Allied Warships

HMS Magpie (U 82)

Sloop of the Modified Black Swan class

NavyThe Royal Navy
ClassModified Black Swan 
PennantU 82 
Built byThornycroft (Southampton, U.K.) 
Ordered27 Mar 1941 
Laid down30 Dec 1941 
Launched24 Mar 1943 
Commissioned30 Aug 1943 
End service 

During October – November 1943 HMS Magpie was a unit of the 2nd search group serving in the North Atlantic under the command of Captain Walker. On 31 January 1944 while still serving on North Atlantic convoy escort duties, the convoy she was escorting was proceeding west of Ireland when the damaged German submarine U-592 on its way to France for repairs was intercepted by Magpie and the sloops HMS Starling and HMS Wild Goose from her group, the submarine was destroyed.

On 9 February 1944, Magpie in company with HMS Starling and HMS Kite sank the U-238, later the same day her group were responsible for the sinking of U-734. On 6 June 1944 she assisted with escort duties for the amphibious Allied landings in Normandy. In March 1945 Magpie was serving in British coastal waters, as a unit of the 22nd Escort Group operating from Greenock as escorts for the Gibraltar convoys.

In 1947 she was officially reclassified as a frigate. In November 1953 Magpie, a member of the Mediterranean Fleet, in company with HMS Mermaid and HMS Peacock were sent to Trieste following riots there over the city`s future, this being a bone of contention between Italy and Yugoslavia. On 3 March 1955 Magpie left Portsmouth to join the 7th Frigate Squadron at Simonstown, South Africa. On 7 May 1955 Magpie arrived at Simonstown. In August, she was docked in the Selborne dry dock. In 1956 Magpie was due to be relieved at the Cape Station by her sister ship HMS Sparrow, however this was not to be, as the Sparrow had developed serious boiler problems, it was decided that her crew would man the Magpie, thereby allowing Sparrow to be returned back to the UK using the Magpie`s original crew. In February, transfers were completed and the Magpie`s crew steamed the Sparrow back. On March 2nd they arrived at Portsmouth. In 1958 Magpie had her tour of duty at the Cape Station finally completed, she sailed back for the UK for paying off. On 12 July 1959 Magpie was broken up by Hughes Bolkcow, Blyth.

Her badge can still be seen on the side of the Selborne dry dock wall with the inscription “What we want we take”.


Commands listed for HMS Magpie (U 82)

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1Lt.Cdr. Rider Stewart Abram, RNJun 19432 Nov 1944
2Lt.Cdr. George Osborn Symonds, DSC, RN2 Nov 1944Feb 1946

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Notable events involving Magpie include:

12 Sep 1943
HMS P 511 (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Magpie (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Abram, RN), HMS Odzani (Lt.Cdr. L.A. Sayers, RNR), HMS Onyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.C.L. Gaussen, RNVR) and HMS Cyclamen (T/Lt. W.S. Joliffe, RNR). (1)

31 Jan 1944
German U-boat U-592 was sunk at 1000hrs on 31 January 1944 in the North Atlantic south-west of Ireland, in position 50°20'N, 17°29'W, by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Starling (Capt. F.W. Walker, CB, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Wild Goose (Lt.Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, DSC, RN) and HMS Magpie (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Abram, RN).

9 Feb 1944
German U-boat U-238 was sunk in the North Atlantic south-west of Ireland, in position 49°45'N, 16°07'W, by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), HMS Magpie (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Abram, RN) and HMS Starling (Capt. F.W. Walker, CB, DSO and Bar, RN).

9 Mar 1944
HMS Clyde (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Brookes, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Larne with HMS Magpie (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Abram, RN) and HMS Wild Goose (A/Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, DSC and Bar, RN). (2)

2 Sep 1950
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh took his first and only command on this day of this vessel. (3)


  1. ADM 173/17928
  2. ADM 173/18460
  3. Personal communication

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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