EMPIRE DAY 1941

24″ by 36″ Oil on board

When the German battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen slipped out of their Norwegian base the Royal Navy was faced with the dilemma of which passage the German ships would take to break out into the Atlantic. The two options were east of Iceland or through the Denmark Strait separating Iceland from Greenland and it was there that H.M.S Hood and H.M.S Prince of Wales were sent. On the morning of 24th May 1941 the Bismarck and her consort were sighted and battle commenced. Admiral Holland commanding the British ships from H.M.S Hood attempted to close the range as quickly as possible as he knew that his ship with it’s unarmoured decks was vulnerable to long range plunging fire. The painting depicts the moment when three German shells landed just behind the Hood and the fourth shell was still in the air. This would crash into the ship, plunging through the decks and setting off a magazine explosion which would blow the old ship to pieces. The loss of the Hood and all but 3 of her crew came as a terrible shock to the British nation, it was akin to the loss of a beloved friend and as usual Winston Churchill summed up the nations grief and will with the terse 3 word command “Sink the Bismarck”.