Lieutenant Commander 

Gilbert Hugh 


Royal Navy

Boat Crest
Died On:
21 July 1940


Gilbert Nowell was born in Barton on Humber on 17 November 1905, the son of Gilbert Henry and Harriet Jane Nowell.  He joined the Royal Navy in May 1919.  

After his Sub Lieutenant’s courses, he joined submarines in July 1927, on completion of which he joined HMS L20 in Hong Kong as Navigator in November 1927. After promotion to Lieutenant in June 1928, he became First Lieutenant of HMS L20 in September 1929. He subsequently served as First Lieutenant of HMS L25 (April 1931), X1 (July 1931) and OXLEY (April 1932).

Nowell’s Commanding Offers’ Qualifying Course followed in September 1934, resulting in his appointment to command HMS H43 in December 1934. After time in the battleship HMS NELSON and promotion to Lieutenant Commander, he served as Staff Officer, Operations, in the Depot Ship HMS MEDWAY in Hong Kong. He took command of HMS GRAMPUS in January 1940 and PHOENIX in April 1940.  

Gilbert Nowell died when HMS PHOENIX was lost with all hands on 16 July 1940, probably after a depth charge attack by the Italian Torpedo Boat ALBATROS, off the San Croce Lighthouse in Augusta in Sicily. Nowell was the husband of Clarence Frances Nowell of Exmouth in Devon.  He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval War Memorial on Panel No 36 Column No 3,


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