THE PUB sign which hung outside Banbury boozer the Admiral Holland has been saved for the generations.

Banbury fireman Darran Gough has helped gift the sign to the HMS Hood Association which preserves the memory of the real Admiral Holland and his tragic final ship.

With the help of Oxfordshire county councillor for Banbury Mark Cherry, Mr Gough, of Mold Crescent, got the sign off the front of the closed pub earlier this year.

Last month they presented it to the HMS Hood Association in a ceremony at the Severn Valley Railway which runs the 50 031Hood train, also named after the Admiral's ship.

Association secretary Jackie Miller said they were "delighted" with the gift and it would make a valuable addition to their archives.

Vice Admiral Lancelot Ernest Holland was born in Middleton Cheney, just outside Banbury, in 1887.

He served in the Royal Navy for 38 years and died on board the HMS Hood.

The ship was sunk in the Denmark Strait by the Bismark in 1941 at the height of the Second World War.

More than 1,400 men died when the Hood was sunk, but Admiral Holland was reported by seaman Ted Briggs, one of only three survivors of the Hood, to have "sat in his chair making no attempt to escape the sinking vessel".

Two decades later, when Banbury's Bretch Hill estate was built in the 1960s, local brewery Hunt Edmunds had relations of Admiral Holland on the board and it was agreed to name the estate's flagship pub in his honour.

The pub finally closed in December 2015 after half a century.

Mr Gough then came up with the idea of giving the sign to the HMS Hood Association.

Just to complicate matters, Mr Gough has another to the HMS Hood.

He is a member of the national Fifty Fund, a group of rail enthusiasts who got together more than 25 years ago to buy trains from British Rail as they were being sold off.

Specifically they wanted to save the class 50 diesel locomotives, built in the 1960s and 70s and all named after Royal Naval ships.

Among them is the 50 031 Hood, dedicated to Admiral Holland's famous ship.

The group initially kept the Hood on the Watercress Line in Hampshire but recently moved it to the new Fifty Fund headquarters on the Severn Valley Line.

This year, 2016, marks the 100th anniversary of the building of HMS Hood and the 75th anniversary of its sinking, so when the Fifty Fund moved the 50 031 Hood up to Bridgnorth Station on the Severn Valley Line they rededicated the train to the HMS Hood Association.

And so, when Mr Gough and Mr Cherry came to hand over the pub sign from the former Banbury boozer to the HMS Hood Association last month, they chose to hold their ceremony right next to the 50 031 Hood at Bridgnorth Station.

Mr Gough is now hoping that the new housing estate being proposed for the site of the old Admiral Holland can have some new little tribute to the great man and his ship to keep the memories alive.