BU researcher Innes McCartney on Channel 4 documentary

Posted on Sunday, December 9 2012

Marine archaeologist and postgraduate researcher at BU Innes McCartney was part of a Channel 4 documentary exploring the sinking of British Navy ship the HMS Hood.

The Hood was revered as one of the largest and most powerful warships, but when it was hit by German warship the Bismarck in 1941, it sunk in minutes.

Only three of the crew survived, while 1,415 were killed – the largest loss of life ever suffered on a British warship.

Questions still remain about the loss of the ship – including why it was destroyed so quickly and who was to blame.

Innes, who is completing a PhD at BU which examines the role twentieth century shipwreck archaeology can play in enhancing our understanding of the past, was approached to explore the wreck for the hour-long documentary.

He said: “We were trying to work out what happened to it.

“I spent around three months travelling around the country doing preparatory results, and then went to Iceland aboard a ship for about two weeks.”

The programme followed Innes and deep water search and recovery expert David Mearns as they searched the wreck – which lies nearly 3km below the ocean’s surface – with a state-of-the-art remotely operated underwater vehicle.

Innes said: “We located the bowel, which wasn’t recoverable, but we were able to see a great deal of the features around the wreck, and by looking at those came up with some ideas about what happened.”

He added: “It was very interesting. To get the opportunity to work on the Hood – which is so iconic – was great.

“I had no expectations that I would ever work on anything quite so prestigious.

“It’s fantastic to think that I contributed in some way to finding out what happened to it.”

You can watch How the Bismarck Sank HMS Hood on 4OD.