The bell from a sunken British WWII battlecruiser, retrieved from the depths of the Denmark Strait by a team led by Paul Allen, was unveiled in a commemorative service on Tuesday, 75 years after it was lost.
The HMS Hood was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic on May 24, 1941. The loss of life was the worst for any British warship, as 1,415 crew members died and only three survived.
According to a story on Allen’s website, it was the wish of survivor Ted Briggs that the bell be recovered as a memorial to his shipmates.
A team led by Microsoft co-founder Allen, that included Blue Water Recoveries, retrieved the bell one and a half miles below the surface last August. The expedition was launched from Allen’s yacht M/Y Octopus, which was equipped with a state-of-the-art remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that was adapted to safely retrieve the bell.
See more photos from the moving ceremony and the bell.
— Vulcan Inc. (@VulcanInc) May 24, 2016
Restored HMS Hood bell rung today by HRH The Princess Royal in a moving ceremony to honor sailors lost at sea. pic.twitter.com/Fm8j38zqq6
— Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) May 25, 2016
According to the Allen site, the bell was in good condition, despite its long submersion. It underwent series of metallurgical tests and analysis and eventually a minimum amount of surface cleaning, “leaving the staining and the calcified work casts as evidence of the time spent in the sea.”
Princess Anne led the ceremony at The National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, UK. The bell was installed in the National Museum of the Royal Navy exhibition at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard that will be open to the public. The exhibition is entitled “36 Hours: The Battle That Won the War,”