-H.M.S. Hood Crew Information-
H.M.S. Crew List

It is estimated that as many as 18,000 men served aboard the 'Mighty Hood' during the operational portion of her 21 year career. Unfortunately, there is no surviving official single listing of ALL men who served in her. Here you will find our attempt at creating such a listing. We are using the few, fragmentary crew lists known to exist, Navy Lists, various official reports, public records, and most importantly of all, inputs from the families of former crew.

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Wilfred Franklin French

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Date of birth: 9th November 1880
Place of birth: Queenstown, Cork, Ireland
Parents: Savage French and Frances Maria Gough
Wife: Marianne Nova Hamilton
Service: Royal Navy
Rank: Captain
Joined Hood: 21st May 1927
Left Hood: 1st May 1929

Biographical Information:

Wilfred Franklin French was born in 1880, the son of Savage French. He was educated at Stubbington and then entered the Royal Navy in the 1890s. He was married to Marianne Nova Hamilton, eldest daughter of Brigadier General WG Hamilton. Together they had one child, a daughter.

He received the C.M.G. in 1919. He was assigned as Flag Captain of H.M.S. Hood from May 1927 to May 1929, under the command of gunnery legend Sir Frederic Dreyer. He was affectionately known as "Pooh" (as in Winnie the Pooh) during this timeframe due to his appearance when he wore cold weather gear. Following his promotion to Rear Admiral, he was the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battle Cruiser Squadron (1931-1932). He received the C.B. at the end of this period.

He was promoted to Vice-Admiral shortly after this. Subsequently to this, he served as the Vice-Admiral in charge of Malta from 1934 to 1937. During the last two years of this timeframe he served as a member of the executive council of Malta. He had also receive his K.C.B. during this period (1936).

The outbreak of the Second World War saw Sir Wilfred serving as the Admiral Commanding the Orkneys and Shetlands. In this capacity he recommended strengthening the submarine defences surrounding Scapa Flow, but his advice went unheeded. In October 1939, a German u-boat penetrated the flow and sank the battleship H.M.S. Royal Oak with heavy loss of life. As the commanding admiral of the area, Sir Wilfred was unjustly blamed and was subsequently retired. He was given the rank of full Admiral upon retirement.

Sir Wilfred later took a position in Washington, D.C., USA as a British administrative and maintenance representative from 1941 to 1944. He returned home to the UK and spent the remainder of his days in retirement. He died on 6th December 1958.

Additional Photos

Sir Wilfred, his wife and daughter at the launching of H.M.S. Duff at Hingham, Massachusetts, USA on 22 May 1943

No known memorials

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
'Register of Deaths of Naval Ratings' (data extracted by Director of Naval Personnel (Disclosure Cell), Navy Command HQ, 2009)