Many mountains in Kananaskis Country honour individuals, events and particularly ships lost in World War 1. The Battle of Jutland, in particular, resulted in many K-Country memorials.
Sir Horace Hood and the HMS Invincible
In the annals of naval history, certain figures and events stand out as beacons of courage, strategy, and sacrifice. One such luminary is Rear Admiral Sir Horace Hood, a distinguished British naval officer whose legacy is forever intertwined with the illustrious HMS Invincible and the pivotal Battle of Jutland.
Admiral Hood (pictured at right), was born on August 2, 1870, into a family with a rich naval tradition. He seemed destined for a life at sea. His early years in the Royal Navy were marked by a steady ascent through the ranks. By the time World War I erupted, he had already earned a reputation as a skilled and level-headed officer. It was during this tumultuous period that Hood found himself at the helm of one of the most formidable warships of its time — the HMS Invincible.
The HMS Invincible, commissioned in 1909, was a battlecruiser that exemplified the cutting-edge naval technology of its era. Armed with eight 12-inch guns and boasting impressive speed, the ship was a symbol of British naval might. During the Battle of the Falkland Islands, Invincible and her sister ship Inflexible sank the armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau almost without loss to themselves, despite numerous hits by the German ships. Under Hood’s command, the Invincible became a key player in the North Sea, where the naval forces of the British Royal Navy clashed with their German counterparts in the Battle of Jutland.
The Battle of Jutland
The Battle of Jutland, fought from May 31 to June 1, 1916, was the largest naval engagement of World War I; over 250 ships were involved. It was a critical moment in maritime history. The North Sea became the stage for a dramatic confrontation between the British Grand Fleet, led by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, and the German High Seas Fleet, commanded by Vice-Admiral Reinhard Scheer. The strategic importance of this battle cannot be overstated. It would determine control of the North Sea and influence the course of the entire war.
Rear Admiral Hood’s role in the Battle of Jutland was both prominent and tragic. On the afternoon of May 31, 1916, the Invincible, along with her sister ships, was engaged in a fierce exchange of fire with the German battlecruisers. In the midst of this chaos, a direct hit into an ammunition magazine in one the of gun emplacements on the Invincible resulted in a catastrophic explosion. It split the ship in two, which sank to the bottom of the North Sea in just 90 seconds. Of Invincible’s crew of 1,021, there were just six survivors, pulled from the water by attendant destroyers.
Admiral Hood went down with his ship, a testament to his unwavering commitment and sense of duty. His sacrifice, along with that of the crew of the Invincible, underscored the harsh realities of naval warfare during this tumultuous period. The Battle of Jutland ended as a stalemate, with heavy losses on both sides and an unchanged strategic situation.
Memorialized in Mountains
In 1922, the Geographical Names Board of Canada honoured Hood by naming Mt. Hood after him. Mt. Hood is in the Opal Range, sitting between Mt. Packenham and Mt. Brock, due east of King Ridge.
In 1917, they named Mt. Invincible after his ship. Mt. Invincible is the peak between Mts. Indefatigable and Warspite. While the HMS Warspite survived the battle, the HMS Indefatigable was also sunk in the Battle of Jutland.
Hood, the Invincible and several other ships memorialized with K-Country mountain names, are recognized on displays at Portsmouth, England. One of those displays is pictured at right. The names of all of the sailors who perished are memorialized in Portsmouth. In addition, Hood’s name is inscribed on the War Memorial at St Botolph’s Church, Barton Seagrave, Northamptonshire in England.
Find out more about K-Country’s memorial mountains here.