royal navy

Sir Thomas Sean Connery

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Sean Connery Far Out Magazine UK Image One
August 25, 1930 ~ October 31, 2020
Bond. James Bond.
Photo Credit: Far Out Magazine UK

I just found out about the passing of actor Sean Connery. There are certain actors I have a thing for and he is one of them. Our birthdays are five days apart and we both have Scottish (and Irish) ancestry. He enlisted in the Royal Navy at the age of 16, was assigned to the HMS Formidable as an Able Seaman and was medically discharged at 19 for ulcers.

Darby O'Gill Connery Time Magazine Image Two
Darby O’Gill & The Little People
Image Credit: Time

One of his early endeavors was as an artist’s model. He was into bodybuilding and was in a Mr. Universe contest, though the actual year is disputed. He was a footballer, playing for Bonnyrigg Rose and was once offered a contract to play professionally:

“[I] realised that a top-class footballer could be over the hill by the age of 30 and I was already 23. I decided to become an actor and it turned out to be one of my more intelligent moves.”

He was a member of the Scottish National Party and campaigned for Scottish Independence, financially supporting the party until the UK passed legislation to prohibit overseas funding. One of his two tattoos was “Scotland Forever.”

He managed to make it all the way to 90 but, according to his son Jason, he had been unwell for some time. He passed peacefully in his sleep at his home in the Bahamas. I think it altogether fitting and proper that Sir Sean left on Halloween during a full Blue Moon. Godspeed. ~Vic

Sean Connery Hunt For Red October
The Hunt for Red October
Image Credit: Reddit

Career Highlights:
His acting debut (uncredited) was in the UK film Lilacs in the Spring (titled Let’s Make Up in the US) in 1954, a British musical starring Errol Flynn. On UK TV, he played MacBeth, Alexander the Great and Count Vronsky. His first appearance on US TV was on The Jack Benny Program in 1957. His first credited film roll in the US was a UK/US collaboration in the movie Action of the Tiger, also in 1957. He was the first James Bond (and some say the only one), he played a savage in the distant future, became Robin Hood, was a Marshal in outer space, was King Agamemnon, was a sword-wielding immortal, did a turn as a Franciscan friar, was an Untouchable, a Provost Marshall in San Francisco, was the father of Indiana Jones, a Russian submarine Captain, appeared as King Richard, became a doctor, was a detective, a professor, played King Arthur, played an ex-con & an art thief, was a reclusive author and, was the voice of The Last Dragon. He was only in one Western in 1968. His last time on the big screen was in 2003 playing Allan Quatermain in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and his last time on TV was playing character John Muir in an episode of the documentary Freedom: A History of US, also in 2003. He did voice work up to 2012.

Awards:
1987 Academy Award (Best Supporting Actor/The Untouchables)
1987 BAFTA (Best Actor/The Name of the Rose)
1998 BAFTA Fellowship
1972 Golden Globe (Henrietta Award/World Film Favorite-Male)
1987 Golden Globe (Best Supporting Actor/The Untouchables)
1995 Golden Globe (Cecil B. DeMille Award)

Indiana & Henry, Sr., Pinterest Image Four
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Nominations:
1987 BAFTA (Best Supporting Actor/The Untouchables)
1989 BAFTA (Best Supporting Actor/Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)
1990 BAFTA (Best Actor/The Hunt for Red October)
1965 Golden Globe (Henrietta Award/World Film Favorite-Male)
1968 Golden Globe (Henrietta Award/World Film Favorite-Male)
1989 Golden Globe (Best Supporting Actor/Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

www.seanconnery.com (Web Archive)

Additional Reading & Sources:
BBC News
Belly Buzz (Web Archive of Connery’s Military Service)
List of Work (IMDb)
List of Work (Wikipedia)
Muscle Memory (As Tom Connery)
Scottish Junior Football Association (Web Archive)
Scottish Roots
Talk-Talk UK (Archive Today Copy of Connery’s Biography)

Flashback Friday: HMS Hood 1941

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HMS Hood Image One
HMS Hood
Pennant Number 51
Image Credit: rowehistory.blogspot.com

Seventy-eight years ago, today, the last battlecruiser of the Royal Navy, the HMS Hood, was sunk during the Battle of Denmark Strait by the German Kriegsmarine battleship Bismarck.

From Wikipedia:

One of four Admiral-class battlecruisers ordered in mid-1916, [she was] commissioned in 1920 [and] named after 18th-century Admiral Samuel Hood. Despite the appearance of new and, more modern ship designs over time, Hood remained the largest and most powerful warship in the world for 20 years after her commissioning. […] her prestige was reflected in her nickname, “The Mighty Hood”. She was scheduled to undergo a major rebuild in 1941 to correct [some] issues but, the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 forced the ship into service without the upgrades.

In May, [she and] the battleship Prince of Wales were ordered to intercept the German battleship Bismarck and, the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, which were en route to the Atlantic where they were to attack convoys. When Bismarck sailed for the Atlantic […], Hood, together with […] Prince of Wales, was sent out in pursuit along with several other groups of British capital ships to intercept the German ships before they could break into the Atlantic […]. Hood was commanded by Captain Ralph Kerr and was flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Lancelot Holland. The German ships were spotted by two British heavy cruisers (Norfolk & Suffolk) on 23 May and Holland‘s ships intercepted Bismarck, and her consort, Prinz Eugen, in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland.

Bismarck Image Two
Bismarck
Image Credit: pinterest.com

On 24 May 1941, early in the Battle of the Denmark Strait, less than 10 minutes after the British opened fire, a shell from Bismarck struck Hood near her aft ammunition magazines. Soon afterwards, Hood exploded and sank within three minutes, with the loss of all but three of her crew. Prince of Wales continued to exchange fire with Bismarck but, suffered serious malfunctions in her main armament. The British battleship had only just been completed in late March 1941 and used new quadruple gun turrets that were unreliable. [She] soon broke off the engagement.

Due to [the] perceived invincibility of the Hood, the loss affected British morale.

From The History Channel:

On this day in 1941, Germany’s largest battleship, the Bismarck, sinks the pride of the British fleet, HMS Hood.

The Bismarck was the most modern of Germany’s battleships, a prize coveted by other nation’s navies, even while still in the blueprint stage (Hitler handed over a copy of its blueprints to Joseph Stalin as a concession during the days of the Hitler-Stalin Neutrality Pact). The HMS Hood, originally launched in 1918, was Britain’s largest battlecruiser (41,200 tons) but, also capable of achieving the relatively fast speed of 31 knots. The two met in the North Atlantic, northeast of Iceland, where two British cruisers had tracked down the Bismarck. Commanded by Admiral Gunther Lutjens, Commander-in-Chief of the German Fleet, the Bismarck sunk the Hood, resulting in the death of 1,500 of its crew. Only three Brits survived. Captain Kerr was one of the casualties.

During the engagement, the Bismarck‘s fuel tank was damaged. Lutjens tried to make for the French coast but, was sighted, again, only three days later. Torpedoed to the point of incapacity, the Bismarck was finally sunk by a ring of British war ships. Admiral Lutjens was one of the 2,300 German casualties.

Having grown up listening to Johnny Horton, one of my favorite songs of his is, of course, Sink the Bismarck, released in 1960 (a #1 single in Canada). ~Vic


 
Lyrics
In May of 1941 the war had just begun
The Germans had the biggest ship that had the biggest guns
The Bismarck was the fastest ship that ever sailed the sea
On her decks were guns as big as steers and shells as big as trees

Out of the cold and foggy night came the British ship the Hood
And every British seaman he knew and understood
They had to sink the Bismarck the terror of the sea
Stop those guns as big as steers and those shells as big as trees

We’ll find the German battleship that’s makin’ such a fuss
We gotta sink the Bismarck ’cause the world depends on us
Yeah hit the decks a runnin’ boys and spin those guns around
When we find the Bismarck we gotta cut her down

The Hood found the Bismarck and on that fatal day
The Bismarck started firing fifteen miles away
We gotta sink the Bismarck was the battle sound
But when the smoke had cleared away the mighty Hood went down

For six long days and weary nights they tried to find her trail
Churchill told the people put every ship asail
Cause somewhere on that ocean I know she’s gotta be
We gotta sink the Bismarck to the bottom of the sea

We’ll find the German battleship that’s makin’ such a fuss
We gotta sink the Bismarck ’cause the world depends on us
Yeah hit the decks a runnin’ boys and spin those guns around
When we find the Bismarck we gotta cut her down

The fog was gone the seventh day and they saw the morning sun
Ten hours away from homeland the Bismarck made its run
The Admiral of the British fleet said turn those bows around
We found that German battleship and we’re gonna cut her down

The British guns were aimed and the shells were coming fast
The first shell hit the Bismarck they knew she couldn’t last
That mighty German battleship is just a memory
Sink the Bismarck was the battle cry that shook the seven seas

We found the German battleship ’twas makin’ such a fuss
We had to sink the Bismarck cause the world depends on us
We hit the deck a runnin’ and we and spun those guns around
Yeah we found the mighty Bismarck and then we cut her down

We found the German battleship ’twas makin’ such a fuss
We had to sink the Bismarck cause the world depends on us
We hit the deck a runnin’ and we and spun those guns around
We found the mighty Bismarck and then we cut her down