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Cowell I (Destroyer No. 167)

(DD-167: dp. 1,060; l. 314'5"; b. 31'9"; dr. 9'2"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 101; a. 4 4", 4 21" tt.; cl. Wickes)

John G. Cowell, born 18 September 1785 in Marblehead, Mass., entered the Navy as a master 21 January 1809. As acting lieutenant, Cowell was severely wounded, losing a leg, in the action on 28 March 1814 between Essex and HMS Phoebe and HMS Cherub off Valparaiso, Chile. Refusing to be carried below, Cowell cheered his companions on through the remainder of the action. He was carried on shore, and exhibited such gallantry and courage under severe pain until his death on 18 April that the people of Valparaiso honored him with a burial place in their principal church; a most unusual honor for a foreigner.


Cowell (DD-139) was renamed Ward (q.v.) on 20 May 1918, prior to launching


Cowell (Destroyer No. 167) was launched 23 November 1918 by Fore River Shipbuilding Co., Quincy, Mass.; sponsored by Miss E. P. Garney; and commissioned 17 March 1919, Lieutenant Commander C. E. Van Hook in command.

Cowell cleared Boston, Mass., 3 May 1919, to take station at Trepassey Bay, Nfld., first stopping point for the Navy seaplanes which that month began the historic first aerial crossing of the Atlantic. After patrolling her station, she returned to Boston 22 May to prepare for European service, and on 30 June sailed from New York to join the American naval force in the Adriatic. Here she served as dispatch ship for the Allied Peace Commission, and as station ship at Fiume, Istria, at Spalato, and at Trau, Dalmatia, in turn until 23 October, when she cleared for home.

In reserve at Boston and Charleston from 1 December 1919, Cowell put to sea for a training period out of Newport, R.I., with a reserve organization from April through October 1921, returning to Charleston. On 27 June 1922, she was decommissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she lay until recommissioned 17 June 1940 for patrol duty in the Atlantic. She cruised along the east coast on this duty until 18 September 1940 when she arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, there to be decommissioned 23 September 1940 and transferred to the Royal Navy the same day in the land bases for destroyers exchange.

Commissioned as HMS Brighton, the destroyer served with minelayers in the Denmark Strait and off the Faeroes Islands. On 27 February 1941, she rescued from the sea 19 survivors of torpedoed SS Baltisan. After refit, she served during 1943 and 1944 as target ship for naval aircraft training in the Western Approaches and at Rosyth, Scotland. On 16 July 1944 she was transferred to Russia, in whose Navy she served as Jarkyi until returned to the British at Rosyth 28 February 1949.

Published: Tue Feb 23 14:36:04 EST 2016