HMS HOOD – launched 100 years ago at Clydebank

The launch of HMS Hood at Clydebank 100 years ago is currently being commemorated and was marked on the actual anniversary yesterday on the site where the launch took place with a special event hosted by HMS Hood Association and the West College Scotland. However, Ian Johnston, shipbuilding historian, informed us of a little known fact that Hood had three sister ships all of which were later cancelled although only after a considerable amount of work had been carried out. One of the sisters was laid down at Fairfield on 9 October just 5 weeks after Hood was laid down at John Brown’s. This ship, Fairfield’s No 527 was given the name Rodney, not to be confused with the battleship of the same name that was built in the 1920s. About 8,000 tons of steel was worked into Fairfield’s Rodney on the big berth at Govan. However, only Hood was given priority A1 construction and her three sisters progressed very slowly after an initial start. Eventually work on Rodney and her two other sisters, Howe and Anson, stopped completely partially to allow for a redesign and partially because of an acute shortage of labour as the shipyards were working at full capacity with additional labour almost impossible to obtain. And so Rodney lay on Fairfield’s most important berth for over two years until February 1919 when the Admiralty decided that she and her two sisters should be scrapped on their building berths leaving Hood as the sole representative of her class. This photograph taken from Fairfield’s 200-ton giant cantilever crane early in 1918, is looking eastwards over the 1000-foot long platers’ shed. HMS Rodney is the very large incomplete hull lying on No1 berth, nearest the camera. Occupying the most important berth in the yard, Fairfield was compensated for the lack of income due to lack of progress on the ship. Photo courtesy of Imperial War Museum.