After the outbreak of World War II, Hood saw action in a variety of theaters, including the North Sea, the chase of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and convoy duty. Hood was in the attack on the French fleet at the Battle of Mers el-Kébir on July 3, 1940, and then returned to the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow. On May 22, 1941, Hood (Captain R. Kerr) sailed as the flagship of Vice Admiral L. E. Holland's Battle Cruiser Force, which included HMS Prince of Wales and six destroyers, to intercept the German battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. The four heavy units made visual contact at 0537 on May 24, and Hood opened fire fifteen minutes later. Bismarck and Prinz Eugen scored hits on Hood and at 0600 there was a massive explosion, the ship split in two and sank four minutes later. Prince of Wales quickly broke off the engagement, and destroyers later picked up three survivors from a total complement of 1,418 men. One of the largest warships in the world, Hood was destroyed exactly one week shy of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, the lessons of which had been so consciously applied to her design. Although a number of theories about the exact cause of her loss have been advanced, it is widely believed that plunging fire from Bismarck penetrated her weak deck armor to ignite one of her magazines.
Mahogany Wood. Scale: 1/350. Length 29 1/2 inches.