DSCIn August 1914, while underage, David Hood joined the Army and underwent training at Plymouth, Devon. By March 1915 Private David Hood joined his battalion – the 2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders – who were serving on the Western Front and were attached to the 19th Brigade, 6th Division. The Battalion had gone to war in France and Flanders, landing at Boulogne on 14 August 1914 and as such these original troops were ‘Old Contemptibles’.

 

 

In August 1914, while underage, David Hood joined the Army and underwent training at Plymouth, Devon. By March 1915 Private David Hood joined his battalion – the 2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders – who were serving on the Western Front and were attached to the 19th Brigade, 6th Division. The Battalion had gone to war in France and Flanders, landing at Boulogne on 14 August 1914 and as such these original troops were ‘Old Contemptibles’.

He joined the Battalion’s ‘B’ Company and fought in the 2nd Battle of Ypres. He was in the front line at Loos, involved in burial parties and in training with gas masks. He suffered the affects of British gas used in training. He saw his Battalion’s casualties from the Battle of Festubert, which was fought between 15 and 25 May 1915 (and for which the Regiment received a battle honour). In late 1915 he was attached to a Royal Engineer mining company, tunnelling under enemy lines, and was rescued from asphyxiation in a shaft.

In early 1916 Private Hood was appointed as an Officer’s batman with the Headquarters, Fourth Army.

1916 found Private Hood having joined the Royal Flying Corp as an Aircraftsman and at their 2nd Repair Depot in France. On 1st April 1918 the Royal Flying Corp became the Royal Air Force.

In January 1919 he was demobilised from the Royal Air Force and returned to his marine engineering apprenticeship on the River Clyde.

 

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Third Engineer Officer David Hood RFA on his wedding day

 

By the start of the Second World War David Hood was an Engineer Officer on RFA Cairndale. On 30 May 1941 RFA Cairndale was torpedoed and sank. The crew abandoned the ship and the survivors were rescued and taken to Gibraltar.

 

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RFA Cairndale in 1939

 

While on active service with the Cairndale David’s chronically ill first wife died at home in Clydebank, and a fortnight later the family home took a direct hit in the Clydebank blitz.

He was promoted Chief Engineer Officer and appointed, on 11 July 1941, to RFA Gray Ranger on Arctic Convoys. During one convoy the ship collided with an iceberg and had to return to the UK for repairs.

 

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RFA Gray Ranger

 

RFA Gray Ranger was torpedoed and sunk on 22 September 1942 while part of Convoy QP14 and David Hood was once more rescued from a ship’s lifeboat.

26 November 1942 found him appointed as Chief Engineer Officer on RFA Dingledale serving in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and in the Far East where he served until 16 December 1946.

His Majesty King George VI awarded David Hood the Distinguished Service Cross on the 16 February 1943. The limited published citation in the London Gazette stated the award was for: -

“Fortitude, seamanship and endurance in taking Royal Fleet Auxiliaries to North Russia through heavy seas and in the face of many attacks by enemy aircraft and submarines”

 

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Having served in the Army, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary fighting in the trenches of France and Flanders and having two ships sunk beneath him through a total of eleven years of war David Linley Smith Hood can rightly be described as a Hero of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary

 

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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