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M/Y Octopus recovers WWII bell

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A research team aboard the 414-foot (126m) Lurssen M/Y Octopus has recovered the bell of Britain’s flagship battleship HMS Hood, which was sunk in the North Atlantic during World War II by the German battleship Bismarck.

Octopus’ owner, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, announced on Twitter in early August that his research team recovered the artifact at the bottom of the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland on Aug. 7. The yacht is equipped with a state-of-the-art remotely operated submarine.

The bell was first discovered and photographed in July 2001, when it was found lying on the seabed in 9,000 feet of water, away from the battlecruiser’s hull. In 2012, Allen led an expedition to try to recover it, but was hampered by weather conditions and technical difficulties.

After about a year of restoration, the bell is expected to be displayed at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, UK.

The Bismarck sunk “The Mighty Hood” in 1941, killing 1,415 officers and sailors, leaving three survivors. It was the largest loss of life of any British warship. Her sinking sparked a huge Royal Navy pursuit of the Bismarck, which ended with her destruction three days later.

Ted Briggs was one of the survivors and said before he died that he had often hoped the ship’s bell could be salvaged as a memorial to those killed. Seven years after his death, Octopus recovered the bell, leaving behind a Royal Navy flag to pay respect to those who died.

In March, researchers on the Octopus discovered the remains of the massive Japanese battleship Musashi that that was sunk off the Philippines during World War II fighting in the Pacific.

 

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