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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2
by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

 

HMS COWDRAY (L 52) -  Type II, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Cowdray (Navy Photos/Mike Pocock, click to enlarge)

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Type II HUNT Class Escort Destroyer ordered from Scotts of Greenock on 4th September 1939 under the 1939 War Emergency Programme. The ship was laid down as Job No J1116 on 30th April 1940. She was launched on 22nd July 1941 as the 1st RN ship to carry this name. Build was completed on 29 July 1942. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign during in March 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Chichester, West Sussex. As shown below in the record the ship was only operational for 3 months during WW2..

 

B a t t l e†† H o n o u r s

 

ARCTIC 1942 - NORTH AFRICA 1942 - ATLANTIC 1943 - ENGLISH† CHANNEL 1944 - NORTH SEA 1944-45

 

H e r a l d i c†† D a t a

Badge: On a Field, Gold, in front of a horseshoe inverted, a spear erect black

within the horseshoe and in front of the spear, a sun in splendour Red.

 

 

D e t a i l s† o f†† W a r†† S e r v i c e

 

(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)

 

 

1 9 4 2

 

July                         Contractors trials and commissioned for service,
                22nd       Build completion and commenced Accepted Trials.

                                Passage to work-up on completion on trials and storing

 

August                  Worked-up for operational service.

 

September             Joined Londonderry Escort Force for convoy escort duty in Western Approaches.

                                Detached for escort for oilers being sent to establish a fuelling base at Spitzbergen.

                                (Note: This was to be used for replenishment escorts of Russian convoys

                                PQ18 and QP14 and ships involved were deployed as Force P.)

                                Passage to Iceland

                10th        Deployed with HM Destroyers OAKLEY, WINDSOR and WORCESTER as

                                escort for Royal Fleet Auxiliaries BLUE RANGER and OLIGARCH to provide fuel

                                for escorts of Convoys PQ18 and return Convoy QP14..

                                (For details see ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman

                21st         On completion of refuelling took passage to Iceland with RFA BLUE RANGER escorted by

                                HM Destroyer ONSLAUGHT and ships of Force P

                26th        On return to Iceland took passage to resumed escort duties based at Londonderry.

 

October

                2nd         Part of escort in NW Approaches for rms QUEEN MARY with HM Cruiser CURACOA, HM

                                Destroyers BRAMHAM and SKATE and three other destroyers.

                                HMS CURACOA was rammed and sunk by QUEEN MARY in position 55.50N 08.38W.

                                Assisted in rescue work.

                                (For details see THE QUEEN MARY AND THE CRUISER by D Thomas and P Holmes).

                25th        Deployed with escort for troop convoys to Mediterranean for planned allied landings in

                                North Africa (Operation TORCH).

                                (For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett, Naval

                                Staff History, BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser and RELUCTANT ENEMIES

                                by W Tute.).

 

November              Detached for duty with Eastern Task Force during landings.

                                Deployed for Inshore Escort of C Fast Convoys and for anti-submarine patrols.

                8th          During patrol off C Beach, east of Cape Natifou, Algeria came under heavy air attack by

                                torpedo and bombing.

                                Torpedoes missed but a bomb struck the forward structure on starboard side and exploded

                                under the hull.

                                Sustained extensive damage under No 1 Boiler Room and ship disabled.

                                Seventeen casualties including five fatal.

                9th          Towed by HM Minesweeper ALGERINE and beached 7 miles from Algiers.

                                Ship prepared for scuttling.

                16th        Towed into Algiers for temporary repair.

 

December              Under temporary repair to allow passage.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Under temporary repair to allow passage.

to                            Structural work carried cut to renew plating and ensure use of fuel tanks.

March

 

April                       Post refit trials showed ship had distinct hog amidships with low freeboard.

                24th        Took passage from Algiers to UK.

 

May

                22nd       Arrived at Chatham and Paid-off into Dockyard Control.

 

June

                2nd         Taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard Chatham.

 

July                         Under repair

to                            (Note: During this period proposal to transfer to Royal Hellenic Navy was under

December              consideration).

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Repair work in continuation.

                                Transfer to Greece discontinued.

 

February                Under repair.

to

July

 

August                  Carried out Post Refit trials and re-commissioning

                23rd        Dockyard Repair work completed.

 

September             Prepared for service with 21st Destroyer Flotilla based at Sheerness.

 

October                  Worked-up for convoy defence duties.

 

November              Rejoined Flotilla and deployed on coastal patrols for interception of E-Boats and

to                            defence of convoys in North Sea and English Channel.

December

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Deployment with Flotilla in continuation.

                10th        Struck submerged wreck whilst attacking midget submarine.

                                (Note: Asdic Dome and shafts damaged)

                                Taken in hand for repair at HM Dockyard Chatham.

                                (Note: During this period German E-Boats and midget submarine were engaged in a

                                series of minelaying operations to interfere with supply routes to ports on the

                                continent used for military convoys).

 

February                Under repair.

to

March

 

April                       Carried out Post Refit trials.

                12th        On completion of dockyard work rejoined Flotilla in continuation.

 

May                        Nominated for service with 18th Destroyer Flotilla, Eastern Fleet.

to                            Under Refit and modification for foreign service.

July

 

August                  On passage to Trincomalee to join Flotilla

 

P o s t†† W a r†† N o t e s

 

HMS COWDRAY served only a few weeks in the East Indies and returned to UK in November 1945. Then the ship and served in† the Nore Local Destroyer Flotilla.† In January 1950 whilst with this Flotilla she assisted in the rescue of survivors from HM Submarine TRUCULENT which sank after a collision in the Thames Estuary, The ship Paid-off and reduced to Reserve status at Chatham in 1951. She was moved to lay-up Portsmouth in 1953 and finally at Hartlepool. Placed on the Disposal List in 1959 this destroyer was sold to BISCO for demolition by J J King at Sunderland where she arrived in tow at the breakerís yard on 3rd September 1959.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS COWDRAY

by Don Kindell

 

These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above

 

 

 

 

 

Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived

 

 

 

 

 

02/09/42

10/09/42

PQ 018

10/09/42

21/09/42

13/09/42

unknown

QP 014

20/09/42

26/09/42

27/09/42

01/10/42

AT 024

02/10/42

02/10/42

26/10/42

06/11/42

KMF 001

08/11/42

08/11/42

22/04/43

24/04/43

MKS 012

26/04/43

04/05/43

15/12/44

15/12/44

ATM 014

16/12/44

16/12/44

15/12/44

15/12/44

TAM 019

17/12/44

17/12/44

18/12/44

18/12/44

TAM 022

19/12/44

19/12/44

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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revised 12/8/11
further editing and formatting is required


 

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