H.M.S. Hood Crew Information
Hood's NAAFI Canteen Staff
Updated 06-May-2014

When H.M.S. Hoodsank on the morning of 24 May 1941, she not only took the lives of military men, but those of civilians as well. This fact is often forgotten or overlooked. These civilians, seven in number, were a vital and official part of the crew - they were the men of the Navy Army and Air Force Institutes Naval Canteen Service (NAAFI NCS).

Much thanks to RP West, Mrs D Riley, William Lansdowne & the Navy, Army and Air Force Insitutes for their support in creating this artcile. If you have any information or photos of Hood's NAAFI men or of the canteen itself, please contact our staff.

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Brief History of NAAFI
NAAFI was created in early 1921 to serve as the consolidated canteen organisation for Britains three military services. The intent was to create an organisation which not only contributed to the morale and welfare of the troops by providing goods and services, but also returned its profits through various welfare programs. With NAAFI, that is exactly what was achieved. NAAFI proved to be an indispensable aid in the Second World War, boasting approximately 10,000 facilities worldwide. Within the naval portion alone, there were some 800 different canteens aboard various ships.

Hoods NAAFI Canteen
Click to enlarge

Hood's Canteen
Hood's canteen was located on the starboard upper deck abreast of number 2 funnel. Its store room was located one deck below. According to the Hood veterans, the canteen was more or less a counter that one could walk up to and place orders- not a large room with plenty of seating. The canteen staff lived and messed on the Upper Deck to port of "A" turret. Many NCS men worked these areas aboard Hood during her 21 years. The photo on the right shows the canteen as it appeared circa 1924. It likely looked much the same for the remainder of the ship's career.

Hood's Final Canteen Staff
In May 1941, Hood's Naval Canteen Services staff was led by Canteen Manager William Trevarthen. His Canteen Assistants were Ken Algate, Frank Ayling, Geoffrey Jordan, Cecil Lansdowne, Jack Ovenden and Jack Titheridge.

Together, the canteen and staff were an important part of the crew's lives. They operated the Hood's canteen counter and sold a wide variety of goods to include post cards, duty free cigarettes, tobacco, chocolate and confectioneries, tinned fruit, fresh fruit, all toilet requirements, writing pads and so forth. They were responsible for the cleanliness of the canteen, store rooms, mess and sub-bars, and personal appearance. Their services enhanced the quality of life aboard ship.

Of course, running the canteen was not their only job on board the ship– during battle they took action stations along side the military men. Their primary areas of assistance were First Aid/medical assistants and ammunition supply. Each man was at his assigned action station when Hood was lost. Each died bravely alongside fellow sailors and marines.

Assorted Photos
Click on any of the photos (all courtesy of William Lansdowne and Mrs D. Riley) to enlarge:

Frank Ayling, unknown , Cecil Lansdowne & unknown
L-R: Frank Ayling, unknown , Cecil Lansdowne & unknown

Men from Hood's NAAFI Canteen staff
L-R: Jack Ovenden, Geoff Jordan & Cecil Lansdowne

Geoff Jordan, Cecil Lansdowne & Jack Ovenden posing with an unidentified Marine
L-R: Geoff Jordan, Cecil Lansdowne & Jack Ovenden with an unknown Marine

Cecil Lansdowne and Frank Ayling
Cecil Lansdowne (left) & Frank Ayling (right)