H.M.S. Oak (1912)

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H.M.S. Oak (1912)
Pendant Number: H.97 (Jan 1913)[1]
H.12 (1914)
H.38 (Sep 1915)
H.92 (Jan 1918)[2]
Builder: Yarrow & Company[3]
Ordered: 1910-11 Programme[4]
Launched: 5 Sep, 1912[5]
Completed: Nov, 1912[6]
Sold: 9 May, 1921[7]

H.M.S. Oak was one of 29 destroyers of the Acheron class.


She was under the command of Commander Douglas Faviell from 13 November 1912 through the Battle of Jutland[8] as well as the surrender of the High Sea Fleet on 21 November, 1918.[Citation needed]

In mid-1913, she was active with the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla.[9]

For much of the war, the ship's great speed earned her the role of being a dispatch vessel for the Grand Fleet.

Battle of Jutland

On 9 June, 1916, her captain reported on her role at the Battle of Jutland:[10]

H.M.S. " Oak,"
9th June 1916.
I HAVE the honour to make the following report on the
movements of H.M.S. "Oak," and of the observations from
that vessel, of the action fought on 31st May and of the night
action which followed.
At 5.55 p.m. " Oak " took up her station for the approach
2 cables astern of H.M.S. " Canada," and at 6.04 p.m. the fleet
deployed to port, to South, and speed was reduced to 18 knots.
" Oak " turned so as to keep about 2,500 yards on the disengaged
A very widely-spread salvo, from the enemy, here straddled
the " Iron Duke," the nearest shot being about 1,000 yards
At 6.08 p.m. " Iron Duke " opened fire at what appeared to
meI to be a battleship of the " Koenig" class. She had two tall
funnels. The first salvo was short, the second over, and the
third straddled with, I think, two hits. Each subsequent salvo
appeared to me to straddle, with varying hits between 1 and 3
from each salvo.
At 6.12 p.m. course was altered to S.E. by S. The above
enemy ship was last seen by me, enveloped in a mist of steam
or white smoke, with occasional bursts of flame coming from her.
During this period I gradually increased the distance from
the line to 3,500 yards, as a few overs had begun to pitch about
2,500 to 3,000 over. These were all isolated shots, and the return
fire from the enemy at the 4th and 1st Battle Squadrons, appeared
to me to be very wild. Salvoes were badly spread, which is not
usual with German fire, and most of them were pitching very
badly short. It struck me that the enemy's morale was already
badly shaken. The only hit seen by me on our battle line was
one, on a vessel of the " Hercules" class. No shots were
observed to be fired at the 2nd B.S.
Also during this period the 1st cruiser squadron, which had
been on a beam bearing from the "Iron Duke," turned to
starboard and engaged the enemy at close range, bn an opposite
course, apparently about 6 to 7 thousand yards. Enemy's fire
at these, ships was fairly good, but even these salvoes were
observed to be badly spread out, usually about 800 to 1,000
yards. Shots from one salvo were seen to hit " Defence " aft,
and the after magazine exploded. The flame and smoke from
this explosion rose at least a 1,000 feet into the air. The ship,
however, continued to steam on, but a second salvo hit her and
she then disappeared. The actual sinking of the " Defence "
and " Black Prince " was not observed.
At 6.22 p.m. speed was reduced to 14 knots, and shortly after
course was altered by divisions o S.S.E. The leading ships then
ran into a heavy bank of mist, in which the visibility was reduced
to about 4,000 yards.
At 6.30 p.m. course was altered by divisions to South.
An enemy Battle-Cruiser of the latest type was then observed
bearing about West, heading S.S.E. and making very little way
through the water. She had two funnels spaced very far apart,
the visible section of which appeared to be almost square. At
that range no masts could be seen, so they must have been of the
light pole variety, or else they had been shot away. Ships
opened on her in succession and she was badly punished; she
still continued to fire, however, but their fall was only occasion-
ally seen. One salvo from "Iron Duke" was observed to start
a very big fire in her just abaft the after superstructure and before
the after turret. The ship was evidently doomed, and to screen
her from further damage, or perhaps to enable her crew to be
rescued, a division of enemy T.B,'s were observed to close our
line, heading about S.S.E. and laying a smoke screen. "Iron
Duke" opened fire with 6-in., and the leading boat shortly
disappeared behind the splash of a salvo. A heavy salvo—I
think from " Benbow "—accounted for another boat. The salvo
pitched with a percentage of shots short, and pieces of the T.B.
were observed in the air. When the splash subsided the boat
could not be seen. The remaining boats then made off.
At about 7.35 p.m. the track of a torpedo was observed to
cross the track of our ships, about 200 yards ahead of "Iron
Duke." Torpedo was travelling slowly. Track finished about
2,000 yards on the port side of the line and the torpedo sank.
Direction of the track was S.E.
No more enemy ships were seen after this. " Oak "conformed
to the movements of the battle line until 9.15 p.m., when she
was ordered to keep close to " Iron Duke " during the night.
Station was taken up 2 cables 2 points before the Port beam.
After this actions were observed to be taking place on a
bearing S.W. and also between the bearings N.W. to N. by E
between 9.30 and midnight. A few smaller rounds were seen
to be fired in the early part of the middle watch right astern of
the fleet. No signals were received however, which would have
indicated the nature of the action which was going on to
When daylight broke, station was taken up 5 cables on the
port bow of "Iron Duke."

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,

The Commander-in-Chief,

Home Fleets.


The ship proved so steadfast that Commander Faviell was prompted to send a letter to Yarrow on 4 November 1917, reading:[11]

It may interest you to know that we still bear the reputation of never having had a breakdown which disabled the ship, never having missed a single operation with the Grand Fleet, and never having had to go to a dockyard or other repair base, except for our periodical refit. All examinations and adjustment have been carried out for the first seven months at an hour's notice, and since then at two hours' notice, for full speed. The ship can still get 33 knots in spite of all the extra weight built into her since leaving your hands.


Reduced to C. & M. Party at Devonport on 15 October, 1919.[12]


Oak only had a single commander through her distinguished wartime career.

See Also


  1. The National Archives. ADM 182. p. 2.
  2. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 62.
  3. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 62.
  4. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 75.
  5. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 62.
  6. Friedman. British Destroyers. p. 306.
  7. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 62.
  8. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. p. 45.
  9. The Navy List. (July, 1913). p. 350.
  10. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 299-301.
  11. Smith. Hard Lying. pp. 125-6.
  12. The Navy List. (January, 1921). p. 817.
  13. The Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 854.


Acheron Class Destroyer
Admiralty Design
Goshawk Hind Hornet Hydra Defender
Druid Sandfly Jackal Tigress Lapwing
  Lizard Phoenix Ferret Forester  
Yarrow Specials
  Archer Attack  
Thornycroft Specials
  Acheron Ariel  
Parsons Specials
  Badger Beaver  
Firedrake/Yarrow Specials
  Firedrake Lurcher Oak  
Australian type
  Parramatta Warrego Yarra  
  Huon Swan Torrens  
<– Acorn Class Destroyers (UK) Acasta Class –>