H.M.S. Hood Today
H.M.S. Hood's 5.5" Guns on Ascension Island
Updated 30-Nov-2008

Physical remnants of Hood are rare indeed, but two of Hood's 5.5" guns are still preserved on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. According to the 5.5in Gun List GL22 (Priddy's Hard Archive, Hampshire Record Office) these two guns (serial numbers 56 and 78) were removed from Hood in 1935. They were later installed at Fort Bedford near Georgetown on Ascension Island. It is not known if the mounts upon which the guns sit are also from Hood or not (if someone from Ascension reads this and is willing to go look for the serial numbers, we can then verify the origin). After the war, guns fell into a state of severe disrepair until restored by Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1984. The story of their preservation was told in "Royal Air Force News" in their issue of 14th December, 1984. Here's how they told the story.

Chainbar divider

The Hood Battery at Ascension Island
The Hood Battery at Ascension Island

"... thanks to a team of engineers at RAF Ascension Island, part of the great Battle Cruiser H.M.S. Hood now stands a much better chance of surviving.

At the start of the Second World War, H.M.S. Hood underwent some modifications that included the removal of her secondary armament, which comprised twelve 5.5 inch guns, to be replaced with 4 inch weapons more suitable for anti-aircraft warfare. Soon afterwards, it was felt there was a need for some coastal defence on Ascension Island.

So two of the 5.5 inch guns were shipped down to the island where they were installed on Cross Hill, overlooking Georgetown. After the war, the guns were left to rot and when the RAF arrived during Corporate (the Falkland Islands War operations of 1982), these historic guns were a sorry sight covered in thick red dust. To get them back to their original pristine condition was the task that an enthusiastic team from the GEF set themselves. It was not a task to be undertaken lightly and the project required weeks of meticulous planning, not to mention sheer hard work in their off duty hours. The job was made even more difficult by the floods earlier this year which washed away the access roads to the site and at one time it was feared that the task would have to be abandoned.

But determination and enthusiasm won through and now the guns have been handed over to the Ascension Island Historical Society. Not only are they a fine reminder of the island's own fascinating past, but also of a great warship.

"Here are some pictures of the guns and some maps of their location on the Island:

Hood Battery Gun number 1 on Ascension Island
Gun 1 with plaque in background

The view of the coast from the guns
Showing how the guns overlook the coast

Panoramic view from the guns
Here is a panoramic view from the site of the guns

Plaque near the guns
This plaque, sited close to Hood's guns was erected to celebrate 50 years of peace since World War 2

Map of Georgetown, Ascension Island
A map showing detail of the Georgetown area.

For more information on Ascension Island click on the flag:
Flag of Saint Helena