Without question, HMS Cossack was the most famous Destroyer of the Second World War. The story of HMS Cossack could easily have come out of the pages of 'Boys Own'. Joining the Mediterranean Fleet in July 1938, one of the Cossack's first voyages was to rescue the British Consul from the besieged city of Barcelona, Spain. The elderly gentleman unfortunately broke his leg as he boarded Cossack's cutter, requiring a rapid diversion to get him to hospital at Marseilles, France. By the outbreak of war, Cossack was back in England with the 4th Destroyer Flotilla based at Rosyth. During the Phony War she was mostly employed in escorting coastal convoys, but soon was heavily involved in mine-laying duties and intercepting German Iron ore ships in the Skaggerat. On the 15th February 1940, Captain Philip Vian received information that the 13,580 ton German supply vessel Altmark had been sighted off Trondheim, Norway. It was further reported that the Altmark was carrying 300 British prisoners (captured by the Admiral Graf Spee during her rampage across the South Atlantic in 1939). On the next day the Altmark was sighted by Arethusa, Intrepid and Ivanhoe. A warning shot fired across her bows only resulted in the German vessel turning into the neutral Norwegian Jøssingfjord, with the RN warships being hindered from following by the Norwegian torpedo boats Trygg and Kjell and their patrol boat Firern. Cossack arrived at dusk. Captain Vian conferred with the Norwegians who assured him that the Altmark had been searched with no prisoners or contraband found. Unconvinced, Vian signaled to the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, who replied that if an offer to help the Norwegians to escort the German vessel to Bergen for another search was refused, then the Altmark should be boarded by force. At 2200 hrs, having received no satisfactory response from the Norwegians, Vian took Cossack into the fjord. A boarding party of three officers, led by Lieut.-Commander Bradwell Talbot Turner, and thirty ratings leapt across and after a brisk action, in which four German were killed and five wounded, the Altmark was secured with 299 of her captives successfully released.