Bell recovered from wreck of UK battleship sunk in WWII

AP News
Posted: Aug 10, 2015 1:57 PM

LONDON (AP) — An American philanthropist and investor has recovered a bell from a British battleship that was sunk in the North Atlantic during World War II.

A team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen retrieved the bell from the HMS Hood, once the largest warship in the world and the Royal Navy's symbolic flagship. The Hood was sunk by the German ship Bismarck in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland in 1941. All but three of the Hood's 1,418-strong crew perished.

A first attempt in 2012 to recover the bell from the wreck — lying at 2,800 meters (9,186 feet) deep — failed because of poor weather conditions and technical difficulties. Britain's Royal Navy and Allen's website said Monday a second try, using a remotely operated vehicle and working with shipwreck search company Blue Water Recoveries, succeeded on Friday.

The Hood was the largest ship the Royal Navy ever lost in action.

Admiral George Zambellas, Britain's First Sea Lord, called the Hood a "magnificent symbol of the power of the Royal Navy" and said her loss was a reminder of the high price Britain paid for freedom.

"Her story, her sacrifice, continues to inspire the Royal Navy today," he said in a statement. "The recovery of the ship's bell will help ensure the 1,415 men lost, and the name Hood, will always be remembered by a grateful nation."

The bell was said to be in good condition, though it would require a months-long conservation process. It is expected to be displayed in the National Museum of the Royal Navy in southern England's Portsmouth as a memorial to the Hood and its men.