EXPLORERS are close to retrieving the bell from the battleship HMS Hood.
A remote operated vehicle – a robot submarine – was again sent down to the wreck site yesterday, capturing pictures of the bell which lies on the bottom of the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland.
The Portsmouth-based ship, the pride of the navy between the two world wars, was lost with all but three of her 1,418 crew in May 1941 as she clashed with the German battleship the Bismarck. Hood blew up after just a few minutes’ fighting.
Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G Allen is funding the mission to recover the bell, which was thrown clear of the hull as the Hood sank.
He has donated the use of his yacht, Octopus, and has called upon the team who discovered the wreck of the Hood in 2001, Blue Water Recoveries, to raise the bell so it can serve as a permanent memorial to the ship and all who served in her at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.
It takes more than two and a half hours for the ROV to reach the seabed where the bell lies 9,330ft down.
Mr Allen has posted one of the images sent back from the ROV on Twitter.
He wrote: ‘Hood’s bell up against upturned floor of possibly the Admiral’s cabin. Tight space to grab it.’