-H.M.S. Hood Association Online Archive-
Memorial Service in the Denmark Strait, September 2008
Updated 06-May-2014

On Thursday, 04 September 2008, the liner MS Boudicca paid tribute to the lost men of Hood. John Dowdell, sent us the following facts and photos.

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MS Boudicca of Fred Olsen Cruise LinesIn September 2008, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines ship MS Boudicca undertook a 15 night cruise from Newcastle to the Faeroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. Among those aboard was John Dowdell and his wife. John's father, William Dowdell, was lost in the sinking of H.M.S. Hood on 24 May 1941. John, the youngest of the Dowdell children, was just five years old at the time. He knew Boudicca would pass quite close to the location in which his father was lost, so he intended to throw flowers on behalf of his sisters and himself into the sea at the appropriate time.

Also aboard the ship was military historian Hugh Davies. Mr Davies was aboard presenting a series of lectures on the Battle of the Atlantic. During the trip he and John became acquainted and John's family history and connection to nearby Hood was discussed. This information was then brought to the attention of the ship's cruise director and then to the ship's master himself, Captain Bjarne Bahne Larsen. Captain Larsen a Reserve officer in the Danish Navy, determined that the ship could safely alter course by 60 miles to visit the nearby wreck site of Hood.

Boudicca reached the area of the wreck (the wreck coordinates are not publicly known so the ship was technically not at the precise location, but certainly very near) on 04 September 2008. At 1145 hours, Captain Larsen and key crew members led a memorial service on the quarterdeck, to include a lesson, reveille and last post plus the observance of two minutes of silence. The service was concluded with wreaths being dropped by Captain Larsen and John Dowdell.

John was later presented with a chart from Captain Larsen depicting the deviation in the ship's course to the site of Hood's wreck.

Thanks to this touching and kind act by Captain Larsen and the crew of Boudicca, John was able to pay his family tribute at the actual location. This meant a great deal to John and his family. It also means a great deal to all those who lost loved ones in Hood. The Captain also presented him with a chart showing the diversion.

The following photos are of the memorial service.

Assorted Photos

Click on any of the photos below to view enlarged versions

Passengers gathering for the service
Passengers gathering for the service

The service on the quarterdeck
The service on the quarterdeck

Cruise Director Ronnie Finch leading the service
Cruise Director Ronnie Finch leading the service

John Hutchinson reads the lesson
John Hutchinson reads the lesson


Ships officers during the moment of slience
Ship's officers during the moment of silence

A wreath is presented to John Dowdell
A wreath is presented to John Dowdell

Captain Larsen places his wreath
Captain Larsen places his wreath

John Dowdell places his wreath
John Dowdell places his wreath