment of "big-gun" era seapower. During her travels in European waters and far away, Hood actively represented Great Britain throughout her career. Her first cruise, in 1920, was to Scandanavia. The next year she went down to Gibraltar and Spain and in 1922 visited Brazil and the West Indies. After a brief call on Denmark and Norway in 1923, Hood was flagship on a eleven-month cruise around the World, accompanied by the smaller battlecruiser Repulse and a number of light cruisers. In 1925, she called on Lisbon to help commemorate Portugal's contributions to navigation and exploration.

For ten years after 1925, Hood was assigned to the Royal Navy's Home and Atlantic Fleets, operating primarily around Europe, with a visit to the West Indies in 1932. She served with the Mediterranean Fleet in 1936-39, protecting British interests during the Spanish Civil War. Back with the Home Fleet after mid-1939, Hood operated in the North Atlantic and North Sea through the first part of World War II and received minor damage in a German air attack on 26 September 1939, an event that demonstrated the relative ineffectiveness of contemporary anti-aircraft gunfire. In June and July 1940, the battlecruiser was in the Mediterranean area. She was flagship during the 3 July Mers-el-Kebir battle, the most dramatic and destructive of several incidents in which the British Navy seized, interned, destroyed or attempted to destroy the warships of their recent ally, France. These acts were undertaken on Government orders to allay fears that the French Navy might fall into German hands.

Hood spent the remainder of her service operating from Scapa Flow, covering the North Sea and Atlantic from the threat of German surface raiders. She was now elderly, overloaded, and burdened with an inadequate armoring arrangement. However, her great operational value had acted through the 1930s to prevent the Royal Navy from taking her out of service for a badly-needed modernization, and now it was too late. In May 1941, in company with the new battleship Prince of Wales, she was sent out to search for the German battleship Bismarck, which had left Norway for the Atlantic. On the morning of 24 May, the two British capital ships found the enemy to the west of Iceland. In the resulting Battle of the Denmark Strait, one or more of Bismarck's fifteen-inch shells got into Hood's after magazines. They erupted in a massive explosion. The great ship sank in moments with all but three of her large crew, an event that shocked the Royal Navy, the British nation and the entire World. HMS Hood's remains were located and photographed by a British deep sea expedition in July 2001.

This page features selected views of the British battlecruiser Hood.

For images related to the loss of HMS Hood on 24 May 1941, see:

Click on the photograph to display a larger image.

Photo #: NH 86392-KN (Color)

HMS Hood (British Battlecruiser, 1920-1941)

Watercolor by Edward Tufnell, RN (Retired).

Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC. Donation of Melvin Conant, 1969.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 62KB; 740 x 520 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 60402

HMS Hood
(British Battlecruiser, 1920-1941)

In British waters, possibly when she first went to sea in early 1920.
The main topgallant mast, which is seen in this view, was removed in March 1920 and not replaced until 1923.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 100KB; 740 x 570 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 60409

HMS Hood
(British Battlecruiser, 1920-1941)

Off Honolulu, Hawaii, 12 June 1924.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 112KB; 740 x 595 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 60450

HMS Hood
(British Battlecruiser, 1920-1941)

Aerial view of the ship's starboard midships area, taken by a plane from Naval Air Station, Pearl Harbor, while Hood was off Honolulu, Hawaii, on 12 June 1924.
Note rangefinders atop the conning tower and foremast top; 15-inch twin gun turrets, with a partially disassembled air craft platform atop "B" turret; and boats stowed amidships.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 140KB; 740 x 590 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 60452

HMS Hood
(British Battlecruiser, 1920-1941)

At the Panama Canal Zone in July 1924.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 124KB; 740 x 600 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 60404

HMS Hood
(British Battlecruiser, 1920-1941)

In American waters, circa June-July 1924.
Note Vice-Admiral's flag flying from her foremast.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 107KB; 740 x 435 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 60421

HMS Hood
(British Battlecruiser, 1920-1941)

In American waters, circa June-July 1924.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 90KB; 740 x 425 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 60418

HMS Hood
(British Battlecruiser, 1920-1941)

Photographed in 1931-32, while fitted with an aircraft catapult aft.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 60KB; 740 x 480 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 60419

HMS Hood
(British Battlecruiser, 1920-1941)

Photographed in 1931-32, while fitted with an aircraft catapult aft.
The seaplane on the catapult is a Fairey IIIF (# S1532).

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 68KB; 740 x 470 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 60792

HMS Hood
(British Battlecruiser, 1920-1941)

Photographed in European waters during 1931-32, while fitted with an aircraft catapult aft.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 79KB; 740 x 605 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 57184

HMS Hood
(British Battlecruiser, 1920-1941)

View looking aft, showing her 15" guns, taken while she was on maneuvers off Portland, England, circa 1926. HMS Repulse is next astern.
Photo by Underwood & Underwood. The original is dated 8 November 1926.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 83KB; 740 x 620 pixels

 



For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.



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