Ted Briggs, last survivor of the HMS Hood, dies at 85

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by syscom3, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Ted Briggs, last survivor of the HMS Hood, dies at 85

    The last survivor of Royal Navy battlecruiser sunk by the Bismarck in Atlantic in 1941 has died.

    By Urmee Khan
    Last Updated: 8:09PM BST 05 Oct 2008

    Ted Briggs, 85, was one of only three of 1,418 crew that survived the sinking during the Battle of the Denmark Strait.

    Mr Briggs, from Fareham in Hampshire, passed away at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth on Saturday night.

    He was boy signalman aged 18 when the fifth salvo from the Bismarck hit the ship's magazine resulting in a catastrophic explosion. It tore the ship in half and it sank in less than three minutes.

    The flagship of the fleet was part of a force ordered to engage the Bismarck and her escort cruiser Prinz Eugen off Greenland.

    Mr Briggs was near the bridge when the warship began to roll and he was sucked under by the sinking ship before being propelled back up.

    He was soon joined by the only two other survivors; midshipman William Dundass, who died in 1965 and able seaman Bob Tilburn who died in 1995.

    The trio spent three hours on the freezing sea before they were picked up by the destroyer HMS Electra close to death.

    Briggs, who was president of the HMS Hood Association, described what he saw in the aftermath:

    "When I came to the surface I was on her (the Hood's) port side...I turned and swam as best I could in water 4" thick with oil and managed to get on one of the small rafts she carried, of which there were a large number floating around.

    "When I turned again she had gone and there was a fire on the water where her bows had been. Over on the other side I saw Dundas and Tilburn on similar rafts. There was not another soul to be seen.

    "We hand-paddled towards each other and held on to one another's rafts until our hands became too numb to do so."

    In the days after the sinking, Britain's wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered the Bismarck found and sunk.

    On May 27, the battleship was finally sunk after several days of attacks by Royal Navy ships and the Royal Air Force.

    Peter Heys, chairman of the HMS Hood Association said: "He was a humorous man but he did not like to be reminded of the sinking as he had to pulled out of the freezing water."

    Mr Briggs left the navy in 1973 at the rank of lieutenant and he then became a manager of an estate agents in Fareham. He was awarded the MBE in 1973.

    The wreck of HMS Hood was discovered in 2001 and Mr Briggs lay a bronze plaque naming all those who died.
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  3. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    :salute: :salute: Rest easy, sailor.
     
  5. Thorlifter

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    evangilder "Shooter"
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  7. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    :salute:

    so few survived the hood, and now they are gone.
     
  9. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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  10. ToughOmbre

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    Loved hearing him being interviewed on the various documentaries produced about the Bismarck and Hood. His love and dedication to his ship and shipmates always came thru.

    Here's to you Ted :salute:

    TO
     
  11. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    One of the most amazing naval battles. :salute:
     
  12. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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  13. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    :salute:

    If there are any survivors of the Bismarck left, I am sure this is a sad day for them as well.
     
  14. trackend

    trackend Active Member

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    Back with your shipmates Ted so long :salute:
     
  15. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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  16. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    It 's hard to believe to me that there are now no members of the Hoods crew alive at all. That's a sad fact.

    Any chance of any sailors who might have served on HMS Hood before the war still being alive?
     
  17. Henk

    Henk Active Member

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    RIP, I remember him being on the National Geographic program about the Bismarck. I still have the tape somewhere.
     
  18. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    :salute: I saw him on either dog fights or another show on the History channel
     
  19. Doubl3Ac3

    Doubl3Ac3 Member

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    Yeah it was on the show Dogfights cause i saw the 2 or 3 episodes the other day. I believe the episodes were called "The hunt for the Bismarck" but yeah hood took a pounding and went down fighting. Its sad to hear theres no more survivors left but thats what happends with age. R.I.P
     
  20. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    R.I.P Ted Briggs.
     
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