HMS HOOD AND THE 1ST BATTLE CRUISER SQUADRON, 1927
(MP025). Frank Watson Wood (1862-1953). Watercolour signed and dated 1927.
Limited Edition: 49
Standard size 17 x 5ins (43 x 13cms) approx.
Price band: £100-135
Although the watercolour is dated 1927, perusal of HOOD’s Log for that year fails to yield evidence of when she might have had both REPULSE and RENOWN in company with her. It is more likely that 1927 is simply the year that Wood finished painting the scene: the early winter of 1926 saw the whole squadron together and is a more likely occasion to have inspired this painting.
Wearing the flag of Rear Admiral Commanding the Battle Cruiser Squadron, Rear Admiral C T M Fuller CB CMG DSO, HMS HOOD (Captain H O Reinold CVO RN) was based at Portland, Dorset for 3 weeks over this period. The other two ships of the 1st BCS appear to have been present too: HMS REPULSE (Captain ERGR Evans CB DSO RN) and HMS RENOWN (Captain N A Sullivan RN). All three battle cruisers participated in the high profile tactical exercises held south of Portand Bill on 30 October staged for the benefit of delegates from the Imperial Conference who were visiting from London. These three big and internationally well known ships with their impressive appearance, spacious upperdecks and well appointed senior officers quarters would have made ideal platforms from which the delegates could have viewed the exercises at sea and this would have been just the type of occasion that would have appealed to Frank Wood. Whilst, however, the sea state depicted here is not untypical of Portland in the winter, the warmth of the blues that Wood has employed suggest water warmer than the English Channel can normally muster at that type of year!
HOOD returned to Devonport on 17 November where she spent Christmas before sailing on 7 January 1927 with the BCS in company for the annual Spring Cruise to Gibraltar, the western Mediterranean and West Africa. The ships were back in their home ports by late March and on 21st May Rear Admiral F C Dreyer CB CBE relieved Admiral Fuller and hoisted his flag in HOOD with Captain Reinold being relieved in the same period by Captain WF French CMG RN.