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Iceland Mag

Archeology

The mission of the Octopus revealed: The recovery of HMS Hood‘s bell

By Staff

  • The Octopus Paul Allen's superyacht arrived in Reykjavík earlier this summer. Now it's mission in Iceland has been revealed. Photo/Anton Brink

According to an announcement on the website of US billionaire and philanthropist Paul Allen a team operating from his yacht the Octopus managed to recover the bell of the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, sunk in 1941 by the German battleship Bismarck. The recovery took place on August 

Second expedition by the Octopus to the wreck
The Octopus, Paul Allen‘s superyacht, arrived in Reykjavík earlier this summer. At the time no word was forthcoming whether Paul Allen himself was onboard or why the yacht was visiting. The yacht is equipped with two state of the art submersibles which Allen uses both to explore underwater volcanism and marine archaeology. Now the mission has been revealed as Allen‘s team has announced it the successful recovery of the bell of the HMS Hood.

Read more: The superyacht of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is in Reykjavík harbour

In 2012 Allen explored the wreck of the HMS Hood which was sunk west of Iceland on May 24 1941 by the German battleship Bismarck. During that operation Allen and his team attempted to recover the bell The which had first been discovered and photographed in July 2001 by Blue Water Recoveries Ltd. which specialises in the search and investigation of shipwrecks. Bad weather and technical difficulties made recovery impossible in 2012.

One of the most important naval battles of WWII
The Battle of the Denmark Strait, the strait between Iceland and Greenland, is one of the most historic naval battles of WWII, as it involved two of the largest and most powerful warships of the world, the HMS Hood and the Bismarck. The thunder of the battle could be heard in Reykjavík. After having sunk the Hood the Bismarck sailed on south into the Atlantic, but was pursued after the battle for two days by ships and aircraft from the Royal Navy and Air Force. The Bismarck was finally defeated on May 26. The crew scuttled the Bismarck west off the coast of France.

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the ordering and laying down of the HMS Hood and 75th anniversary of its sinking. The Hood was built in 1916-1920 and was the largest ship in the Royal Navy, 47,430 tons and 262 meters (860 feet) long. 1,415 lives were lost onboard the HMS Hood. Only three sailors were rescued.

Allen announced the recovery of the bell on his Twitter feed on Saturday:

A video posted on Paul Allen‘s webpage shows provides highlights from the expedition and shows how one of the submersibles onboard the Octopus recovered the bell.

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