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HMS Cossack in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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HMS Cossack

   HMS Cossack F03 was a Destroyer of the Tribal class. Cossack was built by Vickers Armstrong and launched on the 8th of June 1937

HMS Cossack was lost on the 24th October 1941 having left Gibraltar escorting a convoy to England. Cossack was at the rear of the convoy on the 23rd Oct when a torpedo from U-563 hit just forward of the bridge killing Captain Berthon and 158 of his officers and men. A further 29 were injured. The crew were rescued by other ships of the convoy. HMS Cossack did not sink as a result of the torpedo, but was lost in bad weather as an attempt was made to tow her back to Gibraltar.


13th Jul 1941 Convoy

27th Jul 1941 Convoy

4th Aug 1941 Convoy arrives

17th Sep 1941 Convoy

If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

Those known to have sailed in

HMS Cossack

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Bath Frederick George. Able Sea.
  • Butler John William. P.O.
  • Coggins Ronald Claude. P.O. (d.23rd Oct 1941)
  • Davies Ray.
  • Flint John Donald. Lt. Cmdr.
  • Jewitt George Ernest. Stoker 1st Class.
  • Phillips Raymond Snow. QM.
  • Robinson Ken.
  • Robinson Kenneth.
  • Taylor Ernest Lyndon. (d.23rd October 1941)
  • Taylor Ernest Lyndon. (d.23rd October 1941)
  • Vian Philip Louis. Cpt.
  • Wallace Reginald Thomas Gradin. Able Sea. (d.3rd Nov 1941)
  • Wheeler William. Lt. (d.23rd Oct 1941)

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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There are 1 pages in our library tagged HMS Cossack  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

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Ray "Taff" Davies HMS Manchester

My first ship was the destroyer HMS Cossack (LO3)and I was aboard when she was sunk by a German U-Boat in the North Atlantic in 1941. I was one of 58 survivors out of a ship's complement of 240. I spent 6 hours in the water and was able to help rescue a young Lieutenant who went on to become Rear Admiral Anthony Davies. Rear Admiral Anthony Davies eventually became the President of the Swindon Branch of the RNA and stayed in contact with me and my family until he passed away a few years ago. We were eventually rescued by HMS Legion, which was under the command of Commander Jessel.

My next ship was the cruiser HMS Manchester that was sunk whilst escorting a Malta convoy in August 1942. We were in the water for 12 hours and eventually picked up by an Italian E-Boat and taken to Tunis. We were then tranferred by train to Algiers and truck to Laghouat POW camp, which was 320 miles into the Sahara desert. I spent 5 months in Laghouat and was then repatriated to Algiers where I took passage aboard the troopship Arundel Castle back to Rosyth in Scotland. I then travelled back to RNB Portsmouth before taking 2 weeks leave.

I then joined the light cruiser HMS Emerald and sailed for the Far East in January 1943 and patrolled the Indian Ocean for about 18 months before being recalled post haste back to the UK. We went straight back to Rosyth, we were not allowed any leave and once back at sea the ship's company was informed that it was D-Day - Operation Neptune to the navy. Our beachhead was 'Sword' and 'Juno' where we were attacked by a German bomber. The bomber dropped 5 bombs, 2 to port and 2 to starboard, buckling the port and starboard plates. The fifth bomb landed on a gun deck and remarkably did not explode. We spent 10 days on the beachhead.

In 1944 I joined the Hunt Class destroyer HMS Talybont (L18) and saw out the war in Europe. We then sailed to the med' for 2 1/2 years service on Palestine patrols. After the war I was called but because of the Korean war and I saw out my service until 1951 on HMS Battleaxe.

R Davies

Ernest Lyndon Taylor HMS Cossack (d.23rd October 1941)

My father's brother Ernest Lyndon Taylor died on H.M.S. Cossack 23/10/1941. My father would like to get in contact with anybody who knew him

Carl Taylor

Ernest Lyndon Taylor HMS Cossack (d.23rd October 1941)

My father's brother Ernest Lyndon Taylor died on H.M.S. Cossack 23/10/1941. My father would like to get in contact with anybody who knew him

Carl Taylor

QM. Raymond Snow "Snowy" Phillips HMS Cossack

I am trying to find out information about my uncle, Raymond Snow Phillips. I understand he served on HMS Cossack and was in the boarding party that boarded the Altmark, but beyond a couple of news paper cuttings I have no other information. I anyone could contact me if you know anything about him.

John Phillips

Ken Robinson HMS Cossack

Ken is still alive and kicking, just got back from Norway where he was involved in the boarding of the prison ship the Altmark.... 70 years ago. They have just had the memorial service there. He was also involved in further action in Norway and Malta convoys. He also saw the sinking of the Bismark as the Cossack was mine sweeping and covering the battle from behind. He was posted to pom pom 4, which I understand is the big guns, 4 personnel on each one.

I love to hear his stories, each time we visit he recalls something new. Like the time he was training the mounted machine gun on a diving Ju44 as the ship was flung to starboard, one minute he is shooting at a plane, the next he is looking at the sea. Or the time he asked to jump from the row boat to the mooring in Scapa Flow with the rope... just because he got a tot of rum for doing it. He was unfortunately... or fortunately as it turned out, injured during re-arming the pom pom at Grangemouth. As he damaged his shoulder, he missed the next posting, where the Cossack was lost in 1941

Tyrone Lanaway

Lt. William Wheeler DSC. MID. HMS Cossack (d.23rd Oct 1941)

William Wheeler was one of two sons of Harold Fearon Wheeler and Thelma Harrard. He would have been born in Australia, possibly Sydney. Sadly his brother James Wheeler was also serving and lost his life in New Guinea in the same year, 1941.

Lt. Cmdr. John Donald Flint HMS Cossack

Lt Cmdr J. D. Flint was on HMS Cossack for the second Battle of Narvik.

Jean Holloway

P.O. John William "Lofty" Butler DSM. HMS Cossack

My Dad, J.W.Butler joined HMS Cossack in 1938 as an AB and left as Petty Officer, Capt 'B' MTG. He recieved the DSM for action in Second Battle of Narvick, when he was responsible for putting out of action an effective shore battery when Cossack was aground and on fire, his gun crew were dead or injured and he had to move some bodies to be able to fire his gun. Dad was also a member of the boarding party which rescued the British prisoners aboard the Altmark.

I am very proud of my Dad xx

B A Brailey

Able Sea. Frederick George Bath HMS Cossack

My late father, Frederick George Bath served on HMS Cossack as a gunner, when it was torpedoed on 24th October 1941. My father survived the war and died at the age of 89. He spoke fondly of HMS Cossack and the shipmates he lost.

Jan Bath

Kenneth Robinson HMS Cossack

My fiancée's Granddad, Kenneth Robinson served on HMS Cossack in WWII. He is very proud of it. He remembers it like yesterday and I enjoy listening to his stories of the boarding of the Altmark, saving the prisoners, jumping off a rowing boat onto a buoy in Scapa Flow with a tow line and firing at JU44's whilst in Malta convoys. He was injured whilst reloading in Grangemouth a month before the Cossack was sunk.

Tyrone Lanaway

P.O. Ronald Claude Coggins HMS Cossack (d.23rd Oct 1941)

Ronald Coggins was my late mother's first husband. He was killed in the war, and we have just found amongst my father's (mums 2nd husband) wartime memorabilia, a voice record. It is not in the best condition, a bit pitted in places, but we wondered if anyone knows anything about them, as we were hoping to be able to play some of it or get it restored in any way? We also have a two page newspaper article from June 1st 1941 about the captain of the Cossack - Capt Philip Louis Vian.

Mary Davies

Stoker 1st Class. George Ernest Jewitt HMS Cossack

My grandfather, George Ernest Jewitt, was one of the boarders (with a pick axe handle) from HMS Cossack during the boarding of the Altmark, and later took part in the 2nd Battle of Narvik. During this latter engagement he earned the DSM for his bravery under fire. My mother and father have recently uncovered a pencil drawing my grandfather drew later in life, of himself during the battle, and this is annotated with his thoughts from those moments. The drawing shows George with a bandage around his head, running along the deck carrying shells between the fore and aft guns during the action, whilst Cossack was struck by shore gunfire seven times. The annotations state that he was conscious of everything I did, and expecting an explosion any minute. It also states that he was doing this with shrapnel injuries to his eye and leg. As a child I never understood why my grandfather suffered so much from his nerves, but these never left him, even into his eighties. Knowing what I do now, it seems all too obvious.

Jason Sullock

Able Sea. Reginald Thomas Gradin Wallace HMS Cossack (d.3rd Nov 1941)

Able Seaman Wallace was the Son of Hugh Leslie and Esther Wallace, of Gosport, Hampshire. He was 19 when he died and is buried in the Ponta Delgade British Protestant Cemetery in the Azores.

s flynn

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