Leading Writer Robert Victor Berner (P/MX 60040) served with the Royal Navy during World War Two. Born on 23rd May 1919, he was the son of Robert Berner and Catherine Berner of Tullyveery, Killyleagh, Co. Down.
He served on HMS Hood, one of the Royal Navy’s older battleships, a veteran of World War One. Berner died on 24th May 1941, the day after his 22nd birthday. The infamous Nazi vessel, the Bismarck sank the British battleship.
HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales intercepted German battleships, Bismarck and Prince Eugen. A battle ensued in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland beginning at 0535hrs. HMS Hood opened fire at 0553hrs and within minutes, the battle was over.
The Bismarck returned fire on HMS Hood and the Royal Navy ship exploded. Only three men from a crew of 1,418 survived. Shells also hit HMS Prince of Wales killing everyone on the bridge apart from the captain. The Bismarck escaped unscathed.
Robert Victor Berner has no known grave. His name is on Panel 55 of the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Plymouth, Devon. A commemoration exists on the Killyleagh War Memorial, Killyleagh, Co. Down. A memorial to all those lost on HMS Hood stands in the Hood Chapel, Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre, Hampshire.