-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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William Scott Gaines

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Date of birth: 11th July 1898
Place of birth: Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England
Parents: William Scott Gaines and Mary Agnes Gaines
Previous occupation: French polisher
Service: Royal Navy
Rank: Able Seaman
Service Number: J38957
Joined Hood: 1st April 1920 (Able Seaman)
Left Hood: 31st August 1921 (Able Seaman)

Biographical Information: A native of Newcastle upon Tyne, William Gaines joined the Royal Navy at the age of 16, as a Boy Second Class, on 10th March 1915, in the first year of the First World War. Fifteen months later, as a Boy First Class and still one month short of his eighteenth birthday, he was in the thick of the action in the Battle of Jutland, in the famous battlecruiser HMS Lion, flagship of Vice Admiral David Beatty.

William Gaines continued to serve in Lion throughout the First World War. Following that war, Lion was decommissioned, and most of her ship's company, including William, were block drafted through to her prestigious, brand-new successor as flagship of the Battlecruiser Squadron - HMS Hood.

William Gaines remained in Hood for nearly a year and a half.

He continued his Royal Navy service until the end of his 12-year engagement on 10th July 1928 - the day before his 30th birthday. His naval connection continued, however, as he tranferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve, combining his naval time with civilian work as a postman. In the early 1930s William, his wife Norah and their two young daughters moved from Newcastle to South Shields - where a third daughter was born subsequently. William's RFR service continued until World War II, and, ironically, he was serving in HMS Prince of Wales in 1941: as that ship was present at the battle of the Denmark Strait in May that year, it is likely that William witnessed the destruction of his old ship, Hood. His service document states that he was awarded a 'Hurt Certificate' the following week, which suggests that he sustained wounds in the Bismarck battle.

William is known to have been on board Prince of Wales when she was sunk by Japanese aircraft in December 1941: the Newcastle Journal reported his survival in its edition of 19th December. It is not known whether he he spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of war of the Japanese, but the fact that he finally left the Naval Service, being declared Physically Unfit for Naval Service (PUNS) on the day Japan surrendered (15th August 1945) suggests that he may have been a PoW. Family members also recollect that he was in poor health after the war.

William Gaines passed away in 1966.

Additional Photos

William Gaines with his brother Joe in 1964. Photo from the Windsor Star newspaper, Ontario, Canada. William died just two years later.

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)
Alan L Todd, family member, information and documentation November 2021.