H.M.S. Hood Association Battle Cruiser Hood

The centenary of the Empire Cruise

In November 1923, Hood set off on what is, perhaps, her most famous voyage - a complete circumnavigation of the globe. This cruise, known offically as "the Special Service Squadron," would see Hood visit all the Dominions and many of the protectorates of the Empire in an attempt to engage them more closely in the idea of shared defence of the Empire and the sea lanes which were so vital to the trade on which it was founded.

To mark the centenary, we will be publishing here official records and other documents issued at the time which tell the story of the cruise and the men who served in Hood during it. In the run up to the departure of the cruise in November, we will be releasing documents taken from ADM116/2219 (National archives) relating to the planning work which stood behind.


Added 24/4/23: Memo from Amery (1st Lord) to Beatty (1st Sea Lord) outlining the idea of an Empire wide cruise.

Added 25/4/23: Outline plan from staff of Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet showing possible ports to visit and composition of squadron.

Added 27/4/23: Memo from Commander Spooner to Captain Alister F. Beal, Deputy Director of Operations Division offering opinion as to the likely effect of a visit to Austrlia on public opinion on that Dominion, particualrly as to whether capital ships should or should not be included in the squadron.
Added 30/4/23: Captain Henry W. Parker, C.B., Director of Operations Division issues the first attempt at a detailed outline for the cruise, referred to as Scheme A. This was circulated within the Admiralty. Advice was sought from various Directorates in respect of difficulties approaching some of the proposed ports, periods of weather that it would be sensible to avoid, additional costs that would be generated by the cruise and the question of ensuring that ships had been docked and were fully prepared for such a challenging voyage.





Our new President

The most important question to fall to the committee in recent months been how to address the loss of our former President, Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks. The committee was in agreement that it was important, if possible, to identify a senior naval officer willing to take up the mantle so well filled by Philip since 2008. Our Vice President, Rob White, was able to suggest that Rear Admiral Chris Parry would be a suitable candidate for the role if he was willing. After consulting with Philip's family, Rob approached Chris who said that he would be delighted to become our new President. The appointment was announced by Chairman Barry Roberts at the Association AGM on 20th May. Below is a pen picture of Chris.

Rear Admiral Dr Chris Parry, C.B.E., PhD

After reading Modern History at Jesus College Oxford, Chris Parry spent 36 enjoyable, rewarding years in the Royal Navy as an aviator and warfare officer. He commanded the destroyer H.M.S. Gloucester, the Amphibious Assault Ship H.M.S. Fearless, the UK's Amphibious Task Group and the Maritime Warfare Centre. He also held five senior Joint and UK Ministry of Defence appointments, with responsibility for the future strategic development, policy, effectiveness and operational deployment of all three armed forces out to 2030.

As well as sailing every sea, he experienced regular operational tours and combat operations in Northern Ireland, the Gulf and the Falklands, where he rescued 16 SAS troopers from a glacier during a hurricane in South Georgia and disabled the Argentinian submarine Santa Fe. He was awarded the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators Helicopter Rescue Award in 1983 and his Falklands War diary was published as the best- selling 'Down South' in 2012. He was the founding Chair of the UK's Marine Management Organization in 2009.

He now runs a strategic forecasting and trouble-shooting company, advising governments, leading corporates and banks about geo-political and strategic issues, leadership psychology and systemic risk, as well as continuous organisational improvement. He is also an internationally recognized authority on the future of warfare and emerging technologies.

With a doctorate in organisational psychology, Chris teaches leadership, risk management and human and business optimisation at several universities and corporates, and at the UK Defence Academy, the Judge Business School, and the Global Leadership Academy. He regularly appears as a broadcaster and commentator on international and UK media and is an active author, most recently with 'Super Highway: Sea Power in the 21st Century'.




We had hoped that we might be able to welcome Chris as our new President at the Annual Dinner on 20th May but, the short notice nature of the appointment meant that prior commitments prevented him joining us on this occasion. He sent us the following message which was read out at the dinner by Rob White.




Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am disappointed that I cannot be with you this evening owing to a prior commitment that could not, in all conscience, be re-scheduled at short notice.

It will not surprise you that I was distinctly 'choughed' when I heard that you kindly wanted me to be the President of the H.M.S. Hood Association. The ship's career and ultimate sacrifice define a way of life and thinking that is now lost to us, but also evoke notions of duty, service and collective national resolve in the face of a struggle to maintain a global empire, harsh economic conditions and total war. We also remember a ship's company, the soul of the ship, who, at the end went down fighting in the best traditions of the Naval Service and whose lives represent such a valuable historical resource for commemorating Hood and her story. I'd like to thank all those of you who have generated and made available to the public such fascinating primary and secondary historical material about the ship and her ship's company, especially on the website, not least the considerable exertions and dedication of Paul Bevand.

I would also wish to pay tribute to my former colleague and contemporary, Philip Wilcocks, who, as many as you will know, better than I, was such a passionate and active President, not only in terms of engagement with the Association and its members, but also in taking forward the community and enhancing its profile with the public. I need not remind you that he had, through his uncle, a direct family link to the loss of Hood on that fateful day in May 1941.

I very much look forward to meeting you personally and in helping maintain and expand the story of Hood's life and operational career at the heart of the Royal Navy's and our country's conscious memory.


AssociationLearn More About Us & How You Can Help
To learn more about the H.M.S. Hood Association, to include our history, activities, how to join and how you can help support our efforts, please CLICK HERE.



On this day...

Below you will find details of where the ship was on 29th February each year. Where the year in the first column includes the word 'details' in brackets, you can click this link to access a full transcription of Hood's log for that date.

Year

From

To

At

1920
1924---
1928Gibraltar
1932TrinidadFayalSea
1936Arosa Bay
1940 (details)Greenock

For further details why not visit our Timeline which describes in details the ship's career from 1920 to 1941. Or, if want to check when she was at a particular place or where she was on a range of dates then our ship movements database is worth a visit.




Forthcoming events

Saturday 11th November, 2023,
Armistice Day service

The Association continues the tradition of a service of remembrance on 11th November. We gather at Portsmouth National Naval War Memorial on Southsea Common at around 10.45am for a short service including a silence at 11.00am. All welcome.

Saturday 25th May, 2024,
AGM and Runion Dinner

Our AGM and Annual Dinner will take place at the Royal Maritime Club, Portsmouth. Tickets will be available - in spring 2024.

Sunday 26th May, 2024
Service at St. Ann's church in the Dockyard

Friday 24th May, 2024
Pompey Pals remembrance service at the National Naval War Memorial, Southsea Common.

The Pals will muster from 10:30 for a service to being at 10:50 to remember the 1415 men lost in H.M.S. Hood.

Sunday 2nd June, 2024 (date to be confirmed nearer the time).
Boldre Service of Remembrance

Annual service of remembrance for those lost with Hood will be held at St. John's Church, Boldre where Vice Admiral Holland and his wife Phyllis worshipped before World War 2.. All are welcome.




H.M.S. Hood and the Hood Association - find out more!

Many films films have been made about Hood over the years. Some of these, as well as some recent presentations to historical interest organisations, are listed below. To find out more about the ship and the Association, you are invited to explore these fascinating productions.

  • 'Duty Before Honour' The destruction of the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir on 3rd July 1940 was a contentious and tragic mission for those who served in Force 'H'. The attack on the French ships resulted in the loss of over 1300 French lives - men who had, until that point, been closely allied with the men of the Royal Navy.
    To commemorate the tragedy of the mission Vice-President Rob White has produced a 30 minute film: "Duty Before Honour". Featuring veterans from both sides and footage donated by independent filmmaker Andy Poulistades, it explores the history of those sad days and is a testament to the men who were lost. Their families are now represented by 'L'association des anciens marins et familles de Mers-el-Kebir'; Herve Grall, their last president whose father was lost at Mers-el-Kebir, actively sought to build links with our Association in the years following, as a mark of conciliation and reconciliation.
  • 'HMS Hood Mighty then, Mighty now' (Film) Commissioned by the Association to mark the 80th Anniversary of her loss this film describes why Hood was so significant to the inter-war generation and how her loss still resonates today. (May 2021)
  • 'For years unseen' (Film) Commissioned by the Association this film tells the story of how Hood's bell was recovered from the wreck and returned to Portsmouth to be displayed at the National Museum of the Royal Navy.(2017)
  • 'The HMS Hood Association' (Talk) - Cdr William Sutherland (Chairman), Rob White (Vice-President) (Presentation to Orkney International Science Festival, May 2021).
  • Iconic Ships - HMS Hood As part of their 'Iconic Ships' series, The Society of Nautical Research released through its Mariner's Mirror Podcast facility, a presentation by the late Professor Eric Grove who makes the case for Hood as an 'iconic ship.
  • HMS Hood, Last of her Kind' (Discussion) - RAdm Philip Wilcocks (President), Rob White (Vice-President), Cdr William Sutherland (Chairman), Cdr David Hobbs (naval historian), Mr Graeme Lunn (naval historian.) (Presentation to Orkney International Science Festival, May 2021).
  • Question and Answer Session about finding Hood's wreck and recovering her bell - David Mearns (Vice-President), Rob White (Vice-President), RAdm Philip Wilcocks (President), Cdr William Sutherland (Chairman), Cdr David Hobbs (naval historian), Graeme Lunn (naval historian). (Presentation to Orkney International Science Festival, May 2021).



Own a replica 15-inch Hood tompion!


A "tompion" was the metal cover placed over the end of Hood's guns when they were not in use and which prevented sea water entering the barrels. Thanks to the amazing work of Andy Poulastides, the H.M.S. Hood Association is now able to offer replicas of the tompions which were used on Hood's main 15-inch guns. These will be strictly limited to 51 tompions (Hood's pennant number) and are not only items of great craftmanship and beauty but are highly likely to prove an excellent investment. For the full story behind the making of the tompions and to find out how you can reserve one click here to read Rob White's report (originally published in the summer edition of The Chough.) together with a gallery of photos showing the stages of manufacture of these remarkable items.



Memorials to Hood's lost

The memorial pages to the men lost will always be the central part of this web site. Below we feature two of the 1415 men lost with the ship - one for whom we have a photo and the other for whom we do not. You can find out more about the men who died in the sinking of the ship by visiting our Roll of Honour page

Albert Dixon


Sadly, for 371 of the men lost with the ship we have no photo.Do you have local knowledge or contacts which would help us reduce this number? Please visit our Casualties by county page to find out whether we still need photos of men who came from close by where you live.

George Alfred Snook

Remembering Hood's crew


We want to remember and commemorate the lives of all the men who served in Hood from 1920 to 1941. To that end we have a page for each man about whom we have information. On these we record details of their lives and service as well as including photos of them with their families and service mates. Please visit our H.M.S. Hood Crew Database section to find out more.

Updates to crew pages


During the last two weeks, we have created the following new crew pages:

During the last two weeks, we have amended the following crew pages: