-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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Richard Rothwell Smith

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Date of birth: 10th June 1920
Place of birth: De Aar, South Africa, South Africa
Previous occupation: Shop assistant
Service: Royal Navy
Rank: Able Seaman
Service Number: JX149687
Joined Hood: 24 August 1939
Left Hood: 1 December 1939

Biographical Information: Richard Rothwell Smith was known as Roth or Rothie all his life. He was born in South Africa, the son of a British soldier in the South African Infantry. Family reasons brought Richard, with his family, back to England. They decided that Portsmouth was a good place to live, so that is where Rothie was brought up.

Richard joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Second Class in July 1936. By the time he joined Hood in summer 1939, he was an Able Seaman. He served just three months on board before being drafted off the ship.

By 1942, Richard had transferred to the Physical and Recreational Training branch and was a Temporary Acting Petty Officer (a rank later confirmed) in the cruiser HMS Cairo. He was also recently married to his wife, Peggy. In Cairo, he twice participated in convoys for the relief of the siege of Malta, and on the second occasion – the famous Operation Pedestal – his ship was sunk, and he was lucky to escape with his life.

Richard remained in the Royal Navy throughout World War II and beyond, eventually leaving the Service in 1950 and becoming a PT Master at the prestigious boys’ school, St Johns College, in Portsmouth. He subsequently performed a similar role, together with that of housemaster, in an orphanage in Gravesend, where he was particularly highly thought of. He and his wife Peggy had five children, who remember him as a man with a big personality, quick witted and an all unfailing sense of humour. Later in his career he worked in insurance, retiring as a branch manager in Basingstoke.

In retirement, Richard and Peggy moved back to Portsmouth, where he passed away on 9 May 1996.

Additional Photographs
None at this time.

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)