-H.M.S. Hood Association Online Archive-
Jottings of an Ageing Seafarer (March 1997)
Updated 06-May-2014

Hood veteran and Association member Dick Turner wrote the following account of the March 1997 trip to the area in which Hood sank.
This expedition was featured in the television documentary "The Mighty Hood"/"Sunk by the Bismarck."

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Dick Turner, Rev Ron Patterson, Dennis Finden & Joanna Warrand

March 11th - March 16th 1997

Heathrow to Iceland. H.D.M.S. Triton

In conjunction with I.T.N. Channel 4 Discovery

"Hood" rests 63-20"N 31-50"W

Lost 1418 Souls

24th May 1941

Flew from Heathrow to Reykjavik 11th March, 1997. Left 13.45 hrs, arrived 16.25 hrs.

Joined H.D.M.S "Trident" F358, Commander Captain Svend Erik Madsen, after a mini-coach trip of 50 kilometres to harbour and "Trident" in heavy snow. Captain Svend received us in the wardroom. Buffet reception and drinks on the bridge all evening. A wonderful greeting. Finally allocated our quarters - I am sharing ships sick bay with Commander Phil Holyhead, R.N. Quite palatial, side by side bunks, our own shower room and toilet. Slept quite well but awoke during the night, mind full of thoughts - all so wonderful. Ships call at 07.00 hrs, breakfast at 07.30 hrs. Safety procedure 08.30hrs, sailed at 09.00hrs on the bridge with the Captain. Have spent all the morning and afternoon on the bridge. Helicopter deployed 14.30 hours just running into snowstorm.

Helicopter up again with ships doctor (a lady Lieutenant) being lowered by hoist - practice for a doctor landing on a ship in an emergency. Time 15.00hrs. Doctor picked up from deck. Back on helicopter now doing a dry run of refuelling whilst hovering. Now 16.00 hrs.

01.00hrs, Thursday, 13th. On bridge over last known position of "Hood". Sat with operator carrying out Box44 Sonar search - sea depth 2.5 kilometers plus. 08.30hrs: a bit loppy, slackened speed. Awaiting 09.30hrs "Hood" remembrance service, having practised singing with Danish ships company the service hymns. All radar and sonar displays on the bridge are in English, that being the common language of such ships' aids.

Thursday, 13th, 09.30hrs: muster on the flight deck - ships' company and "Hood's". I read the Bidding Prayer and the Lords Prayer. I committed to the deep "Hood" Association wreath, followed by the "Tritons", "Bismarck", Ganges J. Warrand, wreath of Cross. I then committed the ashes of Anne Hurst. Prayers and then as a gesture of respect every member of "Triton" lead by Senior Commander Captain Svend Madsen cast a red rose over the side, saluting guns fired three shots. Afterwards Den and I stood quietly at the very after end and dipped our standard, and said our individual prayer, including one for Ted Briggs, as I had promised him. The service lasted about three-quarters of an hour. I.T.N. then interviewed us together.

Retired to lower rating mess for mulled punch.

Captain is now taking us further north to possibly view ice floes. Still a bit loppy, may have found my sea legs! One perhaps good lunch with Captain. Afternoon on bridge, deployed helicopter. 1700hrs in the wardroom pre dinner drink with the Captain. Steak and delicious potatoes sliced and fried. Lots of red wine. Up to the bridge, put investigating crew on German fish factory ship by helicopter. We then picked them up by rubber inflatable. Steaming north into the pack ice floe. Sun streaming on floe. Wonderful. Have come out of the ice for the night, and now steaming in a 30 mile box. Our marine bugler played sunset and is going to wake us with reveille. Just left the Captain's quarter, having had coffee and brandy. Quite a day.

0700hrs 14/4/97 Friday. Had a somewhat bumpy night. Steadier now will learn facts later. Marine Brown blew reveille.

Captain and senior officer have told us we shall arrive back in the ice floe. 0800hrs now, going on to the bridge with my camera. Norman's coat has been a blessing - temp now -5, wind factor -20 very, very cold. 1130hrs clearing the floe, fantastic ice fields. Lunch with Captain. Starters raw herring and ackawitt and cold fish salads etc. followed by hot meat and coffee. Ship progressing 18 knots up and down and roaring icy wind, but now have both sea legs. Going to do an inflatable run to see ship at sea. Could have made up crew but declined, coward. Not really just prudent. All exercises finished, set course 90 degrees 16 to 18 knots for home. Sea state 5/6 a head sea a roller coaster ride. Due in tomorrow Saturday 0900hrs think. En route we are invited by the officers for our usual drink before we go up to the Captain's quarters, for our evening meal. He is a great Captain. Dinner avocado and tuna and turkey tomatoes etc. Soup nice. Some not at dinner.

2030hrs just come down from bridge. Wind speed now 50K, very rough. About 190 miles to harbour E.T.A. 1030 hrs due to weather. 0015hrs messenger knocked our door, northern lights visible from bridge. Go up to see also comet star (Mars) and new moon. Turn in 0045hrs still very rough and ship proceeding 18knots. Sleep for three and a half hours. Fed up. Wash and shave and dress. Go up on bridge, have coffee with second in command and generally chat to the two watch keepers. 0730hrs down to breakfast and now going back on to the bridge for entering harbour. Still doing 18 knots but sea now good in vicinity of land. 0900hrs in harbour. Iceland T.V. waiting to interview us. 1130hrs lunch with Captain more raw herring with adquwvitt cooked potato with a Danish faggot very nice indeed. Now going to catch up with a bit of sleep. Tonight we have a reception with the Captain and officers. During the evening I have to make the plaque presentation. Have boxed clever throughout, and so to the reception. Some eighty people in the wardroom. The British Ambassador and his lady, the Commander Icelandic Fleet etc. Captain Svend Madsen and I exchanged gifts etc. I made the speech of appreciation. He and I embraced like brothers. A long time since I have felt such a kinship. I feel leaving is going to be quite, quite emotional.

Rev. Ron and I were up on the bridge early this morning, up there looking out. Almost cathedral like, great peace and serenity. I am grateful to God and to them for making it all possible. It will live with me for ever. Left ship 1050hrs. We felt, or I feel, that leaving the captain was like leaving a brother. All the officers and side party were there. We were piped over the side. Mad a mini-bus and a tour including the blue lagoon. A hot out of doors sulphur pool. Need to keep your body covered as the outside temperature was freezing. Getting out and walking to the shower was very cold. At the airport now waiting to board plane, one and a half hours' delay. Flew at 1745hrs. Good flight home, and safe. Thank God.

Other Accounts
"HDMS 'TRITON' - Voyage of Commemoration for H.M.S. HOOD, March 1997," by Rob White