When Ted Briggs was just 12 years old, he passed the docks at the river Tees and anchored there was the most powerful, fastest, largest and most revered ship in the world (circa 1935): HMS Hood.
46,000 tonnes of war machine. He immediately knew he wanted to sail and explore the world, he signed up to the navy the following day and was accepted 3 years later when he turned 15.
After 16 months of training he was assigned to his dream ship, and was given a post on the bridge as an officer’s messenger.
After sailing across the Atlantic ocean and then the Mediterranean sea, exploring the vast corners of the world in the adventure of a lifetime. It was then the Hood was called to action and engaged the Bismarck.
Outgunned and outclassed, the flaws in Hood became horrifyingly apparent when she could barely keep up with the secret Nazi superweapon.
Minutes into the battle, HMS Hood formed a battle line, exposing its broadside, where it was hit directly by a volley of Bismarck’s main batteries, an exploding shell ignited a 100mm magazine, which started a chain reaction that ignited the 4 inch and 15 inch magazines.
In a huge fireball, whose heat could be felt 0.5 miles away, the HMS Hood erupted from the inside-out, exploding into a column of exploding ammunition and fuel. The ship was torn in half, the rear end sinking immediately.
Briggs was spared when his commanding officer evacuated him from the bridge first, and an ensuing explosion catapulted him 50 metres away from the ship where he watched it sink under the waves.
In a final salute, just as the forward triple guns slipped under the waves; the main batteries fired one last time and vanished under the waves, taking thousands of the navy’s finest with her.
Briggs was one of three survivors.