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Divers find wreck of HMS Hood

The wreck of HMS Hood lies at 3,000 metres in Denmark Strait
The wreck of HMS Hood lies at 3,000 metres in Denmark Strait  

LONDON, England -- An undersea expedition has discovered the wreck of the Royal Navy battle cruiser HMS Hood which sank 60 years ago.

The Hood -- considered to be the most advanced naval ship in the world when she was built -- was sunk in May 1941 by a single shell from the German battleship Bismarck.

All but three of her 1,416 crew perished.

The Hood was built at Clydebank and launched in 1918.

Although the world's largest warship for 20 years, she was lightly armoured and vulnerable to fire from heavy shells.

Three days after sinking the Hood, the Bismarck was itself sunk with the loss of over 2,000 men.

The expedition has already relocated the wreck of the Bismarck and beamed colour footage back by satellite to the UK for the first time.

The Hood's remains, which include substantial portions of the ship's hull, were found at a depth of 3,000 metres in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland.

The first pictures of the wreck were broadcast on television in Britain on Monday by Channel 4 News.

It was found by a team led by deep-sea explorer David Mearns as part of an expedition funded by Channel 4 with the support of the Ministry of Defence, the Hood Association, the Royal Naval Association and the Royal British Legion.

Mearns said: "Our immediate reaction has been one of surprise by the damage suffered by Hood.

"It is far worse than any of us expected."

The battleship's bell lay among the remains
The battleship's bell lay among the remains  

He added: "The images we have seen is a constant reminder that the wreck site is a massive war grave and in that regards I have the deepest respect for the 1,415 men who died here 60 years ago.

"Before we leave the site we plan to leave a bronze memorial plaque that lists all their names with the hope that their relatives can be comforted by the knowledge that their grave is properly marked."

Ted Briggs, the sole survivor of the Hood who is still alive, said: "Many of the relatives of the men lost with the Hood have spoken to me to say how happy they are that we are going out to the site.

"This is a chance to say a final goodbye to the men who died there."

He added: "I've been haunted by this for the last 60 years and I feel that I've finally laid a ghost to rest."

Channel 4 will transmit a documentary about the search -- called Hunt for Hood - on August 6.

• Channel 4 - Hunt for the Hood
• H.M.S. Hood Association
• Ministry of Defence
• The Battleship "Bismarck"
• Royal British Legion

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