Allied Warships

HMS Cowdray (L 52)

Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type II) class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort destroyer
ClassHunt (Type II) 
PennantL 52 
Built byScotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Greenock, Scotland) 
Ordered4 Sep 1939 
Laid down30 Apr 1940 
Launched22 Jul 1941 
Commissioned29 Jul 1942 
End service 

Bombed off Algiers in November 1942, repaired and recommissioned.

HMS Cowdray was allocated to the Royal Hellenic Navy as Admiral Hastings from March 1944 until June 1944. She was never commissioned into the R.H.N. due to the mutinous state of the Greek Navy.

Scrapped at Gateshead on 3 September 1959.


Commands listed for HMS Cowdray (L 52)

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1Lt.Cdr. Cyril William North, RNJun 194225 Feb 1943
2T/Lt.Cdr. Russell Patterson, SANF(V)25 Feb 1943mid 1943

3Lt. Denis John Beckley, DSO, DSC, RN14 Aug 1944early 1946

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Notable events involving Cowdray include:

My father was Surgeon Lieutenant Ian M. MacLeod, the ship's doctor, during the landings in North Africa. I have the letter he wrote to his parents after he was wounded. This is what he states: "As you perhaps guessed, we took part in the landing at Algiers and got out unscathed but on our way along the coast with a convoy we were attacked by torpedo and dive bombers. We put up a terrific barrage - you should have felt the ship shaking and heard the din!- that they evidently decided to concentrate on knocking us out. The torpedoed and bombs began to . The captain I am told dodged the torpedoed very skilfully. All I could hear was starboard 20, amidships, port 15, starboard 20 etc. We dodged them all but just as we were getting out of the way of one torpedo we were hit by a bomb. The bomb hit very close to where I standing and I was thrown up in the air and down again on to left thigh. I got up again but felt my leg quite loose below me. I had to hop up a ladder and down another one. It then looked as if the ship were sinking. One of the officers got a splint and put it on under my direction and they laid me on a stretcher. By closing up watertight compartments they managed to prevent the ship from sinking further, but we couldn't raise steam as our boilers had been damaged. Another ship came to our rescue and came right alongside but the sea was too rough. She just rose up and down and banged against us. It was most disappointing to see her going off again. However we managed to get a line across to her a while after and she towed us stern first. I'm afraid I wasn't of much value as regards doing things for others who were hurt. My S.B.A. (Sick Berth Attendant) worked very hard and I was able to advise him and tell him how much morphium to give to the different ones. No-one suffered through lack of treatment which was a great consolation to me. There were a few broken bones and some bad burns but no-one - apart from the 5 who were killed by the bomb -died." I think from this account it is clear that the fatalities were killed instantly and did not suffer and I hope that even at this distant remove, this information is helpful to someone. My wife's family suffered terribly in the war and I know the memories never die. If anyone wishes to phone me on 07951-742445 for further information, I would be happy to try and help. Donald R. MacLeod (1)

10 Aug 1942
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.R. Drummond, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with ships from the 40th Escort Group and HMS Cowdray (Lt.Cdr. C.W. North, RN). (2)

11 Aug 1942
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.R. Drummond, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Stork (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN), HMS Marigold (Lt. J.A.S. Halcrow, RNR), HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, DSC, RD, RNR) and HMS Cowdray (Lt.Cdr. C.W. North, RN). (2)

12 Aug 1942
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.R. Drummond, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Cowdray (Lt.Cdr. C.W. North, RN), HMS Narcissus (Lt. W.G.H. Bolton, RNR) and FFS Renoncule. (2)

13 Aug 1942
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.R. Drummond, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Clare (Lt.Cdr. L.H. Landman, RN) and HMS Cowdray (Lt.Cdr. C.W. North, RN). (2)


  1. Personal communication
  2. ADM 173/17216

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

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