Third Destroyer Flotilla (Royal Navy)

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The Third Destroyer Flotilla was a formation of destroyers of the Royal Navy. The flotilla changed composition often as ships were damaged, retired or transferred.

Originally the Nore Destroyer Flotilla, composed of nucleus crew vessels, it became the Third Destroyer Flotilla in April, 1910.[1]

Operations

Based in Harwich with fifteen "L" class destroyers (soon growing to 20) under flagship scout cruiser Amphion at the start of the war,[2] Lance and Landrail fired the first shots of the war against German minelayer Konigen Luise on 5 August. Amphion was sunk as she returned to port.[3] Commodore (T) was in the third class protected cruiser Amethyst.[4]

At 7 AM of 28 August, acting in concert with First Destroyer Flotilla in the Battle of Heligoland Bight, destroyers Laertes, Laurel, Liberty, and Lysander torpedoed light cruiser Mainz. Only Lysander avoided receiving significant damage.[5]

In September 1914, it was decided that an M class destroyer (apparently, Miranda was selected[6]) should join 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. Additionally, Undaunted would replace Amphion as flotilla leader.[7]

In September-October, 1915, the Third Destroyer Flotilla became the Ninth Destroyer Flotilla. However, it was to return.

History

March, 1910

Immediately prior to redesignation as the Third Destroyer Flotilla, the Nore Destroyer Flotilla was comprised of a mixture of 30-knotters and "Coastals" assigned to the Third Division of the Home Fleet.[8]

Part of the Third Division, Home Fleet
Cruiser
Diamond
Depot Ship
St. George
Repair Ship
Aquarius
Scouts
Attentive
Patrol
Destroyers
Bullfinch Dove Earnest Griffon
Lively Locust Orwell Panther
Quail Seal Sprightly Thrasher
Wolf
Torpedo Boats
T.B. 6 T.B. 7 T.B. 8 T.B. 9
T.B. 10 T.B. 21 T.B. 22 T.B. 23
T.B. 24 T.B. 35 T.B. 36

1 November, 1911

The flotilla was comprised of:[9]

The following year, it was largely comprised of Beagles, operating in Home Waters. At that time, Lieutenant-Commander Andrew B. Cunningham was captain of Scorpion, and later wrote of this period of service,[10]

In a cycle of four weeks the destroyers would go to sea each Monday at noon and stay out till Thursday night for three weeks in succession. On Fridays and during the fourth week we did harbour drills. In the intervals we coaled and tried to keep our ships clean. Weather made no difference. Whether it was thick fog or a gale of wind we still went to sea, even though we could do nothing in the way of gunnery or torpedo exercises, night attacks, steaming without lights, tactics, taking each other in tow, or any of the other exercises or evolutions that Sir Robert thought would be good for us. It was no wonder the flotilla became known as the 'Other Gabbard Yacht Club', so-called from the Outer Gabbard Lightship, well out in the North Sea, which was our usual rendezvous by day and by night. It was a hard life but we learned a lot.

1 November, 1913

The ships of the present 3 D.F. were renamed the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla upon their transfer to the Mediterranean Fleet on this day. The new 3 D.F. was being populated by newly-completed "L" class destroyers.[11]

July, 1914

The Flotilla was now comprised of sixteen "L" class destroyers (at least three very recently added) under scout cruiser Amphion with a depot ship. The Commodore (T) directed First Fleet's four flotillas from the flagship, third class protected cruiser Amethyst. Its composition during the Test Mobilisation of July 1914 was as follows.[12]

Part of the First Fleet
Scout Cruiser
Amphion
Depot Ship
Dido
Destroyers
Laertes Laforey Lance Landrail
Lark Laurel Lawford Legion
Lennox Liberty Linnet Llewellyn
Louis Loyal Lydiard Lysander

August, 1914

On 13 August, the Third and First Destroyer Flotillas were made part of Rear-Admiral Arthur Henry Christian's new Southern Force. The two flotillas operated out of Harwich under Commodore Tyrwhitt in operations to protect the Belgian coast.[13]

September, 1914

The flotilla was one of four supporting the Home and Atlantic Waters. It continued to be composed of "L" class destroyers, but was also being used as a temporary roost for newly-completed "M" class units. Faulknor has replaced Amphion, as it was lost early in August. Joining some time after July were Leonidas, Lookout, Lucifer and Miranda. Meteor was added as well, though she was not yet ready.[14]

Serving in Home and Atlantic Waters
Flotilla Leader
Faulknor
Depot Ship
Dido
Destroyers
Laertes Laforey Lance Landrail Lark
Laurel Lawford Legion Lennox Leonidas
Liberty Linnet Llewellyn Lookout Louis
  Loyal Lucifer Lydiard
  Lysander Miranda Meteor*

October, 1914

Faulknor has moved out to the First Destroyer Flotilla, replaced by Undaunted. Miranda has been promoted to the role of second-in-command, and Meteor has left, soon to provide the same service in the First Destroyer Flotilla. Laverock has joined.[15][16]

Serving in Home and Atlantic Waters
Light Cruiser
Undaunted
Second-in-Command
Miranda
Depot Ship
Dido
Destroyers
Laertes Laforey Lance Landrail Lark
Laurel Laverock Lawford Legion Lennox
Leonidas Liberty Linnet Llewellyn Lookout
Louis Loyal Lucifer Lydiard Lysander

During the 17th of this month, Undaunted was leading Lennox, Lance, Loyal and Legion when they encountered a force of four German torpedo boats on a minelaying mission and annihilated them in the Battle off Texel.

December, 1914

Four "M" class destroyers have been added, though they were destined for the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla some time in January or February.[17][18]

Light Cruiser
Undaunted
Second-in-Command
Miranda
Destroyers
Laertes Laforey Lance Landrail Lark
Laurel Laverock Lawford Legion Lennox
Leonidas Liberty Linnet Llewellyn Lookout
Louis Loyal Lucifer Lydiard Lysander
Minos Mastiff Manly Milne

This roster would apply until February or March, 1915.

March, 1915

Now the flotilla was one of three supporting the Home and Atlantic Waters, supported by depot ship Dido. With the departure of the "M class ships, the roster is again the same as in October/November.[19]

Serving in Home and Atlantic Waters
Light Cruiser
Undaunted
Second-in-Command
Miranda
Depot Ship
Dido
Destroyers
Laertes Laforey Lance Landrail Lark
Laurel Laverock Lawford Legion Lennox
Leonidas Liberty Linnet Llewellyn Lookout
Louis Loyal Lucifer Lydiard Lysander

April, 1915

The flotilla has been moved en masse to join the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla as part of the Harwich Striking Force, both flotillas sharing the depot ship Dido and under the command of Commodore (T) in light cruiser Arethusa. The roster is otherwise the same.[20]

Part of the Harwich Striking Force
Light Cruiser
Undaunted
Second-in-Command
Miranda
Depot Ship
Dido
Destroyers
Laertes Laforey Lance Landrail Lark
Laurel Laverock Lawford Legion Lennox
Leonidas Liberty Linnet Llewellyn Lookout
Louis Loyal Lucifer Lydiard Lysander

On 1 May, Lark, Leonidas, Laforey and Lawford sank two German coastal destroyers in the Battle off Noordhinder Bank.

This roster and tasking would last until June, 1915.[21]

June, 1915

The Flotilla remains under the command of Commodore (T) in light cruiser Arethusa. Miranda has been replaced as second-in-command and gone to the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla, replaced by Tipperary, which either just completed or bounced over from a very brief tenure with the Tenth.[22]

Part of the Harwich Force
Light Cruiser
Undaunted
Second-in-Command
Tipperary
Depot Ship
Dido
Destroyers
Laertes Laforey Lance Landrail Lark
Laurel Laverock Lawford Legion Lennox
Leonidas Liberty Linnet Llewellyn Lookout
Louis Loyal Lucifer Lydiard Lysander

This roster and tasking would last until October, 1915.[23][24][25]

October, 1915

The Flotilla has been renamed the Ninth Torpedo Flotilla. The Third Destroyer Flotilla would be reformed in March, 1918 to support the Grand Fleet.

March, 1918

A new flotilla is formed to screen the Grand Fleet, and is named the Third. Depot ship Leander is marked to join "shortly".[26]

Screening the Battle Fleet
Under Commodore (F) in Castor
Flotilla Leader
Nimrod
Depot Ship
Leander*
Destroyers
Magic Medway Mons Mystic

April, 1918

Depot ship Leander has now truly arrived. Talisman is now the leader, coming from the Eleventh Submarine Flotilla. Mons has gone to the Northern Division of the Coast of Ireland and Mounsey has arrived from the Eleventh Destroyer Flotilla.[27][28]

Screening the Battle Fleet
Under Commodore (F) in Castor
Leaders
Talisman Nimrod
Depot Ship
Leander
Destroyers
Magic Medway Mounsey Mystic

May, 1918

Nimrod is seemingly now the leader. All four destroyers have left for Second Destroyer Flotilla of the Northern Division of the Coast of Ireland, replaced by Menace and Onslaught from the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla. [29][30]

Screening the Battle Fleet
Under Commodore (F) in Castor
Leaders
Nimrod Talisman
Depot Ship
Leander
Destroyers
  Menace Onslaught

June, 1918

Screening the Grand Fleet, but apparently doing so with no warships at all this month. Depot ship is Leander, now bearing a Captain (D). Menace and Onslaught have returned to the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla, Nimrod has temporarily gone to the Third Destroyer Flotilla, and Talisman to the Fifteenth Destroyer Flotilla.[31]

Screening the Battle Fleet
Under Commodore (F) in Castor
Depot Ship
Leander, Captain (D)

July, 1918

The depot ship is now Woolwich, bearing a Captain (D). All ships that departed last month have returned, joined by Nessus and Noble from the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla. [32][33]

Screening the Battle Fleet
Under Commodore (F) in Castor
Leaders
Nimrod Talisman
Depot Ship
Woolwich, Captain (D)
Destroyers
Menace Nessus Noble Onslaught

August, 1918

Marvel, Napier and Nonsuch have joined from the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla.[34][35]

Screening the Battle Fleet
Under Commodore (F) in Castor
Leaders
Nimrod   Talisman
Depot Ship
Woolwich, Captain (D)
Destroyers
Marvel Menace Napier Nessus Noble Nonsuch Onslaught

This roster would last until sometime between September and November.

November, 1918

Maenad, Mameluke, Mischief, Munster and Petard have joined from the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla, Maenad being paid off and Mischief and Munster still being on loan back to the Twelfth. Nessus has been lost in a collision in September. Lastly, Lawford, Nizam, Norseman, Oracle, Oriana and Orpheus are on loan from the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla, but remain attached there for administrative purposes.[36]

Screening the Battle Fleet
Under Commodore (F) in Castor
Leaders
Nimrod Talisman
Depot Ship
Woolwich, Captain (D)
Destroyers
Maenad* Mameluke Marvel Menace Mischief Munster
Napier Noble Nonsuch Onslaught Petard

December, 1918

Ophelia has joined from the Fourteenth Destroyer Flotilla. No ships are paid off or on loan.[37][38]

Screening the Battle Fleet
Under Commodore (F) in Castor
Leaders
Nimrod Talisman
Depot Ship
Woolwich, Captain (D)
Destroyers
Maenad Mameluke Marvel Menace Mischief Munster
Napier Noble Nonsuch Onslaught Ophelia Petard

This roster would apply until March, 1919.[39][40]

March, 1919

A great post-war reorganisation of destroyers has entirely changed the Flotilla's fighting ships, giving it sixteen new "S", "V" and "W" class destroyers. The flotilla is supporting the Battle Fleet.

The Captain (D) is now in the flotilla leader Campbell (coming in from the Fifteenth Destroyer Flotilla) and not in Woolwich, although that ship remains the depot vessel. Vampire has come from the Fourteenth Destroyer Flotilla with the four "S" class destroyers Tactician, Tara, Tintagel and Trojan to become the second-in-command. Valkyrie, Vendetta, Verdun, Viceroy, Wakeful, Whitley, Woolston and Wrestler have come from the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla, Valhalla, Vivien, Winchester and Wolsey from the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla.

The fourteen previous warships have been sent to various destinations: Nimrod remained in commission, tender to Woolwich. Napier paid off. Talisman, Menace and Petard were sent to the Nore, Munster, Onslaught and Ophelia to Portsmouth, Mameluke, Mischief and Noble were placed in reserve in Devonport, and Maenad, Marvel and Nonsuch went to Devonport to provide miscellaneous service. [41][42]

Screening the Battle Fleet
Under Commodore (F) in Castor
Flag Ship, Captain (D)
Campbell
Second-in-Command
Vampire
Depot Ship
Woolwich
Destroyers
Tactician Tara Tintagel Trojan Valkyrie Valhalla
Vendetta Verdun Viceroy Vivien Whitley Wrestler
  Woolston Wolsey Wakeful Winchester

This roster would last until May.[43]

May, 1919

The Flotilla is now one of three supporting the Atlantic Fleet. Captain (D) is now temporarily in Woolwich and Tintagel has been detached to the Nore. Vampire and Valhalla have swapped roles, and Venom has joined.[44]

Screening the Battle Fleet
Under Commodore (F) in Castor
Leaders
Campbell Valhalla
Depot Ship, Captain (D)
Woolwich*
Destroyers
Tactician Tara Trojan Valkyrie Vampire Vendetta
Venom Verdun Viceroy Vivien Wakeful Whitley
  Winchester Wolsey Woolston Wrestler

This roster would apply until June.[45]

June, 1919

Captain (D) is still temporarily in Woolwich. It is noted that Mackay will be arriving "shortly" and that Valhalla will be joining the Devonport Reserve when Mackay arrives. Tara has left to go into reserve and the newly commissioned Whitshed has joined while Venom has been renamed as Venomous.[46]

Screening the Battle Fleet
Under Commodore (F) in Castor
Leaders
Campbell Valhalla* Mackay*
Depot Ship, Captain (D)
Woolwich*
Destroyers
Tactician Trojan Valkyrie Vampire Vendetta Venomous
Verdun Viceroy Vivien Wakeful Whitley Whitshed
  Winchester Wolsey Woolston Wrestler

July, 1919

Woolwich is detached temporarily, and Captain (D) is in Campbell, which is tender to Greenwich, one of two depot ships making up for the absent Woolwich. Valhalla is dropped although her replacement is still only expected "shortly". Trojan is to be relieved by Verity "shortly".[47]

Screening the Battle Fleet
Under Commodore (F) in Castor
Flagship, Captain (D)
Campbell
Flotilla Leader, to arrive "shortly"
Mackay*
Depot Ship, detached temporarily
Woolwich
Destroyers, tenders to Columbine
Tactician Trojan* Valkyrie Venomous Verdun
Viceroy Vivien Whitley Whitshed Winchester Wolsey
Destroyers, tenders to Greenwich
Vampire Vendetta Wakeful Woolston Wrestler

Captains (D)

Dates of appointment given:

Footnotes

  1. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Wednesday, 20 April, 1910. Issue 39251, col A, p. 9.
  2. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 15.
  3. March. British Destroyers. p. 141.
  4. March. British Destroyers. p. 164.
  5. March. British Destroyers. p. 141.
  6. Grand Fleet Conferences, 1914. p. 218.
  7. Grand Fleet Conferences, 1914. p. 104.
  8. The Navy List. (April, 1910). p. 269a.
  9. March. British Destroyers. p. 160.
  10. Smith. Hard Lying. pp. 108-9.
  11. "Naval And Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Oct 21, 1913; pg. 15; Issue 40348.
  12. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 109 of 10 July 1914.
  13. See Southern Force (Royal Navy)
  14. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (September 1914). p. 11.
  15. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (October, 1914). p. 11.
  16. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (December, 1914). p. 11.
  17. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (December, 1914). p. 11.
  18. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (January, 1915). p. 11.
  19. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1915). p. 11.
  20. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (April, 1915). p. 13.
  21. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1915). p. 13.
  22. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (June, 1915). p. 13.
  23. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1915). p. 13.
  24. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (August, 1915). p. 13.
  25. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (September, 1915). p. 13.
  26. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1918). p. 12.
  27. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (April, 1918). pp. 12, 18.
  28. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1918). p. 12.
  29. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1918). pp. 12, 18.
  30. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (April, 1918). p. 12.
  31. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (June, 1918). p. 12.
  32. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1918). p. 12.
  33. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (June, 1918). p. 12.
  34. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (August, 1918). p. 12.
  35. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1918). p. 12.
  36. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (November, 1918). pp. 12, 17.
  37. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (December, 1918). p. 12.
  38. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (November, 1918). p. 12.
  39. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (January, 1919). p. 12.
  40. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 12.
  41. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1919). pp. 11, 17-19, 21.
  42. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (February, 1919). p. 12.
  43. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (April, 1919). p. 12.
  44. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1919). pp. 11, 16.
  45. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1919). p. 11.
  46. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (June, 1919). pp. 11, 16.
  47. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1919). pp. 11.
  48. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Wednesday, 2 June, 1909. Issue 38975, col B, p. 9.
  49. Arbuthnot Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 202.
  50. Arbuthnot Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 202.
  51. Carey Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/201. f. 216.
  52. "Naval and Military Intelligence" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Friday, 26 July, 1912. Issue 39961, col C, p. 12.
  53. Carey Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/201. f. 216.
  54. Fox Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/320. f. 320.
  55. "Movements of Ships" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Friday, 28 March, 1913. Issue 40171, col E, p. 6.
  56. Fox Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/320. f. 320.
  57. St. John Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43/83. f. 90.
  58. The Navy List. (October, 1915). p. 398s.
  59. Sulivan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/250. f. 283.
  60. The Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 395a.
  61. Sulivan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/250. f. 283.
  62. Rowley-Conway Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/83. ff. 83, 232.
  63. Rowley-Conway Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/83. ff. 83, 232.
  64. Buller Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/465. f. 538.
  65. The Navy List. (January, 1921). p. 740.
  66. Buller Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/465. f. 538.
  67. Rose Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45/14. f. 14.
  68. The Navy List. (January, 1923). p. 732.
  69. Rose Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45/14. f. 14.
  70. Walwyn Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45/24. f. 24.
  71. Walwyn Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45/24. f. 24.
  72. Hodgson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/124. f. 124.
  73. The Navy List. (January, 1923). p. 729.
  74. Hodgson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/46/124. f. 124.
  75. The Navy List. (July, 1924). p. 272.
  76. Moir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45/232. f. 236.
  77. Moir Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45/232. f. 236.
  78. Ramsey Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47. f. 327.
  79. Ramsey Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/47. f. 327.
  80. The Navy List. (July, 1931). p. 214.

Bibliography

  • March, Edgar J. (1966). British Destroyers: A History of Development, 1892-1953. London: Seeley Service & Co. Limited. (on Bookfinder.com).
  • Dittmar, F.J.; Colledge, J.J. (1972). British Warships 1914–1919. London: Ian Allan.

See Also


British Destroyer Flotillas
First | Second | Third | Fourth | Fifth | Sixth | Seventh | Eighth | Ninth | Tenth
Eleventh | Twelfth | Thirteenth | Fourteenth | Fifteenth | Seventeenth | Nineteenth
Twentieth | Twenty-first
Local Defence Flotillas
Clyde | Devonport | Devonport & Falmouth | Falmouth | Firth of Forth | Gibraltar
Liverpool | Mersey | Newhaven | Nore | North Channel | Milford & Pembroke | Pembroke
Portland | Portsmouth | Queenstown