-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.

Chainbar divider

Claude (Sam) Willis

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Date of birth: 22nd December 1895
Place of birth: Durham, County Durham, England
Previous occupation: Apprentice blacksmith
Service: Royal Navy
Rank: Chief Ordnance Artificer
Service Number: M7156
Joined Hood: 6th May 1933 (Chief Ordnance Artificer)
Left Hood: 29th August 1935 (Chief Ordnance Artificer)

Biographical Information: Born on 22 December 1895, Claude 'Sam' Willis joined the Royal Navy as Probationary Armourer's Crew on 16th January 1914 at the age of 18, thereby embarking on a career in naval ordnance (preparation and maintenance of naval artillery shells.) At 18, he was considerably older than most naval entrants, having come from a mining family in Co. Durham, and having previously been apprenticed as a blacksmith at a coal mine.

Sam Willis had a long and successful naval career, including service in the First World War in the Lion class battlecruiser HMS Princess Royal. He served in HMS Hood late in his career, from 1933 until 1935, by which time he had been advanced and promoted through several rates (ranks) to Chief Ordnance Artificer - a skilled engineer with a highly responsible job. Discharged to pension on 15 January 1936 after 22 years' service, he rejoined the service in 1937 as the clouds of world war loomed again.

Sam married his first wife Frances, a Red Cross nurse, in 1919, and they had two sons. Following the death of his first wife in 1950 he later married a second Red Cross nurse, Hannah, a naval widow. Sam and Hannah had a second happy marriage until his death on 28 May 1982.

Sam Willis is remembered within his family as having been upright and of strong character, with a generous and caring nature and good practical skills.

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)
David Willis (son) information and photograph October 2021.