H.M.S. Sparrowhawk (1912)

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H.M.S. Sparrowhawk (1912)
Pendant Number: H.61 (1914)[1]
Builder: Swan Hunter[2]
Launched: 12 Oct, 1912[3]
Completed: May, 1913[4]
Sunk: 1 Jun, 1916[5]
Fate: in Battle of Jutland
Sparrowhawk at Jutland, 31 May, 1916.
As seen from Spitfire.
© Alan Bush.

H.M.S. Sparrowhawk was one of twenty destroyers of the Acasta class. She was scuttled after being severely damaged in the night action of the Battle of Jutland.

There was also an earlier and a later Sparrowhawk.


Upon completion in mid-1913, Sparrowhawk joined the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla.[6]

At the Battle of Jutland, she operated with the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Sydney Hopkins. After dark on 31 May, Sparrowhawk was behind Tipperary and Spitfire, followed by the remainder of 4 D.F., steaming south at 17 knots five miles astern of the Second Battle Squadron. At 11.30, vessels were sighted on the Starboard quarter overtaking the flotilla and apparently steering the same Course. The leading ship was observed to have three funnels but hazy conditions did not permit a quick "friend or foe" determination. Before any decision could be made, the lead enemy ship switched on searchlights and opened fire while displaying recognition signals of red and green lights. Lt. Commander Hopkins ordered torpedoes to be fired at the third ship in the enemy line, and one torpedo was fired at a range estimated at less than 1,000 yards. Crewmen aft judged that it may have hit the target, as they saw an explosion.

Sparrowhawk had avoided any damage to this point when she was rammed abreast the bridge by the heavily damaged and out-of-control flotilla leader Broke. With Broke wedged halfway through her forward, H.M.S. Contest also piled into Sparrowhawk aft, removing her stern. Sparrowhawk was fortunate to lose just six men in the misadventure. Most of the crew was removed to Marksman, which then attempted to tow the derelict stern-first. The missing stern section caused the tow wire to part, however. In the early morning hours of 1 June, after those confidential materials which could be found were removed or burned, Sparrowhawk was destroyed by gunfire on orders of the Vice-Admiral.[7]


Dates of appointment are provided when known.

See Also


  1. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 63.
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 75.
  3. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 75.
  4. Friedman. British Destroyers. p. 307.
  5. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 75.
  6. The Navy List. (July, 1913). p. 377.
  7. Battle of Jutland Official Despatches. pp. 34, 44, 320-321.
  8. Hopkins Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/107. f. ?.
  9. The Navy List. (January, 1915). p. 381a.


Acasta Class Destroyer
Admiralty Design
Acasta Achates Ambuscade Christopher Cockatrice
Contest Shark Sparrowhawk Spitfire Lynx
  Midge Owl  
Thornycroft Specials
Hardy Paragon Porpoise Unity Victor
Other Specials
  Ardent Fortune Garland  
<– Acheron Class Destroyers (UK) Laforey Class –>