On a field of blue, riding in water barry wavy. White and Blue, a mounted Cossack proper
The Chronology of HMS COSSACK
1907 – 1919
The fourth of the name
Belgium Coast Operations
[as known at April 2017]
First oil fuelled destroyer in the Royal Navy.
Not postally used but information on HMS Cossack is detailed on the reverse.
Postcard series: WHS – Kingsway Real Photo, Kingsway Real Photo Series
Series number: S 7468
HMS Cossack was one of five Tribal-class destroyers also known as the “F” class, ordered as part of the 1905–06 shipbuilding programme and launched at 1225 pm on Saturday 16 February 1907. While the Admiralty laid down the basic requirements of an oil-fuelled, steam turbine-powered ship with a speed of 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph), a range of 1,500 nautical miles (2,800 km; 1,700 miles) at cruising speed and an endurance of eight hours at full speed, the details of the design of individual ships was left to the builders, which meant that individual ships of the class differed significantly from each other. Cammell Laird’s design was powered by steam turbines rated at 14,000 shaft horsepower (10,000 kW) fed by five boilers to drive three propeller shafts, and had three large funnels. Armament was the specified three 12 pounder 3 inch, (76 mm) 12 cwt guns, two side by side on the ship’s forecastle and one aft, with two 18 in (450 mm) torpedo tubes.
After successfully undergoing trials where she reached a speed of 34.619 knots (64.114 km/h; 39.839 mph) COSSACK was commissioned in April 1908.
Shortly after COSSACK entered service; it was decided to strengthen the armament of the first batch of Tribals by adding another two 12 pounder guns, this being done in 1909. Cossack was considered by her Captain to be a poorer sea boat than destroyers, but a better gun platform.
April 1909. COSSACK formed part of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla, 1st Division, Home fleet
23 June 1911. At Spithead for Fleet Review
6 March 1912 Recommissioned at Sheerness. Captain H.F.P. Sinclair in command. Flagship of Rear Admiral CFG Cradock
8 March 1912. Sailed Sheerness for Bantry Bay for calibration.
1 May 1912. 4th Destroyer flotilla (Portland)
3 July 1912. Sailed Sheerness for Portsmouth Captain E.H. Grafton in Command.
5 July 1912. Arrived Sheerness for commissioning
8 July 1912. Attended Fleet Inspection for MPs at Spithead
31 July 1912. Reduced to nucleus crew at Sheerness
1913 COSSACK had joined the 4th Destroyer Flotilla based at Portsmouth. In October that year, the Tribals were officially designated the F class, and as such the letter “F” was painted on COSSACK’s bows.
During the First World War she served in the North Sea and the English Channel with the 6th Destroyer Flotilla.
August 1914 6th Destroyer flotilla
23 August 1914, Cossack was involved in a collision with her sister Tribal-class destroyer, Ghurka.
17 October – 8 November 1914 Belgium Coast Operations
October 1914 COSSACK was one of a number of warships of the Dover Patrol that were deployed to help support Belgian ground forces during the Battle of the Yser, with all available ships being used to carry out shore bombardment operations. At one stage, on 20 October 1914, after the destroyer Amazon was damaged by German shellfire, Rear Admiral Horace Hood transferred his flag to COSSACK.
6 December 1914 Pendant number H 09
1 September 1915 Pendant number D02
26/27 October 1916, During the night of German torpedo boats of their Flanders Flotilla carried out a large scale raid into the English Channel, hoping to attack the drifters watching the anti-submarine nets of the Dover Barrage, and to sink Allied shipping in the Channel. Cossack was one of six Tribal-class destroyers waiting at readiness in Dover Harbour, and when the Germans attacked the drifters and sank the supporting destroyer HMS Flirt, they were ordered to intervene. The six destroyers became separated, and while several of them encountered groups of the German torpedo boats on their return leg, with HMS Nubian being badly damaged by a German torpedo and Amazon and Mohawk sustaining lesser damage from German gunfire, COSSACK did not engage the German ships.
1 July 1917 COSSACK collided with the transport SS The Duchess near Eastbourne. Cossack’s depth charges exploded as a result of the collision, sinking The Duchess and blowing off COSSACKs stern. COSSACK was towed to Dover for repair.
EVEREST. Henry James Fireman Mercantile Marine SS ‘Duchess’ Lost when the ship was in collision with its escort HMS ‘Cossack’ 1st July 1917 off Beachy Head. Aged 35. Resident of 7 Hampden Gardens, South Heighton. Born in Ardingly Son of Eliza Everest. Included on Newhaven War Memorial. No record with CWGC.
1 January 1918. Pendant number D19
Monday 16 September 1918 HMS Glatton (5000 ton monitor with 9.2 and 6inch guns) blew up as fire reached the cordite charges unobserved. Hot clinker and ash had piled up against the bulkhead of the 6inch gun magazine. The heat burned through the cork insulation and then ignited the wooden lining. Since it was only a matter of time before the fire reached the after magazine, Keyes ordered the destroyer COSSACK to sink Glatton with a torpedo to protect a nearby ammunition ship. COSSACK fired two torpedoes at Glatton, one of which failed to detonate, while the second failed to defeat Glatton ’s anti-torpedo bulge.
In the end, Glatton was sunk by 21 inch torpedoes from the destroyer HMS Myngs (See article below)
THE DOVER WAR MEMORIAL PROJECT
“WE FOUGHT DISASTER ON THE GLATTON” by Captain William J Pearce
On September 16, 1918, a calamity occurred in Dover Harbour, which might have resulted in immense losses amongst naval ships, to the harbour works, and to the town. An explosion took place on the monitor, HMS Glatton. To save further disaster, Sir R. Keyes ordered the ship to be torpedoed. Captain Pearce, who writes the following heart-rending account of the tragedy, commanded the Admiralty tug Lady Brassey, from which Sir Roger Keyes directed operations.
Ever since the first day of the war, Dover had been a naval base of great importance. But on this early autumn evening of 16 September 1918 there was even greater stir than usual. Next day a bombardment of the enemy-occupied Belgian coast was to be attempted. An electric tension hung in the air.
I stood on the deck of the Lady Brassey, a tug which was to support the raiding vessels in the morrow’s offensive, and looked northeastwards across the harbour. Every conceivable craft was moored there, from armed trawlers to hospital ships. Side by side stood four newly-commissioned monitors, Marshall Soult, General Wolrfe, Gorgon, and Glatton, the two latter recently acquired from the Norwegian government.
I saw the collier ship steam away from the Glatton, when suddenly the September night was torn by the roar of an explosion that reverberated against the towering cliffs and shook the town to its foundations, sending my tug, berthed against the Prince of Wales pier, rocking crazily. Dense white smoke rose from the Glatton, great flames leaped heavenwards in a pillar of yellow light.
In less than five minutes we were alongside the blazing ship. On the Glatton’s deck were dozens of officers and men, terribly wounded. Some were lying prostrate, others writhing in agony from burns. The ship was burning fiercely, for her oil fuel had caught alight. Then someone shouted, For Gods sake flood the magazines!
With a thrill of horror I realised the awful peril. Fore and aft were two magazines of live ammunition, and if the fire reached them the very town of Dover would be blown to smithereens. There was scarcely a ship in the harbour that wasnot carrying a deadly load of ammunition, depth charges, and mines. Another explosion aboard the Glatton might easily detonate the whole lot.
Running out a length of fire hose we scrambled aboard the Glatton, but instantly fell back. It was almost as though the heat had hit us a blow. How we ever found our way through the scorching suffocating barrage of smoke to the fore end of the ship, where many ratings were trapped, I shall never know.
Vague figures kept looming up, wounded men struggling to escape, officers and ratings who had come aboard to join in the work of rescue. For by now many small craft from the other ships were swarming round the Glatton. There were many grim scenes as such wounded as could be reached were borne away.
A band of ratings had volunteered to flood the fore magazine, or to open the stopcocks and sink the ship. This end of the ship was full of gas; it drove the men back choking and spluttering.
I returned to the Lady Brassey to fetch more fire-fighting appliances. At that moment, a small pinnacle came alongside with Admiral Sir Roger Keyes, the Port Commodore, and several other officers. The Admiral came aboard to gain the Glatton, and shouted for our boat to clear the danger area.
I withdrew, but ten minutes later received a message to go alongside again, as Admiral Keyes wished to go ashore. As I reached the Glatton for the second time, there was a terrific explosion; a piece of burning debris had fallen on an anti-aircraft ammunition dump.
The fore magazine had been successfully flooded, but the flames were spreading, and there was still the after magazine. The fire was burning too fiercely for us to reach the aft.
Admiral Keyes ordered all ships in the vicinity of the Glatton to move out of the harbour. It was only a matter of how long before she blew up. We had to leave behind many poor men trapped in the forepart of the ship. I could hear groans of anguish as we left. I saw a petty officer staggering about the deck, shrieking incoherently.
Admiral Keyes made the painful decision to sink the Glatton by torpedoing her. The vast surging crowd that was ranged from end to end of the esplanade to watch the grim drama was herded by the soldiers to the back of the town and comparative safety.
The Admiral hurried aboard our boat again and indicated the station he wanted us to take up. The destroyer, Myngs, moved slowly into position. As I saw the chain of bubbles that marked the track of the torpedo unfolding in the direction of the still blazing vessel, I instinctively covered my eyes.
There was the dull shatter of crumpling steel, the swirl of rushing water, and I saw the flames of the Glatton leap higher. The wounded ship heeled over to port. Masses of glowing smoke rose high into the air, casting an eerie light on the water. Suddenly she gave a tremendous lurch. In another moment the waters had closed over her. Blackness was all around, and nothing to mark the spot on which this brave ship had been sacrificed, and with her ninety tortured souls, to avert greater disaster.
Next morning, when the tide ebbed, the Glatton was just visible above the water. And there she remained for eight years until efforts were made to raise her. The remains of 57 bodies were recovered during salvage operations, and these were conveyed to Gillingham in Kent, near the naval base of Chatham, and buried in one large grave, following an impressive funeral service with full military honours.
This article is a precis of an article in the WWI ephemera at Dover Museum. The date of original publication and the source is unknown.
Captain, later Lieutenant William Pearce became a casualty during World War II. He is commemorated in the Book of Remembrance, and more about him is here
William Pearce, courtesy Bernard Chappell
the Glatton Memorial (foreground) in the Naval section at Gillingham (Woodlands) cemetery
Copyright 2011 Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved
(Kemp, Paul, The Admiralty Regrets British Warship Losses of the 20th Century, p. 79)
(Navy News September 2009.)
November 1918. 6th Destroyer Flotilla. Dover Patrol
3 March 1919. Lt Cdr T.W Young in command
12 December 1919 Scrapped: at Ward, Preston
Little Java (pictured above) was a Thames Steam Tug built in 1905 by Cochrane & Sons of Selby and owned by W.Watkins Ltd. In 1915 she was transferred to Ramsgate and operated under Royal Naval Command as H.M.S. Carcass in the Dover Patrol’s Downs Boarding Flotilla. Java was involved in a number of ship rescue incidents, including one in connection with the destroyer H.M.S. Cossack. She was also involved in towing at least two other ships out of dangerous minefields.
Buckle. Hugh Percival. Commander – Captain of Cossack 10 August 1909 to 5 April 1910
Life & Career
Buckle was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 22 June, 1897.
Buckle resigned his commission due to private affairs on 18 November, 1898. His resignation’s acceptance was cancelled when he requested that it be withdrawn on 27 February, 1899 when the Board took a favorable review of his request.
Buckle was promoted to the rank of Commander on 30 June, 1909.
Buckle was appointed to Vindictive on 5 April, 1910 but was unable to join the ship as he was in ill health. On the 9th, he was admitted to Plymouth Hospital with neurasthenia. After taking some time to stabilise, he was appointed to the armoured cruiser Sutlej on 7 June, 1910. In mid-1911, he joined the Liverpool Coast Guard.
On 1 August, 1914, Buckle was lent to the Liverpool Naval Centre. He worked there until being appointed to the first class protected cruiser Crescent on 11 May, 1915.
On the night of 7/8 February, 1918, Orbita sank the collier Dorisbrook, which had been servicing Orbita periodically over the last month, in a collision. This resulted in a Court of Enquiry and Buckle received an expression of Their Lordships’ displeasure.
On 30 April, 1918, Buckle was suffering from neurasthenia at Haslar Hospital. On 6 June, he was declared fit for shore service, and on 18 September, fit for general service.
Buckle was placed on the Retired List at his own request with the rank of Captain on 17 August, 1921.
Cross. Sidney 20 March 1918 to November 1919
Dave Cross firstname.lastname@example.org
I have an association indirectly with HMS Cossack albeit the former ship that was scrapped in 1919.
My grandfather served on her from the 20th March 1918 and according to limited records I have obtained he must have been with her until she was de-commissioned and scrapped. He name was Sydney Cross but I have not found out his rank at the time.
After Cossack he served on HMS Calypso (their house was named “Calypso”). He went to HMS Excellent in April 1923 were he did “D”, “F” and “I” duties. If you know what they mean I would appreciate it if you could give an explanation. He finished his duties in April 1925 and it notes he was a Commissioned Gunner. He retired in September 1925.
Ironically he was called back to serve in WW2 on a merchant ship armed with I think 6″ guns. Apparently they were guns of granddad’s era and once fitted I think that the Admiralty realised they didn’t have anyone who knew how to fire them properly, not sure if that is correct. He was torpedoed but survived. I am trying to find out the name of the ship that rescued him and others.
Gore-Langton. Hubert E. Captain of Cossack 11 February 1917 – 6 July 1917
Gore-Langton gained seven months’ time on passing out of Britannia. He was appointed to Magnificent in the Channel on 15 January, 1899.
Gore-Langton was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 31 December, 1904.
Around late 1906 and early 1907 while in Ariadne, he was involved in “Aim Corrector Experiments.”
Gore-Langton was appointed in command of the destroyer Afridi on 3 December, 1912.
Gore-Langton was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 31 December, 1912. In 1913, he was placed on half-pay in order that he could attend to “urgent private affairs.”
On 20 December, 1913, he was appointed in command of the destroyer Ghurka.
He was appointed in command of the destroyer Midge on 3 February, 1914.
On some date in 1915, perhaps 11 August, he was judged to have engaged in “insubordinate conduct on H.M.S. Midge”, which elicited severe displeasure.
Gore-Langton grounded Phoebe on 27 January, 1918 and was cautioned to be more careful in future.
Gore-Langton was specially promoted to the rank of Commander on 23 April, 1918 for services during operations on the Belgian Coast.
Phoebe collided with Murray on 6 September, 1918 and Gore-Langton was considered partly to blame.
Gore-Langton was placed on the Retired List as unfit on 8 May 1919. In 1927, it was noted that he was not qualified for a step in rank upon reaching the age of 45.
World War II
Gore-Langton was admitted to Royal Naval Hospital, Plymouth on 10 September 1941 with a nervous debility. Following a series of re-surveys, on 12 December he was made a hospital case at Plymouth. He reverted to the Retired List as medically unfit on 16 January, 1942.
Hawksley. J. R. P. Commander Captain of Cossack 12 March 1908 – 6 August 1909
Harrison. Gerald C. Lieutenant-Commander, Captain of Cossack 3 February 1914 – 5 August 1915
Life & Career
Gerald Harrison was the son of a merchant, John Harrison. He gained five months time on passing out of Britannia and received his first appointment on 5 October, 1899, to the second class protected cruiser Hermes, serving on the North America and West Indies Station. When she paid off on 8 December, 1900, Harrison was sent to join the first class protected cruiser Blenheim, where he was to serve for two years on the China Station.
The years 1903-1905 were complicated by a broken arm and a dislocated knee, causing him to miss joining College. He recuperated at Haslar and emerged fit only in October, 1905.
Harrison was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 30 June, 1908 while on duty at Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.
Appendicitis derailed him for two months from July, 1910 when he sought treatment in Plymouth Hospital.
He was appointed as captain of the destroyer Kestrel on 19 July, 1911. In 1912, he would be commended for his help after Hydro Aeroplane #1 suffered an accident, but in November he was again placed in hospital for two weeks – this time for a sprained right ankle.
On 1 April, 1913, he was appointed as captain of the destroyer Fawn, and “for charge of reduced T.B.Ds”.
Harrison was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 30 June, 1913.
On 29 August, 1913, he was appointed in command of the destroyer Crane and “for charge of reduced T.B.D.’s of 6th Flotilla.”
Harrison was appointed in command of the Tribal Class destroyer Cossack on 29 July, 1914.
Harrison was captain of the destroyer Manners at the Battle of Jutland as part of the Eleventh Destroyer Flotilla.
On 24 September, 1916, Harrison was commended for his “prompt action” in an encounter with a German U-boat.
In early 1917, he was again undergoing medical treatments.
Harrison was promoted to the rank of Commander on 31 December, 1917.
On 1 October, 1919, he was appointed in command of the destroyer Rocket.
Harrison was promoted to the rank of Captain on 31 December, 1924.
Harrison was appointed additional to the flotilla leader Keith on 29 April, 1932, to take command and become Captain (D) of the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla upon her commissioning in May. He was superseded on 18 October, 1933.
His final appointment before retirement was in command of the Gosport training establishment St. Vincent, from 6 April, 1934. Harrison was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral on 4 January, 1936 and placed on the Retired List the following day in accordance with Order in Council of 9 March, 1914. He was superseded at St. Vincent only after retirement, however, on 1 September, 1936.
Harrison was brought back up on 1 December, 1940 for an appointment at Selection Board Number 9, vice Macfarlan. He reverted to the Retired List as medically unfit on 1 November, 1941.
Harrison died “suddenly” at Blyth, Notts on 10 August, 1943. He left a widow, Katherine.
HMS Cossack 1918 – in command
HMS Windsor 1928 – 1929 Commander
HMS Thruster 1929 – 1931
HMS Decoy February 1932
Promoted Captain 30 June 1935
Portsmouth on Tactical Course
Captain D 21st Destroyer Flotilla 6 September 1935 – 22 May 1936
HMS Caledon until 3 November 1936
War course at Greenwich
HMS Hardy as Captain (D) of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla until 30 July 1939.
H.M.S. Broke. 30 July 1939, 15th Destroyer Flotilla, again as Captain (D).
H.M.S. Cochrane, Rosyth (shore establishment) 30 August 1939.- 25 January 1940
H.M.S. Hood. Captain, Commanding. Joined 1020 hours, 15 February 1941
Ralph Kerr was born on 16 August, 1891, the youngest son of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Russell Kerr, Kt., D.L., J.P., and Lady Kerr of Newnham on Severn, Gloucestershire.
He entered the Royal Navy as a Cadet on 15 May 1904. His older brother William chose a commission in the Army. Sadly William was killed whilst on service in 1915. Promotion to the rank of Lieutenant came on 28 February 1914. He spent the majority of the First World War aboard H.M.S. Benbow, flagship of Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee during the Battle of Jutland in May 1916. In 1918 he took command of the destroyer H.M.S. Cossack (fourth of that name). Most of his naval career revolved around destroyers.
Having survived the First World War, he was married to Margaret Augusta Kerr on St. Valentine’s Day, 1920. Together they had two children Russell and Jane. The family lived in St. John’s Wood, London.
On 30 June 1927 Kerr was promoted to Commander. December of the following year saw him take command of the destroyer H.M.S. Windsor. He retained this command until August 1929, when he took command of the destroyer H.M.S. Thruster. He held this position until February 1931. He returned to sea a year later in February 1932, in command of the destroyer H.M.S. Decoy.
Kerr was promoted to Captain on 30 June 1935. The following month saw him attend a tactical course in Portsmouth. He returned to sea on 6 September 1935 as Flotilla Leader and Captain (D) of the 21st Destroyer Flotilla. A tried and true destroyer man, Kerr immediately made a favourable impression. On leaving this appointment on 22 May 1936, Admiral Thomson commented, “A very capable Captain (D) who has trained his Flotilla well. An officer probably much better suited to the practical side of naval life rather than to Staff duties. A strong personality with definite powers of command and a very good seaman. Most loyal and is very thorough in the carrying out of his duties. Social qualities good. Physically fit and has good powers of endurance.”
Two months passed before Kerr took up his next appointment, this time as Senior Officer, Reserve Fleet in the First World War vintage 4,000 ton cruiser H.M.S. Caledon. He remained in Caledon until 3 November 1936, at which time he transferred to the aging cruiser H.M.S. Colombo. On joining Colombo he took on the additional appointment of Chief Staff Officer to the Rear-Admiral of the 10th Cruiser Squadron. During this period (April to July 1937) Kerr was involved in preparations for the Coronation review. Kerr remained with the 10th Cruiser Squadron for nearly a year. Vice-Admiral Sir Gerald Dickens summarised his work thus: “A very keen zealous officer who has done well as Senior Officer Reserve Fleet. Has plenty of character and drive and is mentally alert. A good seaman and a sound administrator. Very loyal, while ambitious to do well. Good social qualities. Keeps fit.”
Kerr was due to be appointed as Commander of the Flotilla Leader H.M.S. Duncan and Captain (D) of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla, but this appointment ended up being cancelled. Instead, Kerr attended a training course, his first since his promotion to Captain. He attended the four month War Course at Greenwich. By this point in time, Kerr appears to have realised that he needed to expand his training and experience beyond destroyers. As a result of this, he put his all into the training course. Vice-Admiral Sir Sydney Bailey commented on him thus: “Capacity: 16/30 Very sound; a limited outlook due to previous lack of staff training. Power of Expression: Vocal 7/10 Speaks clearly and to the point and does not hesitate to express views. Writing 7/10 Good and improving. Ability in supporting opinions in debate: 10/15 Supports his views with good arguments and emphatically. Application: 8/10 Has worked with determination to extract full value from the course and has obviously welcomed the opportunity. Remarks (Soundness 20/25) Appears to have suffered from the cramping effects of continuous specialised service and realises it. Recommended for I.D.C. Total 68/100”
Kerr’s potential was recognised and he was recommended for the Imperial Defence College. Clearly, with broadened experience, he would be a high value asset to the Royal Navy. Unfortunately for Kerr, not much would change- he returned to destroyer service following the War Course. He assumed command of the Flotilla Leader H.M.S. Hardy as Captain (D) of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla. He served in Hardy until 30 July 1939. During his time in Hardy he worked under the flag of Vice-Admiral John Tovey. Tovey, who would later be Commander, Home Fleet during the Bismarck pursuit, had an excellent opinion on Kerr. In May 1939 Tovey wrote: “An experienced and exceptionally able Destroyer Officer. Possesses a great deal of common sense. A strong personality and a good leader. He has trained his Flotilla to a high degree of efficiency and he and they can always be thoroughly relied on. He is an expert at A/S work. He has a sound knowledge of tactics and strategy. I would always be glad to have him with me in battle. He expresses himself forcibly and clearly both verbally and in writing. Never hesitates to give his own opinion. Keeps himself fit and an excellent Fotilla mate.” Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean concurred
On 30 July 1939, Kerr assumed command of the 15th Destroyer Flotilla, again as Captain (D). Initially he commanded the Flotilla from H.M.S. Broke, a 1400 ton destroyer of 1920 vintage. He transferred command to the shore establishment H.M.S. Cochrane, Rosyth on 30 August 1939. The Second World War commenced just days later.
On 16 October 1939, Kerr’s responsibilities increased as he joined the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Rosyth and transferred command to the Rosyth Destroyer Force. He remained based at H.M.S. Cochrane throughout this timeframe. He was awarded the C.B.E. during the King’s birthday Honours of 1940. He remained with the Rosyth Destroyer Force until 24 January 1940.
Captain Kerr’s service with the Rosyth Destroyer Force lasted until 25 January 1941. His final recorded report for this assignment was written by Vice-Admiral Charles Ramsey who stated: “An outstanding officer in every way. Clear headed, forthright, loyal and in every way an excellent officer to deal with. Fit and good social qualities. Has an excellent manner in dealing with both his seniors and juniors; he has the happy gift of being able to admonish these latter without leaving a sting. To my surprise I found he was good on paper. I have known him before as an excellent destroyer officer and did not suspect this latter accomplishment.”
On 15 February 1941, a fortnight after leaving the Rosyth Destroyers he took command of the battle cruiser H.M.S. Hood, then undergoing a refit at Rosyth. He would be her final Captain. We can only speculate how, after such a long period of service in destroyers, Kerr felt as he took command of the Royal Navy’s largest warship. Not doubt there was a degree of trepidation, but Kerr had proven time and again that he was more than capable of meeting any new challenge.
His time as Flag Captain in Hood was short (just over three months), but it would prove to be a busy time. Her refit was complete by mid March 1941. From this point onward, life aboard Hood was dominated by gunnery exercises and North Atlantic sea patrols (particularly off Iceland).
He went down with his ship when it was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck on 24th May 1941. He made no attempt to leave the sinking vessel, preferring to remain at his station alongside Vice-Admiral Lancelot Holland. Kerr was posthumously Mentioned in Despatches. He was 49 years old at the time of his loss.
Sadly, tragedy would once again strike the Kerr family just under four years later, when his son, Russell, a Captain in the Royal Artillery and a tank commander, was lost in action in Burma.
Magee. E.B Lt. Captain of Cossack 28 June 1915 – 8 December 1915
Life & Career
Born in Simla, India, the son of Major Magee.
Magee was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 1 October, 1908. In November, he committed a breach of discipline by not possessing Ball Dress.
Magee was appointed Lieutenant & Commander of the first-class torpedo boat T.B. 025 on 5 November, 1909. Later that month, a chain cable parted and he was told to be more careful in future.
Magee was appointed Lieutenant in Command of the first-class torpedo boat T.B. 109 on 18 March, 1914.
Magee was appointed captain of the Laforey Class destroyer Leonidas on 8 December, 1915. Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 1 October, 1916, on 10 November, 1916 Magee handled Leonidas with great skill and took the mined Legion under tow.
He was mentioned in despatches for his work with the Harwich Force and arduous escort work, gazetted 22 June, 1917.
On 20 November, 1917, Magee was appointed in command of the destroyer Thisbe.
On 16 March, 1918 Magee was gazetted for receiving the Italian Bronze Medal for his work in Thisbe and in submarine hunting with the Harwich Force.
Magee was appointed in command of the destroyer Watchman in April, 1919.
In 1920 he was awarded the D.S.O. for his service in Watchman in the Baltic, gazetted 8 March and invested on 10 November, 1920.
Magee was admitted to Plymouth Naval Hospital on 25 May 1921 with acute dermatitis. He was declared fit in 11 or 15 June and was promoted to the rank of Commander on 30 June, 1921. At the end of 1921, after completing a Commander’s Technical Course, he was granted permission to proceed to France.
Magee was promoted to the rank of Captain on 30 June, 1929. Shortly after the end of an appointment in command of the light cruiser Carlisle and as Flag Captain in August 1931, Magee was told that he would not be offered further employment and would be retired for non-service in November 1933 unless he were to retire before that date. Magee chose to retire at his own request on 9 July, 1933.
World War II
On 23 April 1941 Magee was appointed to the Liverpool Convoy Pool, to serve in the rank of Commodore, Second Class R.N.R.. On 18 December, 1944 he was sent to provide the same services from Bombay. On 19 May 1945 he was appointed for passage home and for disposal.
Magee was mentioned in despatches for providing distinguished service as Commodore of Convoy, gazetted 27 June, 1944. Furthermore he was commended by Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches in July of 1945 for good service and devotion to duty and awarded a C.B.E. for distinguished service in the War in Europe.
Life & Career
Young was born in Briton Berry, Glamorgan, the son of a Major J. W. Young. He gained ten month’s time on passing out of Britannia in July 1888.
Young was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in December, 1894.
He married Beatrice Hilda Price on 5 December, 1900.
Young was promoted to the rank of Commander in June, 1906.
In April, 1912, Commodore Arbuthnot indicated that Young spoke some French and was “careful and painstaking but not much dash. handles ship well but am doubtful of his making gd captain in the Fleet.” Nonetheless, Young was appointed to a very “hot” asset when placed in command of the flotilla leader Swift on 1 August, 1912.
Young was promoted to the rank of Captain in December, 1915.
He was awarded the D.S.O. for his conduct in command of the armed merchant cruiser Andes, gazetted in June, 1918.
He was blamed for wedging H.M.S. Conqueror between dock and basin while serving at Portsmouth as Assistant King’s Harbour Master.
He was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 16 January, 1924.
Dave Cross email@example.com
Kemp, Paul, The Admiralty Regrets British Warship Losses of the 20th Century, p. 79
Royal Naval Museum Portsmouth
The National Archives
Navy News September 2009.
The internet (sources not guaranteed)