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British Destroyer at Speed

British Destroyer at Speed



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British Destroyer at Speed

A British destroyer of the Second World War seen as speed. The single funnel identifies it as a member of the 'S' or later class.


British Destroyer at Speed - History

The Best Destroyers of World War II

Torpedo boat destroyers, destroyers, or (slang) tin cans served all of the major sea powers well during WW II. They were the smallest, general purpose, ocean-going warships of the various blue water fleets and they often took heavy losses in action. That was perhaps inevitable, as destroyers were employed in many roles besides hunting torpedo boats and submarines, their original purposes.

Destroyers were used to lay minefields outside of enemy harbors and to transport troops and supplies to beleaguered outposts in enemy controlled waters that were too dangerous for conventional transports to negotiate. They escorted convoys, provided air and gunfire support for larger and more vulnerable ships (such as troop transports and aircraft carriers), attacked superior enemy forces, bombarded invasion beaches well within the range of enemy shore batteries, scouted for their fleets and served as radar pickets far from the protection of friendly naval forces. They were expected to put themselves at risk to protect their charges, whether merchant ships or heavy warships. Destroyers fought submarines, aircraft and surface actions against all other classes of warships, from battleships to MTB's. Destroyers occasionally operated alone, but more often they were formed into flotillas or squadrons, which would then jointly be assigned a task, such as to escort a convoy, screen a task force, or to attack an enemy surface force with torpedoes and gunfire.

Destroyers of all the major sea powers were lost during the war in the course of what were essentially suicide charges at far more powerful enemy surface ships. The courage and dedication of destroyer men clearly transcended national boundaries. Destroyers were viewed as expendable ships in both world wars and many of their brave crews paid the ultimate price.

Excellent destroyers were designed and built for the navies of all the major sea powers during WW II. In this article, we will look at the best destroyers from Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain, the United States and Japan. Destroyers are multi-purpose warships, necessarily a blend of characteristics. The destroyer designs of the major sea powers often emphasized different ratios of these characteristics, based on their tactical requirements. Examples of some of these include habitability, sea keeping, range, speed, torpedo battery, main battery, anti-aircraft (AA) battery, anti-submarine (AS) weapons and so forth. Every destroyer had to strike a balance between these often contradictory requirements and it is not surprising that destroyers designed to operate on inland seas (the Baltic or Mediterranean, for example) differed from those designed to operate in the vast Pacific Ocean. We will try to note these differences as we examine the destroyers of the various navies.

The U.S. Navy letter designation for destroyers is "DD" and for large destroyers "DL." These have subsequently been adopted by most naval writers and will occasionally be used here. The specifications used in this article were taken from Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1922-1946.

Destroyer Z36. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Powerful units on paper, the handsome, twin stack, German destroyers of the Second World War generally failed to perform to expectations. Some classes were armed with 5.9" (150mm) guns, but these guns proved to be too heavy and slow firing for many destroyer purposes, so the final class of German destroyers to see service, the 1936B type (launched 1942-1944), reverted to 5" main battery guns. These were carried in single mounts located in the A, B, Q, X and Y positions, much like the American Fletcher class. Unlike the American destroyers, which carried dual-purpose main battery guns, the German 5" mounts were designed for surface action only.

The 1936B type were good-looking, balanced ships. They featured raised forecastles, Atlantic (clipper) bows and twin smoke stacks with funnel caps. The forward stack was about twice the diameter of the aft stack, a useful recognition feature.

German steam turbine machinery operated at high pressure and proved unreliable during the war. One of the results was that, at sea, German destroyers were typically unable to achieve their rated speed. Designed primarily for operation in the Baltic and North Seas, their sea keeping qualities were often found lacking in the broad Atlantic, which further reduced their speed and combat usefulness.

The number of AA guns on German destroyers was increased during the war and sometimes the "Q" main battery turret was removed and replaced by heavy AA guns although, as far as I know, this was not done to the 1936B type. Here are the specifications for the 1936B type destroyers.

  • Displacement: 2527 tons standard 3507 tons deep load
  • Dimensions: 399' 11" wl, 416' 8" loa, 39' 4" beam, 12' 6" draft
  • Machinery: 2-shaft Wagner geared turbines, 6 Wagner boilers, 70,000 shp = 38 knots.
  • Armament: 5-5"/50 (5x1), 8-37mm AA (4x2), 16-20mm AA (3x4, 2x2), 8-21" TT (2x4)
  • Complement: 313
  • Launched: 1942-1944

The five ships of the 1936B class had unfortunate careers. While on a mine-laying mission, Z36 and Z36 ran afoul of an existing German minefield in the Gulf of Finland and sank on 12 December 1944. Z44 was bombed and sunk by the RAF while being outfitted at Bremen in July 1944. Z43 was scuttled in May 1945 and Z45 was damaged by RAF bombers while still on her building slip and never launched.

Destroyer Volta. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Mogador and Volta constituted a two ship class that, in the event, were the final French destroyers completed before France was overwhelmed in 1940. These were exceptionally large and powerful ships, carrying eight 5.5" guns and 10-21.7" torpedo tubes on a full load displacement of some 4018 tons. Ships of this size and power would have been classed as light cruisers in many navies, but with a range of only 3000nm at 20 knots, they were indeed large destroyers (DL), incapable of fulfilling the primary cruiser role of cruising to distant shores.

Their turbines developed 92,000 horsepower and their raised forecastles, clipper bows and 451' overall length made them decent sea boats and allowed them to achieve trials speeds well in excess of 40 knots at light displacement. Their director controlled main battery had a slow rate of fire (about six rounds per minute per gun) and proved unreliable in service. These were single purpose, surface action only, guns. This reduced their AA capability compared to contemporary American and Japanese destroyers. In addition, their ASW capability was limited. Thus, while (theoretically) powerful surface combatants, they were less effective as all-around destroyers than many of their contemporaries. Here are their specifications.

  • Displacement: 2884 tons standard 3500-3600 tons normal 4018 tons full load
  • Dimensions: 429' 9" pp, 451' 1" loa, 41' 7" beam, 15' draft
  • Machinery: 2-shaft Rateau-Bretagne geared turbines, 4 Indret vertical boilers, 92,000 shp = 39 knots. Oil 710 tons
  • Armament: 8-5.5"/45 (4x2), 4-37mm AA (2x2), 4-13.2mm MG (2x2), 10-21.7" TT (2x3 + 2x2), 40 mines
  • Complement: 264
  • Launched: 1936-1937

Both ships were scuttled at Toulon in November 1942, ending their brief careers. A further nine ships, incorporating improvements based on experience with the Modador class, were ordered, but work on these was not begun before the fall of France.

Artigliere and Camicia Nera. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The fleet destroyers of the Regia Marina served hard and well in the Mediterranean Sea during WW II. They usually fared poorly in night battles against the British, because (1) they lacked radar and (2) the Royal Navy had developed and extensively practiced night tactics before the war and the Italian Navy had not. Italian destroyers were to pay a high price for these oversights, but they fought bravely and doggedly. They helped keep the supply lines from Italy to Tunisia open so that the Axis army in North Africa could be maintained and they helped restrict Allied use of the central Mediterranean for most of the war, at least until the surrender of the Afrika Corps. The Regia Marina is seldom given the credit due for these accomplishments.

The Maestrale, Oriani and Soldati classes represent the full development of the Italian WW II destroyer. The four ships of the Maestrale class, laid down in 1931 and completed in 1934, successfully incorporated the lessons learned from previous destroyer designs and the four Oriani (1935-1937) and 12+7 Soldati (1936-1942) classes were essentially repeat Maestrales with minor variations in machinery and armament. All of these ships carried at least four 120mm (4.7") main guns in twin mounts fore and aft plus six-21" torpedo tubes in two triple mounts. The second group of Soldati's generally carried an extra 4.7" gun in a single mount amidships.

Being on the losing side in WW II, most of the Italian destroyers were ultimately sunk and the majority of the few surviving ships were assigned to victorious Allied navies as war reparations. Only three ships from the classes mentioned above survived the war to serve with the post-war Italian navy. Four others survived to be transferred to France and two were transferred to the USSR after hostilities ended. The rest were lost during the war, with submarine attack, air attack and gunfire being the most common causes. These were durable destroyers, however, and many times individual ships were able to bring their crews home after suffering considerable battle damage. Here are the specifications of the definitive Soldati class.

  • Displacement: 1690-1820 tons standard 2250-2500 tons full load
  • Dimensions: 333' 4" pp, 350' loa, 33' 7" beam, 11' 6" draft
  • Machinery: 2-shaft Belluzzo (OTO built ship's Parsons) geared turbines, 3 Yarrow boilers, 48,000 hp = 38 knots (trials) and 34-35 knots sea speed. Oil 517 tons
  • Armament: 4 or 5-120mm/50 (2x2 + 1x1 in some) 12-13.2mm MG (4x2, 4x1) 6-533mm TT (2x3) 2 (later 4) DC throwers
  • Complement: 165 (designed) 206 (war)
  • Launched: 1937-1942

Visually, the design of these Italian destroyers incorporates a long, raised forecastle and a single large funnel behind the forward superstructure. Since they did not have true dual-purpose main batteries, unlike the Battle (UK), Fletcher (US) and Akitsuki (Japan) classes, they were deficient in AA guns and during the war the 13.2mm MG were replaced by from eight to a dozen 20mm AA guns in twin and single mounts. In some ships, the aft triple TT mount was replaced by one or two 37mm/54 AA guns. In general, these ships proved quite capable of holding their own against their British contemporaries in daylight surface engagements.

HMS Barfleur. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.

British destroyers in WW II tended to be well-balanced, seaworthy ships true multi-role vessels that were seldom the best for a specific purpose or in any single category, but competent in virtually all roles. Britain needed many destroyers to protect the numerous heavy ships of the Royal Navy, her merchant marine (the largest in the world at the beginning of the Second World War) and her far-flung Empire. This argued for large numbers of small to medium size destroyers, rather than a few large destroyers. British destroyers had to have good sea keeping qualities, because they operated under all conditions in all of the oceans of the world. It was a recurring theme during the war for British destroyers to torpedo large enemy ships in conditions so vile that the enemy destroyers that were supposed to screen their heavy ships had been sent back to port.

This is exactly what happened to the German battleship Scharnhorst during her final battle off the North Cape of Norway. It was torpedoes from British (and one Norwegian) destroyers that reduced her speed and allowed the British battleship Duke of York and her companion cruisers to close the range and sink the Scharnhorst.

Perhaps the most capable of the Royal Navy's destroyers were the vessels of the Battle class (so called because they were named for famous battles). These were large, late war destroyers intended primarily for use in the Pacific. They carried the fully developed version of the British 4.5"/45 QF Mk. III DP main battery guns, which were mounted in two twin turrets forward, eliminating the need for a 4.5" shell magazine aft. These ships had an improved fire control system and the main battery guns featured 80-degrees of elevation and fired a heavier shell that provided greater penetration than the 4.7", single purpose (surface action) guns found on earlier British destroyers. Weight and space are at a premium in all warships, but particularly in destroyers, so a true dual-purpose (heavy AA and surface action) main battery is a huge design advantage.

These ships had the raked Tribal class bow shape and the high forecastle typical of British destroyers. The latter was carried aft of the forward superstructure to improve sea keeping qualities. There was a single large funnel, as with all British destroyers produced during the war. A generous fuel capacity meant longer range than was typical for European destroyers. Here is a summary of (1st Group) Battle class specifications.

  • Displacement: 2315-2325 tons standard 3290-3300 tons deep load
  • Dimensions: 355' pp 379' loa 40' 3" beam 15' 2" mean deep load
  • Machinery: 2-shaft Parsons geared turbines, 2 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 50,000 shp = 35.75 knots. Oil 727 tons
  • Armament: 4-4.5"/45 QF Mk. III DP (2x2), 8-40mm Bofors (4x2), 8-21" torpedo tubes (2x4), 60 DC
  • Complement: 247-308
  • Launched: 1943-1945

The first group of Battle class destroyers (16 ships) were laid down between late 1942 and early 1944 and launched between November 1943 and September 1945. A follow-on batch of eight ships was launched between January 1945 and August 1945, but these were not completed until after the war. This second batch were provided with an additional, single 4.5" gun in a mount with 55-degrees elevation, located just aft of the funnel. A main battery of only four guns had been one of the few criticisms leveled at the original Battle class. There were also two extra torpedo tubes (2x5).

Most of the Battle class ships served into the 1960's and some into the 1970's. Two were transferred to Pakistan in 1957 and one to Iran in 1967. None were sunk by enemy action during the war. Two additional ships, Anzac and Tobruk, were built in Australia after the war with a total of 18-40mm AA guns (3x4 and 6x1) these entered service with the Royal Australian Navy in 1950-1951. The Battle class DD's served the UK and her allies long and well and represent the zenith of WW II British destroyer design.

USS Sullivans in 1962. U.S. Navy Photograph.

The American Fletcher class was the most numerous single class of destroyers built during the war, numbering some 151 ships of the original and improved types. This illustrates the esteem in which these excellent vessels were held. They served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres with distinction in almost every major battle from the beginning of 1943 onward and it is hard to see how the Pacific War could have been prosecuted without them.

The Fletchers were the quintessential WW II American destroyers. They were long range, flush deck, twin funnel vessels with outstanding firepower. Construction of the (earlier) Benson class destroyers and the (later) Allen M. Sumner class continued concurrently with the Fletcher class, although the Fletchers were generally considered the best all-around ships. Here are the original specifications for the Fletcher.

  • Displacement: 2325 tons standard 2924 tons full load
  • Dimensions: 369' 1" wl 376' 5" loa 39' 7" beam 13' 9" full load draft
  • Machinery: 2-shaft GE geared turbines, 4 Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 60,000 shp = 38 knots at 2550 tons. Oil 492 tons
  • Range: 6500nm at 15 knots
  • Armament: 5-5"/38 DP (5x1), 4-1.1" AA (1x4), 4-20mm, 10-21" torpedo tubes (2x5), 6 DCT + 2 DC racks
  • Armor: 0.75" side, 0.5" deck
  • Complement: 300
  • Launched: 1942-1944

The 5" main battery guns were an efficient, quick-firing, dual-purpose type that served equally well for surface actions and as heavy AA guns. As with most WW II destroyers, the light AA armament was increased during the war. The 1.1" guns were removed and the typical Fletcher class AA armament later in the war became five twin 40mm Bofors mounts and seven 20mm guns. Some ships in 1945 had one bank of torpedo tubes removed to compensate for replacing two of their twin 40mm gun mounts with quad 40mm mounts. Japanese Kamikaze planes had become the principal threat to U.S. destroyers and there were few Japanese surface combatants left to torpedo.

19 Fletcher class destroyers were sunk during the war and five more were so heavily damaged that they had to be scrapped. Of the survivors, many served in the Korean War and most were not stricken from the U.S. Navy list until the 1970's. A good number were transferred to the navies of various American allies and served for another decade or more. Four ships, including the Sullivans pictured above, have been preserved in the U.S. as war memorials.

IJN Fuyuzuki. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Imperial Japanese Navy fielded fine, high speed, long-range destroyers during the Second World War. Their final heavy destroyers were the 16 units of the Akitzuki class, ordered as part of the 1939 and 1941 building programs. Twelve of these were actually commissioned. One ship, Mochitzuki, was not completed by war's end and three ships of the 1941 program were never begun. Some 40 additional units were proposed in various wartime supplementary building programs, but the resources to build them were not available. The Akitzuki class were formidable ships and arguably the finest destroyers of WW II.

These large, seaworthy destroyers had a full load displacement of 3700 tons. They were designed primarily as AA destroyers and fielded a main battery of 8-3.9" (100mm) DP guns and (initially) a light AA battery of four 25mm guns. The 25mm AA battery was progressively increased to between 40 and 51 guns on surviving ships by the end of the war. They also carried a battery of four torpedo tubes for the deadly Japanese 24" Long Lance torpedoes and depth charge throwers, thus making them capable, all-around destroyers.

These were impressive looking ships. They had a tower bridge, single trunked smoke stack, raised forecastle, clipper bow and a balanced armament layout, with their torpedo tubes mounted amidships and main battery guns in the A, B, X and Y positions. Here are their original specifications.


Lucky 'Lectra': This British Destroyer Saved Lives From the Atlantic to the Java Sea

Electra could boast that no merchant ship she was assigned to protect was ever sunk by the enemy.

War clouds gathered rapidly once Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Allied demands that Hitler withdraw his armies went unheeded. On September 3, Great Britain reluctantly declared war. Berlin then issued orders to all U-boats to begin hostile action against English shipping. Passenger liners were not to be touched.

Meanwhile, in Liverpool passengers boarded the liner SS Athenia for passage to North America. The unescorted liner tried her best not to be a target by zigzagging and running with her lights out.

However, through the periscope of U-30, Athenia looked every bit like an armed merchantman and therefore fair game. On the first day of the war, the Athenia was torpedoed and sunk. Her 1,103 passengers, including 300 Americans, clung to life rafts and debris until help arrived. One hundred and twelve would die that day.

Among the five ships that responded to Athenia’s distress signal was the destroyer HMS Electra (H27). While keeping a wary eye out for submarines, the rescuers combed the water for survivors. Back ashore, Joseph P. Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, dispatched his 22-year-old son John F. Kennedy to meet with the American survivors.

Obsolete Before She Launched

For Electra, it was the first but not the last time she would pluck survivors from the sea. She was one of nine E class destroyers laid down in the mid-1930s. Fast at 35 knots, she weighed in at 1,369 tons and was designed to carry four 4.7-inch guns and eight torpedo tubes (four to a side). Depth charge launchers completed her offensive capability. Her standard complement was about 170 men.

Like so many modern weapons, Electra was obsolete before she was launched. New destroyer designs in Germany, Italy, France, and Japan were placing emphasis on larger, more heavily armed destroyers. Like most other surface ships of her day, she was woefully inadequate in anti-aircraft capability.

When World War II started, Great Britain would have 113 modern and some 60 outdated destroyers with 24 more under construction. She would need all of them and every ship she could build or borrow from the United States. During the war she would lose 139 destroyers, including Electra.

Electra was designed for fleet protection and convoy escort duty. After the rescue of Athenia’s passengers, she was very busy with convoy protection duties for the remainder of the “sitzkrieg” or “phony war” in Europe. Electra could boast that no merchant ship she was assigned to protect was ever sunk by the enemy. She soon earned the nickname “Lucky ‘lectra.”

The German invasion of Norway in the spring of 1940 took Electra to Arctic waters. She was one of the first warships in the area escorting troopships trying to hold back the Nazi tide. It was here that she registered her first kill. Her gun crews heard the roar of a German bomber and sighted it coming through the gray mist before she herself was seen. Her first shot sheared off part of the German’s wing, and the plane was seen falling fast behind the fog-shrouded mountains.

When the battlecruiser HMS Warspite made her famous run into Narvik to deal with nine stranded German destroyers, Electra was to have preceded her as a minesweeper. But the admiral in charge did not want to waste time fishing for mines. He stormed ahead into the fjord, leaving Electra behind to hold the door and keep watch at sea. Her crew was deeply disappointed as her sister destroyers bagged the lot of the Germans.

While still in Norwegian waters, Electra and other destroyers provided a screen for the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal as she launched planes against German positions. While recovering her planes, the carrier steamed into a dense fog bank. Not all the destroyers got the message to alter course, and Electra slammed into the side of her sister ship Antelope. Her bow nearly torn away, Electra limped homeward for repairs.

The Hunt for the Bismark

In May 1941, Electra and three other destroyers were patrolling with the battlecruiser HMS Hood and the brand new battleship HMS Prince of Wales. The Admiralty had intelligence that the German battleship Bismarck had put to sea. The little British battle group, steaming south of Iceland, received word that the Bismarck was sighted to the west along the calm waters at the edge of the Greenland icepack. The Hood and her escorts immediately set a course to intercept the German raider.

All concerned thought the venerable Hood was a good choice to go up against Bismarck. She was the largest warship in the world at the time, weighing 42,000 tons and boasting eight 15-inch guns. Bismarck was officially 35,000 tons, but unknown to the British, she was secretly built to be the equal of Hood in tonnage. She, too, had eight 15-inch guns.

The battlecruiser, battleship, and four destroyers steamed westward into the night. At 3:30 am on May 24, 1941, Electra’s captain, Commander Cecil Wakeford May, ordered the crew to action stations. He told his men to expect contact with the enemy at 6:00 am It was a cold, wet watch.

Seas were heavy and the weather foul as the British searched the gloom for the elusive enemy. Lookouts high above the deck scanned the horizon for any sign of danger. Primitive ship radar could not yet see over the horizon.

Hood and Prince of Wales were easily capable of the 28-knot cruising speed they were making through heavy seas. However, the escorting destroyers were taking brutal punishment at this speed. Electra’s boats were smashed, and funnels were ripped and dangling from their base. Admiral Lancelot Holland, commanding the flotilla aboard Hood, allowed the destroyers to slacken their pace as the two capital ships drove on. Electra found a more comfortable speed riding over the waves rather than through them. She watched as Hood and Prince of Wales steamed out of sight into the frigid dawn.

Soon Electra received a radio message from Hood, “Enemy in sight, am engaging.” On deck, lookouts thought they heard the distant muffled guns of battle. In no more than 10 minutes, Prince of Wales sent another message. “Hood sunk!”

When he heard it, Gunnery Officer T.J. Cain rounded on the signalman and cursed him for his sick joke. “My God, sir, but it’s true, sir.” The man was in tears.

A Fruitless Search for Survivors from HMS Hood

Gossip travels fast aboard ship. Even before the official announcement from the bridge, all hands knew of the disaster. The crew knew what to do. They had picked up some of the 900 survivors of Athenia and now prepared to do it again. Hood had a complement of 1,400 men. Hundreds of wet, exhausted, and shivering sailors were expected to clamor aboard. Hot beverages and warm food were prepared. Blankets and life preservers were brought up, medical supplies and hammocks made ready. Officers prepared to abandon their cabins to make way for the injured. Since the ship’s boats were smashed from the high-speed chase, scrambling nets were put over the side.

Intermittent sleet and rain on the cold and mournful morning reduced visibility, but Electra soon broke out of the mist and into the clear to find herself amidst the wreckage of Hood. All hands were horrified by what they saw. There was an enormous amount of flotsam and jetsam on the surface of the sea, but no survivors could be seen.

“Good Lord,” exclaimed one sailor, “she’s gone with all hands.”

Electra pushed slowly through the mass of floating debris, desperately searching for anyone. A shout went up as a man was sighted clinging to wreckage. Then two more were spotted. Crewmen scrambled down the rope ladders, wet to their knees, to fetch the only three survivors. They were wrapped in blankets and sent below to the ship’s doctor.

Electra continued her search for hours but only those three men of Hood’s 1,400 were ever found. A solemn silence settled in on Electra’s crew as she rushed her precious human cargo to a hospital in Iceland. Soon Prince of Wales came into sight. Low on fuel, she had given up the chase after Bismarck. She had taken five hits on her superstructure and looked badly beaten up. Yet, Bismarck’s reputation as a super ship would last only three days more.

Electra accompanied Prince of Wales back to England they would sail together again. While the new battleship underwent repairs, Electra went into port to receive a new Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun. Half of her torpedo tubes were removed to make room for the new armament.

First Escort to Russia

In July 1941, the destroyer was ordered to escort the first convoy to Russia. England’s new ally needed every type of help as the Germans slashed through the Ukrainian countryside. No love was lost between the Soviets and the British, but as Prime Minister Winston Churchill quipped, “Even if Hitler marched into hell, I would put in a good word for the “Devil in the House of Commons.”

The North Atlantic had been cold but was nothing compared to the Arctic. With one other destroyer, the Anthony, a veteran of Dunkirk, and a handful of minesweepers and trawlers, Electra set out with her charge of 13 merchant ships. Fortunately, the Germans were not yet aware of the Murmansk convoys, and the little flotilla made it safely to Archangel. Future convoys would endure the full fury of Nazi displeasure, but the first trip was uneventful.

So was Electra’s stay in the Russian port of Archangel. She was there until September, but only once was her crew granted shore leave by their communist hosts. When the crew was finally allowed ashore, they met sullen people, careworn and distrustful in the paranoid people’s paradise. When back aboard, the crew did not feel they needed further shore leave. When Russian liaison officers came aboard, however, the vodka flowed freely.

At long last, the Russians were able to scratch together a convoy of merchantmen for Electra to escort back to England. She was eager to leave as the ice was beginning to block the northern passage. “Lucky ‘lectra” arrived home safely once more.

After an Overhaul, Off to the Pacific

Electra was due for an overhaul, and for six weeks her crew enjoyed liberty and a surcease of ship’s duties. Civilian union rules prohibited sailors from lifting a finger to work on their own boat. The crew was not at all put out and soon found themselves made welcome in the homes of the workmen.

When at last the destroyer was ready to sail in late October, she was once again teamed with Prince of Wales. Admiral Tom Phillips aboard Prince of Wales was ordered to Singapore to “show the flag” in the Pacific Ocean. The long cruise took the ships around the tip of South Africa, and for the 173 men aboard Electra the voyage in warm weather and calm seas was like a vacation after their North Atlantic and Arctic duties.

As the little flotilla neared Ceylon in the Indian Ocean the crew became uneasy. The Japanese were making hostile threats in the Far East, and it finally dawned on everyone that they had been sent to meet that threat.

In Ceylon, they met up with the battlecruiser Repulse. Meanwhile, Phillips had flown ahead the Philippines to meet with his American counterparts, General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Thomas Hart. He hoped that the British and the American Asiatic Fleet could combine in the event of Japanese aggression. Isolationist sentiment in the United States was still strong, and no promises could be made.

Force Z Gets Surprised by the Japanese

Steaming in concert with Prince of Wales and Repulse, Electra was one of four destroyers in escort as the island of Ceylon faded in the distance. Officially known as Force Z, their destination was Singapore.

Some sailors aboard were soon to notice that the combination of the battleship, a battlecruiser, and four destroyers was the same as that which had hunted the Bismarck with disastrous results. Sailors are superstitious, and the similarity of their present force was a matter of discussion below decks.

The little flotilla arrived in Singapore on December 2, 1941. They were too little and too late. It had been planned that an aircraft carrier accompany them to provide air cover, but the designated ship, HMS Indomitable, had run aground during training in Jamaica and had to be docked. The light carrier Hermes was already in the Indian Ocean (and would later be sunk by the Japanese), but was never ordered to join up with Force Z.

Within a week, there was no time for any such considerations. Simultaneously with their attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese struck southward from bases they had occupied in French Indochina (Vietnam). When Japanese troop transports were reported heading toward the Malay Peninsula, Phillips knew that he had to act. He pleaded for air support from the antiquated planes stationed in Malaya, but like elsewhere in the Pacific, the Japanese had struck hard at Allied airbases and the air arm could not promise anything. Nonetheless Force Z put to sea.

It was a common mistake at this time for Westerners to hold Japanese military capability in contempt. It was believed that the Asians could not conduct complicated fleet actions, that their air power was inferior, and that the whole Japanese race was somehow myopic. Force Z would soon find out that this was an enemy not to be underestimated.

Admiral Phillips’ plan was to sail well out to sea and wait for the cover of darkness to rush toward the beaches where the enemy transports were reportedly sighted. When dawn broke, there were no Japanese vessels in sight, but Force Z was spotted by Japanese patrol planes.

After checking on another false rumor of Japanese landings, the flotilla headed back out to sea beyond the range that enemy torpedo bombers were thought to reach.

Now the Royal Navy would learn the cruel truth about its new adversary. Unknown to British intelligence, Japanese torpedo planes had a much longer range, and worse, the Japanese long lance torpedo, the best in the world, had a longer range than its British, American, or even German counterparts.

When the first planes were spotted, Commander May instinctively rushed Electra between them and Repulse. A cacophony of shot and shell from her Oerlikon brought down a torpedo plane and unnerved his wingman into launching his torpedo into empty ocean. Cheers went up all over the destroyer’s deck, but they were premature. Enemy planes swarmed in to bomb, strafe and torpedo the ships below them.

Once Again, Electra is Called on to Pick Up Survivors

Despite frantic maneuvering by all of the British ships, the Japanese deployed their torpedo bombers from so many directions that they could not fail to hit their targets. Soon, Prince of Wales and Repulse were sinking. At last, British land-based planes appeared overhead. Too late to save their ships, they managed to chase off the Japanese, allowing Electra and her sisters to pick up survivors.

Once more, as with Athenia and Hood, “Lucky ‘lectra” prepared to receive the shocked and injured survivors. Drifting into the oil slick where Repulse had so recently been, the crew began pulling aboard as many men as possible. Oil and blood soon covered the rescued and rescuer alike. The decks were slippery with fuel oil fetched up from the sea with each oil-soaked man dragged aboard. Below on the mess deck, now a hospital, there was the stench of blood, chloroform, and fuel oil in the stifling air.

As many as 1,000 Repulse crewmen were crammed aboard the little destroyer. They stood tightly packed and barefoot on the blistering deck in an agony of loss, pain, shock and heat. Once again, Electra returned solemnly to port with a cargo of human misery.

The next few weeks saw non-stop activity. Electra escorted convoys of reinforcements into Singapore and convoys of wounded and civilians out. Meanwhile, the Japanese steadily advanced toward the “impregnable” city that everyone seemed to know was doomed.

Electra’s Final Engagement: The Battle of the Java Sea

The destroyer was in Java when news came that Singapore had fallen. Electra was placed under a new command. The so-called ABDA force was the first Allied naval fleet of the war, American, British, Dutch and Australian ships combined under Dutch command. To protect the 500-mile Java coastline, the tiny armada was divided to cover the western and eastern shores.

Electra found herself on the eastern end of the island at Surabaya with her British sisters Jupiter and Encounter. They joined with five American and three Dutch destroyers, the heavy cruisers USS Houston and HMS Exeter, which was already famous for slugging it out with the German pocket battleship Graf Spee off Montevideo, and two Dutch light cruisers.

The little fleet put to sea on February 27, 1942, when their commander, Dutch Admiral Karel Doorman, learned of advancing Japanese transports. Instead of finding the transports, the Allied fleet ran into a Japanese squadron of cruisers and destroyers. The Battle of the Java Sea was on. Smoke was made, and firing commenced. Soon Exeter was hit in her boilers, lurched out of line, and stalled dead in the water. The Japanese advanced for the kill.

May knew his duty. He must protect the cruiser with his own life and that of Electra. Charging out of the smoke and into broad daylight, Electra found herself facing the entire Japanese force alone. Her gunners scored first, but Japanese shells came back thick and fast. Electra’s guns were put out of action one by one, and she began to list to port.

May gave orders to abandon ship as the shells kept slamming home. The Japanese destroyer Asagumo is credited with the death of Electra, but she herself was heavily damaged in the fight. Electra had done her duty. The Exeter was given a few precious moments to build up steam. She limped away to fight, and be sunk, another day.

As Electra turned over and went down by the bow, Japanese fire transferred to the survivors in lifeboats, adding to the long list of casualties. Advancing darkness spared the rest. That night, the American submarine S-38 surfaced and rescued 42 survivors. Five more were picked up the next day by the Japanese.

Dropped off in Surabaya, Electra’s surviving crewmen made their way by train to Java’s one remaining open port and from there by boat to Australia and safety. Electra’s war was at an end.

Author Glenn Barnett is a frequent contributor to WWII History. He lives in the Los Angeles area and enjoys writing about lesser-known historical events.

This article by Glenn Barnett first appeared in the Warfare History Network on December 28, 2016.

Image: British destroyer HMS Electra underway, at sea. Members of the crew are on parade on deck. Royal Navy.


British Destroyer at Speed - History

A Bainbridge-class torpedo boat destroyer leads a division of torpedo boats.

It began in 1869 by establishing a &ldquotorpedo station&rdquo at Newport, Rhode Island. There, drawing on experience gained during the Civil War, it embarked on an extended program in which it monitored foreign designs for both torpedoes and small craft that could transport them, evaluated a range of domestic designs, qualified a designer-builder from which it ordered a pilot purpose-built &ldquotorpedo boat&rdquo and then, following further assessment and refinement, ordered additional torpedo boats and a first generation of larger &ldquotorpedo boat destroyers.&rdquo In 1904, it paused again to reconsider the qualities desirable in future vessels and the nature of trials needed to ensure their suitability. Finally, in 1907, it ordered the first in a long sequence of improved destroyers, which began to arrive in 1909.

Congress soon authorized sixteen torpedo boat destroyers, which joined the fleet by the end of 1903. These were built to multiple designs, typically about 250 feet long and displacing 400 tons or more. They carried two 18-inch torpedoes and two 3-inch rapid fire guns. All were coal fired and used reciprocating machinery, with four stacks, a conning tower forward, a raised or turtleback fo&rsquoc&rsquos&rsquole, a flat-bottomed stern and a length-to-beam ratio of more than 10:1. First to commission, in May 1902, was Decatur of the Bainbridge class (coincidentally, later run aground in the Philippines under Lt. Chester Nimitz). Her SHP was 8,300 her trial speed approached 30 knots.

As president from 1901, Theodore Roosevelt remained deeply involved in naval affairs. In 1904, following a recommendation from his naval aide, Commander Cameron McR. Winslow, a board convened under RAdm. George A. Converse to identify qualities and functions appropriate for follow-on destroyer construction. There followed 26 700-ton Smith and 742-ton Paulding-class &ldquoflivvers&rdquo (lightweights), authorized in fiscal years 1907&ndash10 and commissioned in 1909&ndash12. These were longer at nearly 294 feet LOA with a redesigned &ldquocutaway&rdquo stern. Armament was three single or twin torpedo tube mounts and five 3-inch guns. The Smiths introduced steam turbine propulsion. The Pauldings introduced oil firing.

Nominal displacement rose to 1,000 tons for the four-ship Cassin and Aylwin classes funded in 1912. The O&rsquoBrien, Tucker and Sampson classes funded in 1913&ndash15 (6 ships each) were also &ldquo1,000-tonners&rdquo&mdashall &ldquobroken-deckers&rdquo with high fo&rsquoc&rsquos&rsquoles mounting eight 18-inch or 21-inch torpedo tubes on hulls 305&ndash315 feet in length. Main gun battery was now four 4-inch/50 caliber rapid fire guns and complement was up to nearly 100. Commissioned in 1913&ndash17, these were the most modern torpedo boat destroyers in the US Navy&rsquos arsenal when it entered World War I.


The Story of How A British Destroyer Captured a Nazi Supply Ship (and Freed 300 Prisoners)

Jammed with prisoners, the German supply ship Altmark was en route back to the Fatherland when she was intercepted and boarded by the British Navy.

Key Point: The British media dubbed the event a "dashing rescue."

On Sunday, September 3, 1939, the day that Great Britain and France formally declared war on Germany after the Nazis’ invasion of Poland, the German supply ship Altmark concluded her stay at the refinery center of Port Arthur, Texas, where she had taken on a full cargo of diesel oil, and returned to sea. Her officers and crew, unaware of secret orders placing her on military duty, assumed that her next destination was the Dutch city of Rotterdam, where she would call during her return to Germany.

Altmark was an 11,000-ton oiler with a length of 540 feet and a beam of 70 feet. She boasted four nine-cylinder diesel engines that could push her through the water at a top speed of 21 knots, and she had a cargo capacity of 14,000 tons. Altmark had been commissioned in Kiel in November 1938. In her brief time in service, she had participated in practice maneuvers off the Spanish coast along with the pocket battleship Graf Spee during the Spanish Civil War. Her captain, Heinrich Dau, was a devoted party member who had spent his life at sea in the merchant marine and exhibited a stiff, authoritative manner that made it difficult for his junior officers to feel at ease.

Dau assembled the crew upon receiving a wireless signal of the declaration of war, informing his 134 men that Altmark was now on active duty and would serve as a supply ship for the 12,000-ton Graf Spee. They would not be returning to Germany for at least four months. Unknown to most of the crew, some of her cargo space already had been stuffed with excess food, spare parts, and ammunition for just such an eventuality. Most of the crew stood by glumly, but the captain and First Officer Friedrich Paulsen did their best to whip the crew into a suitable state of patriotic fervor.

First Rendezvous With the Graf Spee

Dau’s first decision was to begin conducting emergency boat drills that had so far been neglected on the voyage, in the event they should run into an enemy combatant. He then instructed the crew to repaint Altmark’s standard black-and-white trim a light yellow, adding a new name, Sogne, and new port of origin, Oslo, in an attempt to pass herself off as a neutral merchant ship.

Later that same day, Altmark rendezvoused for the first time with Graf Spee in the mid-Atlantic, halfway between Dakar and Trinidad. Altmark’s crew crowded the rails and took dozens of photos of the impressive warship. Six-inch-diameter pipelines were strung between the two ships to begin topping off Graf Spee’s oil bunkers, and Dau went across to confer with Captain Hans Langsdorff. They agreed that Graf Spee would meet up again with Altmark at a prearranged location on the 25th. Langsdorff assigned two wireless operators to Altmark to assist in the decryption of messages. After a full day of steaming together, the two ships parted. On the 4th, they crossed the equator for the first time.

The German government in Berlin vainly hoped that with the fall of Poland the Allied powers would come to their senses and arrive at a negotiated accord, but this did not happen. As Graf Spee gracefully rode the swells near Altmark during their second rendezvous on September 25, a coded message from Berlin arrived ordering Graf Spee into action. On the 26th, the ships parted company again, Langsdorff indicating that he would take his ship as far as possible from Africa, where British naval forces were close at hand, and test the waters off South America instead. Four days later, on September 30, he encountered and sank his first victim, the British steamer Clement.

On October 5 and 7, Graf Spee sank the British vessel Newton Beech and the freighter Ashlea. Langsdorff ordered the British crewmen transferred to Graf Spee as prisoners. On October 10, Graf Spee surprised and captured the British freighter Huntsman, a large vessel carrying raw rubber, wool, jute, ore, tea, and leather. Langsdorff barely had sufficient accommodation on board his own ship for Huntsman’s 84-man crew. He therefore appointed a prize crew to take her in charge, and together the two ships steamed for Graf Spee’s next rendezvous with Altmark.

Carrying Prisoners From the Graf Spee

Two days later, on the 14th, the three ships met in the mid-Atlantic. Langsdorff informed Dau that he would have to house the prisoners on board Altmark. Dau protested, wondering if it had been necessary to take prisoners at all rather than leaving them to the mercy of the Atlantic and pointing out that the large number of British seamen would pose a grave risk to his own vessel. Langsdorff ordered that the British prisoners be well cared for. Dau returned dejectedly to his own ship to prepare accommodations for the POWs. Late in the afternoon, the prisoners were transferred in relays to Altmark, where they would be housed in the bottom two decks, above the keep, with no natural light, little ventilation, and a table and makeshift shower as their only luxuries. Of the 141 prisoners, 67 were natives of India.

The prisoners had not been aboard Altmark long before it became painfully obvious to them that this was no neutral ship about to take them to freedom. Huntsman Captain A.H. Brown became senior officer among the motley crew of captives. Dau let the prisoners make themselves comfortable, instructing Altmark’s carpenters to help construct rudimentary tables and chairs for them and even allowing the Hindus among the prisoners to prepare their own meals from Huntsman’s captured provisions. Intercepted radio transmissions on October 22 indicated that Graf Spee had sunk another freighter, Trevanion.

On October 28, Graf Spee showed up unannounced, and Dau was invited over for a conference with Langsdorff. Dau became angry when he was instructed to take aboard yet another group of prisoners—his ship was already overcrowded, he protested. Langsdorff informed him that he intended to take Graf Spee off on an extended tour of the Indian Ocean. Altmark, in effect, was on her own. Dau returned to his ship in a foul mood. Graf Spee departed the next day for parts unknown.

On November 19, Altmark picked up a news report from Capetown that the freighter Africa Shell had been sunk four days earlier by an unknown German raider off Madagascar. Dau felt an immense wave of relief Graf Spee was no doubt doubling back to the southern Atlantic. Altmark continued steaming in a designated square until the next scheduled rendezvous date with the battleship fell due.

One week later, Graf Spee came into view and took up station beside Altmark as refueling hoses were passed across to the raider. Dau expected another load of prisoners to be transferred into his custody, but only one man, Captain Patrick Dove of Africa Shell, had been taken prisoner. Langsdorff, aware of the overcrowding on Altmark, had allowed the rest of the ship’s crew to shove off in a lifeboat and make their way to the African coast.

Langsdorff issued a list of 27 prisoners currently aboard Altmark to be transferred back to Graf Spee, a list composed chiefly of captains, first officers, engineers, wireless operators and seamen in need of medical attention. It was his intention to make one last sweep off of the South American coast and then return home to Germany. The transfer was effected on the 27th, and the next day Graf Spee departed on what would prove to be her final voyage.

300 British Prisoners on the Altmark

Everything was in short supply on board Altmark—especially cigarettes. The British prisoners soon set up a barter system with the German crew. Five cigarettes from the German supply fetched a brand-new shirt, and eight bought a new pair of shoes, of which the British sailors seemed to have an inexhaustible supply. Conditions eased somewhat, but when the prisoners were advised to set their watches back an hour, it became clear that rather than returning to Europe or a neutral part of the ocean where they might be released, Altmark was in fact carrying them farther west.

Altmark had been sailing in circles for the last two days, awaiting Langsdorff’s return. On December 6, the two ships met up once again. While Graf Spee refueled, 144 more British prisoners were transferred over to Altmark. By now, Dau was increasingly nervous. The 300 British prisoners now on board outnumbered his crew by more than two-to-one. Any attempt to take over and seize Altmark might well succeed. At 8 am on the morning of the 7th, he addressed the captives. He reminded them that they were prisoners of war. He would try to make their conditions as comfortable as possible, but their treatment would depend on their good behavior. An Altmark sailor who had become too friendly with the British was court-martialed and sentenced to 21 days’ confinement.


Contents

The A-class design was derived from the 1926 prototypes Amazon and Ambuscade for the 1927–28 Naval Construction Programme. The initial staff requirements were unrealistic and would have resulted in a much larger, unaffordable ship they were scaled back, both to reduce the size of the ship and to save money. [1] Nonetheless, the design had an improved gun armament, heavier torpedo armament, and greater range, at the cost of 2 knots (3.7 km/h 2.3 mph) of speed, in comparison with the prototypes. The As were fitted with the Two-Speed Destroyer Sweep (TSDS) minesweeping gear and only had a residual anti-submarine ability while the Bs were equipped with Type 119 ASDIC (sonar) and had a full complement of depth charges, but could not use the TSDS. This was the beginning of the Admiralty's policy of alternating TSDS and anti-submarine capabilities between destroyer flotillas. [2] The ships displaced 1,350–1,360 long tons (1,370–1,380 t) at standard load and 1,778–1,790 long tons (1,807–1,819 t) at deep load. They had an overall length of 323 feet (98.5 m), a beam of 32 feet 3 inches (9.8 m) and a draught of 12 feet 3 inches (3.7 m). [3] The A class had a metacentric height of 1.76 feet (0.54 m) at deep load. [4] The ships' complement was 138 officers and ratings as built, [5] but increased in size up to 162 during the war. [6]

The destroyers were powered by two Parsons geared steam turbines, each driving one propeller shaft, using steam provided by three water-tube boilers equipped with superheaters. Five of the As and all of the Bs had Admiralty three-drum boilers that operated at a pressure of 300 pounds per square inch (2,068 kPa 21 kgf/cm 2 ) and a temperature of 600 °F (316 °C) while Ardent and Anthony were fitted with Yarrow boilers of 275 psi (1,896 kPa 19 kgf/cm 2 ) pressure at the same temperature. Acheron was given experimental Thornycroft boilers that had a working pressure of 500 psi (3,447 kPa 35 kgf/cm 2 ) and a temperature of 750 °F (399 °C) to examine the weight and economy savings. [7] Her specific fuel consumption was reduced from 0.8 lb (0.36 kg)/hp/hour in her sisters to 0.6 lb (0.27 kg)/hp/hour, [8] although she was plagued by mechanical problems for her whole life. [9] In the event the trials were inconclusive, and the Admiralty continued to use the lower-temperature and pressure Admiralty three-drum boiler until the Battle class of 1942, nearly ten years after other major navies began to use higher-pressure and temperature boilers. [10] The turbines developed a total of 34,000 shaft horsepower (25,000 kW) for a designed speed of 35 knots (65 km/h 40 mph) and the ship exceeded that during their sea trials. [11] The destroyers carried a maximum of 388–390 long tons (394–396 t) of fuel oil that gave them a range of 4,800 nautical miles (8,900 km 5,500 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h 17 mph). [5]

All of the ships had the same main armament, four quick-firing (QF) 4.7-inch (120 mm) Mark IX guns in single mounts with enlarged gun shields, designated 'A', 'B', 'X', and 'Y' from front to rear. Although the A class were intended to be equipped with gun mounts that could elevate up to 40°, and 'B' gun on a high-angle mount capable of 60°, all four guns ultimately had a maximum elevation of 30°. [12] They fired a 50-pound (23 kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,650 ft/s (810 m/s) to a range of 16,970 yards (15,520 m). [13] Each gun was provided with 190 rounds. For anti-aircraft (AA) defence, the A- and B-class ships carried two 40-millimetre (1.6 in) QF two-pounder Mark II AA guns mounted on platforms between the funnels, each with 500 rounds. They were fitted with two quadruple mounts for 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes. [7] The A-class ships were initially going to be fitted with two throwers and four chutes for eight depth charges, but they interfered with the TSDS equipment so the throwers, one chute and two depth charges were removed. [14] The Bs were equipped with two throwers and one rack for twenty depth charges. [15] While not initially fitted with ASDIC, space was reserved for it, and at least some of the As received it beginning in the late 1930s. [16]

The fire-control system for these ships was little advanced over their First World War-era predecessors. A pedestal-mounted, manually operated Destroyer Director Sight and a separate nine-foot (2.7 m) rangefinder positioned to its rear were situated above the bridge the director transmitted training angles and firing impulses to the main guns, which fired at fixed elevations. [17] They had no capability for anti-aircraft fire and the anti-aircraft guns were aimed solely by eye. No fire-control computer was initially installed, but an Admiralty Fire Control Clock Mark II was retrofitted after it had been proven in the subsequent C-class destroyers. [18]

Canadian ships Edit

The two Canadian ships (Saguenay and Skeena) were designed to be of a similar performance to the A-class ships to allow them to tactically combine. More flare was given to the bow to keep it drier and the forward part of the hull was strengthened to withstand ice. Their metacentric height was increased to allow for the build-up of ice and snow on the upperworks and they were three feet (0.9 m) shorter than their British counterparts. Although the ships had an additional 50 long tons (51 t) of fuel, 2,000 shp (1,500 kW) fewer horsepower and lacked superheaters for their boilers, they had the same range and speed as their brethren of the A and B classes. They displaced 1,337 long tons (1,358 t) at standard load and 1,805 long tons (1,834 t) at deep load. The ships were built by John I. Thornycroft & Company in Woolston, Hampshire and had the broad, slab-sided funnels characteristic of that builder. [19]

Flotilla leaders Edit

Codrington was built to an enlarged design to accommodate the commander of the destroyer flotilla (Captain (D)) and his staff, some 47 additional officers and ratings. The ship displaced roughly 200 long tons (200 t) more than the private ships (1,540 long tons (1,560 t) at standard load and 2,012 long tons (2,044 t) at deep load) she was 20 feet (6.1 m) longer overall and had a beam 1 foot (0.3 m) wider. She shipped a fifth 4.7-inch gun between the funnels, which forced the two-pounders to be repositioned abaft the rear funnel, [5] and was not fitted with TSDS. To compensate for her greater size, Codrington ' s oil tanks were increased by 40 long tons (41 t) and her turbines were rated at 39,000 shp (29,000 kW) to give her the same range and speed as the private ships, but she proved to be significantly faster as she made 37.7 knots (69.8 km/h 43.4 mph) during her sea trials. However, the increased length made her somewhat unhandy, having a turning circle much greater than the standard A class, which complicated manoeuvres with her flotilla. [20]

Unlike Codrington, Keith was built upon the same hull as her sisters to save money and to make her tactically identical to her flotilla-mates. The initial proposal was to enlarge the aft deckhouse to make room for the Captain (D) and his staff at the expense of 'Y' gun and the TSDS gear, but the gun was reinstated while she was under construction. The ship was too small to accommodate the entirety of the staff, and Blanche was fitted as a divisional leader to carry the surplus. [21] Keith was 40 long tons (41 t) heavier than the private ships at standard load and nearly 100 long tons (100 t) heavier at full load (1,400 long tons (1,400 t) and 1,821 long tons (1,850 t), respectively) and carried 19 additional officers and ratings. [5]

Wartime modifications Edit

The initial wartime modifications were limited and mostly related to the survivability of the crew, aside from the addition of 50 rounds per gun of 4.7-inch ammunition and the increase of depth charge stowage to 42 (the Canadian ships carried 33). Beginning in May 1940, the after bank of torpedo tubes was removed in most ships and replaced with a QF three-inch (76 mm) 20-cwt anti-aircraft gun, [Note 1] the after mast and funnel being cut down to improve the gun's field of fire. [22] Of the early war losses, only Codrington [23] and Acheron received this modification before they were sunk. [9] By October, all of the surviving A-class ships plus Beagle, Boadicea, Boreas and Brilliant had been modified and the rest of the Bs had received theirs by April 1941. [24]

Beginning in 1941, most ships had 'Y' gun and the TSDS gear replaced by racks and throwers for a pattern of 10 depth charges, with stowage increased to 70 charges. Their light AA armament was augmented by a pair of QF Oerlikon 20-millimetre (0.79 in) guns, one each abreast the bridge, and a Type 286 short-range, surface-search radar, adapted from the Royal Air Force's ASV radar, was also added. The early models, however, could only scan directly forward and had to be aimed by turning the entire ship. The Canadian ships replaced their two-pounders with a pair of quadruple 0.5-inch (12.7 mm) machine guns and were not fitted with Oerlikons by 1942. [25]

Late that year, some of the surviving ships were further modified into what became known as escort destroyers. These ships had either 'A' or 'B' gun replaced by a Hedgehog anti-submarine spigot mortar. Achates, Beagle, Boreas, and Bulldog were among the first ships to be so converted. Around this same time many ships had their Destroyer Director Sight and rangefinder exchanged for a Type 271 target-indication radar. Beagle and Bulldog were later fitted with a two-pounder bow chaser to engage German E-boats in the English Channel while Boadicea received two elderly six-pounder (57 mm) Hotchkiss guns to deal with U-boats on the surface at close range. [26]

Beginning in 1943, the three-inch gun was removed to allow for the installation of a Huff-Duff radio direction finder on a short mainmast the aft torpedo tubes were sometimes reinstalled. The single 20 mm guns abreast the bridge were replaced by Mark V powered mountings for twin weapons later in the war, the singles replacing the two-pounder or .50 caliber guns amidships, with a further pair of Oerlikons that replaced the searchlight between the torpedo tubes. [27]

A-class ships Edit

Navy Ship Pennant number [28] Builder [29] Laid down [29] Launched [29] Commissioned [29] Fate
Royal Navy Codrington D65 Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend 20 June 1928 8 August 1929 4 April 1930 Bombed and sunk off Dover 27 July 1940
Acasta H09 John Brown & Company, Clydebank 13 August 1928 8 August 1929 11 February 1930 Sunk by the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau off Narvik, 8 June 1940
Achates H12 11 September 1928 4 October 1929 11 February 1930 Sunk by the German cruiser Admiral Hipper in Battle of the Barents Sea, 31 December 1942
Active H14 Hawthorn Leslie & Company, Hebburn 10 July 1928 9 July 1929 9 February 1930 Sold for breaking up 7 July 1947
Antelope H36 11 July 1928 27 July 1929 20 February 1930 Sold for breaking up 28 January 1946
Anthony H40 Scotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Greenock 30 July 1928 24 April 1929 14 February 1930 Sold for breaking up 21 February 1948
Ardent H41 26 June 1929 14 April 1930 Sunk by the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau off Narvik, 8 June 1940
Arrow H42 Vickers Armstrongs, Barrow-in-Furness 20 August 1928 22 August 1929 14 April 1930 Damaged by the explosion of SS Fort Lamontee in Algiers 4 August 1943 and written off as a constructive total loss
Acheron H45 John I. Thornycroft & Company, Woolston 29 October 1928 18 March 1930 13 October 1931 Mined off the Isle of Wight, 17 December 1940
Royal Canadian Navy Saguenay D79 27 September 1929 11 July 1930 22 May 1931 Damaged in a collision 15 November 1942 and de-rated to training ship, sold for breaking 1945
Skeena D59 14 October 1929 10 October 1930 10 June 1931 Wrecked in Kollafjord, Iceland, 25 October 1944

B-class ships Edit

Ship Pennant
number [30]
Builder [31] Laid down [31] Launched [31] Commissioned [31] Fate
Keith H06 Vickers Armstrongs, Barrow in Furness 1 October 1929 10 July 1930 20 March 1931 Sunk, 1 June 1940, by Ju 87 "Stuka" dive bombers off Dunkirk, France [32]
Basilisk H11 John Brown & Company, Clydebank 18 August 1929 6 August 1930 4 April 1931
Beagle H30 11 October 1929 29 September 1930 9 April 1931 Scrapped, 1946 [33]
Blanche H47 Hawthorn Leslie & Company, Hebburn 29 July 1929 29 May 1930 14 February 1931 Sunk by a mine, 13 November 1939 [34]
Boadicea H65 11 July 1929 23 September 1930 7 April 1931 Sunk by Junkers Ju 88 bombers off Portland, 13 June 1944 [35]
Boreas H77 Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company, Jarrow 22 July 1929 18 July 1930 20 February 1931 Scrapped, 1952 [36]
Brazen H80 25 July 1930 8 April 1931 Sunk by Ju 87 "Stuka"s off Dover, 20 July 1940 [37]
Brilliant H84 Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend 8 July 1929 9 October 1930 21 February 1931 Scrapped, 1948 [38]
Bulldog H91 10 August 1929 6 December 1930 8 April 1931 Scrapped, 1946 [39]

The class saw much service in the Second World War, being involved in convoy protection and anti-submarine warfare in home waters and the North Atlantic. Seven of the eleven ships of the class were sunk in World War II. Acasta and Ardent were sunk on 8 June 1940 by the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau west of Narvik during the Norwegian campaign. Codrington was sunk by German air attack at Dover on 27 July 1940. Acheron was sunk by a mine off the Isle of Wight on 17 December 1940. Achates was sunk by two large German heavy cruisers, Admiral Hipper and Lützow. Arrow was so badly damaged when the ammunition ship Fort La Montee blew up on 4 August 1943 at Algiers that she could not be repaired and was towed to Taranto and paid off. Skeena was wrecked in a storm off Iceland on 25 October 1944. Saguenay was heavily damaged in a collision with the merchant ship Azara and was consigned to the role of a training ship after being repaired.

The surviving ships were worn out from war duties and were scrapped soon after the war.


Harwich and Dovercourt History

After the outbreak of the First World War, a priority for the Royal Navy was to secure the approaches to the English Channel, to prevent elements of the German High Seas Fleet from breaking out into the Atlantic, or from interfering with British maritime trade and convoys to the continent. Most of the major fleet units of the Grand Fleet had dispersed to the navy’s anchorage at Scapa Flow or to other North Eastern ports to monitor the northern route from the North Sea into the Atlantic. Consequently, a number of patrol flotillas were organised along the south and east coasts of England, with commands established at several of the major ports in the region. A large number of destroyers, flotilla leaders and light cruisers were centred at Harwich, under the command of Commodore Reginald Tyrwhitt.

HMS Tempest dropping depth charges in Harwich, Essex on 19th April 1918. © IWM.

In early 1917, the Harwich Force consisted of eight light cruisers, two flotilla leaders and 45 destroyers. By the end of the year, there were nine light cruisers, four flotilla leaders and 24 destroyers. The combination of light, fast ships was intended to provide effective scouting and reconnaissance, whilst still being able to engage German light forces, and to frustrate attempts at minelaying in the Channel.

Early-war destroyers had the speed and armament to intercept submarines before they submerged, either by gunfire or by ramming. Destroyers also had a shallow enough draft that torpedoes would find it difficult to hit them.

Most destroyers were fitted with four or six main guns, smaller calibre canon or machineguns, torpedoes, mine sweeping equipment, depth charges and asdic (sonar).

HMS Archer

  • Type. Destroyer
  • Class. Acheron
  • Pennant. H10,H29,H06
  • Builder. Yarrow
  • Ordered. 1910-11
  • Launched. 21/10/1911
  • Commissioned. 1912
  • Speed. 31 knots
  • Fate. Scrapped 09/05/1921

HMS Archer was an Acheron-class destroyer built in 1911, which served during the First World War and was sold in 1921. She was the fourth ship of the name to serve in the Royal Navy. She was laid down at the Yarrow & Company yard in Scotstoun, Glasgow, and was launched on 21 October 1911. Archer and Attack used steam at higher pressures than the other Acheron-class destroyers and consequently were faster than the standard Admiralty-designed members of their class. Achieving 31 knots (57 km/h) on trials, she carried two 4-inch (102 mm) guns, other smaller guns and 21-inch (530 mm) torpedo tubes and had a complement of 70 men. As part of the First Destroyer Flotilla, she was attached to the Grand Fleet in August 1914, and then to the Third Battle Squadron from the spring of 1916. As part of the Harwich Force, the First Destroyer Flotilla took part in the Battle of Heligoland Bight on 28 August 1914. She was sold to Ward on 9 May 1921 for breaking.

HMS Ariel

  • Type. Destroyer
  • Class. Acheron
  • Pennant. H11, H37, H07
  • Builder. Thornycroft
  • Ordered. 1910-11
  • Laid Down. 1911
  • Launched. 26/09/1911
  • Commissioned. 1911
  • Speed. 31 knots
  • Fate. Mined 02/08/1918

HMS Ariel was an Acheron Class Destroyer Ariel was laid down at the Woolston yard of John I. Thornycroft & Company, and launched on 26 September 1911. On 5 August 1914, Ariel towed submarine E8 to Terschelling. They were in company with cruiser Attentive and submarine E6, and after releasing the tow, the two submarines conducted the first Heligoland Bight patrol of the war, as part of the Harwich Force, the First Destroyer Flotilla took part in the Battle of Heligoland Bight on 28 August. On 2 August, while conducting mine laying in the western end of the Heligoland Bight, the V-class destroyer Vehement sank after striking a German mine. In attempting to exit the minefield, Ariel lost her bow and sank in less than an hour. 49 lives were lost including her commanding officer.

HMS Attack

  • Type. Destroyer
  • Class. Acheron
  • Pennant. H14, H86, H08
  • Builder. Yarrow
  • Ordered. 1910-11
  • Laid Down. 1911
  • Launched. 12/12/1911
  • Commissioned. 1911
  • Speed. 31 knots
  • Fate. Mined 30/12/1917

HMS Attack was an Acheron-class destroyer built in 1911, laid down at the Yarrow & Company yard in Scotstoun, Glasgow, and was launched on 12 December 1911. As part of the First Destroyer Flotilla, she was attached to the Grand Fleet in August 1914, and then to the Third Battle Squadron from the spring of 1916. As part of the Harwich Force, the First Destroyer Flotilla took part in the Battle of Heligoland Bight on 28 August 1914. On 27 December 1917, Attack and two Imperial Japanese Navy destroyers escorted two transport ships, HMT Aragon and SS Nile, from Malta to Egypt. The convoy weathered a gale, and off the Egyptian coast at daybreak on Sunday 30 December it divided. Nile and the two Japanese destroyers proceeded to Port Said, while Aragon and Attack made for Alexandria. Aragon and Attack were in Alexandria Roads about 8 miles outside the port, awaiting permission to enter, when at about 1100 hrs. the German Type UC II submarine SM UC-34 torpedoed Aragon, which rapidly began to sink.

Attack and the armed trawler HMT Points Castle came to the rescue. Attack drew right alongside Aragon to take survivors aboard as quickly as possible, helped by lines cast between the two ships. About 17 to 20 minutes after being hit Aragon went down, and she suffered a second explosion as the cold seawater reached her hot boilers. Some of her boats were left upturned in the water. Then a torpedo struck Attack amidships and blew her into two pieces, both of which sank with five to seven minutes. The explosion ruptured Attack’s bunkers, spilling tons of thick, black bunker fuel oil into the sea as she sank. Hundreds of men were in the water, and many of them became covered in oil or overcome by its fumes. Aragon’s surviving lifeboats now ferried hundreds of survivors to the two trawlers and other trawlers came out to assist. 10 sailors from Attack died, 600 lives were lost in Aragon.

HMS Basilisk

  • Type. Destroyer
  • Class. Beagle
  • Pennant. H99, H33
  • Builder. JS White
  • Ordered. 1908-09
  • Laid Down. 1910
  • Launched. 09/02/1910
  • Commissioned. 1910
  • Speed. 27 knots
  • Fate. Scrapped 01/11/1921

HMS Basilisk was a Beagle Class Destroyer launched on the 9 th February 1910 by J.S White and sold in 1921 on the 1st May 1912 she was part of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla based at Harwich.

HMS Beagle

  • Type. Destroyer
  • Class. Beagle
  • Pennant. HC5
  • Builder. John Brown
  • Ordered. 1908-1909
  • Laid Down. 1909
  • Launched. 16/10/1909
  • Commissioned. 1910
  • Speed. 27 knots
  • Fate. Scrapped 01/11/1921

HMS Beagle was a Beagle Class Destroyer launched by John Brown and Company, Clydebank on the 16 th October 1909. In July 1913 she was serving with the Third Destroyer Flotilla. Commander Harry R. Godfrey commanded her when she covered the landings at Anzac Cove at Gallipoli. At Suvla Bay on 6-7 August, 1915, Beagle worked with five of her sisters and Arno to tow troop barges. Beagle was sold for breaking on the 1 st November 1921.

HMS Bruce

  • Type. Destroyer
  • Class. Scott
  • Pennant. F48, D81
  • Builder. Cammell Laird
  • Ordered. 1916
  • Laid Down. 1918
  • Launched. 26/02/1918
  • Commissioned. 1918
  • Speed. 26.5 knots
  • Fate. Sank 22/11/1939

HMS Bruce was a Scott Class Destroyer that served in the First World War and the inter-war period. The ship was ordered in December 1916 and launched on the 26 th February 1918 by Cammell Laird shipyard, Birkenhead .In 1918 she served as part of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla at Harwich. After the War she was sunk as an aircraft torpedo target south of the Isle of Wight on the 22 nd November 1939.

HMS Bulldog

    • Type. Destroyer
    • Class. Beagle
    • Pennant. H25, HC7, HC4
    • Builder. John Brown
    • Ordered. 1908-09
    • Laid Down. 1909
    • Launched. 13/11/1909
    • Commissioned. 1909
    • Speed. 27 knots
    • Fate. Scrapped 21/09/1920

    She was commissioned on 7 July 1910 for service with the First Destroyer Flotilla of the First Division of the Home Fleet tendered to HMS Blake.

    In February 1919 with the disbandment of the Second Destroyer Flotilla she was withdrawn from active service and laid up in reserve at the Nore. In April 1920 she was placed on the disposal list. She was sold on the 21st of September, 1920 to Thos W Ward of Sheffield for breaking at Rainham, Kent, on Thames Estuary.

    HMS Chelmer

    • Type. Destroyer
    • Class. River Class
    • Pennant.
    • Builder. Thornycroft
    • Ordered. 1903
    • Laid Down. 11/12/1903
    • Launched. 08/12/1904
    • Commissioned.1905
    • Speed. 25.5 knots
    • Fate. Scrapped 30/06/1920

    HMS Chelmer was a Thornycroft type River Class Destroyer. She was laid down on 11 December 1903 at the Thornycroft shipyard at Chiswick and launched on 8 December 1904. She was completed in June 1905. After commissioning she was assigned to the East Coast Destroyer Flotilla of the 1st Fleet and based at Harwich. On 27 April 1908 the Eastern Flotilla departed Harwich for live fire and night Manoeuvres. During these exercises HMS Attentive rammed and sank HMS Gala then damaged HMS Ribble. On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyer classes were to be designated by alpha characters starting with the letter ‘A’. The ships of the River Class were assigned to the E Class. After 30 September 1913, she was known as an E Class destroyer and had the letter ‘E’ painted on the hull below the bridge area and on either the fore or aft funnel

    In July 1914 she was on China Station based at Hong Kong tendered to HMS Triumph. At the outbreak of war she was in dockyard hands undergoing a refit. With the fall of Tsingtao and the sinking of the SMS Emden, she was redeployed to the 5th Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean Fleet in November 1914 accompanying HMS Triumph, to support the Dardanelles campaign.

    In 1919 she returned to Home waters, was paid off and laid up in reserve awaiting disposal. On 30 June 1920 she was sold to Thomas W. Ward of Sheffield for breaking at Hayle, North Cornwall.

    HMS Colne

    • Type. Destroyer
    • Class. River
    • Pennant.
    • Builder. Thornycroft
    • Ordered. 1903
    • Laid Down. 21/03/1904
    • Launched. 21/05/1905
    • Commissioned. 1905
    • Speed. 25.5 knots
    • Fate. Scrapped 04/11/1919

    HMS Colne was a Thornycroft type River Class Destroyer. She was laid down on 21 March 1904 at the Thornycroft shipyard at Chiswick and launched on 21 May 1905. She was completed in July 1905. After commissioning she was assigned to the East Coast Destroyer Flotilla of the 1st Fleet and based at Harwich.

    HMS Contest

    • Type. Destroyer
    • Class. Acasta
    • Pennant. H63, H28
    • Builder. Hawthorn Leslie
    • Ordered. 1911
    • Laid Down. 1912
    • Launched. 07/01/1913
    • Commissioned. 1913
    • Speed. 27 knots
    • Fate. Sank 18/09/1917

    HMS Contest was an Acasta Class Destroyer launched on the 7 th January 1913 by Hawthorn Leslie, she was torpedoed in the Western Approaches while assisting the torpedoed steamer City of Lincoln in the English Channel on the 18th sept 1917.

    HMS Desperate

    • Type. Destroyer
    • Class. Two Funnel
    • Pennant. P50, D40, D26
    • Builder. Thornycroft
    • Ordered. 10/05/1895
    • Laid Down. 01/07/1895
    • Launched. 15/02/1896
    • Commissioned. 1897
    • Speed. 30 knots
    • Fate. Scrapped 20/05/1920

    HMS Desperate was a Two funnel destroyer laid down as yard number 305 on 1 July 1895 at the John I. Thornycroft & Company shipyard at Chiswick on the River Thames. She was launched on 15 February 1896. After commissioning she was assigned to the Chatham Division of the Harwich Flotilla. On 26 June 1897 she was present at the Royal Naval Review at Spithead in celebration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. She was re-assigned to Sheerness in January 1900 for instructional purposes at the Sheerness school of gunnery.

    On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed that all destroyer classes were to be designated by letters. She was assigned to the D class along with other destroyers built to the same overall specification. In August 1914 she was in active commission tendered to HMS Excellent, the Portsmouth gunnery school she remained there for the duration of the First World War.

    In 1919 Desperate was paid off then laid up in reserve awaiting disposal. She was sold on 20 May 1920 to Thomas W. Ward of Sheffield for breaking at Milford Haven, Wales.

    HMS Doon

    • Type. Destroyer
    • Class. River
    • Pennant. N14, D16, D27
    • Builder. Hawthorn Leslie
    • Ordered. 1903-1904
    • Laid Down. 16/02/1904
    • Launched. 08/11/1904
    • Commissioned. 1905
    • Speed. 25.5 knots
    • Fate. Scrapped 27/05/1919

    HMS Doon was laid down on 16 February 1904 at the Hawthorn Leslie shipyard at Hebburn-on-Tyne and launched on 8 November 1904. After commissioning she was assigned to the East Coast Destroyer Flotilla of the 1st Fleet and based at Harwich.

    In early 1914 when displaced by G Class destroyers she joined the 9th Destroyer Flotilla based at Chatham tendered to HMS St George. The 9th Flotilla was a Patrol Flotilla tasked with anti-submarine and counter mining patrols in the Firth of Forth area.

    On 16 December 1914 under command of Lieutenant-Commander H. McLeod-Fraser, RN, as the division leader with HMS Waveney, HMS Test and HMS Moy were sent to patrol off Hartlepool. During the German Battle Cruiser Raid on Hartlepool, she was damaged by German shellfire. She was straddled by three salvoes with one near miss by an 11-inch shell grazing the after edge of the foremost funnel, damaging a berth on boat, before going overboard and bursting on impact with the water. She suffered splinter damage and had her wireless, aft gun and torpedo tube put out of action. She suffered 3 dead and 6 wounded.

    In August 1915 with the amalgamation of the 9th and 7th Flotillas she was deployed to the 7th Destroyer Flotilla based at the River Humber. She remained employed on the Humber Patrol participating in counter mining operations and anti-submarine patrols for the remainder of the war.

    In 1919 she was paid off and laid up in reserve awaiting disposal. On 27 May 1919 she was sold to Thomas W. Ward of Sheffield for breaking at Rainham, Kent, on the Thames Estuary

    HMS Firedrake

    • Type. Destroyer
    • Class. Acheron
    • Pennant. H79, H33, H89
    • Builder. Yarrow
    • Ordered. 1910-11
    • Laid Down. 1911
    • Launched. 09/04/1912
    • Commissioned. 1912
    • Speed. 32 knots
    • Fate. Scrapped 10/10/1921

    HMS Firedrake was a modified Acheron Class Destroyer, placed with Yarrow & Company of Scotstoun, Glasgow and launched on the 9 th April 1912. At the start of World War I Firedrake and Lurcher were assigned to the Eighth Submarine Flotilla under the command of Commodore Keyes, and were based at Parkeston Quay, Harwich. Both ships were employed in escorting, towing and exercising with submarines of their flotilla. On 27 April 1916 the German Navy submarine UC-5 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Ulrich Mohrbutter ran aground on Ship wash Shoal in position Firedrake captured the U-boat at 1:00pm relatively intact apart from some damage incurred in the grounding, the crew had taken measures to damage instruments and equipment, including firing small arms at them, and seven destruction charges had caused several holes in the pressure hull. UC-5 was towed to Harwich and placed in a dry dock, where she was examined and reconditioned. She was displayed at Temple Pier on the Thames in London, and later moved to New York, where she was displayed in Central Park. Firedrake’s captain, Commander Aubrey Thomas Tillard was mentioned in dispatches for his part in the capture. HMS Firedrake was sold for breaking in October 1921.

    HMS Flirt

    • Type. Destroyer
    • Class. Palmer
    • Pennant. P87, D56
    • Builder. Palmers
    • Ordered. 1896
    • Laid Down. 05/09/1896
    • Launched. 15/05/1897
    • Commissioned. 1899
    • Speed. 30 knots
    • Fate. Sank 27/10/1916

    HMS Flirt was a Palmer three funnel destroyer. She was laid down on 5 September 1896 at the Palmer shipyard at Jarrow-on-Tyne and launched on 15 May 1897. After commissioning she was assigned to the East Coast Flotilla of the 1st Fleet based at Harwich. On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyer classes were to be designated by alpha characters starting with the letter ‘A’. Since her design speed was 30-knots and she had three funnels she was assigned to the C class. After 30 September 1913, she was known as a C-class destroyer and had the letter ‘C’ painted on the hull below the bridge area and on either the fore or aft funnel.

    On the night of 26/27 October 1916 the German Navy raided the Dover Barrage with two and a half flotillas of torpedo boats and destroyers. Flirt under the command of Lieutenant R. P. Kellett responded to gunfire from the drifter line. She found Waveney on fire and sent a boat to assist. When unidentified ships approached she issued a challenge and was immediately fired upon by the Germans. Flirt was lost the only survivors were those dispatched to aid Waveney.

    HMS Flying Fish

    • Type. Destroyer
    • Class. Palmer
    • Pennant. P86, D57, D40, H69
    • Builder. Palmers
    • Ordered. 1895
    • Laid Down. 09/08/1896
    • Launched. 04/03/1897
    • Commissioned. 1898
    • Speed. 30 knots
    • Fate. Scrapped 30/08/1919

    HMS Flying Fish was a Palmer three funnel destroyer. She was laid down on 9 August 1896 at the Palmer shipyard at Jarrow-on-Tyne and launched on 4 March 1897. During her builder’s trials she made her contracted speed requirement. She was completed and accepted by the Royal Navy in June 1898. After commissioning she was assigned to the East Coast Flotilla of the 1st Fleet based at Harwich. On 16 December 1901 she was re-commissioned by Lieutenant and Commander H. P Buckle for service on the Mediterranean Station, as tender to the battleship Royal Oak After leaving Devonport for her commission in February 1902, she encountered hard weather in the Bay of Biscay and was knocked about so that she started leaking, and had to port at Brest. She was sufficiently repaired to be able to return to Devonport for more extensive repairs in late February.

    On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyer classes were to be designated by alpha characters starting with the letter ‘A’. Since her design speed was 30-knots and she had three funnels she was assigned to the C class. After 30 September 1913, she was known as an C-class destroyer and had the letter ‘C’ painted on the hull below the bridge area and on either the fore or aft funnel.

    In May 1916 when she was deployed to the 7th Destroyer Flotilla based at the Humber River. She performed patrol duties on the Humber Patrol including anti-submarine and counter-mining patrols. She would remain there for the remainder of the war.

    In 1919 Flying Fish was paid off and laid-up in reserve awaiting disposal. She was sold on 30 August 1919 to TR Sales for breaking.

    HMS Foxhound

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Beagle
      • Pennant. H16, H58
      • Builder. John Brown
      • Ordered. 1908-09
      • Laid Down. 1909
      • Launched. 11/12/1909
      • Commissioned. 1910
      • Speed. 27 knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 01/11/1921

      HMS Foxhound was a Beagle Class Destroyer launched on the 11 th December 1909 and sold in November 1921. She served with the 3 rd Destroyer Flotilla based at Harwich in 1912.

      HMS Foyle

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. River
      • Pennant. N44, D20
      • Builder. Cammell Laird
      • Ordered. 1901
      • Laid Down.12/06/1902
      • Launched. 25/02/1903
      • Commissioned. 1904
      • Speed. 25.5 knots
      • Fate. Sank 15/03/1917

      HMS Foyle was a Laird Type River Class Destroyer she was laid down on 12 June 1902 at the Cammell Laird shipyard at Birkenhead and launched on 25 February 1903. After commissioning she was assigned to the East Coast Destroyer Flotilla of the 1st Fleet and based at Harwich. On 27 April 1908 the Eastern Flotilla departed Harwich for live fire and night Manoeuvres. In April 1909 she was assigned to the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla of the 1st Fleet on its formation at Harwich. She remained until displaced by a Basilisk Class destroyer by May 1912. She went into reserve in the 5th Destroyer Flotilla of the 2nd Fleet with a nucleus crew.

      On 15 March 1917 HMS Foyle struck a contact mine laid by German submarine UC-68 off Plymouth with the loss of 28 officers and men. Her bow was blown off and she foundered while under tow to Plymouth.

      HMS Kestrel

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. C
      • Pennant. N47, D60, D49
      • Builder. J&G Thompson
      • Ordered. 1896-1897
      • Laid Down. 02/09/1896
      • Launched. 25/03/1898
      • Commissioned. 1900
      • Speed. 30 knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 17/03/1921

      HMS Kestrel was a Clydebank built Destroyer. She was laid down as Yard Number 298 on 2 September 1896 at J & G Thompson shipyard in Clydebank and launched on 25 March 1898. During her builder’s trials she made her contract speed of 30 knots. After commissioning she was assigned to the Chatham Division of the Harwich Flotilla. She was deployed in Home waters for her entire service life. On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyer classes were to be designated by letters. Since her design speed was 30-knots and she had three funnels she was assigned to the C Class. After 30 September 1913, she was known as a C Class destroyer and had the letter ‘C’ painted on the hull below the bridge area and on either the fore or aft funnel.

      In 1914 she was in active commission at the Nore based at Sheerness tendered to HMS Actaeon, a Royal Navy training establishment. With the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914 she was assigned to the Nore Local Flotilla. Her duties included anti-submarine and counter mining patrols in the Thames Estuary. In 1919 she was paid off and laid-up in reserve awaiting disposal. She was sold on 17 March 1921 to Thomas W. Ward of Sheffield for breaking at Rainham, Kent on the Thames Estuary.

      HMS Laertes

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Laforey
      • Pennant. H94, H45
      • Builder. Swan Hunter
      • Ordered. 1912
      • Laid Down. 1913
      • Launched. 05/06/1913
      • Commissioned. 1913
      • Speed. 29 knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 01/12/1921

      HMS Laertes was a Laforey Class Destroyer launched on the 5th June 1913 at the Swan Hunter Shipyard under the name HMS Sarpedon. She was renamed HMS Laertes on 30 September 1913. She took part in the Battle of Heligoland Bight on 28 August 1914, where she was seriously damaged suffering four shell strikes.Laertes was one of the destroyers of the Harwich squadron which attempted to head off attacking German ships during the Bombardment of Yarmouth and Lowestoft on 25 April 1916. The ship was hit by shellfire damaging the boiler room, and would most likely have sunk except for the actions of Stoker Ernest Clarke. Clarke later died from burns received while saving the ship and was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. Five of the crew was injured during the attack. Stoker Petty Officer Stephen Pritchard, who entered the cabin flat immediately after a shell had exploded there, and worked a fire hose, was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

      She was sold on 1 December 1921 to Stanlee, of Dover for breaking up. She stranded whilst being towed to the breakers, but arrived on 8 March 1922. She was scrapped that year.

      HMS Laforey

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. L
      • Pennant. H03
      • Builder. Fairfield
      • Ordered. 1912
      • Laid Down. 1913
      • Launched. 05/06/1913
      • Commissioned. 1913
      • Speed. 29 knots
      • Fate. Sank 23/03/1917

      HMS Laforey was a Laforey Class Destroyer launched by Fairfield Shipbuilding on the 5 th June 1913. She was laid down on 1 March 1939 at the same time as her sister, HMS Lance. She was launched on 15 February 1941 and commissioned on 26 August 1941. She cost £445,684, excluding items such as weapons and communications equipment supplied by the Admiralty. On commissioning she was assigned to the 19th Destroyer Flotilla of the Home Fleet as the Flotilla leader. Laforey returned to Naples and was deployed off Anzio on 9 March 1944 on support and patrol duties that were scheduled to last until 19 March. On 23 March she again returned to Anzio and on 24 March she was deployed for night interception and anti-submarine patrols with HMS Grenville. On 25 March they engaged a number of E-boats after picking them up on their radar. Laforey then sailed to Naples. She deployed for another patrol off the west coast of Italy on 28 March and on 29 March she carried out a hunt for U-223 north of Palermo, in company with the destroyers HMS Tumult, HMS Tuscan, HMS Urchin, HMS Hambledon and HMS Blencathra. U-223 had been detected by HMS Ulster during a routine sweep. The search lasted until 30 March, when after sustaining several hours of depth charge attacks U-223 surfaced, and was then attacked by the destroyers with gunfire at a range of 1,500 yards. U-223 was able to fire three torpedoes which struck Laforey. She sank quickly, resulting the loss of most of her company, including her captain. There were only 65 survivors out of the 247 on board. U-223 was sunk soon afterwards, and the survivors from the Laforey and U-223 were picked up by HMS Blencathra, HMS Hambledon and HMS Tumult.

      HMS Lance

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Laforey
      • Pennant. H23, H46, G87
      • Builder. Thornycroft
      • Ordered. 1913
      • Laid Down. 1914
      • Launched. 25/02/1914
      • Commissioned. 1914
      • Speed. 29 knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 1921

      HMS Lance was launched by Thornycroft on the 25 th February 1914 as a L Class Destroyer and was attached to the Harwich Force, Lance took part in several engagements during the war, including the sinking of the Königin Luise and the Battle off Texel. Throughout the War, Lance was attached to the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla of Harwich Force. On 17 October 1914 Lance was with her flotilla when it attacked the German Seventh Half Flotilla of torpedo boats completely annihilating the German force.

      HMS Landrail

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Laforey
      • Pennant. H54
      • Builder. Yarrow
      • Launched. 07/02/1914
      • Commissioned. 1914
      • Speed. 29 knots
      • Fate. Sold 01/12/1921

      HMS Landrail was a Laforey Class Destroyer launched by Yarrow Shipbuilders in 1914. She was to have been named HMS Hotspur, but was renamed in 1913. She was sold in 1921.

      5th Aug 1914. Königin Luise was requisitioned by the Kaiserliche Marine on the 3rd of August 1914 to serve as an auxiliary minelayer, and was pressed in to service when Britain entered the war. On the night of the 4th/5th of August she laid a minefield off the coast but was spotted by a number of fishing vessels. The light cruiser HMS Amphion and a number of destroyers of the 3rd Flotilla sailed early in the morning of 5th of August and sailed towards Heligoland Bight. En-route they encountered a fishing vessel, whose crew informed the British ships that they had seen a ship “throwing things over the side” about 20 miles north of the Outer Gabbard. The taskforce spotted Königin Luise at 10:25, but she fled at top speed, moving into a rain squall, where she proceeded to lay more mines. HMS Lance and HMS Landrail gave chase, and Lance opened fire, the first British Naval shot of the war. HMS Amphion soon closed in and also commenced firing on the Königin Luise which attempted to escape to neutral waters to the south-east, leading the pursuing British vessels through her minefield. Being damaged by heavy fire, Commander Biermann ordered the scuttling of the Königin Luise. The surviving crew abandoned ship, and the vessel rolled over to port and sank at 12:22. 46 of the 100 crew were rescued by the British ships.

      HMS Lapwing

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Acheron
      • Pennant. H56, H48, H09
      • Builder. Cammell Laird
      • Ordered. 1910-11
      • Laid Down. 1911
      • Launched. 29/07/1911
      • Commissioned. 1911
      • Speed. 27 knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 26/10/1921

      HMS Lapwing was an Acheron-class destroyer that served during World War I and was sold for breaking in 1921. She was built under the 1910-11 shipbuilding programme by Cammell Laird and Company of Birkenhead and had a complement of 72 men. She was launched on 29 September 1911.

      In common with the survivors of her class, she was laid up after World War I, and on 26 October 1921 she was sold to the Barking Ship Breaking Company for scrap.

      HMS Lark

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Laforey
      • Pennant. H34, H49
      • Builder. Yarrow
      • Ordered. 1912
      • Laid Down. 1913
      • Launched. 26/05/1913
      • Speed. 29 knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 20/01/1923

      HMS Lark was a Laforey Class Destroyer built by Yarrow & Co and was launched on the 26 th May 1913. At 10.15 hours on 17 Feb, 1945, U-968 fired one LUT torpedo at a warship reported as a Soviet destroyer of the Groznyj class and observed a hit after 6 minutes 20 seconds. HMS Lark was hit in the stern northeast of Murmansk, towed into the Kola Inlet and beached near Rosta.

      The ship was declared a total loss by the Royal Navy and the wreck handed over to the Soviets. She was sold on the 20 th January 1923.

      HMS Lassoo

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Laforey
      • Pennant. G01, F41
      • Builder. William Beardmore
      • Ordered. 1914
      • Laid Down. 1915
      • Launched. 24/08/1915
      • Speed. 29 knots
      • Fate. Sank 13/08/1916

      HMS Lassoo was built during the First World War as part of an emergency program of naval construction, to an Admiralty design by William Beardmore & Company, Dalmuir. Lassoo was a Laforey Class Destroyer originally to have been named HMS Magic but she was renamed HMS Lassoo on 15 February 1915 before being launched on 24 August 1915.

      She was sunk by the German U-boat SM UB-10 on 13 August 1916 off the Maas lightship in the North Sea.

      HMS Laurel

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Laforey
      • Pennant. H91, H51
      • Builder. J.S. White
      • Ordered. 1912
      • Laid Down. 1913
      • Launched. 06/05/1913
      • Speed. 29 knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 01/11/1921

      HMS Laurel was a Laforey Class Destroyer launched on the 6 th May 1913 by J.S White as HMS Redgauntlet, but renamed shortly after. She was sold on the 1 st November 1921. On the 5th August 1914 she left Harwich as a part of the 3rd Flotilla, under the command of the Amphion, to carry out a search and sweep for enemy craft. Laurel was sold in 1921.

      HMS Laverock

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Laforey
      • Pennant. H53
      • Builder. Yarrow
      • Ordered. 1912
      • Laid Down. 1913
      • Launched. 19/11/1913
      • Commissioned. 1914
      • Speed. 29 knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 1921

      HMS Laverock was a Laforey Class Destroyer built by Yarrow & Co and Launched on the 19th November 1913. She served with the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla on completion and transferred to escort duties after 1917. Laverock was Sold for breaking in May 1921.

      HMS Lawford

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Laforey
      • Pennant. H06, H53
      • Builder. Fairfield
      • Ordered. 1912
      • Laid Down. 1913
      • Launched. 30/10/1913
      • Commissioned. 1913
      • Speed. 29 knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 24/08/1922

      HMS Lawford was a Laforey Class Destroyer built by Fairfield shipbuilders, previously named Ivanhoe but renamed shortly after being launched on the 30 th October 1913. She was sold for scrapping in 1921.

      HMS Leeds

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Town
      • Pennant. G27
      • Builder. William Cramp
      • Launched. 21/08/1917
      • Commissioned. 12/01/1918
      • Speed. 30 Knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 1947

      HMS Leeds was a Town Class Destroyer built as USS Conner (DD 72) of the Caldwell Class, commissioned in US Navy on 12 Jan, 1918. On 4 Oct, 1919 decommissioned and placed in reserve fleet. In May 1921 recommissioned, but again decommissioned on 21 Jun, 1922. USS Conner was recommissioned 23 August 1940 and fitted out at Philadelphia. Designated for inclusion in the destroyer land bases exchange with Great Britain, she sailed to Halifax, N. S., where she was decommissioned 23 October 1940 and transferred to Britain and commissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Leeds. On 20 April 1942, she went to the aid of mine-damaged destroyer HMS Cotswold, towing her into Harwich. She drove German E-boats away from her convoy on the night of 24-25 February 1944. Decommissioned in April 1945 and sold for scrap on 4 March 1947 at Grays.

      HMS Lennox

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Laforey
      • Pennant. H95, H55
      • Builder. William Beardmore
      • Laid Down. 1913
      • Launched. 02/03/1914
      • Commissioned. 1914
      • Speed. 29 knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 10/11/1921

      HMS Lennox was a Laforey Cass Destroyer laid down as HMS Portia before being renamed. She was constructed by William Beardmore and Company and launched on 2 March 1914. Launched prior to the outbreak of the First World War, she was attached to the Harwich Force and served in the North Sea. Lennox saw action in several engagements, including the Battle off Texel. Sold for Scrapping on the 26th October 1921.

      HMS Leonidas

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Laforey
      • Pennant. H20, H56
      • Builder. Palmers
      • Ordered. 1912
      • Laid Down. 1913
      • Launched. 30/10/1913
      • Speed. 29 knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 1921

      HMS Leonidas was a Laforey Class Destroyer, launched on the 30 th October 1913 by Hawthorn Leslie she served in World War I with the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla and as a convoy escort in World War I. Leonidas took part in a battle off Noorhinder Bank on 1 May 1915 when together with three other destroyers, Laforey, Lawford and Lark, she was dispatched to go to the aid of four British armed trawlers which had engaged two German Torpedo boats, A2 and A6. One of the trawlers had been sunk, but sufficient damage had been caused to A6 that the Germans chose to withdraw. The four destroyers pursued the torpedo boats, eventually catching and sinking them. HMS Leonidas also served in the 3rd Destroyer flotilla at the first battle of Heligoland bight, under the command of the famous commodore Tyrwhitt aboard the light cruiser Arethusa. She was sold for scrap in 1921.

      HMS Liberty

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Laforey
      • Pennant. H81, H57
      • Builder. JS White
      • Ordered. 1912
      • Laid Down. 1913
      • Launched. 15/12/1913
      • Commissioned. 1914
      • Speed. 29 knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 05/11/1921

      HMS Liberty was a Laforey Class Destroyer constructed by JS White and launched on the 15 th December 1913 she served in World War I a part of the 3 rd Destroyer Flotilla at Harwich. Liberty was broken up in November 1921.

      HMS Lightfoot

      • Type. Destroyer
      • Class. Laforey
      • Pennant. H76, H58, G22, F78
      • Builder. JS White
      • Ordered. 1914
      • Laid Down. 1915
      • Launched. 28/05/1915
      • Commissioned. 1915
      • Speed. 29 knots
      • Fate. Scrapped 05/11/1921

      By October 1915 Lightfoot had joined the Ninth Destroyer Flotilla of the Harwich Force as second leader, replacing Tipperary. On 30 October Lightfoot sailed with the Harwich Force on a sweep across the German Bight, with a single Swedish merchant ship, the Osterland, laden with Iron Ore being arrested and ordered to the Humber for investigation. The Harwich Force, including Lightfoot as well as four light cruisers and 18 destroyers departed Harwich at 2am on 11 February, in the belief that the battlecruisers of the German First Scouting Group were at sea. When it was realised that the German ships were returning to harbour, the Harwich Force turn ing back for home, but the cruiser Arethusa, flagship of Commodore Reginald Tyrwhitt, commander of the Harwich Force, struck a mine just outside Harwich harbour, killing six men. Lightfoot attempted to take Arethusa in tow, but the line parted, while similar attempts by the destroyer Loyal also failed, with the cruiser running aground and breaking in two.

      On 29 June 1916 the Harwich Force was cruising off the Belgian coast when Lightfoot spotted a surfaced submarine and opened fire, following this up with a depth charge when the submarine dived.

      HMS Linnet

        • Type. Destroyer
        • Class. Laforey
        • Pennant. H43. H59
        • Builder. Yarrow
        • Ordered. 1912
        • Laid Down. 1913
        • Launched. 16/08/1913
        • Speed. 29 knots
        • Fate. Scrapped 04/11/1921

        HMS Linnet was a Laforey Class Destroyer launched at Yarrow on the 16 th August 1913, and originally to have been called Havock. She was sold for scrap on the 4 th of November 1921.

        History: 8th August 1914 – 3rd Destroyer Flotilla. Harwich

        HMS Llewellyn

          • Type. Destroyer
          • Class. L
          • Pennant. H99, H61
          • Builder. William Beardmore
          • Laid Down. 1913
          • Launched. 30/10/1913
          • Commissioned. 1914
          • Speed. 29 knots
          • Fate. Scrapped 10/03/1922

          HMS Llewellyn was a Laforey Class Destroyer launched on the 30 th October 1913, built as HMS Picton by William Beardmore but renamed before being launched in 1913. She was sold in March 1922.

          HMS Lochinvar

          • Type. Destroyer
          • Class. Laforey
          • Pennant. G06, F42, F52
          • Builder. William Beardmore
          • Ordered. 1914
          • Laid Down. 1915
          • Launched. 09/10/1915
          • Commissioned. 1915
          • Speed. 29 knots
          • Fate. Scrapped 25/11/1921

          HMS Lochinvar was a Laforey Class Destroyer built as HMS Malice, but renamed before being launched by William Beardmore on the 9 TH October 1915. History: 1915 – 9th Destroyer Flotilla, 9th October 1915 – Served with the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla on completion. She was sold for breaking up on the 25 th November 1921.

          HMS Lookout

          • Type. Destroyer
          • Class. Laforey
          • Pennant. H24, H62
          • Builder. Thornycroft
          • Ordered. 1913
          • Laid Down. 1914
          • Launched. 27/04/1914
          • Commissioned. 1914
          • Speed. 29 knots
          • Fate. Scrapped 24/08/1922

          HMS Lookout was an L Class Destroyer launched on the 27 th April 1914 by Thornycroft. She was sold on the 24 th August 1922.

          HMS Louis

          • Type. Destroyer
          • Class. Laforey
          • Pennant. H07
          • Builder. Fairfield
          • Ordered. 1912
          • Laid Down. 1913
          • Launched. 11/11/1913
          • Commissioned. 1914
          • Speed. 29 knots
          • Fate. Wrecked 31/10/1915

          HMS Louis was a Royal Navy Laforey Class Destroyer, built as HMS Talisman, but renamed on 30 September 1913 before being launched. Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan (Yard No 491) and launched 30 December 1913, she was wrecked in Suvla Bay on 31 October 1915 during the Dardanelles campaign.

          HMS Loyal

          • Type. Destroyer
          • Class. Laforey
          • Pennant. H80, H63
          • Builder. Denny
          • Ordered. 1912
          • Laid Down. 1913
          • Launched. 11/11/1913
          • Speed. 29 knots
          • Fate. Scrapped 1921

          HMS Loyal was a Laforey Class Destroyer launched on the 11 th November 1913 by William Denny and Brothers. Launched prior to the First World War, she was attached to the Harwich Force and served in the North Sea. Loyal saw action in several engagements, including the Battle off Texel. Loyal was sold for scrap in 1921.

          HMS Lucifer

          • Type. Destroyer
          • Class. Laforey
          • Pennant. H22, H64
          • Builder. Palmers
          • Ordered. 1912
          • Laid Down. 1913
          • Launched. 29/12/1913
          • Speed. 29 knots
          • Fate. Sold 1921

          HMS Lucifer was a Laforey Class Destroyer, Built by Palmers and launched on 29 th October 1913. Sold 1921

          HMS Lurcher

          • Type. Destroyer
          • Class. Acheron
          • Pennant. H01, H65
          • Builder. Yarrow
          • Ordered. 1910-11
          • Launched. 29/12/1913
          • Commissioned. 1914
          • Speed. 35 knots
          • Fate. Scrapped 09/06/1922

          HMS Lurcher was a modified Acheron Class Destroyer built by Yarrow and Company and launched on the 1 st January 1912. At the start of World War I Lurcher and Firedrake were assigned to the Eighth Submarine Flotilla under the command of Commodore Keyes, and were based at Parkston Quay, Harwich. Both ships were employed in escorting, towing and exercising with submarines of their flotilla, At the Battle of Heligoland Bight, Lurcher was erroneously feared lost after she’d gone so far into the Ems in search of the enemy. Later, she bolted in to rescue 220 survivors of Mainz. Lurcher survived the war and was sold to J Cashmore of Newport for breaking on 9 June 1921.

          HMS Lydiard

          • Type. Destroyer
          • Class. Laforey
          • Pennant. H08, H66
          • Builder. Fairfield
          • Laid Down. 1913
          • Launched. 26/02/1914
          • Commissioned. 1914
          • Speed. 29 knots
          • Fate. Scrapped 1921

          HMS Lydiard was a Laforey Class torpedo boat Destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was ordered as the Waverley from Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company as part of the 1912–13 programme, but was renamed Lydiard before being launched on 26 February 1914. She served in World War I with the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, and fought at the Battle of Heligoland Bight in 1914, where she was credited with torpedoing the German light cruiser SMS Mainz. She also took part in the Battle of Jutland in 1916, where she formed part of the 9th Destroyer Flotilla, along with fellow Laforey class destroyers Liberty, Landrail and Laurel, supporting Admiral Beatty’s Battle cruisers. She was transferred to escort duties after 1917, and sold for breaking in November 1921.

          HMS Lysander

          • Type. Destroyer
          • Class. Laforey
          • Pennant. H93, H68
          • Builder. Swan Hunter
          • Ordered. 1912
          • Laid Down. 1912
          • Launched. 18/02/1913
          • Commissioned. 1913
          • Speed. 29 knots
          • Fate. Sold 1922

          HMS Lysander was a Laforey Class Destroyer launched by Swan Hunter on the 8 th December 1913 as HMS Ulysses but renamed a few weeks later, She was sold in 1922.

          HMS Maenad

          • Type. Destroyer
          • Class. M
          • Pennant. HA7, G26, G27, GA8
          • Builder. Denny
          • Ordered. 1914
          • Laid Down. 1914
          • Launched. 10/08/1915
          • Commissioned. 1915
          • Speed. 35 knots
          • Fate. Scrapped 1921

          HMS Maenad was a M Class Destroyer built by Denny and launched on the 10 th August 1915. Maenad was one of the first three destroyers in the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla when it was first formed in November, 1915. She operated with the Twelfth at the Battle of Jutland. Maenad was reduced to C. & M. Party at Devonport on 15 October, 1919. History: Harwich 3 rd Destroyer Flotilla from 1918.

          Mameluck

            • Type. Destroyer
            • Class. Spahi
            • Pennant.
            • Builder. Ateliers & Chantiers de la Loire
            • Ordered. 1906
            • Laid Down. 1907
            • Launched. 10/03/1909
            • Commissioned. 1909
            • Speed. 28 knots
            • Fate. Scrapped 1928

            Mameluck was a Spahi-class destroyer of the French Navy. Tasked with escort duties in the Mediterranean Mameluck assigned to the 1st Squadron in June 1911, and a year later she was assigned to the 2nd Destroyer Squadron, of the 1st Fleet. In March 1913 she was assigned to torpedo squadron patrols and to support submarines in the Adriatic. In 1916 she escorted the submarines Faraday and Le Verrier to Milo.

            On 14 December 1917, along with Lansquenet, she sank the German U-boat UC-38 off Cape Ducato in the Ionian Sea after the submarine had torpedoed and sunk the light cruiser Châteaurenault

            HMS Manly

            • Type. Destroyer
            • Class. Miranda
            • Pennant. H0A, H69, D20
            • Builder. Yarrow
            • Ordered. 1913
            • Laid Down. 1914
            • Launched. 12/10/1914
            • Commissioned. 1915
            • Speed. 35 knots
            • Fate. Sold 1921

            HMS Manly was an M Class Destroyer built by Yarrow and launched on the 12 th October 1914 and sold in 1921.

            HMS Mansfield

            • Type. Destroyer
            • Class. Miranda
            • Pennant. H1A, H70, D37
            • Builder. Hawthorn Leslie
            • Ordered. 1913
            • Laid Down. 1914
            • Launched. 03/12/1914
            • Speed. 35 knots
            • Fate. Sold 1921

            HMS Mansfield was an M Class Destroyer. Built by Hawthorn Leslie, laid down on the 09 th July 1913 and launched 3 rd December 1914 and completed in April 1915. She was sold on the 26 th October 1921.

            HMS Marmion

            • Type. Destroyer
            • Class. Moon
            • Pennant. HC2, G04
            • Builder. Swan Hunter
            • Ordered. 1914
            • Laid Down. 1915
            • Launched. 28/08/1915
            • Commissioned. 1915
            • Speed. 35 knots
            • Fate. Sank 21/10/1917

            HMS Marmion was an Admiralty M Class Destroyer launched on the 28 TH August 1915 at Swan Hunter’s Yard. Marmion served as part of the Eleventh Destroyer Flotilla from its inception in September, 1915. She and Musketeer missed participating in the Battle of Jutland, however. Marmion was accidentally rammed by Tirade on 21 October, 1917 when the two were escorting a convoy across the North Sea. Tirade suffered little damage, but Marmion foundered after attempts to take her under tow faltered.

            HMS Marvel

            • Type. Destroyer
            • Class. M
            • Pennant. G20, G29, GA3
            • Builder. Denny
            • Ordered. 1914
            • Laid Down. 1915
            • Launched. 07/10/1915
            • Commissioned. 1915
            • Speed. 35 knots
            • Fate. Scrapped 1919

            HMS Marvel was a M Class Destroyer built by Denny and launched on the 7 th October 1915. Marvel joined the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla in January, 1916, and operated with it at the Battle of Jutland. She was reduced to C. & M. Party at Devonport on 15 October, 1919. History: Harwich 3 rd Destroyer Flotilla from 1918.

            HMS Mastiff

            • Type. Destroyer
            • Class. Miranda
            • Pennant. H3A, H72, D66
            • Builder. Thornycroft
            • Ordered. 1913
            • Laid Down. 1914
            • Launched. 05/09/1914
            • Commissioned. 1914
            • Speed. 35 knots
            • Fate. Scrapped 09/05/1921

            HMS Mastiff was an M Class Destroyer launched on the 5 th September 1914 by Thornycroft. In December 1914, Mastiff was one of three M-class assigned to the First Destroyer Flotilla. In January 1915, she transferred to the Third Destroyer Flotilla. In March 1915, she joined the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla, which formed part of the Harwich Striking Force. In January 1916, Mastiff was assigned to temporary duty with the Eleventh Submarine Flotilla supporting the Grand Fleet, before returning to service with the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla at Harwich. HMS Mastiff was paid off at the end of the war and was sold for scrap on the 9 th May 1921 after six-and-a-half years of service.

            HMS Matchless

            • Type. Destroyer
            • Class. M
            • Pennant. H4A. H73, D47
            • Builder. Swan Hunter
            • Ordered. 1913
            • Laid Down. 1914
            • Launched. 05/10/1914
            • Commissioned. 1914
            • Speed. 35 knots
            • Fate. Scrapped 1971

            HMS Matchless was an M-class destroyer launched on the 5 th October 1914 by built Swan Hunter. She served two commissions with the Royal Navy: from February 1942 to August 1944 and from August 1944 to April 1946. She was then held in reserve until August 1957 and eventually sold to the Turkish Navy, who renamed her TCG Kılıç Ali Paşa. She was struck from the Turkish Navy list and scrapped in 1971.

            HMS Medea

            • Type. Destroyer
            • Class. M
            • Pennant. H9C, H74
            • Builder. Fairfield
            • Laid Down. 1914
            • Launched. 30/01/1915
            • Speed. 35 knots
            • Fate. Scrapped 09/05/1921

            HMS Medea was laid down as the Kriti, Yard No 429 by John Brown at Clydebank for the Greek Navy on 6th of April 1914, she was purchased by the Admiralty in August 1914. Medea was launched on the 30th of January 1915. Powered by 3 shaft Brown-Curtis turbines with 3 Yarrow oil boilers providing 25,000shp giving 32 knots. Commissioned on the 22nd of June 1915 she joined the 10th Destroyer Flotilla at Harwich. Between 1916 and 1918 she served with the 10th Submarine Flotilla, based at Southbank on the Tees. Medea was sold on the 9th of May 1921 to Ward, Milford Haven and was broken up in 1922.

            HMS Medusa

              • Type. Destroyer
              • Class. M
              • Pennant. H90
              • Builder. John Brown
              • Ordered. 1914
              • Laid Down. 1914
              • Launched. 27/03/1915
              • Commissioned. 1915
              • Speed. 35 knots
              • Fate. Sank 25/03/1916

              HMS Medusa was a Medea Class Destroyer, Built by John Brown on the Clyde, and launched on the 27 th March 1915 and commissioned July 1915. Medusa sank on the 25 th March 1916 following collision with the destroyer HMS Laverock off the Schleswig coast.

              HMS Melampus

              • Type. Destroyer
              • Class. M
              • Pennant. H44, H75
              • Builder. Fairfield
              • Ordered. 1913
              • Laid Down. 1914
              • Launched. 16/12/1914
              • Commissioned. 1915
              • Speed. 32 knots
              • Fate. Scrapped 22/09/1921

              HMS Melampus was a Medea Class Destroyer laid down for the Greek Navy by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan. She was launched as 16 December 1914 and completed for service in the Royal Navy as HMS Melampus on 29 June 1915. In 1917 she accidentally rammed and sank the C-class submarine C16. She was sold for breaking up 22 September 1921.

              HMS Melpomene

              • Type. Destroyer
              • Class. M
              • Pennant. H09, H76, H50
              • Builder. John Brown
              • Ordered. 1914
              • Laid Down. 1914
              • Launched. 01/01/1915
              • Commissioned. 1915
              • Speed. 35 knots
              • Fate. Scrapped 09/05/1921

              HMS Melpomene was a Medea Class Destroyer, built for the Greek Navy as the Samos. Launched on the 1 st January 1915 by John Brown & Company, She was broken up on the 9 th May 1921.

              HMS Menace

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. H7C, G28, G30, G6A
                • Builder. Swan Hunter
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Laid Down. 1914
                • Launched. 09/11/1914
                • Commissioned. 1915
                • Speed. 35 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1919

                HMS Menace was a M Class Destroyer built by Swan Hunter 9th November 1914. Menace joined the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla in April, 1916, and operated with it at the Battle of Jutland. She reduced to C. & M. Party at the Nore on 3 December, 1919. History: Harwich 3 rd Destroyer Flotilla from 1918.

                HMS Mentor

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. H6A, H77, D54
                • Builder. Hawthorn Leslie
                • Ordered. 1913
                • Laid Down. 1914
                • Launched. 21/08/1914
                • Commissioned. 1914
                • Speed. 35 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 09/05/1921

                HMS Mentor was a Hawthorn M Class Destroyer launched on the 21 st August 1914 by Hawthorn Leslie. She served on the First Ostend Raid and the Battle of Dogger Bank (1915) she was broken up in 1921.

                HMS Meteor

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. H7A, H78, D84
                • Builder. Thornycroft
                • Ordered. 1913
                • Laid Down. 08/05/1913
                • Launched. 24/07/1915
                • Commissioned. 1915
                • Speed. 35 knots
                • Fate. 09/05/1921

                HMS Meteor was an M Class Destroyer built by Thornycroft & Company, Southampton and was launched on the 24 th July 1914. HMS Meteor saw extensive service throughout the First World War. She maintained continuous operations both as a convoy escort, and in Harbour protection. Served with the Harwich Force 1914-1917 as part of the 20 th Flotilla. She was converted to a minelayer in 1917 and eventually sold for scrapping in May 1921.

                HMS Michael

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. HC5, G07, HA1
                • Builder. Thornycroft
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Laid Down. 1915
                • Launched. 19/05/1915
                • Commissioned. 1915
                • Speed. 35 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1919

                HMS Michael was a M Class Destroyer launched by Thornycroft on the 19 th May 1915. She fought at the Battle of Jutland, screening the Battle Fleet as one of the 14 “M” class destroyers of the Eleventh Destroyer Flotilla. Reduced to C. & M. Party at Devonport on 15 October,1919. History: Harwich 3 rd Destroyer Flotilla From 1918.

                HMS Minos

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. H9A, H81
                • Builder. Yarrow
                • Ordered. 1913
                • Laid Down. 1914
                • Launched. 06/08/1914
                • Commissioned. 1914
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1920

                HMS Minos was a Miranda Class Destroyer built by Yarrow and launched on the 6 th August 1914 She was assigned to the First Destroyer Flotilla, but they moved out to Third Destroyer Flotilla in January, and then to the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla in March, 1915.

                Minos was sold to Ward, Hayle for breaking up in 1920.

                HMS Miranda

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. HA0, H83, D24
                • Builder. Yarrow
                • Ordered. 1913
                • Laid Down. 1914
                • Launched. 27/05/1914
                • Commissioned. 1914
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1921

                HMS Miranda was a Miranda Class Destroyer built by Yarrow and launched on the 27 th May 1914. In September 1914, Miranda was selected to join Third Destroyer Flotilla as the half-flotilla leader and be fitted with a Mark II W/T set, longer mast, No. 2 set of flags and two additional signal ratings. At the Battle of Dogger Bank on 24 January 1915, Miranda fired a torpedo at 11:00am from 5,500 yards with 135R and 20 knot target, securing a hit under the bridge of its target.

                Miranda was paid off 19 November 1919.

                HMS Moorsom

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. HA2, H84, D27
                • Builder. John Brown
                • Ordered. 1913
                • Launched. 20/12/1914
                • Commissioned. 1915
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Sold 1921

                HMS Moorsom was an Miranda Class Destroyer launched on the 20 th December 1914,At the Battle of Jutland, Moorsom operated as one of six Harwich Force destroyers screening the Second Battle Cruiser Squadron. Sometime in 1918, a torpedo was fired while the tube was trained inboard, in Harbour. Moorsom was sold in 1921.

                HMS Morris

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. HA3, H85, D35
                • Builder. John Brown
                • Ordered. 1913
                • Laid Down. 1914
                • Launched. 19/11/1914
                • Commissioned. 1915
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Sold 1921

                HMS Morris was a Miranda Class Destroyer launched on the 19 th November 1914 by Hawthorn Leslies. She fought at the Battle of Jutland with the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla under Lieutenant-Commander Edward S. Graham, one of six Harwich Force destroyers screening the Second Battle Cruiser Squadron. She fought at the Action of 23 July, 1916, a running night action where she pursued a superior force of German destroyers. She was sold in 1921.

                HMS Munster

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. H8C, G33, G7A
                • Builder. Thornycroft
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Laid Down. 1915
                • Launched. 24/11/1915
                • Commissioned. 1916
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1919

                HMS Munster was a M Class Destroyer built by Thornycroft and launched on the 24 th November 1915.Munster joined the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla in February, 1916, and operated with it at the Battle of Jutland. She was reduced to C. & M. Party at Portsmouth on 17 October, 1919. History: 3 rd Destroyer Flotilla from 1918.

                HMS Murray

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. HA4, H86, D33
                • Builder. Palmer
                • Ordered. 1913
                • Laid Down. 1913
                • Launched. 06/08/1913
                • Commissioned. 1913
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Sold 1921

                HMS Murray was an Admiralty M Class Destroyer launched on the 6 th August 1913 by Palmers. Murray Served with the Harwich Force between 1914-1917 and was sold in May 1921.

                HMS Myngs

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. HA5, H87, D41
                • Builder. Palmer
                • Ordered. 1913
                • Laid Down. 1914
                • Launched. 24/09/1914
                • Commissioned. 1914
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Sold 1921

                HMS Myngs was a Miranda Class Destroyer built by Palmer and launched on the 24 th September 1914. History Harwich Force 1914-1917 and was sold on the 9 th May 1921.

                HMS Napier

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. GA0
                • Builder. John Brown
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Laid Down. 1914
                • Launched. 27/01/1915
                • Commissioned. 1915
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1919

                HMS Napier was a M Class Destroyer built by John Brown and launched on the 27 th January 1915 .Napier joined the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla in February, 1916, but she missed taking part with her formation at the Battle of Jutland, She was reduced to C. & M. Party at Devonport on 15 October, 1919. History: Harwich 3 rd Destroyer Flotilla from 1918.

                HMS Nessus

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. G00.G37, G36, G5a
                • Builder. Swan Hunter
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Launched. 24/08/1915
                • Commissioned. 1915
                • Speed. 25.5 knots
                • Fate. Sank 08/09/1918

                HMS Nessus was a M Class Destroyer launched at Swan Hunter on the 24 th August 1915, Nessus was one of the first three destroyers in the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla when it was first formed in November,

                History: Harwich 3 rd Destroyer Flotilla from 1918.

                HMS Nimrod

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. Marksman
                • Pennant. H5a, H90
                • Builder. Denny
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Laid Down. 1915
                • Launched. 12/04/1915
                • Commissioned. 1915
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Sold 1926

                HMS Nimrod was a Marksman class (also known as Lightfoot class) destroyer leader launched on the 12 th April 1915 and sold in 1926. History: Harwich 3 rd Destroyer Flotilla from 1918.

                On commissioning, Nimrod joined the 10th Destroyer Flotilla, part of the Harwich Force as Second leader.

                By March 1919, Nimrod was listed as a tender to the depot ship Woolwich, and by June that year she was in reserve at Portsmouth. She was sold for scrap to the Alloa Ship Breaking Company of Rosyth on 5 December 1926.

                HMS Noble

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. G02, G38. G37, G9a
                • Builder. Alexander Stephen
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Laid Down. 1915
                • Launched. 25/11/1915
                • Commissioned. 1916
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1919

                HMS Noble was a M Class Destroyer built by Alexander Stephen and launched on the 25 th November 1915. Noble joined the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla in February, 1916, and operated with it at the Battle of Jutland. She was reduced to C. & M. Party at Devonport on 15 October, 1919. History: Harwich 3 rd Destroyer Flotilla from 1918.

                HMS Nonsuch

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. G12, G39, G38, G15
                • Builder. Palmers
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Laid Down. 1915
                • Launched. 08/12/1915
                • Commissioned. 1916
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1919

                HMS Nonsuch was built by Palmers and launched on the 8 th December 1915. Nonsuch joined the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla in March, 1916, and operated with it at the Battle of Jutland. She reduced to C. & M. Party at Devonport on 15 October, 1919. History: 3 rd Destroyer Flotilla at Harwich from 1918.

                HMS North Star

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. G16, F45, F53
                • Builder. Palmers
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 09/11/1916
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Sank 23/04/1918

                HMS North Star was a M Class Destroyer built by Palmers and launched on the 9 th November 1916 and sank on the 23rd April 1918.

                HMS Nugent

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. G17, F47, F54, D58
                • Builder. Palmers
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 23/01/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Sold 09/05/1921

                HMS Nugent was M Class Destroyer built by Palmers and launched on the 23 rd January 1917 and was sold on the 9th May 1921.

                HMS Onslaught

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. G22, G41, G40, G8A
                • Builder. Fairfield
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Laid Down. 1915
                • Launched. 04/12/1915
                • Commissioned. 1916
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Sold 17/10/1919

                HMS Onslaught was M Class Destroyer built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and launched on the 4 th December 1915. Onslaught joined the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla in February, 1916, and operated with it at the Battle of Jutland. In May, 1918, she transferred to the Third Destroyer Flotilla, being then one of just two destroyers. She was reduced to C. & M. Party at Portsmouth on 17 October 1919.

                HMS Oriole

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. G44, F16, D1A, D06
                • Builder. Palmers
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 31/07/1916
                • Commissioned. 1916
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Sold 09/05/1921

                HMS Oriole was an M Class Destroyer launched by Palmers on the 31 st July 1916 and sold on May 9 th 1921.

                HMS Petard

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. G66, F20, F32, G29, GA7
                • Builder. Denny
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 05/07/1915
                • Launched. 24/03/1916
                • Commissioned. 1916
                • Speed. 34 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 09/05/1921

                HMS Petard was an Admiralty M class destroyer built by Denny and launched on 24 March 1916.,During the Battle of Jutland, Petard was one of ten destroyers of the 13th Destroyer Flotilla assigned to screen the 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron, following the lead of light cruiser HMS Champion. The first engagement of the battle was between a British force of six battle cruisers and four battleships and lighter vessels commanded by Admiral Beatty and a German squadron of five battle cruisers plus accompanying vessels commanded by Admiral Hipper.

                At 4.15pm on 31 May 1916, the opposing fleets sent their destroyers in to deliver a torpedo attack on the opposing line. Petard was one of eight destroyers of the 13th flotilla to respond, along with three destroyers of other formations. The opposing destroyers fought a gun battle in hopes of blunting the enemy’s torpedo attack while striving to deliver their own. Petard fired a torpedo on a high speed setting at a group of four German destroyers, possibly achieving a hit from about 3,000 yards range, and a second at a slower speed against the German battle cruisers from a range of about 9,000 yards. Petard then turned roughly parallel to the German battle cruisers but slightly converging, so as to get ahead of the column before once more turning towards the enemy to fire the remaining two torpedoes. Petard reported that her torpedoes must have crossed the enemy line, but did not claim a hit.

                Turning back towards the British ships, Petard passed HMS Nestor, which was also returning but at reduced speed because of damage. It now became apparent that further German ships were approaching, which proved to be the main German High Seas Fleet. Proceeding, Petard approached an oil slick where HMS Laurel was picking up survivors from the battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary, sunk by German gunfire, and picked up one man. Approximately 20 survivors in total were rescued from the 1000 man crew. Petard then returned to her station at the head of the battlecruiser line. she was sold for breaking up on 9 May 1921.

                HMS Plover

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. M
                • Pennant. G66, F20, F32, G29, GA7
                • Builder. Denny
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 24/03/1916
                • Commissioned. 1916
                • Speed. 37 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 09/05/1921

                HMS Plover was a Moon Class Destroyer launched by Hawthorn Leslie on the 3 rd of March 1916. Sold for scrapping 9 th May 1921.

                HMS Radiant

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F59, F56
                • Builder. Thornycroft
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 25/11/1916
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1957

                HMS Radiant was an R Class Destroyer built by Thornycroft and on the 25th November 1916 she was sold back to Thornycroft on the 21st June 1920, who then sold her to the Thai Navy in September 1920. She was renamed Phra Ruang and was the last of the R class to survive and was eventually scrapped in 1957.

                HMS Redgauntlet

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F58, F51, F97
                • Builder. Denny
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 23/11/1916
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 13/07/1926

                HMS Redgauntlet was an R Class Destroyer which was launched on the 23 rd November 1916 by William Denny & Brothers Dumbarton and sold for breaking in July 1926.

                HMS Redoubt

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F56, F57, H68
                • Builder. Doxford
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Launched. 28/10/1916
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 13/07/1926

                HMS Redoubt was an R Class Destroyer Built by William Doxford & Sons, Sunderland and launched 28 October 1916 and sold for breaking up on the 13th July 1926.

                HMS Retriever

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F64, F58
                • Builder. Thornycroft
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 15/01/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 26/07/1927

                HMS Retriever was an R Class Destroyer Launched on the 15 th January 1917 by Yarrow Shipbuilders John I. Thornycroft & Company and scrapped on the 26 th July 1927.

                HMS Satyr

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F51, F59, G52
                • Builder. Alexander Stephen
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 13/04/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 16/12/1926

                HMS Satyr was built by Alexander Stephen and Sons, at Linthouse (Glasgow), was launched on 13 April 1917 and during her trials averaged nearly 36 knots in force 6 winds. ‘Sceptre’ saw action as part of Admiral David Beatty’s force, primarily employed in convoy escort and patrol duty in the North Sea and Atlantic, the title here suggesting she was part of Tyrwhitt’s Harwich Force: her pendant number (as shown here) was F60 only from January 1918 to October 1919. on 17 July 1917, she shot down a Zeppelin and later that year sank an armed German trawler. She was sold for breaking up in 1926.

                HMS Scott

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. V&W
                • Pennant. F98
                • Builder. Cammell Laird
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Launched. 18/10/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36.5 knots
                • Fate. Sank 15/08/1918

                HMS Scott was an Admiralty type destroyer leader. She was launched in 1917 and sunk in 1918 by a German submarine. HMS Scott was the first of a new destroyer leader class built to be flotilla leaders for the V- and W-class destroyers. She was ordered during the First World War in 1916, and the class would unofficially be named after her. The ship herself was the first to bear the name Scott and was named after Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet.

                Scott was launched on 18 October 1917 on 15 August 1918, however, she was sunk off the Dutch coast — less than a year after entering service. The cause of her sinking is unclear, it is assumed that a German U-boat torpedoed and sunk her, however it is also possible that she hit a mine. Regardless of cause, the German submarine UC-17 — which had been patrolling and mining the area — is usually credited with her sinking.

                HMS Setter

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. G98, F55
                • Builder. J.S. White
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 18/08/1916
                • Commissioned. 1916
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Sank 17/05/1917

                HMS Setter was an R Class Destroyer launched on the 18 th August 1916 by JS White, while serving in the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla or the Harwich Force, she was lost in a collision in collision with HMS Sylph off Harwich 17 May 1917.

                HMS Shakespeare

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. Shakespeare
                • Pennant. F89
                • Builder. Thornycroft
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down.02/10/1916
                • Launched. 07/07/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 33 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 02/09/1936

                HMS Shakespeare was laid down on the 2 nd of October 1916, launched 7 July 1917 and completed 10 October 1917. Badly damaged by mine in June 1918, sold for breaking up and handed over 2 September 1936.

                HMS Sharpshooter

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F48, F61
                • Builder. William Beardmore
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 27/02/1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 29/04/1927

                HMS Sharpshooter was a R Class Destroyer built by William Beardmore & Company Dalmuir, Launched on Tuesday 27th February 1917. She was reduced to Reserve Complement at Portsmouth on 5 March, 1919.

                HMS Simoom

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F57
                • Builder. John Brown
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 30/10/1916
                • Commissioned. 1916
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Sank 23/01/1917

                HMS Simoom was a R Class Destroyer launched by John Brown on the 30 th October 1916. Torpedoed 23/1/17.

                Able seaman Charles Edward Gurney (J2424) DOB 10/06/1891

                Formerly an errand boy, Charles Edward Gurney served in the navy for 12 years firstly as a “Boy”. His first ship was HMS Ganges at Harwich. by June 1910 he was an Ordinary Seaman & by February 1911 Able Seaman. He served on various ships before joining HMS Simoom (also known as “Dido”) which belonged to the Harwich force, on 21 December 1916, under Commander R Y Tyrwhitt. On the night of 22 January 1917, the Simoom was put to sea to intercept a German flotilla consisting of 11 V,S & G destroyers known to be making for Zeebrugge from German ports. The rival forces made contact at 2:45am on 23rd January 1917. In the fight that ensued the S50 ran into a line of 4 British destroyers of which the Simoom was the leading ship. There was an exchange of salvoes & the S50 discharged a torpedo which struck the Simoom & exploded her magazine, causing heavy casualties of which Charles was one. The S50 then escaped in the darkness. The destroyer “Morris” recovered the Simoom’s survivors and she was then torpedoed & sunk by the “Nimrod” under Commander Tyrwhitt’s orders.

                Photo and information by Sharon Warren. Charles is commemorated at Chatham Navy Memorial Aged 25.

                HMS Skate

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F62, G05, F46, H39
                • Builder. John Brown
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 11/01/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 20/07/1947

                HMS Skate was a built by John Brown Clydebank and launched on 11 th January 1917.
                22 Sept 1940. picks up 55 survivors from the British tanker Torinia that was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U 100 340 miles west of Bloody Foreland.
                24 Sept 1940. picks up 45 survivors from the British merchant Scholar, that was torpedoed and damaged on 22 September 1940 by the German submarine U 100 340 miles west of Bloody Foreland. On 23 September 1940 the Scholar was taken in tow by the British rescue tug HMRT Marauder. On the 24th the tow was abandoned and the wreck of the Scholar was scuttled by HMS Skate.
                18 June 1941. picks up 70 survivors from the British merchant Norfolk that was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U 552 150 miles northwest of Malin Head.

                HMS Skilful

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F78, F62
                • Builder. Harland & Wolff
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 03/02/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 13/07/1926

                HMS Skilful was an R Class Destroyer built by Harland & Wolff and launched on the 3 rd February 1917. Sold for breaking 13 July 1926.

                HMS Sparrowhawk

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. Acasta
                • Pennant. H61
                • Builder. Swan Hunter
                • Ordered. 1911
                • Laid Down. 1911
                • Launched. 12/10/1912
                • Commissioned. 1912
                • Speed. 29 knots
                • Fate. Sank 01/06/1916

                HMS Sparrowhawk was an Acasta Class Destroyer. She was built at the Wallsend yard of Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson and launched on 12 October 1912. She joined the 4th Destroyer Flotilla on completion. She was sunk on 1 June 1916 after a collision with HMS Broke at the battle of Jutland. Six of her crew was killed.

                HMS Spenser

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. Shakespeare
                • Pennant. F90
                • Builder. Thornycroft
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 22/09/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 33 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 29/09/1936

                HMS Spenser was laid down 9 October 1916, launched 22 September 1917 by Thornycroft and completed 12 December 1917. sold for breaking up and handed over 29 September 1936.

                HMS Spitfire

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. Acasta
                • Pennant. H41, H1a
                • Builder. Swan Hunter
                • Ordered. 1911
                • Laid Down. 1912
                • Launched. 23/12/1912
                • Commissioned. 1913
                • Speed. 29 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 09/05/1921

                HMS Spitfire was an Acasta Class Destroyer. She was launched on 23 December 1912 from the Wallsend yard of Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson and joined the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla. Amongst the small engagements which happened during the night of 31 May–1 June 1916 during the Battle of Jutland was one between Spitfire and the German battleship Nassau. Spitfire evaded an attempt by Nassau to ram her, but the two ships nevertheless collided and Spitfire was seriously damaged, blast from Nassau’s guns demolishing much of her upper works, but she ripped off a 20 ft (6 m) section of the German ship’s side plating. Both ships survived to return to port.

                Spitfire helped in the rescue of survivors from the hospital/evacuation ship Rhodesia (formerly the Union Castle liner Galway Castle) which was torpedoed 160 miles off Fastnet by the German submarine U-82 on 12 September 1918. Spitfire was sold to Ward for scrapping on 9 May 1921.

                HMS Springbok

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. H40
                • Builder. Harland & Wolfe
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 09/03/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 16/12/1926

                HMS Springbok was a R Class Destroyer launched on Friday 9 th March 1917 by Harland and Wolff, Govan and sold for breaking up 16 December 1926.

                HMS Starfish

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F60
                • Builder. Hawthorn
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1915
                • Launched. 27/09/1916
                • Commissioned. 1916
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 21/04/1928

                HMS Starfish was a R Class Destroyer built by Hawthorn Leslie and launched on the 27th September 1916, sold for breaking up 21 April 1928.

                HMS Stork

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F66
                • Builder. Hawthorn
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 15/11/1916
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 07/10/1927

                HMS Stork was an R Class, destroyer built by Hawthorn Leslie and launched on the 15 th November 1916 and Sold for breaking on the 7 th October 1927 at Cashmore of Newport.

                HMS Strongbow

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. G44
                • Builder. Yarrow
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 30/09/1916
                • Commissioned. 1916
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Sank 17/10/1917

                HMS Strongbow was an Admiralty R-class Destroyer, launched on the 30 th September 1916 by Yarrow Shipbuilders and was sunk on the 17 th October 1917.

                HMS Sturgeon

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F49, G17, F47
                • Builder. Alexander Stephen
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 11/01/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 16/12/1926

                HMS Sturgeon was a R Class Destroyer built by Alexander Stephen and Sons, Linthouse, Govan and launched on the 11 th January 1917. She was reduced to complement on 16 August, 1920.

                HMS Surprise

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F69, F66
                • Builder. Yarrow
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 25/11/1916
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Sank 23/12/1917

                HMS Surprise was launched on the 25 th November 1916 by Yarrow, Mined in the North Sea 23rd December 1917.

                HMS Swallow

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. S
                • Pennant. D14
                • Builder. Scott’s
                • Ordered. 1917
                • Laid Down. 1918
                • Launched. 01/08/1918
                • Commissioned. 1918
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1936

                HMS Swallow was a S Class Destroyer launched on the 01 st August 1918 by Scotts of Greenock. handed over to the breakers in part payment for RMS Majestic in 1936, and subsequently broken up.

                HMS Swordfish

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. Swordfish
                • Pennant.
                • Builder. Armstrong Whitworth
                • Ordered. 1893
                • Laid Down. 04/06/1894
                • Launched. 27/02/1895
                • Commissioned. 1896
                • Speed. 27 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1910

                HMS Swordfish was one of two Swordfish-class Destroyers which served with the Royal Navy. She was launched on February 27, 1895 by Armstrong Mitchell and Co at Elswick and sold off in 1910. Swordfish was based at Chatham in 1901, also serving at Sheerness and Portsmouth. The two Armstrong-built Twenty-seven knotters were not popular in service, with Armstrong’s not being invited to tender for the Thirty-knot destroyers required in the next few shipbuilding programmes. While most of the 27-knotters mounted their full armament of 1 × 12 pounder (76 mm) gun, 5 × 6-pounder guns and two 18-in torpedo tubes, Swordfish, owing to concerns about stability, tended to only carry a single torpedo tube. By 1905, it was stated by the Rear Admiral (Destroyers), that Swordfish was one of a number of destroyers that were “..all worn out” and that “every shilling spent on these old 27-knotters is a waste of money”. The ship’s speed dropped during service, with maximum speed falling to 18 1 ⁄2 knots (21.3 mph 34.3 km/h) by 1909.

                Swordfish was sold for scrap to John Cashmore Ltd of Newport, Wales on 11 October 1910.

                HMS Sylph

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. G87
                • Builder. Harland & Wolfe
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Launched. 15/11/1916
                • Fate. Scrapped 16/12/1926

                HMS Sylph was an R Class Destroyer built by Harland & Wolff Ltd Govan, Yard and Launched on Wednesday the 15 th of November 1916. Sold for breaking up 16 December 1926, but stranded while under tow en route to breakers 28 January 1927 and broken up at Aberavon.

                HMS Sybille

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F77
                • Builder. Yarrow
                • Ordered. 1915
                • Launched. 05/02/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 05/11/1926

                HMS Sybille was an R Class Destroyer laid down in August 1915 and launched on the 5 th of February 1917. Sold for breaking up 5 November 1926.

                HMS Tactician

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. S
                • Pennant. G54
                • Builder. William Beardmore
                • Ordered. 1917
                • Laid Down. 1918
                • Launched. 07/08/1918
                • Commissioned. 1918
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1931

                HMS Tactician was a S class Destroyer built by William Beardmore and launched on the 7 th August 1918. Tactician was sold for scrap in 1931.

                HMS Talisman

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. Talisman
                • Pennant. G08, F44, F68, G4A
                • Builder. Hawthorn Leslie
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Launched. 15/07/1915
                • Commissioned. 1915
                • Speed. 32 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1920

                HMS Talisman was a Talisman Class Destroyer built by Hawthorn & Leslie and launched on the 15 th July 1915. She was reduced to a C. & M. Party at the Nore on 18 March, 1920. History: 3 rd Destroyer Flotilla at Harwich from 1918.

                HMS Tarpon

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F72, F22, F79
                • Builder. John Brown
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 10/03/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 04/08/1927

                HMS Tarpon was built by John brown and launched on the 10 th March 1917.Tarpon was assigned to the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla. She suffered a prolonged disappearance from the Navy List from August 1917 until March, 1918 when she was placed in the new Twentieth Destroyer Flotilla operating out of the Humber. She was re-commissioned on 1 February, 1920, tender to Vernon.

                HMS Tartar

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. Tribal
                • Pennant. H29,D08,D86
                • Builder. Thornycroft
                • Ordered.1905-06
                • Launched. 25/06/1907
                • Commissioned. 1907
                • Speed. 33 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1921

                HMS Tartar was a Tribal class destroyer of the Royal Navy launched in 1907 and sold in 1921. During the First World War she served in the North Sea and the English Channel with the 6th Destroyer Flotilla.

                HMS Telemachus

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F86, F23, F81
                • Builder. John Brown
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 21/04/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 26/07/1927

                HMS Telemachus was a R Class Destroyer built by John brown and launched on the 21 st April 1917.Telemachus joined the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla in July, 1917. In March, 1918, she went to the Twentieth Destroyer Flotilla, part of the East Coast Forces. She was reduced to Reserve at Devonport in February of 1920.

                HMS Tempest

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F76, F72
                • Builder. Fairfield
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 26/01/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 28/01/1937

                HMS Tempest was a R Class Destroyer built by Fairfield and launched on the 26 th January 1917. and was sold for scrapping in 1937.

                HMS Tetrarch

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F87, F74
                • Builder. Harland & Wolff
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 20/04/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. 28/07/1934

                HMS Tetrarch was an R Class Destroyer launched on the 20 th April 1917 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast. Sold for Scrapping in 1934.

                HMS Termagant

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. Talisman
                • Pennant. G24, F47, F73, D36
                • Builder. Hawthorn Leslie
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Laid Down. 1915
                • Launched. 26/08/1915
                • Commissioned. 1915
                • Speed. 32 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1923

                HMS Termagant was a Talisman Class Destroyer built by Hawthorn Leslie and launched on the 26 th of August 1914 and sold for Scrap on the 25th of January 1923.

                HMS Teviot

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. River
                • Pennant. N26, D33, D88
                • Builder. Yarrow
                • Ordered. 1901
                • Laid Down. 18/08/1902
                • Launched. 07/11/1903
                • Commissioned. 1904
                • Speed. 25.5 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 23/06/1919

                HMS Teviot was a Yarrow type River Class Destroyer She was laid down on 18 August 1902 at the Yarrow shipyard at Poplar and launched on the 7 November 1903. After commissioning she was assigned to the East Coast Destroyer Flotilla of the 1st Fleet and based at Harwich. In April 1909 she was assigned to the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla of the 1st Fleet on its formation at Harwich. She remained until displaced by a Basilisk Class destroyer by May of 1912. She was assigned to the 5th Destroyer Flotilla in the 2nd Fleet with a nucleus crew.

                In early 1914 after being displaced by G Class destroyers she was assigned to the 9th Destroyer Flotilla based at Chatham tendered to HMS St George. The 9th Flotilla was a Patrol Flotilla tasked with anti-submarine and counter mining patrols in the Firth of Forth area. By September of 1914, she was deployed to Portsmouth and the Dover Patrol. Here she provided anti-submarine, counter mining patrols and defended the Dover Barrage.

                In August of 1915 with the amalgamation of the 7th and 9th Flotillas, she was assigned to the 1st Destroyer Flotilla when it was redeployed to Portsmouth in November 1916. She was equipped with depth charges for employment in anti-submarine patrols, escorting of merchant ships and defending the Dover Barrage. In the spring of 1917 as the convoy system was being introduced the 1st Flotilla was employed in convoy escort duties for the English Channel for the remainder of the war.

                In 1919 she was paid off and laid up in reserve awaiting disposal. On 23 June, 1919 she was sold to Thomas W. Ward of Sheffield for breaking at Morecombe, Lancashire.

                HMS Thisbe

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F82, F75
                • Builder. Hawthorn Leslie
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 08/03/1917
                • Commissioned. 1916
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 31/08/1936

                HMS Thisbe was an R-class Destroyer launched by Hawthorn Leslie on the 8th of March 19117, and handed over for breaking up in part-payment for RMS Majestic in 1936.

                HMS Thruster

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F74, F76
                • Builder. Hawthorn Leslie
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 10/01/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1937

                HMS Thruster was an R Class Destroyer built by Hawthorn Leslie and launched on the 10 th of January 1917. Sold and arrived for breaking up 16th March 1937.

                HMS Tipperary

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. Faulknor
                • Pennant. H6c
                • Builder. J.S White
                • Laid Down. 1014
                • Launched. 05/03/1915
                • Commissioned. 1915
                • Speed. 32 knots
                • Fate. Sank 01/06/1916

                HMS Tipperary was launched on 5 March 1915, a Faulknor-class destroyer leader. Originally ordered by Chile, Tipperary served as the second flotilla leader with the 3rd destroyer flotilla in the Harwich Force, arriving there in June, 1915. Late in that same year, she took charge of a detachment of destroyers from the 2nd flotilla before being made the leader of the 4th Flotilla in May, 1916 – a formation which directly supported the Grand Fleet. Tipperary led the 4th Flotilla at the Battle of Jutland. Tipperary and her squadron pressed home determined torpedo attacks on the German main battle line as it escaped across the rear of the British fleet during the night action, starting at approximately 23:20 on 31 May 1916 . The 4th Flotilla sank the German light cruiser SMS Frauenlob, but Tipperary and many of the other British destroyers were sunk or badly damaged. These engagements took place at such close range that some of Tipperary’s squadron were able to hit the German dreadnoughts with their small 4-inch guns, causing casualties that included command officers on the bridges.

                HMS Tipperary was sunk on 1 June 1916 by fire from the secondary battery of the German dreadnought SMS Westfalen with the loss of 185 hands from her crew of 197.

                HMS Tirade

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F81, G80
                • Builder. Scott’s
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 21/04/1917
                • Commissioned. 28/06/1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 15/11/1921

                HMS Tirade was a Modified R Class Destroyer built by Scott’s of Greenock and launched on the 2st of April 1917. Upon joining the fleet on 21 July 1917, she joined the Fifteenth Destroyer Flotilla to help escort convoys out of Lough Swilly, despite a minor fault in a 4-in gun and a steering defect that would not be rectified before September. In early August, she and Rapid were tasked to search for the culprit in torpedoing and sinking a vessel. They found only flotsam and a swimming horse, whom they destroyed. While returning to their convoy, a gunner aboard Tirade sighted the conning tower of a distant submarine, which dived. Tirade dropped two depth charges to no appreciable immediate effect.

                Later in the same month, Tirade was among three destroyers escorting three empty oilers when one was torpedoed at sunrise. A second torpedo attack the next midnight failed to hit Tirade and a remaining oiler.

                After taking twelve days to address her steering problem, she proceeded to Scapa Flow to work with the Fifteenth. She lost several torpedoes in practice firings and then commenced escorting excruciatingly slow and disorderly convoys from Norway. On 29 September at 2.15 p.m., Moravia pointed her toward UC 55, visible on the surface and in distress due to a diving mishap. Charging in and firing from a range of 3,400 yards, Tirade’s third shell struck near the conning tower of the fleeing sub, and her fifth on the aft casing below the waterline. Tirade approached to ram and drop depth charges on her hapless foe, and Sylvia charged in, firing her forward 12-pdr.. Moravia and Rowena attempted to pile on, but the kill was Tirade’s. She recovered two of the nineteen Germans rescued from the water.

                On 21 October, 1917, Tirade accidentally rammed Marmion while they were shepherding another convoy. Tirade suffered little damage, but her victim foundered before she could be towed to safety.

                Reduced to C. & M. Party at the Nore on 28 November, 1919.

                HMS Torrent

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F67, F79
                • Builder. Swan Hunter
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 26/11/1916
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Sank 23/12/1917

                HMS Torrent was a R Class Destroyer built by Swan Hunter and launched on the 26 th November 1916. Mined in the North Sea on the 23 rd December 1917.

                HMS Torrid

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F75, F80
                • Builder. Swan Hunter
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1917
                • Launched. 10/12/1917
                • Commissioned. 1918
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Wrecked 16/03/1937

                HMS Torrid was a R Class Destroyer built by Swan Hunter and launched on the 10 TH of February 1917 under pennant F75 she was wrecked off Falmouth on the 16 th March 1937 while under tow en route to breakers.

                HMS Tornado

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F97, F78
                • Builder. A. Stephen
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Launched. 04/08/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Mined 23/12/1917

                HMS Tornado was involved in one of the worst nights for the British Navy, when 3 Destroyers were all mined on 23rd December, 1917, off the Dutch North Sea coast near the Maas light buoy. seventy-five died and only two survived.

                HMS Tower

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F98, F24
                • Builder. Swan Hunter
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 05/04/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 17/03/1928

                HMS Tower was a modified R-class Destroyer built by Swan Hunter, and launched on 5th April 1917. She served as part of the Grand Fleet and Harwich Force. She held the pennant number of F24 from January 1918 until she was sold in 1928. Tower was sold for scrap on the 17th May 1928 and subsequently broken up by John Cashmore Ltd at Newport.

                HMS Trenchant

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. G96, G78
                • Builder. JS White
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 23/12/1916
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 15/11/1928

                HMS Trenchant was a R Class Destroyer built by White & Co and launched on the 23 rd December 1916 she was scrapped in November 1928.

                HMS Trident

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. Talisman
                • Pennant. G36, F50, F81, D38
                • Builder. Hawthorn Leslie
                • Ordered. 1914
                • Laid Down. 1915
                • Launched. 20/11/1915
                • Commissioned. 1915
                • Speed. 32 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 01/03/1920

                HMS Trident was a Shakespeare Class Destroyer built by Hawthorn Leslie and launched on the 20 th November 1915. Reduced to C & M. Party on 1 March, 1920.

                HMS Tristram

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F89, F25
                • Builder. JS White
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 24/02/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 09/05/1921

                HMS Tristram was a R Class Destroyer launched on the 24 th February 1917 by White & co. Scrapped 9 th May 1921.

                HMS Truculent

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F70, F82
                • Builder. Yarrow
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 24/03/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 29/04/1927

                HMS Truculent was a M Class Destroyer launched on the 24 th March 1917 by Yarrow. Reduced to Reserve Complement at Portsmouth on 31 August, 1920.

                HMS Turbulent

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. Talisman
                • Pennant. G42
                • Builder. Hawthorn Leslie
                • Laid Down. 1915
                • Launched. 05/01/1916
                • Commissioned. 12/05/1916
                • Speed. 32 knots
                • Fate. Sank 01/06/1916

                HMS Turbulent was a Talisman class Destroyer built by Hawthorn Leslie and launched on 5 January 1916. She served with the 10th Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet on completion. She was sunk on 1 June 1916 at the battle of Jutland by a German battlecruiser with the loss of 90 crew.

                HMS Ulster

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F91, F17
                • Builder. William Beardmore
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Launched. 10/10/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1928

                HMS Ulster was an R Class Destroyer launched on the 10 th of October 1917 by William Beardmore Ulster joined the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla in November, 1917. She re-commissioned in Reserve at the Nore on 15 October, 1919. Scrapped April 1928.

                HMS Ullswater

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F83
                • Builder. Yarrow
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 04/08/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Sank 15/08/1918

                HMS Ullswater was a R Class Destroyer built by Yarrow Shipbuilders and launched on the 4 th August 1917. Torpedoed by UC17 of Holland 15/8/18

                HMS Ulysses

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F80, G96, G77
                • Builder. Doxford
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 24/03/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Sank 29/10/1918

                HMS Ulysses was a British R Class Destroyer built by William Doxford & sons, Sunderland and launched in 1917, She was sunk in collision with the s.s Ellerie in fog in the Firth of Clyde on the 29 th of October 1918.

                HMS Umpire

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F94, F26
                • Builder. Doxford
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 09/06/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 07/01/1930

                HMS Umpire was a modified R-class Destroyer launched on the 9th June 1917 by William Doxford & Sons, Sunderland and sold for breaking up on 7 January 1930.

                HMS Undine

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. G97, G79
                • Builder. Fairfield
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 22/03/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1928

                HMS Undine was an R class Destroyer launched on the 22 nd of March 1917 by Fairfield Shipbuilding and sold in 1928. She was then wrecked later that year and the wreck sold for breaking up.

                HMS Urchin

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F95, F04
                • Builder. Palmers
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1917
                • Launched. 07/07/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Sold 07/01/1930

                HMS Urchin was a modified R-Class destroyer built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company and launched in 1917. In August, 1917, Urchin was assigned to the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla, and sold on the 7 th of January 1930.

                HMS Ursa

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F10
                • Builder. Palmers
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1917
                • Launched. 23/07/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Sold 13/07/1926

                HMS Ursa was a modified R-class destroyer launched on the 23 rd of July 1917 by Scott’s of Greenock. Ursa joined the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla in October, 1917. Ursa was sold on the 13 th of July 1926.

                HMS Ursula

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. R
                • Pennant. F88
                • Builder. Scotts
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1917
                • Launched. 02/08/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 36 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 13/07/1929

                HMS Ursula was an R Class Destroyer built by Scotts of Greenock and launched on the 2 nd of August 1917. Sold for scrap November 1929.

                HMS Valkyrie

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. V
                • Pennant. F83, F86, F05
                • Builder. Denny
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 13/03/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 34 knots
                • Fate. Stricken 1936

                HMS Valkyrie was a V class flotilla leader ordered in July of 1916 from William Denny & Bros. Ltd shipyard under the 9th Order for Destroyers of the Emergency War Program of 1916-17. She was originally to be called HMS Malcolm but was renamed before being completed. Valkyrie and Valorous were ordered from William Denny and Brothers in April 1916, with three more being ordered from other builders in July that year. HMS Valkyrie’s keel was laid on 25th May 1916 at Denny’s shipyard in Dumbarton, Scotland. She was launched on 13 March 1917. After commissioning she was modified to carry mines.

                She shipped four Mk V QF (quick fire) 4-inch L/45 guns in four single center-line mounts. These were disposed as two forward and two aft in super imposed firing positions. She also carried one QF 3-inch 20 cwt anti-aircraft gun aft of the second funnel. Aft of the 3-inch gun, she carried four 21-inch Torpedo tubes mounted in pairs on the center-line.

                She was damaged by a mine in Dec 1917. In 1918, Valkyrie was part of the 13th Destroyer Flotilla led by the light cruiser HMS Champion. In 1919 she was reassigned to the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla and assigned the Pennant number D61. She maintained this pennant number through to her being stricken in 1936.

                HMS Vega

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. V
                • Pennant. F4a, F92, F09
                • Builder. Doxford
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1917
                • Launched. 01/09/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 34 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 26/03/1947

                HMS Vega was a V-class Destroyer of the British Royal Navy that saw service in World War I and World War II. Vega was ordered on 30 June 1916 as part of the 9th Order of the 1916–17 Naval Programme. She was laid down on 11 December 1916 by William Doxford & Sons at Sunderland, and launched on 1 September 1917. She was commissioned into service on 14 December 1917.

                Vega was assigned to the Grand Fleet or Harwich Force and saw service in the last year of World War I, suffering damage while operating with the fleet in 1918. In July 1940, Vega returned to convoy duty in the North Sea. This came to an end on 11 November 1940, when she struck a naval mine off Sunk Head, Harwich, and suffered heavy damage. After the armistice with Japan brought World War II to an end on 15 August 1945, Vega was decommissioned and placed in reserve. She was sold on 4 March 1947 to Bisco for scrapping by Clayton and Davies at Dunston on Tyne and arrived at the Shipbreakers yard at on 26 March 1947.

                HMS Vehement

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. V
                • Pennant. F1a, F12, H2a
                • Builder. Denny
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 25/09/1916
                • Launched. 06/07/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 34 knots
                • Fate. Sank 01/08/1918

                HMS Vehement was a V class destroyer ordered in July 1916. She was laid down on 25 September 1916 by William Denny and Brothers at Dumbarton, Scotland, She was launched on 6 July 1917 and was completed later in 1917 and commissioned into service. Her original pennant number, F1A, was changed to F12 in January 1918 and to H2A in June 1918. In 1918, the 20th Destroyer Flotilla was engaged in a major British effort to lay minefields in the North Sea to close the Heligoland Bight to passage by German ships and submarines. On 31 May 1918, Vehement put to sea from Immingham with the flotilla to lay mines in the Dogger Bank area. On the night of 4-5 June 1918, the flotilla again deployed from the Humber estuary to mine the same area, bringing the total number of mines laid in the two expeditions to 330.

                HMS Vehement’s next minelaying operation on 24 July 1918 involved the entire flotilla laying 496 mines in the North Sea in 22 rows during the operation, Vehement detected two periscopes. The flotilla sortied from the Humber again at 13:00 hours on 28 July 1918 and during the night of 28-29 July laid a North Sea field of 416 mines in 18 rows. On 1 August 1918, the 20th Destroyer Flotilla departed the Humber to lay a minefield in the North Sea at the seaward end of one of the German-swept channels through the German minefield in the Heligoland Bight. At 23:47 hours the force was within 20 nautical miles of the area it was to mine when Vehement struck a mine, Its explosion caused her forward ammunition magazine to detonate, blowing off the entire forward section of the ship forward of the forward funnel, killing one officer and 47 ratings. As the force maneuvered to clear the German minefield it had entered, the destroyer HMS Ariel also struck a mine at 00:10 hours on 2 August and, in a repeat of what had happened to Vehement, suffered a magazine detonation that blew off the entire section of the ship forward of the whaleboat’s davit. Ariel sank at about 01:00 hours, with the loss of four officers and 45 ratings, but Vehement remained afloat, and her crew had put out all of her fires by about an hour after she struck the mine. She was taken in tow by the destroyer HMS Abdiel in the hope of saving her, but at 04:00 hours on 2 August Vehement’s stern rose into the air, making further towing impossible. Vehement’s surviving crew opened all of her hull valves to speed her sinking and abandoned ship. Telemachus and Vanquisher then sank Vehement with gunfire.

                HMS Venetia

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. V
                • Pennant. F93, F14, D53
                • Builder. Fairfield
                • Laid Down.02/02/1917
                • Launched. 29/10/1917
                • Commissioned. 19/12/1917
                • Fate. Sank 19/10/1940

                HMS Venetia was ordered on 30 June 1916 as part of the 9th Order of the 1916-17 Naval Programme. She was laid down on 2 February 1917 by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company at Govan, Scotland, and launched on 29 October 1917. She was completed on 19 December 1917 and commissioned into service the same day.

                In May 1940, Venetia was transferred to Nore Command for operations related to the evacuation of Allied personnel from the Netherlands, Belgium, and France because of the successful German offensive there. On 12 May, in Operation J, she and the destroyer HMS Vivacious escorted the destroyer HMS Codrington as Codrington transported the Dutch Royal Family from the Hook of Holland into exile in the United Kingdom.

                After spending the summer of 1940 undergoing repairs, Venetia returned to Nore Command in August 1940 and began convoy defence and patrol duties in the North Sea and Thames Estuary in September 1940. On 19 October 1940, she struck a mine off Knob Buoy in the Thames Estuary 12 nautical miles northeast of Margate, Kent.

                HMS Verdun

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. V
                • Pennant. D93, L93
                • Builder. Hawthorn
                • Ordered. 1916-1917
                • Laid Down. 13/01/1917
                • Launched. 21/08/1917
                • Commissioned. 03/11/1917
                • Speed. 34 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1946

                HMS Verdun was an Admiralty V class destroyer of the Royal Navy which saw service in the First and Second World Wars. Launched on 21 August 1917 at the Hawthorn Leslie shipyard in Hebburn on Tyneside, she completed in November of the same year. She served with the Grand Fleet and the Harwich Force.

                Verdun went into reserve at Rosyth as part of the 9th Destroyer Flotilla until September 1939, when she was selected for conversion into an Anti-Aircraft Escort at Chatham Dockyard. She operated as a convoy escort out of Rosyth and in the North Sea, being damaged by a bomb on 1 November 1940 that killed 11 men, including her captain. She was repaired at Harwich and spent the rest of the war escorting convoys along the east coast. In November 1941, she was in sustained action against an attack by German E-boats three British merchant ships were sunk in the engagement

                HMS Verdun was placed in reserve after VE Day and then sold to be scrapped at Granton, Edinburgh in April 1946.

                HMS Vesper

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. V
                • Pennant. D55, F39
                • Builder. Stephens
                • Ordered. 30/06/1916
                • Laid Down. 07/12/1916
                • Launched. 15/12/1917
                • Commissioned. 20/02/1918
                • Speed. 34 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 07/04/1947

                HMS Vesper was a V class destroyer that saw service in World War I and World War II. Vesper was ordered on 30 June 1916 as part of the 9th Order of the 1916-17 Naval Programme. She was laid down on 7 December 1916 by Stephen’s of Govan, Glasgow, and launched on 15 December 1917. She was completed on 20 February 1918.

                Vesper was recommissioned in 1939. After the United Kingdom entered World War II in September 1939, she was assigned to convoy defence and patrol duties in the South western Approaches through December 1939.

                In May 1940, Vesper was deployed with the 19th Destroyer Flotilla to Harwich, and assigned to the support of the evacuation of troops from France. On 10 May 1940 she carried a demolition party to IJmuiden in the Netherlands in Operation XD to destroy oil tanks there to prevent their capture by advancing Germany Army forces, and on 14 May 1940 she took part in Operation Ordnance, the evacuation of forces from the Hook of Holland. During June 1940, deployed with her destroyer flotilla to Dover and provided gunfire support to the retreating British Expeditionary Force at Le Tréport, France.

                After Germany‘s surrender, Vesper did not deploy operationally, and she soon was decommissioned and placed in reserve, being no longer included on the Royal Navy’s July 1945 active list. She was sold to Bisco on 7 March 1947 for scrapping by T. W. Ward, and arrived at the Shipbreakers yard in March 1948.

                HMS Violent

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. V
                • Pennant. F95, D57
                • Builder. Swan Hunter
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 01/09/1917
                • Commissioned. 1917
                • Speed. 34 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 08/03/1937

                HMS Violent was a V-class destroyer of the British Royal Navy that saw service in World War I and was in commissioned from 1917 to 1937. Violent, was ordered in July 1916. She was laid down by Swan Hunter at Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, in November 1916 and launched on 1 September 1917. She was completed in November 1917.

                Violent was assigned to the Grand Fleet or Harwich Force for the rest of World War I. On 19 July 1918, she participated in the history’s first attack by aircraft launched from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, when she operated in the North Sea in support of a strike by Royal Air Force Sopwith 2F.1 Camel fighters from the aircraft carrier HMS Furious against the Imperial German Navy Zeppelin dirigible sheds at Tondern, Germany in what became known as the Tondern Raid. Returning from the strike, Camel pilot Captain William F. Dickson, who had decided he would not be able to return to Furious, sighted Violent – the first British warship he encountered during his return flight – and circled her before ditching his aircraft in the sea. Violent recovered him, and he went on to become a Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Chief of the Air Staff, and Chief of the Defence Staff.

                After World War I, the United Kingdom received the passenger liner SS Bismarck from Germany in 1920 as a war reparation, and she was sold to the White Star Line, later the Cunard White Star Line, in which she served as RMS Majestic. In 1936, Cunard White Star retired Majestic and sold her to Thomas W. Ward for scrapping, but because of legal requirements imposed under the agreement transferring Majestic to the United Kingdom as a war prize, the British government instead took control of Majestic and assigned her to the Royal Navy. To pay Thomas W. Ward for Majestic, the Royal Navy agreed to transfer 24 old destroyers with a combined scrap value equivalent to that of Majestic to Thomas W. Ward for scrapping. Violent was among these, and her transfer to Thomas W. Ward took place on 8 March 1937. She was scrapped at Inverkeithing, Scotland.

                HMS Vivacious

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. V
                • Pennant. D36, F32, G71, G01
                • Builder. Yarrow
                • Ordered. 30/06/1916
                • Laid Down. 1916
                • Launched. 3/11/1916
                • Commissioned. 29/12/1917
                • Speed. 34 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 07/05/1947

                HMS Vivacious was a V-class destroyer that saw service in World War I and World War II. She was laid down in July 1916 by Yarrow Shipbuilders of Glasgow, Scotland, and launched on 3 November 1916. She was completed in December 1917 and commissioned on 29 December 1917.Upon completion, Vivacious was fitted for use as a minelayer and entered service with the fleet during the final year of World War I. After the war, she deployed to the Baltic Sea in 1919 to participate in the British campaign there against Bolshevik forces during the Russian Civil War, seeing action against Russian warships.

                Vivacious was decommissioned during the summer of 1945 and was in reserve until placed on the disposal list in 1947. She was sold on 17 May 1947 to Bisco for scrapping by Metal Industries and arrived at the ship breaker’s yard on 10 September 1947.

                HMS Vivien

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. V
                • Pennant. G39, L33
                • Builder. Yarrow
                • Ordered. 1918
                • Laid Down. 1918
                • Launched. 16/12/1918
                • Commissioned. 1919
                • Speed. 34 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1948

                HMS Vivien was ordered on 30 June 1916 as part of the 9th Order of the 1916-17 Naval Programme. She was laid down in July 1916 by Yarrow Shipbuilders at Scotstoun, Glasgow, Scotland, and launched on 16 February 1918. She was completed on 28 May 1918 and commissioned into service the same day.

                Vivien was decommissioned in May 1945 and placed in reserve. She was placed on the disposal list in 1947 and was sold to Bisco on 18 February 1948 for scrapping by Metal Industries. She arrived at the Shipbreakers yard at Charlestown, Fife, Scotland. She arrived under tow at the Shipbreakers yard in April 1948.

                HMS Vulture

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. V
                • Pennant. N50, D75
                • Builder. J&G Thompson
                • Ordered. 1895
                • Laid Down.26/11/1895
                • Launched. 22/03/1898
                • Fate. Scrapped 1919

                HMS Vulture was a Clydebank three funnel destroyer ordered. She was laid down as Yard Number 291 on 26 November 1895 at J & G Thompson shipyard in Clydebank and launched on the 22 nd March 1898. In 1899 during the construction of these ships, steelmaker John Brown and Company of Sheffield bought J&G Thomson’s Clydebank yard for £923,255 3s 3d. She was completed and accepted by the Royal Navy in May 1900. She was the last to be laid down but the first accepted in this group. After commissioning she was assigned to the Chatham Division of the Harwich Flotilla. She was deployed in Home waters for her entire service life. On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyer classes were to be designated by alpha characters starting with the letter ‘A’. Since her design speed was 30-knots and she had three funnels she was assigned to the C Class.

                In 1914 she was undergoing refit at the Nore based at Sheerness tendered to HMS Actaeon, a Royal Navy training establishment. With the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914 she was assigned to the Nore Local Flotilla. Her duties included anti-submarine and counter mining patrols in the Thames Estuary. She remained in this employment for the duration of the war.

                In 1919 she was paid off and laid-up in reserve awaiting disposal. She was sold on 27 May 1919 to Hayes of Porthcawl for breaking.

                HMS Walrus

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. W
                • Pennant. G17, D24
                • Builder. Fairfield
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 1917
                • Launched. 27/12/1917
                • Commissioned. 08/03/1918
                • Speed. 34 knots
                • Fate. Scrapped 1938

                HMS Walrus was ordered in December 1916 and was laid down by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company at Govan, Scotland, in February 1917. She was launched on 27 December 1917 and commissioned on 8 March 1918.

                The Royal Navy decided to convert Walrus into an anti aircraft escort, and in February 1938 a tug took her under tow from Rosyth with a skeleton crew of four men aboard bound for Chatham Dockyard, where she was to undergo the conversion. During the voyage, however, a powerful storm struck the North Sea, and on 12 February 1938 her towline broke in high winds and heavy seas and she was driven ashore in Filey Bay north of Scarborough, Yorkshire. The four men aboard Walrus made it to shore safely in one of her boats.

                Deemed beyond economical repair, Walrus was sold to Round Brothers of Sunderland, England, on 5 March 1938 for scrapping. She was refloated on 29 March 1938 and scrapped in October 1938.

                HMS Warwick

                • Type. Destroyer
                • Class. W
                • Pennant. H38
                • Builder. Hawthorn Leslie
                • Ordered. 1916
                • Laid Down. 10/03/1917
                • Launched. 28/12/1917
                • Commissioned. 18/03/1918
                • Speed. 34 knots
                • Fate. Sank 20/02/1944

                HMS Warwick was an Admiralty ‘W’ class destroyer built by Hawthorn Leslie & Company, Hebburn, being laid down 10 March 1917. She launched on 28 December 1917, and completed 18 March 1918. Warwick commissioned in March 1918 and saw action in the last months of World War I. She took part in the raid on Zeebrugge in April, the attempt by the RN to blockade Germany’s U-boat force stationed in Flanders. She also participated in the second raid on Ostend in May and was heavily damaged by mine. Warwick was present at Scapa Flow in November 1918 when the Grand Fleet received the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet at the end of the war.

                On 20 February 1944, while patrolling off Trevose Head, and under command of Cdr. Denys Rayner, Warwick was torpedoed by U-413. She sank in minutes, with the loss of over half her crew.

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                Harwich & Dovercourt - A time gone by takes you on a fascinating journey through the Town's history. Read the full history from when the Town was founded, historic dates, famous residents, facts, key dates, photo gallery, your memories and much more.


                British Destroyer at Speed - History

                The Best Destroyers of World War II

                Torpedo boat destroyers, destroyers, or (slang) tin cans served all of the major sea powers well during WW II. They were the smallest, general purpose, ocean-going warships of the various blue water fleets and they often took heavy losses in action. That was perhaps inevitable, as destroyers were employed in many roles besides hunting torpedo boats and submarines, their original purposes.

                Destroyers were used to lay minefields outside of enemy harbors and to transport troops and supplies to beleaguered outposts in enemy controlled waters that were too dangerous for conventional transports to negotiate. They escorted convoys, provided air and gunfire support for larger and more vulnerable ships (such as troop transports and aircraft carriers), attacked superior enemy forces, bombarded invasion beaches well within the range of enemy shore batteries, scouted for their fleets and served as radar pickets far from the protection of friendly naval forces. They were expected to put themselves at risk to protect their charges, whether merchant ships or heavy warships. Destroyers fought submarines, aircraft and surface actions against all other classes of warships, from battleships to MTB's. Destroyers occasionally operated alone, but more often they were formed into flotillas or squadrons, which would then jointly be assigned a task, such as to escort a convoy, screen a task force, or to attack an enemy surface force with torpedoes and gunfire.

                Destroyers of all the major sea powers were lost during the war in the course of what were essentially suicide charges at far more powerful enemy surface ships. The courage and dedication of destroyer men clearly transcended national boundaries. Destroyers were viewed as expendable ships in both world wars and many of their brave crews paid the ultimate price.

                Excellent destroyers were designed and built for the navies of all the major sea powers during WW II. In this article, we will look at the best destroyers from Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain, the United States and Japan. Destroyers are multi-purpose warships, necessarily a blend of characteristics. The destroyer designs of the major sea powers often emphasized different ratios of these characteristics, based on their tactical requirements. Examples of some of these include habitability, sea keeping, range, speed, torpedo battery, main battery, anti-aircraft (AA) battery, anti-submarine (AS) weapons and so forth. Every destroyer had to strike a balance between these often contradictory requirements and it is not surprising that destroyers designed to operate on inland seas (the Baltic or Mediterranean, for example) differed from those designed to operate in the vast Pacific Ocean. We will try to note these differences as we examine the destroyers of the various navies.

                The U.S. Navy letter designation for destroyers is "DD" and for large destroyers "DL." These have subsequently been adopted by most naval writers and will occasionally be used here. The specifications used in this article were taken from Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1922-1946.

                Destroyer Z36. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.

                Powerful units on paper, the handsome, twin stack, German destroyers of the Second World War generally failed to perform to expectations. Some classes were armed with 5.9" (150mm) guns, but these guns proved to be too heavy and slow firing for many destroyer purposes, so the final class of German destroyers to see service, the 1936B type (launched 1942-1944), reverted to 5" main battery guns. These were carried in single mounts located in the A, B, Q, X and Y positions, much like the American Fletcher class. Unlike the American destroyers, which carried dual-purpose main battery guns, the German 5" mounts were designed for surface action only.

                The 1936B type were good-looking, balanced ships. They featured raised forecastles, Atlantic (clipper) bows and twin smoke stacks with funnel caps. The forward stack was about twice the diameter of the aft stack, a useful recognition feature.

                German steam turbine machinery operated at high pressure and proved unreliable during the war. One of the results was that, at sea, German destroyers were typically unable to achieve their rated speed. Designed primarily for operation in the Baltic and North Seas, their sea keeping qualities were often found lacking in the broad Atlantic, which further reduced their speed and combat usefulness.

                The number of AA guns on German destroyers was increased during the war and sometimes the "Q" main battery turret was removed and replaced by heavy AA guns although, as far as I know, this was not done to the 1936B type. Here are the specifications for the 1936B type destroyers.

                • Displacement: 2527 tons standard 3507 tons deep load
                • Dimensions: 399' 11" wl, 416' 8" loa, 39' 4" beam, 12' 6" draft
                • Machinery: 2-shaft Wagner geared turbines, 6 Wagner boilers, 70,000 shp = 38 knots.
                • Armament: 5-5"/50 (5x1), 8-37mm AA (4x2), 16-20mm AA (3x4, 2x2), 8-21" TT (2x4)
                • Complement: 313
                • Launched: 1942-1944

                The five ships of the 1936B class had unfortunate careers. While on a mine-laying mission, Z36 and Z36 ran afoul of an existing German minefield in the Gulf of Finland and sank on 12 December 1944. Z44 was bombed and sunk by the RAF while being outfitted at Bremen in July 1944. Z43 was scuttled in May 1945 and Z45 was damaged by RAF bombers while still on her building slip and never launched.

                Destroyer Volta. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.

                Mogador and Volta constituted a two ship class that, in the event, were the final French destroyers completed before France was overwhelmed in 1940. These were exceptionally large and powerful ships, carrying eight 5.5" guns and 10-21.7" torpedo tubes on a full load displacement of some 4018 tons. Ships of this size and power would have been classed as light cruisers in many navies, but with a range of only 3000nm at 20 knots, they were indeed large destroyers (DL), incapable of fulfilling the primary cruiser role of cruising to distant shores.

                Their turbines developed 92,000 horsepower and their raised forecastles, clipper bows and 451' overall length made them decent sea boats and allowed them to achieve trials speeds well in excess of 40 knots at light displacement. Their director controlled main battery had a slow rate of fire (about six rounds per minute per gun) and proved unreliable in service. These were single purpose, surface action only, guns. This reduced their AA capability compared to contemporary American and Japanese destroyers. In addition, their ASW capability was limited. Thus, while (theoretically) powerful surface combatants, they were less effective as all-around destroyers than many of their contemporaries. Here are their specifications.

                • Displacement: 2884 tons standard 3500-3600 tons normal 4018 tons full load
                • Dimensions: 429' 9" pp, 451' 1" loa, 41' 7" beam, 15' draft
                • Machinery: 2-shaft Rateau-Bretagne geared turbines, 4 Indret vertical boilers, 92,000 shp = 39 knots. Oil 710 tons
                • Armament: 8-5.5"/45 (4x2), 4-37mm AA (2x2), 4-13.2mm MG (2x2), 10-21.7" TT (2x3 + 2x2), 40 mines
                • Complement: 264
                • Launched: 1936-1937

                Both ships were scuttled at Toulon in November 1942, ending their brief careers. A further nine ships, incorporating improvements based on experience with the Modador class, were ordered, but work on these was not begun before the fall of France.

                Artigliere and Camicia Nera. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.

                The fleet destroyers of the Regia Marina served hard and well in the Mediterranean Sea during WW II. They usually fared poorly in night battles against the British, because (1) they lacked radar and (2) the Royal Navy had developed and extensively practiced night tactics before the war and the Italian Navy had not. Italian destroyers were to pay a high price for these oversights, but they fought bravely and doggedly. They helped keep the supply lines from Italy to Tunisia open so that the Axis army in North Africa could be maintained and they helped restrict Allied use of the central Mediterranean for most of the war, at least until the surrender of the Afrika Corps. The Regia Marina is seldom given the credit due for these accomplishments.

                The Maestrale, Oriani and Soldati classes represent the full development of the Italian WW II destroyer. The four ships of the Maestrale class, laid down in 1931 and completed in 1934, successfully incorporated the lessons learned from previous destroyer designs and the four Oriani (1935-1937) and 12+7 Soldati (1936-1942) classes were essentially repeat Maestrales with minor variations in machinery and armament. All of these ships carried at least four 120mm (4.7") main guns in twin mounts fore and aft plus six-21" torpedo tubes in two triple mounts. The second group of Soldati's generally carried an extra 4.7" gun in a single mount amidships.

                Being on the losing side in WW II, most of the Italian destroyers were ultimately sunk and the majority of the few surviving ships were assigned to victorious Allied navies as war reparations. Only three ships from the classes mentioned above survived the war to serve with the post-war Italian navy. Four others survived to be transferred to France and two were transferred to the USSR after hostilities ended. The rest were lost during the war, with submarine attack, air attack and gunfire being the most common causes. These were durable destroyers, however, and many times individual ships were able to bring their crews home after suffering considerable battle damage. Here are the specifications of the definitive Soldati class.

                • Displacement: 1690-1820 tons standard 2250-2500 tons full load
                • Dimensions: 333' 4" pp, 350' loa, 33' 7" beam, 11' 6" draft
                • Machinery: 2-shaft Belluzzo (OTO built ship's Parsons) geared turbines, 3 Yarrow boilers, 48,000 hp = 38 knots (trials) and 34-35 knots sea speed. Oil 517 tons
                • Armament: 4 or 5-120mm/50 (2x2 + 1x1 in some) 12-13.2mm MG (4x2, 4x1) 6-533mm TT (2x3) 2 (later 4) DC throwers
                • Complement: 165 (designed) 206 (war)
                • Launched: 1937-1942

                Visually, the design of these Italian destroyers incorporates a long, raised forecastle and a single large funnel behind the forward superstructure. Since they did not have true dual-purpose main batteries, unlike the Battle (UK), Fletcher (US) and Akitsuki (Japan) classes, they were deficient in AA guns and during the war the 13.2mm MG were replaced by from eight to a dozen 20mm AA guns in twin and single mounts. In some ships, the aft triple TT mount was replaced by one or two 37mm/54 AA guns. In general, these ships proved quite capable of holding their own against their British contemporaries in daylight surface engagements.

                HMS Barfleur. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.

                British destroyers in WW II tended to be well-balanced, seaworthy ships true multi-role vessels that were seldom the best for a specific purpose or in any single category, but competent in virtually all roles. Britain needed many destroyers to protect the numerous heavy ships of the Royal Navy, her merchant marine (the largest in the world at the beginning of the Second World War) and her far-flung Empire. This argued for large numbers of small to medium size destroyers, rather than a few large destroyers. British destroyers had to have good sea keeping qualities, because they operated under all conditions in all of the oceans of the world. It was a recurring theme during the war for British destroyers to torpedo large enemy ships in conditions so vile that the enemy destroyers that were supposed to screen their heavy ships had been sent back to port.

                This is exactly what happened to the German battleship Scharnhorst during her final battle off the North Cape of Norway. It was torpedoes from British (and one Norwegian) destroyers that reduced her speed and allowed the British battleship Duke of York and her companion cruisers to close the range and sink the Scharnhorst.

                Perhaps the most capable of the Royal Navy's destroyers were the vessels of the Battle class (so called because they were named for famous battles). These were large, late war destroyers intended primarily for use in the Pacific. They carried the fully developed version of the British 4.5"/45 QF Mk. III DP main battery guns, which were mounted in two twin turrets forward, eliminating the need for a 4.5" shell magazine aft. These ships had an improved fire control system and the main battery guns featured 80-degrees of elevation and fired a heavier shell that provided greater penetration than the 4.7", single purpose (surface action) guns found on earlier British destroyers. Weight and space are at a premium in all warships, but particularly in destroyers, so a true dual-purpose (heavy AA and surface action) main battery is a huge design advantage.

                These ships had the raked Tribal class bow shape and the high forecastle typical of British destroyers. The latter was carried aft of the forward superstructure to improve sea keeping qualities. There was a single large funnel, as with all British destroyers produced during the war. A generous fuel capacity meant longer range than was typical for European destroyers. Here is a summary of (1st Group) Battle class specifications.

                • Displacement: 2315-2325 tons standard 3290-3300 tons deep load
                • Dimensions: 355' pp 379' loa 40' 3" beam 15' 2" mean deep load
                • Machinery: 2-shaft Parsons geared turbines, 2 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 50,000 shp = 35.75 knots. Oil 727 tons
                • Armament: 4-4.5"/45 QF Mk. III DP (2x2), 8-40mm Bofors (4x2), 8-21" torpedo tubes (2x4), 60 DC
                • Complement: 247-308
                • Launched: 1943-1945

                The first group of Battle class destroyers (16 ships) were laid down between late 1942 and early 1944 and launched between November 1943 and September 1945. A follow-on batch of eight ships was launched between January 1945 and August 1945, but these were not completed until after the war. This second batch were provided with an additional, single 4.5" gun in a mount with 55-degrees elevation, located just aft of the funnel. A main battery of only four guns had been one of the few criticisms leveled at the original Battle class. There were also two extra torpedo tubes (2x5).

                Most of the Battle class ships served into the 1960's and some into the 1970's. Two were transferred to Pakistan in 1957 and one to Iran in 1967. None were sunk by enemy action during the war. Two additional ships, Anzac and Tobruk, were built in Australia after the war with a total of 18-40mm AA guns (3x4 and 6x1) these entered service with the Royal Australian Navy in 1950-1951. The Battle class DD's served the UK and her allies long and well and represent the zenith of WW II British destroyer design.

                USS Sullivans in 1962. U.S. Navy Photograph.

                The American Fletcher class was the most numerous single class of destroyers built during the war, numbering some 151 ships of the original and improved types. This illustrates the esteem in which these excellent vessels were held. They served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres with distinction in almost every major battle from the beginning of 1943 onward and it is hard to see how the Pacific War could have been prosecuted without them.

                The Fletchers were the quintessential WW II American destroyers. They were long range, flush deck, twin funnel vessels with outstanding firepower. Construction of the (earlier) Benson class destroyers and the (later) Allen M. Sumner class continued concurrently with the Fletcher class, although the Fletchers were generally considered the best all-around ships. Here are the original specifications for the Fletcher.

                • Displacement: 2325 tons standard 2924 tons full load
                • Dimensions: 369' 1" wl 376' 5" loa 39' 7" beam 13' 9" full load draft
                • Machinery: 2-shaft GE geared turbines, 4 Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 60,000 shp = 38 knots at 2550 tons. Oil 492 tons
                • Range: 6500nm at 15 knots
                • Armament: 5-5"/38 DP (5x1), 4-1.1" AA (1x4), 4-20mm, 10-21" torpedo tubes (2x5), 6 DCT + 2 DC racks
                • Armor: 0.75" side, 0.5" deck
                • Complement: 300
                • Launched: 1942-1944

                The 5" main battery guns were an efficient, quick-firing, dual-purpose type that served equally well for surface actions and as heavy AA guns. As with most WW II destroyers, the light AA armament was increased during the war. The 1.1" guns were removed and the typical Fletcher class AA armament later in the war became five twin 40mm Bofors mounts and seven 20mm guns. Some ships in 1945 had one bank of torpedo tubes removed to compensate for replacing two of their twin 40mm gun mounts with quad 40mm mounts. Japanese Kamikaze planes had become the principal threat to U.S. destroyers and there were few Japanese surface combatants left to torpedo.

                19 Fletcher class destroyers were sunk during the war and five more were so heavily damaged that they had to be scrapped. Of the survivors, many served in the Korean War and most were not stricken from the U.S. Navy list until the 1970's. A good number were transferred to the navies of various American allies and served for another decade or more. Four ships, including the Sullivans pictured above, have been preserved in the U.S. as war memorials.

                IJN Fuyuzuki. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.

                The Imperial Japanese Navy fielded fine, high speed, long-range destroyers during the Second World War. Their final heavy destroyers were the 16 units of the Akitzuki class, ordered as part of the 1939 and 1941 building programs. Twelve of these were actually commissioned. One ship, Mochitzuki, was not completed by war's end and three ships of the 1941 program were never begun. Some 40 additional units were proposed in various wartime supplementary building programs, but the resources to build them were not available. The Akitzuki class were formidable ships and arguably the finest destroyers of WW II.

                These large, seaworthy destroyers had a full load displacement of 3700 tons. They were designed primarily as AA destroyers and fielded a main battery of 8-3.9" (100mm) DP guns and (initially) a light AA battery of four 25mm guns. The 25mm AA battery was progressively increased to between 40 and 51 guns on surviving ships by the end of the war. They also carried a battery of four torpedo tubes for the deadly Japanese 24" Long Lance torpedoes and depth charge throwers, thus making them capable, all-around destroyers.

                These were impressive looking ships. They had a tower bridge, single trunked smoke stack, raised forecastle, clipper bow and a balanced armament layout, with their torpedo tubes mounted amidships and main battery guns in the A, B, X and Y positions. Here are their original specifications.


                Tactics

                Wide subject, which of course evolved throughout the development of destroyers proper. In the 1890s, these were TBDs, torpedo boat hunters, designed to catch and kill possible torpedo boats threatening battleships. And this was at anchor, not even at sea, although this became soon self-evident. However since they were still fragile, small, with poor seaworthiness in heavy weather and low range, not ideal to say the least as fleet escorts. Torpedo gunboats were already tested in that role for a time, before being dropped, and cruisers gained this task.

                With the arrival of the turbine and Admiral Sir John Fisher’s own ideas, a new generation of destroyers emerged amidst the failure of the Swift: The River class. They were sturdier, had a forecastle to get through the north sea’s heavy weather, a longer range but slower speed, barely 25-27 knots compared to 33 on previous TBDs. At last the Royal Navy not only had a destroyer able to carry out successful escorts but to follow the fleet in all situation, with a reinforced armament. This was the result of Fisher’s December 1904 directive, asking for ships able to steam at 33 knots for 8 hours, with oil burning boilers only, armed with two 12-pdr and five 3-pdr, and with stores for seven days. It was later cut down to four days. From this emerged the Tribals. Ambitious, but costly ships that were ever repeated. They were however, hard pressed during the war, taking many losses in the process. In fact, the following “M” class and prewar types were also hard-pressed and overused to such a point they became worn-out early on.

                The next classes, the Beagles, Acorn, Acheron, Acasta and Laforey classes had all a reinforced armament and were more versatile than ever. They could perform their expected long range escort missions with the new Dreadnought fleet wanted by Fisher. Soon however after the war broke out, it seemed reasonable to design a ship equipped to serve as a flotilla leader. The concept was born in the Royal Navy and not in any other fleet. These were enlarged destroyers fitted with extra communication, mapping and planning facilities for officers, “command destroyers”, larger and better armed than usual. Until the end of the they will prove their worth, however the concept started to fade away in the interwar. It remained typical of these wartime years.

                The flotilla commodore (who typically held the rank of captain), could count on a wireless room, senior engineering and gunnery officers, and administrative staff in support. The concept was applied early on, to the HMS Swift, and in wartime to the Faulknor, Marksman, Parker, Admiralty and Thornycroft type leaders. Other fleets would have such destroyers, like in France in the interwar, Germany with the Type 1936A, Soviet Leningrad and Tashkent classes, Italian Navigatori-class, American interwar Porter and Somers classes or the Dubrovnik and Mărăști-class. In Japan, light cruisers had that role, from the Tenryū to the Sendai classes.

                Four great would showcases some tactical aspects of the use of destroyers, which at that time did not included directly ASW warfare. This aspect was left to specialized gunboats, deep charges and primitive acoustic devices being adopted in 1917-18. However During the war, the British Navy lost 67 destroyers and 3 leaders in total. This was heavy compared to many other classes, which proved the versatility and usefulness of the type. They equipped nine flotillas as well as the Home Fleet and China Station squadrons.

                The first serious test came in the bay of Heligoland Bight on August 28, 1914. The G194 stumbled upon the Arethusa leading four detsroyers. In the fierce engagement that followed, one German DD and three light cruisers were sunk. But if German sailors noted the superiority of the British destroyers’ armament, they also discovered the poor quality of their shells, reducing their effectiveness.

                By January 24, 1915 at the Dogger Bank, British destroyers took an important part in the outcome: The 1st and 3rd flotillas met the German battlecruisers, and soon M-class destroyers would duel against the armored cruiser Blücher. The latter was engaged by the Lion and other British capital ships but sank by British torpedoes.

                On April, 25, 1916, Admiral Scheer launched a raid on Lowestoft. The goal was to provoke the British fleet into a hot pursuit, towards minefields and ambushed submersibles, the tactic that prevailed since pretty much the beginning of the war on the German side. The British sent three light cruisers and eighteen destroyers to divert the German force from the City. Facing battlecruisers, and badly hit, the Cruisers escaped under the British destroyers’s smoke screen. One day before, destroyers had been damaged while covering minelayers in action off German Navy’s Flanders U-boat flotilla based in Bruges.

                During the Battle of Jutland, the British lost one leader and seven destroyers, often fighting German destroyers, among which four only were sunk. These shown severe shortcomings with the Flotilla organization and characteristics at large. Both sides made several reciprocal destroyer attacks, but only 13th British flotilla destroyers scored a torpedo hit on the SMS Seydlitz, which survived it. This was the only success for a deployment of 72 destroyers and 5 leaders from seven different flotillas on the British side.

                British destroyers participated in large battles. But outside fleet formations, they became often ad hoc submarine hunters. Very efficient at that, and often by ramming German U-Boats, capitalizing on their great speed. They would claim no less than a third of the 186 submarines sunk during the war.

                Read More/Src

                Chesneau, Roger, ed. Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1865-1905 1906-1921 1922-1947
                http://www.fr.naval-encyclopedia.com/1ere-guerre-mondiale/royal_navy.php#dest
                Cocker, Maurice Allan, Ian. Destroyers of the Royal Navy, 1893-1981.
                Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War.
                March, Edgar J. (1966). British Destroyers: A History of Development, 1892-1953
                Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945: The Naval History of World War Two
                Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2.
                British Destroyers: A History of Development, 1892-1953
                British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War
                British Destroyers 1892-1918 Jim Crossley
                Strategy and War Planning in the British Navy, 1887-1918 Shawn T. Grimes


                HMS Mahratta (G 23)

                Laid down as HMS Marksman (G 23), launched as HMS Mahratta (G 23)
                . The completion of the destroyer was delayed until April 1943, because the yard had been bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1941. After working up at Scapa Flow, she was part of the escort for the British liner Queen Mary with Churchill on board. On 4 Jun 1943, the destroyer took part in Operation FH, leaving Seidisfjord, Iceland to relief the garrison at Spitzbergen. In July, HMS Mahratta (G 23) and HMS Musketeer (G 86) made their first high speed run to Murmansk carrying important supplies. The ship took part in Operations Camera and Governor, movements designed to simulate a landing on the Norwegian coast to distract the Germans from the landings in Sicily. In August 1943, the destroyer sailed with the 10th Cruiser Squadron for Operation Lozry, covering the passage of destroyers with personnel and stores to Kola. Mainly the personnel and parts for the Spitfire reconnaissance aircraft, which monitored the German battleship Tirpitz in the Altenfjord. The battleship and several destroyers were at sea, but missed the convoy and later shelled Spitzbergen. In September 1943, the destroyer sailed to the Bay of Biscay to meet HMS Valiant (02) and three aircraft carriers. Two of the carriers returned to Gibraltar with an escort of four destroyers, but HMS Matchless (G 52) broke down and had to be taken in tow by HMS Mahratta (G 23) for several hours until the chain parted. Later that day, the destroyer picked up the survivors from a Hampden aircraft, which had been shot down by an U-boat off Bordeaux. The survivors had been in the dingy for eleven days. The destroyer arrived on 10 October at Plymouth for an overhaul. On 15 Nov 1943, HMS Mahratta (G 23) escorted the convoy JW-54A from Loch Ewe to Kola Inlet and on the return passage the convoy RA-54B. The destroyer made two more passages on the Arctic convoy route until her last with convoy JW-57.

                HMS Marhatta (G 23) was awarded the Battle Honour Arctic 1943-44.

                At 20.55 hours on 25 Feb 1944, HMS Mahratta (G 23) (LtCdr E.A.F. Drought, DSC, RN) was hit by a Gnat from U-990 about 280 miles from the North Cape, while escorting the stern sector of convoy JW-57. The destroyer exploded and sank within minutes. HMS Impulsive (D 11) (LtCdr P. Bekenn, RN) and HMS Wanderer (D 74) (LtCdr R.F. Whinney, DSC, RN) were quickly on the scene to pick up survivors, but only 16 survivors could be recovered from the freezing waters. The commander, ten officers and 209 ratings lost their lives.

                Location of attack on HMS Mahratta (G 23).

                ship sunk.

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