Remember the Hood!

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The Russian destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov as seen from HMS Somerset in the Moray Firth

Royal Navy ship shadows a Russian destroyer

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Her loss inspired the best-known naval battlecry of the Second World War: ‘Remember the Hood!’

And for hundreds of Portsmouth families, memories were all that remained of loved ones who perished in the disastrous sinking of the battlecruiser.

Just three sailors survived from the ship’s company of 1,415 officers and men when Hood was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck near Iceland on May 24, 1941.

The Portsmouth ship, commissioned in 1920, was the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy. Known as ‘The Mighty Hood’ she was widely regarded as being invincible.

So the shock was immense when she was blown to pieces when attacked by the Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen.

She was struck by several German shells and exploded and sank. Cine film shot by the Germans showed the swiftness of her destruction.

The ship’s loss led to a determined pursuit of the Bismarck by the Royal Navy. Two days later, the pride of the German fleet was dive-bombed by Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, leaving her steering gear out of action.

The next day, under bombardment by ships of the Royal Navy, she was scuttled by her crew, and sank with heavy loss of life.

Picture: How the Portsmouth Evening News reported the sinking of the Bismarck