paulcadogan wrote:Hmmmm.... seems that it's pretty standard shape as far as RN bells of the time went. Comparing to Prince of Wales' bell, to me, they are of similar basic shape except for Hood's special inscriptions. The bell was originally on her predecessor, the predreadnought battleship:
Shape maybe, but not 'ornamentation' as it were. And am surprised that it actually came from that earlier era, given what I will relate below (as regards ornamentation).
paulcadogan wrote:Inscribed around the base: "This bell was preserved from HMS Hood battleship 1891-1914 by the late Rear Admiral, The Honourable Sir Horace Hood KCB, DSO, MVO killed at Jutland on 31st May 1916."
And inscribed on the side:
"In accordance with the wishes of Lady Hood it was presented in memory of her husband to HMS Hood battle cruiser the ship she launched 22nd August 1918."
Seem's Hood's bell was pretty special!
Yes when seen in that light no doubt!
paulcadogan wrote:And though I know some do not like the fact that the bells were retrieved from the wrecks - I for one am very happy that they were brought home as tangible memorials to those lost and those who served on both ships. I truly hope that one day I'll have the honour and privilege of seeing them both with my own eyes....
I am in FULL agreement with you there Paul!
paulcadogan wrote:Which other bell have you seen?l
I am glad you asked Paul.
Now I’ve told about this rather shocking ‘incident’ before / elsewhere, but for the benefit of some here I would like to show how even the best of intentions can go terribly wrong. Unfortunately however, the last time I related this incident I mistakenly referred to it as “a bell off HMS Prince of Wales’, when in fact what I am / was actually referring to (there, and now below) was off HMS Repulse. But by the time I realised my error the thread 'over there' had become so rancorous that the moderators locked it and……………….there it still inaccurately stands, along with some of the still baying Jackals. (Anyway, have since corrected said mistake/s in the following.)
But this tale clearly shows why certain specific artefacts should have been brought up from certain wrecks over the years and handed over to the relevant authorities, before they all disappeared forever, as almost all have in the last few years with the illegal commercial salvage of so many historic wrecks from WWII (in the Java Sea, South China Sea and Malacca Strait). No doubt some puritans will call my position
in what I relate below 'grave robbing', but I call it saving / protecting history. So with that said;
Back in 1999 or 2000 (no access to my log books where I am at present for exact date) I was a member of the first mixed gas (i.e. helium based breathing mixtures) expedition to dive HMS Prince of Wales, with all, or most of us diving on CCR’s (Closed Circuit Rebreathers), allowing for long bottom times, and the ability to safely access the max depth of PoW which is approximately 68 metres. The expedition was organised by a friend of mine from the UK, and other than my Ozzie self and Singaporean captain and crew, all aboard were UK nationals. And everyone dived, including a couple of the crew.
The agreement / ‘law’ as laid down / stipulated by the expedition leader (a UK national) was no penetration and no retrieving artefacts. All agreed. And besides diving PoW we also dived HMS Repulse.
So, as it transpired, one day, while diving on Repulse a lift bag ‘balloon’ popped to the surface and under that lift bag hung the most beautiful, repeat THE
most beautiful huge main ships bell I have ever seen, simply magnificent
, belonging of course to HMS Repulse, as testified to by the elegant raised letters on said bell (along with other fine 'decorations'). [Edit. And which make both the bells of Hood and Prince of Wales posted above look 'plain' in comparison, no offence meant.] Now because of the above mentioned ‘agreement’ and that it was one of the Singaporean ‘crew’ that brought it up to the surface (but not / never onto the boat), it was left suspended in space (well water) for a time. A huge argument then took place on board re what to do about the bell now that it was ‘at the surface’. Some voting for bringing it on board and handing it over to the British Embassy, or the RN representative in Singapore immediately upon returning there, others saying (naively as it turned out) it should be put back where it was found. And this ‘vote’ was pretty evenly divided between what to do with it. But the organiser of the expedition (as I said, a UK national) said no way it’s even coming on board to photograph, let alone take it back to the British authorities in Singapore, put it back
, and his word was law as far as we were concerned, even overriding the captain (who had no say / input, nor would his have mattered / counted whatsoever in this instance.)
Well it was duly put back by the same chap that had brought it up. The expedition went on, with arguments continuing about what had just happened. Anyway the expedition finished, we went back to Singapore, and everyone went their separate way home.
But (no) surprise, (no) surprise, one or maybe two weeks later that same dive charter boat with only a skeleton crew on-board, including the Singaporean chap who had found the bell in the first place, went back out and of course retrieved said bell again! No surprise there whatsoever, you’d have been an idiot / fool to have ever thought anything different would have taken place. The bell then went into his ‘private collection’ where it resided for many years, and then, or as the word on the street has it, but I can’t verify if true, was supposedly sold about ten years later to a Japanese national!
Now just to qualify a few things written above, mainly for those that reading written words thoroughly is not a requirement of theirs. I only heard about his actual retrieval of said bell being confirmed, although it was a foregone conclusion he would do so, many (five or six?) years after our expedition, and then not again until after it had been supposedly sold.
And I freely admit I was one of those that voted to bring it on board in the first place and hand it over to the authorities, which would have been a far far better thing to do than to let transpire what everyone, and I repeat everyone, on-board knew was going to transpire (as far as the ‘finder’ going back out and getting it for himself).
So that’s what following the letter of the stupid, irrational UK law that affects only UK nationals, and abiding by same, gets you. (And that British law basically states that UK nationals, and only
UK nationals, can be prosecuted for either penetrating inside of, orretrieving artefacts from, British navy ships ‘war graves’ – whether gazetted as such or not. However, said law does not cover / have any effect on any other nationals save for UK ones. So a rather lopsided (stupid in my opinion) law that does not cover everyone, but just UK nationals!
Anyway, there you go, and if folks here want to call me a grave robber for voting to try to save a very
important piece of history, then go right ahead, you are more than welcome to do that as in this instance I’d take your derision with pride, and consider it a badge of honour!