Category: Gallery

The launch of HMS Hood

HMS Hood was launched on the 22nd of August 1918 at John Brown & Co shipyard. These images were originally owned by Sir Thomas Bell, the MD of John Brown & Co and I was fortunate to obtain them. Some of these images—and quite a few others—can also be found in Ian Johnston’s highly recommended “Clydebank Battlecruisers”, (2011) and “A Shipyard at War” ( 2014),  Seaforth Publishing.

A wonderful shot of HMS Hood’s hull on No 3 slip (Johnston, 2011). This is my favourite image, showing the chains used to stop the hull during launch (more clearly visible in the following image bottom right), the large 150 ton derrick crane in the foreground, the yard’s shops and stores, a forest of cranes, the buildings and train yard, church towers at right.

This close-up shows the port side underwater torpedo tube; the starboard tube on the opposite side was slightly more upstream. The openings in the hull upstream and downstream of the torpedo tube are seacock openings with discharge openings above them.

As my work focuses mainly on propeller design a close-up is in order.

The crowd after the launch, with traces of Champagne visible on the ramp at left.

HMS Hood on the 18th of March 1920 running her speed trials.

Gallery: HMS Prince of Wales; laying the keel

The keel of HMS Prince of Wales was laid at Cammell Laird’s shipyard in Birkenhead on 1 January 1937. A number of photographs of the ceremony is being held by the Wirral Archives service; I order a digital copy for personal use. I was so excited by both the quality of the images and how the event was captured that I asked the archives if the images could be published in small format on my blog. They replied I would need the express permission of the copyright holder, BAE systems. As the archives explained “BAE Systems took over Cammell Laird, including its intellectual property rights, as follows: Cammell Laird was nationalised in 1977, and was then privatised again in 1986 when it became part of VSEL Consortium; subsequently the VSEL Consortium was the subject of a takeover and became Marconi Marine, which then passed to BAE Systems. The present company shares the same name and site as the old Cammell Laird, but is in fact a different company.” I contacted the legal department of BAE systems; they agreed to my request provided I would place the following disclaimer

“Copyright © 2018 BAE Systems. All Rights Reserved. This work is reproduced with the kind permission of BAE Systems. BAE Systems is a registered trademark of BAE Systems plc”

I would like the express my gratitude to both the Wirral Archival Services and BAE systems both for their assistance and for making it possible to publish these photographs.

Unfortunately, the accompanying information regarding these images is no longer in the archives. However, the photographs are all marked “Stewart Bale, Liverpool”, a well-known photographer, with nearly 200,000 negatives in storage at the Stewart Bale collection of the Mersey Side Maritime Museum. I have not written to them, but they may hold some more information.

I’ve manually cleaned up the images, removing dust & scratches and repairing damage where I could. It’s not always easy to see the difference between damage or a pocket handkerchief as is the case with the gentleman standing at the bottom of the staircase—comparing with other photographs can rule such errors out— but I’ve tried to leave the images as close to the original as possible. Note that one of the photographers is captured , as well has a small furnace heating the rivets.

Gallery: HMS Rodney, main guns

Nearly all photographs of HMS Rodney could be classified under the “main gun” header with the main armament so prevalent in most images, so I made a small collection with either the barrel or the turret clearly in view (and not part of a larger series).

The crew receiving the following proclamation by King Edward VIII by the Captain (Wilfred Custance based on the date)

Royal Marine Guard for King Edward VIII

Hoisting a cutter

At the Canary Islands


“Gun jam practise” (?)

Gallery: HMS Hood

Even though HMS Hood images are difficult to obtain on Ebay I managed to buy a few good examples. Nothing really new, but still nice.

1932 (HMS Renown in the background)

1932 (HMS Renown in the background)


Not dated, but the aircraft equipment was only present from 1929 to 1933.

This shot was quite interesting because it shows so much variation in contrast of the ship; certainly not a single tone.

1939. A superb shot of the port side; I reduced this one to 1920×1080 pixels as my usual 1200×900 doesn’t do it justice.

1939. I think this is the nicest photo postcard I ever bought; the original photograph is sharp at 6000 x 3000 pixels and it shows the entire ship in beautiful detail. Also uploaded in HD format.

1940. Footage from 1940-1941 showing anything in detail is really rare. This one show the aft disinfector house between the forward searchlights and is a typical example of the crew paradox: the shot was taken to capture people living and working aboard HMS Hood, but they are also blocking the view to the ship.

1940. A well-known shot of the main deck that makes we wonder if the deck colour isn’t the same as the main colour, i.e., AP507B.

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