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Wreck Found Of WWII British
Warship Hood Sunk By Bismarck
7-24-1

LONDON (AFP) - A British search team has located the wreck of a British warship sunk 60 years ago by the Germans during one of World War II's fiercest naval battles, newspapers here reported on Tuesday.
 
 
Television pictures released show for the first time the extensive damage caused to HMS Hood.
 
 
It was seen as the pride of Britain's war fleet prior to its destruction in May 1941 by German ship the Bismarck with the loss of 1,415 lives.
 
 
Built at Clydebank, northwest of Glasgow, and launched in 1918, HMS Hood was the world's largest warship for more than 20 years.
 
 
But it was lightly amoured and vulnerable to fire from heavy shells. It sank within minutes of being struck by a shell from the Bismarck, which itself was sunk three days after destroying HMS Hood with the loss of 2,000 men.
 
 
An expedition recently located remains of HMS Hood -- including substantial portions of the ship's hull -- 3,000 metres below the surface in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland.
 
 
The ship was found scattered over the ocean floor, with the largest portion of the hull lying overturned and the starboard side and bows torn off.
 
 
The search for the ship was led by undersea explorer David Mearns, using state-of-the-art sonar and remote-controlled submarine vehicles.
 
 
"Our immediate reaction has been one of surprise by the damage suffered by the Hood," Mearns told reporters.
 
 
"It is far worse than any of us had expected. Filming the wreck and investigating the debris field has been extremely difficult because of the unusually strong bottom currents and the scale of the destruction and large debris fields.
 
 
"The images have been a constant reminder that the wreck site is a massive war grave and in that regard I have the deepest respect for the 1,415 men who died here 60 years ago."
 
 
He added that before leaving the site, the team planned to leave a bronze memorial plaque listing the names of those who died.
 
 
Ted Briggs, 78, the last survivor of the Hood's 1,418-strong crew, said he felt relieved at the expedition's findings.
 
 
"I've been haunted by this for the last 60 years and I feel that I've finally laid a ghost to rest," he was quoted as saying in The Guardian daily.
 
 
Britain's Channel 4 television, which funded the expedition and released the pictures of the wreck, will broadcast a documentary about the search, entitled "Hunt for The Hood" in August. A book is also planned.
 

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