USS Cowell (DD-167)/ HMS Brighton

USS Cowell (DD-167) was a Wickes class destroyer that was transferred to the Royal Navy as part of the destroyers for bases deal where she served as HMS Brighton.

The Cowell was named after John G. Cowell, a US naval officer who was mortally wounded in the battle between USS Essex and HMS Phoebe and HMS Cherub near Valparaiso during the War of 1812.

Detail from Battle of Scheveningen by Willem van de Velde the Elder
USS Cowell (DD-167),
Boston Navy Yard,
19 March 1919

The Cowell was launched by the Fore River Shipbuilding Co of Quncy Mass on 23 November 1918 and commissioned on 17 March 1919. Her first duty was to support the first successful transatlantic flight, carried out by the Navy Curtiss seaplane NC-4 in May 1919. The Cowell was one of the picket ships that lined the route of the flight as a navigation aid and rescue ship.

The Cowell was then allocated to the US naval forces in the Adriatic, leaving New York on 30 June 1919. She was used as a dispatch ship by the Allied Peace Commission, and as the station ship st Fiume, Istria, Spalata and Trau.

In September 1919 a landing party from the Cowell and USS Olympia (Protected Cruiser No.6) were landed at Trau in American occupied Dalmatia, to prevent clashes between Italians and Serbs from getting worse. A party of Italians who had seized the town retreated after faced with an American ultimatum.

The Cowell departed for the United States on 23 October 1919. She was placed into the reserve on 1 December 1919. She was reactivated for a training period between April and October 1921 before returning to the reserve. She was decommissioned for the first time on 27 June 1922.

The Cowell was recommissioned on 17 June 1940 and was allocated to the neutrality patrol, operating along the US east coast. She was then chosen as one of the fifty destroyers to be given to the UK in return for a series of naval bases. She reached Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 18 September 1940 and was decommissioned from the US Navy and transferred to the Royal Navy on 23 September 1940.

Her commander from 17 June-23 September 1940 was John K. Reybold, who was killed in a friendly fire incident on 19 March 1942 while commanding the destroyer USS Dickerson (DD-157).

As HMS Brighton

The Cowell was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Brighton. She was used to protect minelayers working in the Denmark Strait and off the Faeroe Islands. On 27 February 1941 she rescued 18 survivors from the SS Baltisan, sunk by the Italian submarine Michele Bianchi about 400 miles to the west of Ireland.

The Brighton underwent a refit, and from November 1942 until the summer of 1944 was used as a target ship for naval aircraft training at Rosyth and in the western Approaches.

On 16 July 1944 the Brighton was transferred to the Soviets, where she became the Zharkiy ('Hot' or perhaps 'Torrid'). She served with the Soviet Navy for five years, before being returned to the Royal Navy at Rosyth on 28 February 1949. She was sold to be broken up on 5 April 1949, and was broken up by McLellan at Bo'ness, east of Edinburgh,

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35kts design
34.81kts at 27,350shp at 1,236t on trial (Kimberly)


2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
27,000shp design


2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt


 - deck



314ft 4.5in


30ft 11.5in


Four 4in/ 50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedo tubes in four triple mountings
Two 1-pounder AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement



23 November 1918


17 March 1919

Sold for breakup

5 April 1949

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann . The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
cover cover cover

WWII Home Page | WWII Subject Index | WWII Books | WWII Links | Day by Day

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 March 2018), USS Cowell (DD-167)/ HMS Brighton ,

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy