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Bismarck's Last Voyage

The engagements that led to the sinking of HMS Hood and the Bismarck were of great significance to naval warfare and to the course of the Second World War.  The power and potential influence of the battleship was horribly demonstrated by the destruction of the Hood but the successful pursuit and disabling of the Bismarck proved the increasing significance of aviation to naval warfare. This pack will be of use to those studying the Battle of the Atlantic, naval warfare in WW2 and development of military technology. The pack is based around the reminiscences of Jock Moffat who was sent against the Bismarck, with his squadron, in an outdated Swordfish aircraft and saw the last distressing minutes of the ship and her crew.

The pack includes a web film of Lt Cdr Moffat's interview, an historical account of the pursuit of Bismarck, information on the technology employed, a biography of Moffat and 2 classroom activities.

The web film in this pack is 96Mb in size, and will NOT play while you are downloading it. Unlike other online video, it has been designed for saving to your hard disc and viewing offline more than once (maybe in the classroom).  Please allow plenty of time to download.


You will need to register to access some of the content available. You can do so here.

A Visit to the Fleet Air Arm Museum

'Jock' Moffat's story is ideally set in its historical context by a visit to the Fleet Air Arm Museum.  We have a Swordfish Aircraft is on display in Hall 2 with a small exhibition that portrays it role in the Bismarck story and other important operations of the Second World War.  Pre-booked schools may arrange for their groups to attend history workshops that focus pupils' attention and historical skills on the sources for and debates around the story of the Bismarck and the wider questions of the battle for control of the sea routes and changes in naval technology.

The Secondary School History and Citizenship brochure can be viewed at learning / secondary education.

Sessions available to visiting schools of particular relevance to Bismarck include:

  • The Role of Air warfare in WW2 (1 hour presentation)
  • Hunting the Bismarck (45 minute presentation)
  • Hunting the Bismarck - the sources (45 minute workshop investigation)
  • The Battle of the Atlantic (45 minute presentation)
  • The Battle of the Atlantic - the sources (45 minute workshop investigation)

Please contact us on 01935 842620 or  to find out more

Useful external link and  resources:

Sea Your History website contains a wide range of digitised resources for the history of the Royal Navy in the Twentieth Century.  The Fleet Air Arm Museum was a partner in the project providing documents and photographs for the site.  To find resources relevant to the story of the Bismarck you can use the search facility or search using the four themes covered: the Navy's People, the Navy at Home and Abroad, Conflict and Change and Portsmouth Dockyard.

Of particular relevance on this site we have found:

  • The story of the newly married Algernon Foster who lost his life on HMS Hood.
  • Information on the sinking of the Bismarck in the section entitled Northern Operations.
  • Image:  HM ships King George V, Victorious and Repulse in pursuit of Bismarck 23.5.1941
  • Image:  Survivors from the Bismarck coming ashore in Britain
  • Image:  The lookout who first spotted the Bismarck from HMS Suffolk

The Imperial War Museum 

The IWM site offers a number of photographs and resources of use.

Of particular relevance on this site we have found:

  • Image: Sinking of the Bismarck, May 1941, German survivors being rescued.
  • Image: The Bismarck Action, the Swordfish attack 26 may 1941
  • Image:  The Bismarck Action, HMS Zulu under fire.
  • Image & explanation:  Naval guns 15 inch

HMS Belfast worksheet:  The North Atlantic and Arctic Convoys

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