John Stewart Cowie

From The Dreadnought Project
Jump to: navigation, search

Captain (retired) John Stewart Cowie, C.B.E. (23 June, 1898 – ) was an officer in the Royal Navy with a talent in torpedoes.

Life & Career

Cowie passed out of the Training Establishment and was appointed to Drake in August, 1914. When she paid off on 7 April, 1915 he went to Monarch, where he served until 19 March, 1917 when he was sent to Vernon for a five-day Torpedo Control Course.

Cowie served in Marksman from 4 April 1917 until 18 March, 1918 when he was appointed to Warwick for three months and then to Manly through the end of the war.

Cowie was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant with seniority 15 December, 1918.

Cowie excelled in torpedoes, winning the Ogilvy Medal for 1923. By 1924, he was noted for having designed a new Torpedo Control Disc while serving in Caledon. Four examples were to be manufactured for testing afloat in a battleship, a cruiser and two flotilla leaders; its particulars are detailed in the Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1924.[1] Sadly, all reports were unfavourable, and it was noted that the device was entirely unnecessary with Torpedo Sights "B" and "C". Among the complaints were that:[2]

  • extreme firing range had to be calculated indirectly (by "head work"),
  • it was considered preferable to have different devices for course indication, torpedo attack and torpedo defence, and
  • the support for all speeds and ranges of torpedoes sacrificed the simplicity of the gadget.

Cowie was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander with a seniority 15 December, 1926.

Cowie later offered a new type on a Torpedo Control Disc, which was still being evaluated in Vernon around 1928. Its innovation was that it was suitable to all torpedo speeds and all ranges. It was deemed that four should be constructed for evaluation, in the hopes that they might replace the Torpedo Control Disc Mark II**, which was inspiring criticism.[3]

Cowie was promoted to the rank of Commander on 30 June, 1931.

World War II

Cowie was placed on the Retired List with the rank of Captain (retired) on 30 April, 1948.

See Also


  1. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1924. pp. 136-139.
  2. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1925. p. 56.
  3. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1928. pp. 51-2.