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A hold was placed on the order whilst design improvements were made and in the end only Hood was completed. She was too late for WW1 and in fact was commissioned in 1920. She served with a number of our different Fleets -usually as the Flagship. After a major refit in 1936 she was sent to be the Flagship to the Mediterranean Fleet - this was in readiness, as Italy had just invaded Abysinnia. And this is where our story begins.

A young Petty Officer - in the Ordnance department, was posted to Hood in 1937. He had great pride in his posting and kept his own LOG of shipboard events. He combined the entries together with photos that he had taken - a rare combination for an unofficial Log/Diary - and worth a lot for the owning of the copyright. I had this in the shop and it has now gone to a serious collector in the UK.

This man was Petty Officer William Frederick BRABROOK. He was to serve with Hood until 1939 when he was transferred to HMS Belfast - the City Class heavy cruiser now moored in London, near Tower Bridge. He served on this ship until the end of the War - not retiring until 1975 with the Rank of Commander (Eng.)

(This is the equiv. in the Army of a Lt. Colonel)

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This is Commander Brabrook - on the left in later life - and on the right from sometime during the War. The two 1st WW medals were his Father's - who was a Sergeant in the Royal Marines.

He was awarded an MBE and this shown together with his Campaign Medals. The one on the end is the civilian issue to commemorate Dunkirk - he must have felt strongly about this to have it on his Bar..

He received the 39/45 Star ; Atlantic Star - with France and Germany Bar (D.Day) ; Africa Star - with North Africa Clasp (1942-43) ; Pacific Star ; Defence Medal ; War Medal.

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A close-up of the Atlantic , the Africa Star and the Pacific Star.

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A closer view of the Set. Being British they are un-named.

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Some details on HMS HOOD

46,680 tons Fully laden in war time 47,430. Admiralty figures. Brabrook shows it at 42,000.

Length 860.7 feet 262.3 metres

Beam 104.2 feet 31.8 metres

Speed 28 knots 52 kph 32 mph

Range 5332 nautical miles 9870 Kms. 6140 miles

Guns - She had 4 multiple turrets - each with two 15 inch guns (42cm)

12x 5.5 inch guns + very numerous smaller weapons and anti-aircraft guns.

Torpedoes. one set on either side of two torpedo tubes - for above surface firing

Aircraft. One spotting plane.

Hood's crew compliment - in Peace time - was : 81 Officers and 1244 P.O's and Men.

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We now come to the log entries and pictures that Brabrook kept. Altogether there 8 large volumes

I suspect that he may have just kept written entries and put these together after he retired.

These are obviously a selection of ones I thought would be of interest. Particularly, where the German Fleet was bombed by the Spanish Monarchist Forces and Deutschland was damaged and many of the crew killed and wounded. There are many photos of Warships that Hood met and they form

an interesting view into the Naval past. Most of the photos have a caption - or, are explained in the log entry.

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The next two pictures are of Brabrook and friends in off duty hours.

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I must be honest and say that I had not previously heard of the bombing of the German Med. Fleet

by the Spanish Air Force loyal to their King. The Deutschland - the Flagship, had earlier called at

Gibralter to pay respects to the British Admiral.

Soon after they returned with numerous dead and many wounded. They had also suffered structural damage. The British took the wounded to hospital , gave help to the ship and arranged a Service funeral for the dead. This included details of seamen and of Royal Marines. You will also see the

Gibralter Police in their British Helmets. The dead were buried - as you will see from the photos.

Then an order came from Hitler that they were to be brought back to Germany for buriel. This

involved exhumation and them being taken back to the German ship.

The quality of the photos is not great - but, are still the first I have seen from a Naval background.

I would be interested to learn from any of our German Members, where they were buried - what sort of Service was arranged - and what happened to the Captain - or, Admiral - on the Deutschland ?

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THE FINAL CHAPTER

In May 1941 HMS Hood was based at Scapa Flo - in Scotland. She - and the Battleship HMS

Prince of Wales were ordered to pursue the German Battleship - the Bismarck, which was

accompanied by the heavy cruiser Prince Eugen.

They caught up with Bismark in the Denmark Straits and opened fire. Bismarck returned fire

and in the opening salvoes Hood was hit on the stern. She exploded with great force and only three survivors - who were blown off the upper decks, survived and were found. Bismarck - after a long chase was also caught and sunk. Hood sunk on 24 May 1941.

The accepted reason for the explosion has always been that the decks were not heavily armoured -

she was built for speed - and a shell penetrated and hit the main rear magazine. Both wrecks have

since been found and explored - although, it is still the rear magazine which is blamed. However,

the experts are not sure if it was deck penetration - or, the turret being blown-up and the flame

going to the magazine. They have also considered that a shell may have dropped short and continued underwater to hit below the armour belt.

I don't suppose if we will ever know - however, there is still an HMS Hood Association to keep her

memory alive. Mervyn

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Tom - thankyou for your comments. I see from your profile that you have a number of research projects and

are a Regular member of the Navy. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any help - and post

some of your work. Best wishes Mervyn

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