Twentieth Destroyer Flotilla (Royal Navy)

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The Twentieth Destroyer Flotilla was a formation of destroyers of the Royal Navy created in 1918. Its leaders and many of its destroyers were set up to act as fast minelayers.

In Command

History

March, 1918

The flotilla appears for the first time in the Navy List, working alongside the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla out of the Humber, answering to East Coast Forces.

Abdiel has come as flotilla leader, having previously been attached directly to the Grand Fleet.

Destroyers Ariel, Ferret, Legion and Sandfly had already been working out of the Humber as minelayers. The last two are paid off this month.

Tarpon has joined, having been off the Navy List for some reason since August 1917. Less mysterious are Telemachus and Venturous, who have joined from the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla.

The Twentieth is born, then, of a flotilla leader and seven destroyers of various classes.[5][6]

Attached to East Coast Forces out of the Humber
Flotilla Leader
Abdiel
Destroyers, tenders to Wallington
Ariel Ferret Legion* Sandfly* Tarpon Telemachus
Venturous

April, 1918

No change in roster, but Legion and Sandfly are no longer paid off.

The Twentieth is a flotilla leader and seven destroyers of various classes.[7]

Attached to East Coast Forces out of the Humber
Flotilla Leader
Abdiel
Destroyers, tenders to Wallington
Ariel Ferret Legion Sandfly Tarpon Telemachus
Venturous

This arrangement would apply until June.[8]

June, 1918

Vanoc, Vanquisher, Vehement arrive from the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla along with Venturous, recently of that same formation. The diverse classes in the Twentieth now obligates an explicit organization of the flotilla into a fast and a slow division.

The Twentieth is a flotilla leader and eleven destroyers of various classes.[9]

Attached to East Coast Forces out of the Humber
Flotilla Leader
Abdiel
Fast Division, tenders to Wallington
Tarpon Telemachus Vanoc Vanquisher Vehement Venturous
Venturous
Slow Division, tenders to Wallington
  Ariel Ferret Legion Sandfly

July, 1918

Depot ship Leander arrives, and the flotilla's destroyers are now tenders to her. Abdiel has embarked a Captain (D) and Gabriel has arrived from the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla to lead up the Slow Division.

The Twentieth is two flotilla leaders, a depot ship and ten destroyers of various classes.[10]

Attached to East Coast Forces out of the Humber
Flotilla Leader, Captain (D)
Abdiel
Flotilla Leader, Slow Division
Gabriel
Depot Ship
Leander
Fast Division
Tarpon Telemachus Vanoc Vanquisher Vehement Venturous
Slow Division
  Ariel Ferret Legion Sandfly

August, 1918

Ariel and Vehement have been dropped, lost to mines on the night of 1 August.[11][12]

The Twentieth is two flotilla leaders, a depot ship and eight destroyers of various classes.[13]

Attached to East Coast Forces out of the Humber
Flotilla Leader, Captain (D)
Abdiel
Flotilla Leader, Slow Division
Gabriel
Depot Ship
Leander
Fast Division
Tarpon Telemachus Vanoc Vanquisher Venturous
Slow Division
Ferret Legion Sandfly

This roster would apply until some time between September and November.[14]

November, 1918

By November 1918, the entire flotilla and their leaders had been equipped to lay mines, the leaders carrying up to 66 mines and destroyers 38 or 44. The torpedo tubes and guns removed when the mines were shipped could be placed back aboard with sufficient advance notice.[15]

Prince has joined the Slow Division, coming from the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla.

The Twentieth is two flotilla leaders, a depot ship and nine destroyers of various classes.[16]

Attached to East Coast Forces out of the Humber
Flotilla Leader, Captain (D)
Abdiel
Flotilla Leader, Slow Division
Gabriel
Depot Ship
Leander
Fast Division
Tarpon Telemachus Vanoc Vanquisher Venturous
Slow Division
  Ferret Legion Prince Sandfly

December, 1918

Vittoria has joined the Fast Division, coming from the Eleventh Destroyer Flotilla.

The Twentieth is two flotilla leaders, a depot ship and eleven destroyers of various classes.[17]

Attached to East Coast Forces out of the Humber
Flotilla Leader, Captain (D)
Abdiel
Flotilla Leader, Slow Division
Gabriel
Depot Ship
Leander
Fast Division
Tarpon Telemachus Vanoc Vanquisher Venturous Vittoria
Venturous
Slow Division
  Ferret Legion Prince Sandfly

This roster would apply until March, 1919.[18]

March, 1919

Surprisingly, the understrength flotilla survives the winnowing of destroyer formations that signals a change to the post-war Royal Navy, albeit by shedding the Slow Division. It is attached to the Grand Fleet.

Ferret and Legion are still in the Humber, seemingly not affiliated with a formation but thankfully none of the twenty "Tribals" there scheduled "for disposal".

Prince and Sandfly have gone to Devonport in Reserve.

The new Twentieth is two flotilla leaders, a depot ship and six "R" and "V" class destroyers.[19]

Attached to the Grand Fleet
Flotilla Leader, Captain (D)
Abdiel
Flotilla Leader, Slow Division
Gabriel
Depot Ship
Leander
Destroyers
Tarpon Telemachus Vanoc Vanquisher Venturous Vittoria

This arrangement would last until May.[20]

May, 1919

The roster is unchanged, but the flotilla is now part of Home Fleet.

The new Twentieth is two flotilla leaders, a depot ship and six "R" and "V" class destroyers.[21]

Attached to Home Fleet
Flotilla Leader, Captain (D)
Abdiel
Flotilla Leader, Slow Division
Gabriel
Depot Ship
Leander
Destroyers
Tarpon Telemachus Vanoc Vanquisher Venturous Vittoria

This arrangement would apply until at least July, 1919, at which point my supply of Navy Lists runs dry.

Footnotes

  1. Curtis Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/262. f. 262.
  2. Curtis Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/262. f. 262.
  3. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/141. f. 140.
  4. Archer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/53/141. f. 140.
  5. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1918). p. 15.
  6. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (February, 1918). p. 10, 12, 16.
  7. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (April, 1918). p. 15.
  8. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1918). p. 15, and Supplements through June.
  9. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (June, 1918). p. 15.
  10. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1918). p. 15.
  11. Dittmar; Colledge. British Warships 1914–1919. p. 62.
  12. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 83.
  13. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (August, 1918). p. 15.
  14. No Supplements for September or October were found.
  15. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, Mining Appendix, 1917-18. p. 11, Plate 7.
  16. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (August, 1918). p. 15.
  17. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (August, 1918). p. 15.
  18. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (January, 1919). p. 15, and Supplements through March.
  19. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (March, 1919). pp. 11, 15, 19.
  20. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (April, 1919). p. 11, and May's Supplement.
  21. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1919). p. 12.

Bibliography

  • 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