-H.M.S. Hood Crew Information-
Biography of Ken "Nobby" Clark
By Paul Bevand & Frank Allen
Updated 06-May-2014

This article is a very brief look at the life of former Hood crewman and long-time H.M.S. Hood Association Treasurer, Ken "Nobby" Clark.

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Nobby having a tot of rum in May 2001Ken Clark was one of the founding fathers of the H.M.S. Hood Association. Like all Clarks, he was known to everyone as "Nobby". Our Nobby was certainly one of the more colourful characters one could ever meet - with many a humorous anecdote to share as well as his love of showing-off the many electronic gadgets he has collected over the years.

Nobby was born in 1916. He grew-up in Winchester, and lived there for the rest of his life. A hard worker, he had several different jobs between the time he left school at the age of 14, and the time he joined the Royal Navy in March 1937. He originally wanted join as a Physical Training Instructor but was told that at 20 years of age, he was already too old! So he became a Stoker instead.

His first draft was H.M.S. Hood. Nobby joined the ship at Malta on 11th September, 1937. Hood was where Nobby would learn his trade - the various duties and tests that a stoker on a large ship had to perform on a day-to-day basis. These included scrubbing the oil tanks as part of the "double bottom crew" and tending to various pieces of equipment in the engineering and turret spaces. He served in Hood until 2nd May 1940. He has many interesting stories of the ship and crew which we hope to eventually collect from friends and family to post on the site.

Nobby and fellow members of the Double Bottom CrewFollowing Hood, he was assigned to H.M.S Victory. He then took place in the famous action at Dunkirk. In 1942, he was assigned to the minesweeper H.M.S. Boston. Nobby's service in Boston was mainly in the Mediterranean where they were responsible for keeping clear the approaches to harbours and other important shipping routes. During this time Nobby lost a number of mates as other ships in the minesweeping flotilla were lost. Later in 1943 Boston supported the Sicily landings.

After leaving the Navy, Nobby worked in several jobs including some time as a switchboard operator for Post Office Telephones - the forerunner of today's BT. Nobby was one of the founding members of the H.M.S. Hood Association and served as its Treasurer since the early days. Because of his talent in controlling the Association's budget, Association President Ted Briggs lovingly bestowed a second nickname - "Scrooge"! Nobby retired from his position around 2007 and was later made the Vice-President of the Association. He held this position until his death in October 2009.

Although he was officially the Treasurer, Nobby also took upon himself the role of unofficial Hood Association archivist. He was the quintessential collector and has, thankfully, saved even the most minute items/details related to Hood and the Association. We of the website staff as well as several authors of recent books about Hood owe him a great deal for his unflagging support and all the information he presented us over the years.

Without a doubt, Nobby was the "rock" of the Association. He was it's heart and soul. Without his devotion as well as that of his late wife Gladys (known as "Glad"), its very doubtful there would be a Hood Association today. We cannot stress enough how grateful we of the website staff are to have known and worked with Nobby. We miss him terribly. It won't be the same without him, but we will do our best to continue his work and ensure that his Association, his ship as well as the tales of he and his shipmates live on.

 


Additional Photographs

Posing on Hoods forecastle   Drill   Nobby Clark as a young matelot aboard H.M.S. Hood   Nobby as a Chief Stoker   Nobby during his time in Hood   Nobby as a Petty Officer   Nobby in 2002