Peter Harold Drew CBE DSC1,2

#13786, (circa March 1895-1987)
FatherCharles Drew (c 1870-)
MotherJean (?)3
ChartsNicholson Family 2 - descendants
Descendents of Donald Nicholson
     NOTE: The information on this page is my research to date and is subject to change as I become better informed. I very much welcome any corrections or additional info you might have - my email address is at the bottom of this page - Tim Hill.
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Peter Harold Drew CBE DSC was born circa March 1895 at Oswestry registration district, Shropshire.4,1 He was the son of Charles Drew and Jean (?)3 He was baptised on Thursday, 11 April 1895 at Oswestry, Shropshire.3 Peter Harold Drew CBE DSC was also known as Harold.5

On 9 July 1914 earned his Certificate of Competency as Second Mate.6

He was a midshipman in the Royal Navy in the First World War.7 He was was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross at age 21 in 1917.8

Peter Harold Drew CBE DSC married Isabel Kate Nicholson, daughter of Edward Donald Nicholson and Isabel Rudworth, circa June 1921 at Oswestry registration district, Shropshire.5,1

On 13 August 1942 he was commander of the cruiser HMS Manchester when she was struck by Italian and German torpedo boats off Tunisia. She was hit in the engine compartment, 11 men were killed and the ship stopped dead (although another report indicates that she could still steam, but only in a circle). Captain Drew ordered the ship scuttled, and 400 men were rescued by the Royal Navy, whilst 500 (including the captain) were interned.9,7 However, it was the opinion of his crew that Commander drew did acted in the interest of the crew and the ship.10

He was detained along with a number of his crew in the Laghouat POW Camp in Tunisia. Whilst there, an abortive escape attempt ended badly for one of his crew members and he was double-crossed and shot. Commander Drew defused a riot and demanded medical attention for the man.7 He was released and returned to England in early 1943. Captain Drew was subsequently appointed as Captain in charge of Maintenance at Scapa Flow.8

However, he was court-martialled and it was concluded he had scuttled the ship prematurely. It was said by his daughter that he never recovered fromt he hurt of this decision.9

In late 1943 he was given a staff appointment in Bombay working with the Indian Navy, and remained there for 2 years.8 He was subsequently appointed Director of Recruiting 1946-47 and was Chairman of the Victory Celebration Committee, for which he was awarded the CBE.8

He then became Deputy CinC of the Indian Navy in the acting rank of Commodore and was involved in the re-structuring of the Indian Navy.8 Peter Harold Drew CBE DSC was appointed ADC to King George VI in 1948.8 He was retired from from the Royal Navy in 1952.8

Peter died in 1987.9

In 2002 divers examined the wreck and, examining the damage done, concluded that the ship could not have made port.9


1895BirthOswestry registration district, Shropshire4,1
1895BaptismOswestry, Shropshire3
1921MarriageOswestry registration district, Shropshire5,1


Isabel Kate Nicholson (6 May 1893-)


  1. [S27] Carroll Nicholson, Some relatives of Carroll and Nancy Nicholson (Kingprint of Richmond, Eng.), p.16.
  2. [S795] Website The Second HMS Manchester Association ( MESSAGE BOARD AND GUEST BOOK - page 2 - (for awards).
  3. [S741] England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 ( Name: Harold Drew; Baptism Date: 11 Apr 1895; Baptism Place: Oswestry, Shropshire, England; Father: Charles Drew; Mother: Jean Drew; FHL Film Number: 1657589; Reference ID: 152.
  4. [S507] FreeBMD ( Oswestry Registration District, 1895, Jun Qtr., Vol.6a, p.690.
  5. [S502] FreeBMD ( Oswestry Registration District, 1921, Jun Qtr., Vol.6a, p.1445.
  6. [S700] The Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade, UK and Ireland, Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927, England Name: Harold Drew; Issue Date: 9 Jul 1914; Issue Port: Liverpool; Certificate Number: 008573.
  7. [S794] Website The Wartime Memories Project ( HMS Manchester -…
  8. [S795] Website The Second HMS Manchester Association ( MESSAGE BOARD AND GUEST BOOK - page 2 -
  9. [S789] The Telegraph, 'Disgraced war commander 'innocent'' - 15 Aug 2002.
  10. [S794] Website The Wartime Memories Project ( HMS Manchester -…