Launched in August 1918 and commissioned in May 1920, Hood was the largest battlecruiser ever built and the most famous ship in the Royal Navy. This was in part due to the ‘World’ Cruise which took place between November 1923 and September 1924 when, accompanied by HMS Repulse and a squadron of light cruisers, she visited many ports around the world.
In the early years of WW2 Hood was a frequent visitor to Scapa Flow. By 1941 she was a veteran of 21 years, still the largest ship in the Royal Navy and badly in need of a refit.
By comparison, the battleship Bismarck, the largest ship in the German Navy, was of similar size but had been newly commissioned in August 1940. Her sheer size, speed, armour protection and weaponry made her a major threat to allied shipping.
When she arrived in Norway in May 1941 accompanied by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, intelligence suggested she was heading for the North Atlantic.
The battle which took place on 24 May in the Denmark Strait, between Iceland and Greenland, resulted in HMS Hood sinking within minutes of being hit, with the loss of 1,415 of her crew of 1,418.