-H.M.S. Hood Crew Information-
H.M.S. Crew List

It is estimated that as many as 18,000 men served aboard the 'Mighty Hood' during the operational portion of her 21 year career. Unfortunately, there is no surviving official single listing of ALL men who served in her. Here you will find our attempt at creating such a listing. We are using the few, fragmentary crew lists known to exist, Navy Lists, various official reports, public records, and most importantly of all, inputs from the families of former crew.

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Peter Kelly

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Date of birth: 19th October 1918
Place of birth: Broxburn, Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland
Wife: Emily Harris
Previous occupation: Brass cleaner
Service: Royal Navy
Rank: Able Seaman
Service Number: P/SSX18908
Joined Hood: 2nd June 1939 (Able Seaman)
Left Hood: 5th May 1940 (Able Seaman)

Biographical Information: Peter Kelly joined the Royal Navy, as an Ordinary Seaman on a Special Service engagement, in October 1936. He joined HMS Hood on 2nd June 1939, now holding the rate of Able Seaman. He was one of the 250 sailors and marines who, in April 1940, were detached from Hood (in maintenance in Devonport) to help in the fight to save Norway from the German invasion that month. The great majority of the 250 men rejoined Hood a month later, but Peter was one of the small number who did not: wounded in the chest just above his right lung, he was captured by the Germans and spent the rest of the war in prisoner of war camps, being released in 1945. Peter and his comrades left Hood around 13 April 1940, but his draft to HMS Victory barracks (annotated 'Prisoner of War') is dated 6 May. Word of his survival and capture took some time to filter through, so the drafting system took a little while to reflect reality.

Except in his last days, Peter never spoke about his time as a PoW. It is known that he had lost part of one thumb, and this is believed to have been amputated by the Germans as a punishment for taking a piece of bread.

On return to UK Peter was given a rapturous welcome home by the people of his home village of Broxburn, West Lothian, near Edinburgh - there were flags at every window. Alas, Peter's younger brother Maurice was not lucky enough to return home, having been drowned in 1942 at sea off Zhoushan, China, in a Japanese PoW ship.

Peter had become engaged to Emily Harris in 1935. Delayed by a decade by the war, Peter and Emily married in June 1945, soon after his return to Scotland. By then, Emily was herself in uniform, as a Leading Wren. Peter tracked her down to Dundee, where he found her giving demonstrations of parachute packing. He refused to leave until they were married, so they found two witnesses and became man and wife soon after. They moved their home to Edinburgh in 1946.

On his return to the UK, Peter transferred from his Special Service engagement to the Royal Fleet Reserve and remained in the Naval Service after the war. His family recalls that he was involved in both the Korean War and, shortly before his service ended in 1956, in the Suez Crisis. He and Emily had a large family - six sons and six daughters, two of whom - son Brian and daughter Audrey - followed their parents into the Senior Service.

Back in civilian life, Peter retrained as a plumber, and he finished his working life as an engineer at Monktonhall Colliery, in Musselburgh, just east of Edinburgh. His family members remember his love of the board games, cards and dominoes he played with them (and with his grandchildren in later years), and they recall his ready wit, which often had them reduced to tears of laughter.

Peter Kelly died on 25 November 1989, aged 71.

Additional Photos

Peter at age 70.

Peter late in his life.

No known memorials

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
'Register of Deaths of Naval Ratings' (data extracted by Director of Naval Personnel (Disclosure Cell), Navy Command HQ, 2009)
ADM 101/565
Anne, Frances and Brian Kelly, Peter's daughters and son, photos and biographical information March 2023.