-History of H.M.S. Hood-
Career Timeline of H.M.S. Hood, Part 4
Updated 07-May-2014

The following is a timeline of Hood'scareer from launch until sinking. Much of this information was derived from her official logs by Bruce Taylor, author of the magnificent book "'The Battlecruiser H.M.S. Hood: An Illustrated History". We are most indebted to him for allowing us to borrow heavily from his information to augment our own research here until such time as we complete our own day-by-day history of Hood.

Also note that we have basic location information in our Searchable Database of Movements of H.M.S. Hood.

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Hood at War (31 August 1939-24 May 1941)

-1939-

31 August: Royal Navy mobilised for war. Hood departed Scapa Flow to form patrol between Iceland and Faeroes with Battle Cruiser Squadron (Repulse and Renown) and three destroyers.

31 August–06 September: At sea.

01–06 September: At sea as part of war mobilisation.

03 September: World War II officially began at 1100 hours.
05 September: Hood narrowly avoided a German torpedo.

06–08 September: At Scapa Flow. Took on oil and provisions. Men made and repaired clothing, practised anti-aircraft drills, washed decks and conducted 4" firing practice.

08–12 September: Hood, along with Renown, cruisers Belfast & Edinburgh plus 4 destroyers, were assigned to cover the Iceland-Faeroes Pass. As always, the mission was to block potential Kriegsmarine attempts to enter the Atlantic shipping lanes in that vicinity. Conducted 15" and HA firings on 11 and 12 September.

12–14 September: At Scapa Flow. Oiled, reprovisioned and gave crew recreation time. Gunnery and spotting drills were conducted. Ship washed. Cinema rigged.

14–15 September: En-route to Loch Ewe.

15–20 September: At Loch Ewe. Crew permitted recreation time. Ship cleaned. Visited by Winston Churchill, 1st Lord of the Admiralty and Admiral Sir Charles Forbes, Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet, on 17 September. Cinema rigged and unrigged on 17 September.

20–21 September: En route to Scapa Flow.

21–22 September: At Scapa Flow.

22–23 September: At sea covering raid in the Skagerrak. Escort ships sighted a U-boat and mine during the foray.

23–25 September: At Scapa Flow.

25–27 September: At sea with H.M.S.'s Nelson, Rodney, Repulse, Ark Royal, 18th Cruiser Squadron and X destroyers to provide distant cover for rescue of damaged submarine HMS/m. Spearfish from Horns Reef /Dogger Bank.

26 September: Hood was struck by one 500 lb bomb from a Ju-88 bomber; glancing hit of her port side with detonation in the sea. Hood suffered a few sprung rivets, port bulge amidships flooded slightly, condensers damaged and minor shrapnel damage.

27 September–01 October: At Scapa Flow.

01–02 October: En route to Loch Ewe with H.M.S. Nelson.

02–05 October: At Loch Ewe.

05 October: Admiral Forbes, Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet: ‘Retubing of all main condensers advised soon in Hood.’

05–06 October: En route to Scapa Flow with H.M.S. Nelson.

06–08 October: At Scapa Flow.

07 October: HM King George VI came aboard Hood briefly.

08 October: Departed Scapa Flow with H.M.S.'s Repulse, Aurora, Sheffield and four destroyers (Force E) towards Norwegian coast to intercept Gneisenau, Köln and nine destroyers reported steering north off Obrestad Light, Norway

08–11 October: On patrol in the Norwegian Sea with H.M.S.'s Repulse, Aurora, Sheffield and four destroyers (Force E). Attempting to intercept Gneisenau, Köln and nine destroyers reported steering north off Obrestad Light, Norway.

10 October: En route to Loch Ewe with H.M.S. Nelson and six destroyers.

11–15 October: At Loch Ewe.

15–22 October: On patrol between Scotland and Iceland.

16–17 October: Covers armed merchant cruisers of Northern Patrol with H.M.S.'s Nelson, Rodney, Furious, Aurora, Belfast and nine destroyers

22–23 October: At Loch Ewe.

23–31 October: On patrol in the Norwegian Sea with H.M.S.'s Nelson, Rodney and six destroyers. Searched for SS City of Flint off the Lofoten Islands.

26 October: Covered Narvik iron ore convoy.
30 October: Force unsuccessfully attacked by U-boat U56 off the Orkney Islands. 3 torpedoes were launched at Nelson. 1 missed completely, but the others struck the ship. Fortunately, neither one detonated.

31 October–02 November: At Greenock.

31 October: Hood visited by the Rt Hon. Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty.

02–09 November: On patrol off the Hebrides and in the Norwegian Sea with H.M.S. Nelson

04 November: Dispositions made to intercept German SS New York.
06–07 November: Covers first outbound Scandinavian convoy of the War (ON1).

09 November: At Rosyth.

09–11 November: En route to Plymouth escorted by destroyers H.M.S.'s Intrepid, Ivanhoe and Fearless

11–25 November: At Plymouth. Taken in hand for minor repairs, 13 - 25 November.

25 November: Departed Plymouth to intercept ship presumed to be Deutschland (actually Scharnhorst and Gneisenau) following sinking of armed merchant cruiser H.M.S. Rawalpindi.

25 November–2 December: Hood and a group of destroyers combined forces with elements of the French Navy (Dunkerque, George Leygues, Montcalm and 2 destroyers) . The entire group was under the command of French Vice Admiral Marcel Gensoul. The objective was to patrol the area south of Iceland and possibly intercept the German raiders. The enemy were not sighted. Hood returned to Greenock.

02–11 December: En route to and then on patrol north of the Faeroes with destroyer escorts.

05–08 December: With four destroyers acts as distant cover for Norwegian convoy.
09 December: Hood and escorting destroyers ordered by Admiral Forbes, Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet, to proceed to Greenock.

11–13 December: At Greenock.

13–17 December: At sea with Warspite, Barham and six or seven destroyers to intercept Leipzig, Nürnberg, Köln and five destroyers in North Sea. The group was then rerouted to cover First Canadian Troop Convoy in the Atlantic

16–17 December: Meets Canadian Troop Convoy (including R.M.S. Aquitania and four other liners) north of Ireland. Escorts troop convoy to Greenock.

17–27 December: At Greenock.

23–24 December: With H.M.S.'s Edinburgh and Glasgow covers convoy DHN6 carrying arms for Finland.

27 December–31 December 1940: On patrol in the North Atlantic and Norwegian Sea (27 December 1939 - 05 January 1940).

28 December: From area west of Hebrides proceeds north with four destroyers to patrol north of the Shetlands.
29–31 December: On patrol north of the Shetlands with three destroyers

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-1940-

01–05 January: Still on patrol.

01–02 January: On patrol north of the Shetlands with three destroyers.

02–05 January: With four destroyers covers HN convoy and operations by Northern Patrol north of the Shetlands

05–15 January: At Greenock.

15–24 January: At sea with H.M.S. Warspite and 8th Destroyer Flotilla.

15–22 January: Patrols Shetland–Faeroes gap.

22–24 January: Carries out gunnery practise east of North Rona.

24 January–09 February: At Greenock.

09–18 February: At sea with H.M.S. Warspite and eight destroyers.

10 February: From area west of Hebrides proceeds northwards with Warspite and destroyers to cover Scandinavian convoys.
12–14 February: On patrol north-west of the Shetlands.
16 February: Heads east with Warspite and seven destroyers to support the boarding of the Altmark if necessary.

18–19 February: At Greenock.

19–24 February: At sea with H.M.S.'s Warspite and Rodney.

20–22 February: Covers convoy DN14 (Kirkwall–Scandinavia) from position north-east of Shetlands.
21 February: From Admiralty: 'Owing to congestion in home yards it will be necessary to carry out retubing of condensers of Hood at Malta where she can be taken in hand about 3 March. Minimum time required for this work is 45 days. Hood should be sailed for Malta after Renown has finished giving leave.' (Order later rescinded.)
23 February: Hood en route to the Clyde with H.M.S. Rodney and eight destroyers after providing distant cover for convoy HN14.

24 February–02 March: At the Clyde.

02–07 March: At sea with H.M.S. Valiant and six destroyers to cover Norwegian convoys and Northern Patrol.

03 March: On patrol 60 miles East of the Faeroes.
05 March: With H.M.S. Valiant and five or six destroyers including H.M.S. Kelly covered convoy ON17 and ON17a from Norway.

07–14 March: At Scapa Flow.

08–09 March: Hood visited for again by the Rt Hon. Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty.
11 March: Flag of William J. Whitworth, Rear-Admiral Commanding Battle Cruiser Squadron, transferred to H.M.S. Renown.

14–15 March: En route to Greenock escorted by three destroyers.

15–30 March: At Greenock.

25 March: Declared unavailable for operations in Freetown–Dakar area in view of need to retube condensers.
29 March: 'Owing to political situation it has been decided that retubing of condensers of Hood is to take place at Devonport instead of Malta. Ship can be taken in hand now.'

30–31 March: En route to Plymouth escorted by three destroyers.

31 March–27 May: At Plymouth.

04 April–23 May: Taken in hand for refitting, retubing of condensers, etc.
13 April: Landing party of 250 Marines and Seamen from Hood (together with ship's howitzer) depart by train for Rosyth to participate in Operation PRIMROSE- the occupation of Ålesund, Norway.
17–18 April: Party from Hood landed at Åandalsnes, Norway from H.M. sloop Black Swan.
30 April–01 May: Main body of landing party re-embarked on Galatea at Åandalsnes.
03 May: 20 members of expeditionary force return to Hood.
06 May: Rest of expeditionary force (except three injured men) return to Hood.

27–28 May: En route to Liverpool escorted by HM destroyers Witch, Escort and Wolverine.

28 May–12 June: At Liverpool. Taken in hand for refitting and repairs in Gladstone Dock.

01-12 June: Leave given to crew, antiaircraft drills, small calibre and main armament drills, clean and painted ship, fire party training. Very uncomfortable time for many ratings due to a rash of stomach illnesses and the fact that there were no working bathroom facilities onboard! Men had to do their best to reach dockside facilities.

12–16 June: At sea escorted by H.M.C. destroyers Skeena, Restigouche and St Laurent to cover ANZAC Troop Convoy US3 (R.M.S.'s Queen Mary, Empress of Britain, Aquitania, Mauretania, Andes and Empress of Canada) from Bay of Biscay to the Clyde. Zigzagged and exercised guns en route.

14–16 June: Met convoy US3 in Bay of Biscay and escorted it to the Clyde with Argus, Dorsetshire, Shropshire, Cumberland and nine destroyers.

16–18 June: At Greenock. Refuelled ship. Leave given to crew. Ship painted.

18–23 June: En route to Gibraltar escorted by destroyers Fraser, Restigouche, Wanderer, Skeena and St Laurent to join H.M.S. Ark Royal 250 miles west of Malin Head and proceed to Gibraltar.

23–26 June: At Gibraltar.

25 June: France ended it's participation in the war when Marshall Petain signed an armistice with Germany.

26–27 June: At sea heading towards Canary Islands with Force H including H.M.S. Ark Royal and five destroyers to intercept Richelieu, reported sailed from Dakar, and escort her if possible to Gibraltar.

27 June: Hood turns for Gibraltar after Richelieu reported returned to Dakar after meeting H.M.S. Dorsetshire.

27–28 June: At Gibraltar.

28 June: Departed Gibraltar towards Canary Islands with H.M.S. Ark Royal against reports, later proven incorrect, that Richelieu had left Dakar; returned to Gibraltar immediately.

28 June–02 July: At Gibraltar.

30 June: Flag of Sir James Somerville, Vice-Admiral Commanding Force H, hoisted.

02–04 July: Force H – Ark Royal, Valiant, Resolution, Arethusa, Enterprise and 11 destroyers: 8th Destroyer Flotilla (Faulknor, Foxhound, Fearless, Forester, Foresight and Escort); 13th Destroyer Flotilla (Keppel, Active, Wrestler, Vidette and Vortigern) – undertakes Operation CATAPULT, the neutralisation of the French fleet at Oran (Mers-el Kebir, Algeria).

03 July: Force H arrives off Mers-el-Kebir. 1755–1804: Force H shells French fleet in harbour resulting in destruction of Bretagne and serious damage to Dunkerque and Provence; 1809–1812: shore batteries engaged; escaping Strasbourg pursued until 2022. Described by witnesses as "shooting fish in a barrel." The French suffered heavy losses: @1,300 men dead and 4 ships put out of commission. The British were fortunate- only a handful of aircraft were lost. Hood was even luckier...no serious casualties (2 lightly wounded men). Note: See the above link for an official account of the battle at Oran. An alternative narrative by one of Hood's officers can be seen by clicking here. Additionally, you can learn more about efforts to return the dead to France by clicking here.
04 July: En route to Gibraltar. Unsuccessfully attacked by French bombers.

04–05 July: At Gibraltar

05–06 July: En route to Mers-el-Kebir area with Force H (H.M.S.'s Ark Royal, Valiant, Arethusa, Enterprise and 10 destroyers) to implement Operation LEVER, an air strike against Dunkerque beached at Mers-el-Kebir.

06 July: Off Mers-el-Kebir; air strike launched from H.M.S. Ark Royal 90 miles north-east of Oran. Returned to Gibraltar 06 July.

06–08 July: At Gibraltar.

08–11 July: At sea with Force H– Ark Royal, Valiant, Resolution, Arethusa, Enterprise, Delhi and 10 destroyers: 8th Destroyer Flotilla (Faulknor, Foresight, Fearless, Foxhound and Escort); 13th Destroyer Flotilla (Keppel, Douglas, Vortigern, Wishart and Watchman)–to mount a diversionary attack on the Italian airfield at Cagliari, Sardinia while two convoys sail from Malta to Alexandria.

09 July: Force H attacked by Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) S.M.79 bombers. Several near misses but no serious damage. Cagliari mission (mentioned above) aborted. The mission was still successful over all though: both convoys arrived safely plus Regia Marina forces were driven from Calabria.

11–31 July: At Gibraltar.

27 July: UP mounting on 'B' turret accidentally fires off 20 charges over harbour; three ratings badly burnt.

31 July–04 August: At sea with Force H (Ark Royal, Valiant, Resolution, Enterprise and nine destroyers: Faulknor, Foxhound, Forester, Foresight, Hotspur, Greyhound, Gallant, Escapade, Encounter and Velox) to carry out Operation HURRY- a diversionary attack on Cagliari Airfield while Argus flew off aircraft for Malta.

01 August: Force H suffers high-level attack from Italian S.M.79 bombers; no damage.
02 August: Escorted by Hood, H.M.S. Ark Royal launches air strike on Cagliari airfield while H.M.S. Argus flies off 12 Hurricanes for Malta from a position south-west of Sardinia; Force H turns for Gibraltar.
02–04 August: En route to Gibraltar.

04 August: Briefly at Gibraltar. Departed the same day with H.M.S.'s Ark Royal, Valiant, Arethusa, Enterprise and nine destroyers (including Faulknor, Foresight, Forester, Foxhound and Escapade) for Scapa Flow.

04–10 August: En route to Scapa Flow.

06 August: In company with H.M.S.'s Arethusa and Foxhound, meets H.M. destroyers Tartar, Bedouin and Punjabi.
08–10 August: Escorted to Scapa Flow by destroyer Escapade

10–16 August: At Scapa Flow.

10 August: Flag of Sir James Somerville, Vice-Admiral Commanding Force H, transferred to H.M.S. Renown; that of William J. Whitworth, Vice-Admiral Commanding Battle Cruiser Squadron, transferred from Renown.

16 August: En route to Rosyth escorted by H.M. destroyer Vimiera.

16–24 August: At Rosyth. Taken in hand for replacement of "A" turret's port 15 inch gun, 17-24 August.

24–25 August: En route to Scapa Flow escorted by four destroyers.

25 August–13 September: At Scapa Flow

13 September: En route to Rosyth with H.M.S.'s Nelson, Rodney, Bonaventure, Naiad, Cairo and seven destroyers against possible German invasion.

13–28 September: At Rosyth.

28–29 September: At sea with H.M.S. Naiad to intercept enemy cruiser and convoy reported off Stavanger.

29 September–15 October: At Scapa Flow.

15–19 October: At sea with destroyers Somali, Eskimo and Mashona [also: Matabele and possibly Punjabi] to cover attack by Force D ( Furious, Berwick and Norfolk) on Tromsö, Norway.

17 October: Made for Scapa Flow in view of bad weather.

19–23 October: At Scapa Flow.

23–24 October: At sea with H.M.S.'s Repulse, Dido, Phoebe and destroyers Matabele, Punjabi and Somali towards Obrestad to investigate reported enemy movement. Made for Scapa Flow on 24 October.

24–28 October: At Scapa Flow.

28–31 October: At sea with H.M.S.'s Repulse, Furious and six destroyers (including H.M.S. Eskimo) to intercept enemy raider reported by S.S.? Mahout in North Atlantic.

31 October–05 November: At Scapa Flow.

05–11 November: At sea with H.M.S. Repulse and 15th Cruiser Squadron (Dido, Naiad and Bonaventure) and six Tribal-class destroyers including H.M.S.'s Matabele, Punjabi and Somali to cover approaches to Brest and Lorient against return of Admiral Scheer following attack on H.M.S. Jervis Bay and convoy HX84.

09–11 November: Abandoned patrol area west of Land's End to refuel at Scapa Flow on 09 November. En route to Scapa Flow with H.M.S.'s Phoebe, Naiad and three destroyers including H.M.S.'s Eskimo and Sikh.

11–23 November: At Scapa Flow.

23–29 November: At sea with destroyers Cossack, Sikh, Eskimo and Electra to cover operations by 1st Minelaying Squadron and H.M.S. Aurora and destroyers Keppel, Bath and St Albans in the Denmark Strait.

24 November: Joined with 1st Minelaying Squadron and H.M.S. Aurora. Direction Finding hut on mainmast gutted by fire.
25 November: Off Reykjanes, Iceland.

29 November–18 December: At Scapa Flow.

04 December: Hood visited by new Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet, Admiral Sir John Tovey.
11 December: Hood inspected by Admiral Tovey.
12 December: Near mutiny by stokers over pay and lack of leave.

18–20 December: At sea for tactical exercises with H.M.S.'s Nelson, Repulse, Nigeria, Edinburgh, Manchester, Aurora and numerous destroyers south-west of Faeroe Islands.

20–24 December: At Scapa Flow.

24–29 December: At sea with Edinburgh, Cossack, Echo, Electra and Escapade to form patrol in Iceland–Faeroes gap against passage of Admiral Hipper.

29–31 December: At Scapa Flow (29 December 1940 - 02 January 1941).

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-1941-

01–02 January: Still at Scapa Flow.

02–05 January: At sea with destroyers Echo, Sikh, Electra and Eskimo covering operations by 1st Minelaying Squadron north and south of the Faeroe Islands. One of Hood's paravanes encountered an enemy mine off Dunnet Head. Mine was cleared with minimal difficulty.

05–11 January: At Scapa Flow.

11–13 January: At sea with Repulse, Edinburgh, Birmingham and the destroyers Somali, Eskimo, Tartar, Bedouin, Escapade and Eclipse to cover two large convoys against a suspected German surface raider. As of 13 January, Hood was off Dunnet Head, en route to Rosyth with destroyers Echo, Electra and Keppel.

13 January–18 March: At Rosyth. De-ammunititioned, 14–15 January. Taken in hand for a refit, 16 January–17 March. Modifications included the addition of Type 284 gunnery radar and the removal of the forward topmast (it blocked Type 284 radar aerials from rotating properly). The topmast's yard was replaced by one fitted to the rear of the forward starfish platform. A Type 279M aerial surveillance radar was also fitted. Hood's Type 279 was different in that it could transmit and receive from the same aerial. The foremast torpedo lookout was removed. Steam picket boats were replaced by 35' motor launches. The blades of the starboard turbine (stripped during the chase of Strasbourg following Oran) were replaced.

15 February: Captain Ralph Kerr assumed command.
17 February: Fire in Warrant Officers' galley.
16 March: Ship's company inspected by HRH King George VI.

18–23 March: At sea searching for Scharnhorst and Gneisenau 200 miles south-west of the Faeroe Islands.

19 March: Rendezvoused with Queen Elizabeth, Nelson, London and destroyers Eskimo, Electra, Arrow, Inglefield, Echo and Eclipse off Dunnet Head to intercept Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.
20 March: Joined Admiral Sir John Tovey, Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet (in H.M.S. King George V), between Iceland and the Faeroe Islands.
21 March: Hood ordered to steer south at maximum speed to intercept Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.
22–23 March: En route to Scapa Flow with H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth and four destroyers

23–28 March: At Scapa Flow.

28 March–06 April: At sea with destroyers Escapade, Electra and Tartar to act as ocean escort for convoy HX118 from Halifax.

28 March: Diverted to western Bay of Biscay with Nigeria and Fiji to relieve Force H against breakout of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau from Brest.
04 April: Relieved off Brest by King George V and London
04–06 April: En route to Scapa Flow to refuel with destroyers Escapade, Electra and Tartar

06 April: At Scapa Flow briefly.

06–14 April: At sea with Zulu, Maori and Arrow to resume patrol in Bay of Biscay against breakout of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau from Brest.

13–14 April: En route to Scapa Flow with Kenya and destroyers Cossack, Zulu, Maori and Arrow

14–18 April: At Scapa Flow.

18 April: Departed Scapa Flow with H.M.S. Kenya and three destroyers to resume patrol off Brest

18–21 April: At sea with H.M.S. Kenya and three destroyers.

19 April: Altered course for Norwegian Sea following reports that the Bismarck had left Kiel and was heading north-west with two Leipzig-class cruisers and three destroyers.
21 April: Diverted to Hvalfjord, Iceland with destroyer Inglefield against breakout of Bismarck into Atlantic. It was ultimately discovered that Bismarck had gone east and had not attempted to break-out.

21–28 April: At Hvalfjord.

26 April: Assists in repair of H.M. destroyer Scimitar.

28 April–03 May: At sea with Suffolk, Norfolk and destroyers Echo, Active, Achates and Anthony. Covers two convoys against surface attack.

03–04 May: At Hvalfjord. Departed for Scapa Flow on 04 May.

04–06 May: En route to Scapa Flow with Echo, Anthony and two other destroyers.

06-22 May: At Scapa Flow.

08 May: Flag of William J. Whitworth, Vice-Admiral Commanding Battle Cruiser Squadron, struck.
09 May: 4" and 15" gunnery practice.
12 May: Vice Admiral Lancelot E. Holland, new commander of the Battle Cruiser Squadron and Second in Command of the Home Fleet, set up command in Hood.
13 May: Hood conducted range and inclination exercises with King George V in the Pentland Firth.
14 May: Hood conducted a damage control exercise
16-21 May: Based on reports that Bismarck was likely to attempt a breakout into the Atlantic, the ship was more-or-less on alert. Strategies were planned and discussed.

22–24 May: At sea with the battleship Prince of Wales, and destroyers Acates, Antelope, Anthony, Echo, Electra and Icarus. The force proceeded to waters off southern Iceland in case Bismarck and the accompanying cruiser Prinz Eugen attempted a breakout into the Atlantic in that vicinity.

23 May: Bismarck and Prinz Eugen sighted by H.M.S. Suffolk in Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland.
24 May: Hood sunk in the Battle of the Denmark Strait. In the engagement, Hood, Prince of Wales and Bismarck all received damage. At 0600, Hood sank following a catastrophic conflagration/explosion most likely resulting from a deep penetrating hit from Bismarck. Out of a crew of 1,418 only three (Ordinary Signalman Ted Briggs, Midshipman William Dundas and Able Seaman Robert Tilburn) survived. Despite the loss of Hood, the action DID achieve the result of effectively cancelling the German sortie: Though Prinz Eugen escaped, Bismarck was later defeated and sunk with a heavy loss of life. No convoys were lost to either ship.