-H.M.S. Hood Crew Information-
H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour
Memorials to Men Lost in the sinking

We will remember them
Chainbar divider

In Remembrance of
William Frederick Spencer Dowdell

Photo of
Date of birth: 31st May 1908
Place of birth: Gosport, Hampshire, England
Parents: George and Florence Dowdell
Wife: Alice Dowdell
Previous occupation: Labourer
Service: Royal Navy
Rank: Leading Seaman
Service Number: P/J 111638
Joined Hood: 2nd June 1939 (Able Seaman)
Left Hood: 24th May 1941 (loss of ship) (Acting Leading Seaman)
Click here to print memorial poster

Biographical Information:

William was born on 31st May 1908 in Gosport, Hampshire to George and Florence Dowdell. He attended The Royal Hospital School, Holbrook from June 1919 to January 1921.

John joined the Royal Navy on 31 May 1926 and was subsequently assigned to the following ships/establishments at the ranks and dates indicated:

Impregnable, Boy 2, 12/9/1924 Impregnable, Boy 1, 07/09/1925 to 22/11/1925 Centurion, 23/11/1925 to 10/12/1925 Benbow, 11/12/1925 Benbow, Ordinary Seaman, 31/5/1926 to 16/9/1926 Warspite, 17/09/1926 Warspite, Able Seaman, 31/08/1927 to 27/11/1927 Victory 1, 28/11/1927 to 26/07/1928 Victory 1, 25/7/1928 Victory 1, 31/5/1929 Centurion, 4/1/1930 Victory 1, 11/12/1931 Vernon, 20/2/1932 Vernon, 31/5/1932 Dryad, 10/6/1932 Effingham, 24/2/1933 Victory 1, 18/3/1933 Suffolk, 19/7/1933 Victory, 3/3/1935 Excellent, 18/5/1935 Repulse, 14/4/1936 Victory 1, 1/7/1938 Vernon, 10/9/1938 Vernon, 4/2/1939 Hood, 2/6/1939 (promoted to Acting Leading Seaman 1/5/1940).

He was the husband of Alice Dowdell, of Wymering, Hampshire. Together they had four children - Iris, Barbara, Willam and John. He was serving as an Acting Leading Seaman and was 32 years old at the time of his loss.

History of ships served in and rate held:

Date FromDate toShipRatingSource
12th September 19246th September 2025ImpregnableBoy 2nd ClassADM362/15
7th September 192522nd November 1925ImpregnableBoy 1st ClassADM362/15
23rd November 192510th December 1925CenturionBoy 1st ClassADM362/15
11th December 192530th May 1925BenbowBoy 1st ClassADM362/15
31st May 192616th September 1926BenbowOrdinary SeamanADM362/15
17th September 192630th August 1927WarspiteOrdinary SeamanADM362/15
31st August 192727th November 1927WarspiteAble SeamanADM362/15
28th November 19273rd January 1930Victory IAble SeamanADM362/15
4th January 193010th December 1931CenturionAble SeamanADM363/108
11th December 193119th February 1932Victory IAble SeamanADM363/108
20th February 19329th June 1932VernonAble SeamanADM363/108
10th June 193223rd February 1933DryadAble SeamanADM363/108
24th February 193317th March 1933Effingham (Centurion)Able SeamanADM363/108
18th March 193318th July 1933Victory IAble SeamanADM363/108
19th July 19332nd March 1935SuffolkAble SeamanADM363/108
3rd March 193517th May 1935Victory IAble SeamanADM363/108
18th May 193513th April 1936ExcellentAble SeamanADM363/108
14th April 193630th June 1938RepulseAble SeamanADM363/108
1st July 19389th September 1938Victory IAble SeamanADM363/108
10th September 19383rd February 1939VernonAble SeamanADM363/108
4th February 19391st June 1939Vernon (Stokes Bay)Able SeamanADM363/108
2nd June 193931st March 1940HoodAble SeamanADM363/108
1st April 194024th May 1941HoodActing Leading SeamanADM363/108

Additional Photos

Hood Chapel, Church of St. John the Baptist, Boldre, Hampshire, England

Photos of the memorial

Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Southsea, Hampshire, England

Photos of the memorial

The part of the memorial in which the Hood casualty names can be found.
(Panels 45 to 61)

William's name is in Column 3 of Panel 46.

Detail of William's name.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
'Register of Deaths of Naval Ratings' (data extracted by Director of Naval Personnel (Disclosure Cell), Navy Command HQ, 2009)
Mr Mike Hill (photo, 2001)
John Dowdell (photos, March 2010)
Monty Callow, Alumni Relations Officer, The Royal Hospital School (information, November 2016)