TRITON commemorates HMS HOOD (1997):
Voyage of Commemoration for H.M.S. HOOD
The Royal Danish Navy shows great courtesy
In March 1997 the Danish Offshore Patrol Frigate TRITON took veterans of the HMS HOOD to the inhospitable waters of the Denmark Strait on a voyage of commemoration
By Rob White
Denmark Straits, off Greenland, 13th March 1997:
The Offshore Patrol Frigate
the Northern Atlantic
The Captain and ship's company of Her Danish Majesty's Ship TRITON are gathered on the flight deck of their ship, with veterans of the Second World War and representatives of the Royal Navy, to conduct a special service of remembrance.
They are honoring the memory of the 1418 officers and men lost in the sinking of H.M.S. 'Hood' - destroyed by the guns of the Nazi battleship 'Bismarck' over fifty years before.
It was the Royal Navy's single biggest loss in the war.
Now, thanks to the Royal Danish Navy, 'Hood' at last receives the commemoration she and her crew have so long deserved - at the very site of her sinking.
Let me introduce myself.
My name is Rob White. I am the producer of a new documentary about H.M.S. 'Hood', which is to be shown on the Discovery Channel in America later this month (June 1997).
As the son of a naval officer, 'Hood' has long held a fascination for me: she was unique, a beautiful and powerful ship that captured the hearts of the British people, earning her the nickname 'mighty Hood'.
had a problem. How could we best show what she meant to those who knew her?
The answer was to conduct a special service at the site of her loss. But how were we to do this? 'Hood' lies in the Denmark Straits - some of the most inhospitable waters in the world, especially in March.
Courtesy of the Royal Danish Navy
The Royal Navy were unable to help - these are no longer their patrol waters. So, with fingers crossed, I contacted Commander Senior Grade Cortes in Admiral Danish Fleet's office at Aarhus.
like a chaplain for the service? And a bugler to sound the 'Last Post'? Would we like TRITON's crew to take part?
It got to the point that I felt like a child opening present after present on Christmas morning!
The voyage itself began brilliantly, with a special reception for our 'Hood' veterans - and the presentation of a model of their old ship, made by 'Cage Man' (Technician) Lars Rasmussen.
Departing Reykjavik, TRITON arrived at the scene of 'Hood's sinking just after midnight on the same day.
to end the commemoration.
All the veterans were most moved and grateful - especially as the young crew of TRITON had shown great kindness to them; many indeed had gone to the trouble of studying the history of 'Hood', and took the opportunity to talk to the veterans about her.
An unforgettable journey
Meanwhile we were given all the facilities we needed to film this elegant and efficient ship, from the air and from the waterline. She looked especially beautiful the day after the service, as she sailed among the ice floes of the Straits.
On our return to Reykjavik, another reception was held, entertaining diplomats, officials, and representatives of the Icelandic Coastguard and media.
following day, before and after a special service at the beautiful church of St George's, close by the Royal Naval dockyard.
Once in a lifetime
All of us involved in the voyage feel that we have been shown so much generosity and goodwill by TRITON's captain and ship's company, and by the Royal Danish Navy, that we have a debt we can scarcely hope to repay.
But the warmth and friendship we received, with the skill and efficiency of all on board, made the voyage quite literally a "once in a lifetime" experience.
And TRITON and her ship's company will live in all our hearts forever.
Rob White, ITN Factual, June 1997.
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This page was first published: October 20, 2002