An OPERATION is to take place to recover the bell of the Second World War battle cruiser HMS Hood, it was announced yesterday.
If recovered successfully, the bell will be used as a memorial to the ship and the 1,415 men who were lost when it was sunk by the battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic in 1941.
Hood is the largest Royal Navy vessel to have been sunk, causing the biggest loss of life suffered by any single British warship.
The MoD said US philanthropist Paul Allen had offered to recover the bell at his own expense. The Microsoft co-founder’s yacht, Octopus, equipped with a remotely operated vehicle will be used for the operation, which will be supported by Blue Water Recoveries, which specialises in the search and investigation of shipwrecks.
In a previous expedition, which did not disturb the wreck, the company discovered and photographed the bell, an MoD spokesman said.
It is lying on the seabed well away from the parts of the ship’s hull, which will not be disturbed by the recovery operation, he added.