HMS Cossack (1907)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Cossack.
HMS Cossack (1907) IWM Q 021123.jpg
HMS Cossack
RN EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Cossack
Builder: Cammell Laird, Birkenhead
Laid down: 13 November 1905
Launched: 16 February 1907
Commissioned: April 1908
Fate: Sold for scrap, December 1919
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Tribal-class destroyer
  • 885 long tons (899 t) (normal)
  • 975 long tons (991 t) full load
  • 270 ft (82.3 m) pp
  • 277 ft (84.4 m) oa
Beam: 26 ft (7.9 m)
Draught: 8 ft 7 in (2.62 m)
  • Steam turbines
  • 3 shafts,
  • 14,000 shp (10,000 kW)
Speed: 33 kn (38 mph; 61 km/h)
Range: 1,325 nmi (2,454 km; 1,525 mi) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 72

HMS Cossack was a Tribal class destroyer of the Royal Navy launched in 1907 and sold in 1919.

Construction and design[edit]

HMS Cossack was one of five Tribal-class destroyers ordered as part of the 1905–06 shipbuilding programme.[2] 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 mi) 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[a], two side by side on the ship's forecastle and one aft, with two 18 in (450 mm) torpedo tubes.[3][4][5]

Cossack was laid down on 13 November 1905 and launched on 16 February 1907.[6] After successfully undergoing trials[7] where she reached a speed of 34.619 knots (64.114 km/h; 39.839 mph),[2] Cossack was commissioned in April 1908.[6]


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.[4][8] Cossack was considered by her Captain to be a poorer sea boat than River-class destroyers,[b] but a better gun platform.[8]

In 1910, Cossack formed part of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla,[10] By 1913, she had joined the 4th Destroyer Flotilla,[10] based at Portsmouth.[11] In October that year, the Tribals were officially designated the F class, and as such the letter "F" was painted on Cossack's bows.[4][5]

During the First World War she served in the North Sea and the English Channel with the 6th Destroyer Flotilla.

On 23 August 1914, Cossack was involved in a collision with her sister Tribal-class destroyer, Ghurka.[12] In 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.[13][14]

On the night of 26/27 October 1916, 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.[15]

On 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 Cossack's stern.[9][16][17] Cossack was towed to Dover for repair.[18]

On 16 September 1918, a fire started in one of the magazines of the newly delivered monitor HMS Glatton. In order to prevent an explosion that could affect a nearby ammunition ship, it was decided to sink Glatton. Cossack fired two torpedoes at Glatton, one of which failed to detonate, while the second failed to defeat Glatton's anti-torpedo bulge.:[19][20][21]

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. However, two torpedoes from the Cossack were not sufficient to defeat Glatton's extensive anti-torpedo protection...

— Kemp, Paul, The Admiralty Regrets British Warship Losses of the 20th Century,p. 79

In the end, Glatton was sunk by 21 inch (533 mm) torpedoes from the destroyer HMS Myngs.[19]

Cossack was sold for scrap in December 1919.[6]


  1. ^ cwt stands for hundredweight, 12 cwt referring to the weight of the gun.
  2. ^ A general problem with the seakeeping of the Tribals was that their forecastle was too short, so that at high speed, the ship's bow wave would wash over the deck.[9]
  1. ^ Friedman 2009, p. 293.
  2. ^ a b Friedman 2009, p. 108.
  3. ^ Friedman 2009, pp. 106–108.
  4. ^ a b c Gardiner and Gray 1985, p. 72.
  5. ^ a b Friedman 2009, p. 100.
  6. ^ a b c Friedman 2009, p. 305.
  7. ^ "Progress of Warships and Machinery Under Construction in England" (PDF). The Engineer. Vol. 105. 10 January 1908. p. 29. 
  8. ^ a b Friedman 2009, pp. 109–110.
  9. ^ a b Burt 1986, p. 22.
  10. ^ a b "NMM, vessel ID 382853" (PDF). Warship Histories, vol v. National Maritime Museum. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  11. ^ Manning 1961, p. 25.
  12. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur (2013). "Ships hit during WWI: HMS Ghurka". Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Corbett, Julian S. (2013) [Originally published by Longmans, Green and Co.: London, 1920]. "History of the Great War: Naval Operations Vol. I To the Battle of the Falklands December 1914 (Part 1 of 2)". Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  14. ^ Bacon 1918, pp. 611–614.
  15. ^ Newbolt, Henry (2013) [Originally published by Longmans, Green and Co.: London, 1928]. "History of the Great War: Naval Operations Vol. IV June 1916 to April 1917 (Part 1 of 2)". Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  16. ^ "SS The Duchess [+1917]". 6 October 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013. .
  17. ^ Everest, Ian (24 November 2007). "The War Dead. Part II: Newhaven 1917". Our Newhaven. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  18. ^ Bacon 1918, p. 620.
  19. ^ a b Gardiner and Gray 1985, p. 47.
  20. ^ Brook 1999, p. 212.
  21. ^ Kemp 1999, p. 79.
  • Bacon, Reginald (1918). The Dover Patrol 1915–1917. Volume II. London: Hutchinson & Son. 
  • Brook, Peter (1999). Warships for Export: Armstrong Warships 1867–1927. Gravesend, UK: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-89-4. 
  • Burt, R.A. (1986). Warships Illustrated No 7: British Destroyers in World War One. London: Arms & Armour Press. ISBN 0-85368-753-6. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-049-9. 
  • Gardiner, Robert; Gray, Randal (1985). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5. 
  • Kemp, Paul (1999). The Admiralty Regrets British Warship Losses of the 20th Century. Sutton Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7509-1567-6. 
  • Manning, T. D. (1961). The British Destroyer. London: Putnam & Co. Ltd. 

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