HMS Hood Bell Recovery: Royal Navy Enlists 'Octopus,' Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen's Megayacht

Royal Navy's Latest Assignment Involves 414-Foot Megayacht

By any standard, these sailors may be the luckiest to ever join the British Navy.

That's because their assignment involves one of the world's largest (and most decadent) megayachts, unlimited funding, and an undoubted sense of honor.

Their mission, according to CNN: recover the bell from the HMS Hood, a British battle cruiser sunk by the German battleship Bismarck in 1941.

Their vessel: Octopus, a 414-foot yacht loaned to the British Navy by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The Octopus comes equipped with a 10-man submarine and remote-controlled submersible that should aid in finding and bringing the bell to the surface. Less critical, (but still likely to see some use), are Octopus' basketball court, spa, small fleet of jet skis, and multiple helicopter pads.

The HMS Hood is the largest vessel ever lost by the Royal Navy, writes the Telegraph. When it sank, 1,415 men disappeared into the waters of the North Atlantic.

The BBC adds that a previous mission, led in 2011 by Blue Water Recoveries, discovered the wreckage more than 9,000 feet underwater. Should the bell be recovered without incident, it will be displayed at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in 2014.

"Future generations will be able to gaze upon her bell and remember with gratitude and thanks the heroism, courage and personal sacrifice of Hood's ship's company who died in the service of their country," explained Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks, president of the HMS Hood Association, to the BBC.

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