HMS Bulldog (1909)

HMS Bulldog (1909) was a Beagle class destroyer that spent most of the First World War in the Mediterranean, taking part in the Gallipoli campaign. She also briefly returned to home waters over the winter of 1914-15 to escort troop ships to France, and permanently late in 1917 to join the Second Destroyer Flotilla in Ireland.

HMS Bulldog from the left HMS Bulldog from the left

After entering service the Beagle class destroyers joined the First Destroyer Flotilla, and were part of that unit until the autumn of 1911. At the time the Navy was planning to form a new Seventh Destroyer Flotilla, and there may have been some thought of filling it with the Beagles. The Seventh Flotilla was formed in November 1911, so it is possible that the Beagles were briefly part of it, before moving to the Third Flotilla early in 1912. 

In 1912-1913 all sixteen of them were part of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, part of the First Fleet.

Late in 1913 the entire class moved to the Mediterranean, where they formed the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla.

In July 1914 she was one of sixteen destroyers in the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla, then part of the Mediterranean Fleet. At this point the flotilla contained all sixteen Beagle or G Class Destroyers.

War Service

On 27 July 1914 she was part of the Third Division of the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla (Beagle, Bulldog, Harpy and Grasshopper) and was at Alexandria.

In August 1914 she was part of the 3rd Division of the Fifth Flotilla, which still contained all of the G Class destroyers, and was based at Malta

On 3 August the division was briefly ordered to join the cruiser Black Prince and reinforce the squadron at the mouth of the Adriatic, but the order was cancelled because it wasn’t possible to ensure they would have enough coal.

On 6 August the Dublin, Beagle and Bulldog left Malta to join the hunt for the German cruisers Goeben and Breslau. At about 1am on 7 August the small flotilla found one of the German cruisers, possibly the Breslau, but they were unable to get close enough to attack. The Bulldog then joined the force watching the Adriatic from Zante, made up of the 1st and 2nd Divisions of the Fifth Flotilla, plus the Bulldog and Beagle.

Home Waters 1915-16

In November 1914 it was decided to move the Beagle class destroyers back to home waters to help protect the shipping routes between Britain and France. On 17 November the Beagle, Bulldog, Pincher and Rattlesnake were ordered home. They arrived at Plymouth on 29 November and were sent on to Portsmouth, with orders to protect the transport route and patrol the Channel.

By February 1915 eight of the Beagle class destroyers were based at Portsmouth (Beagle, Bulldog, Foxhound, Harpy, Pincher, Rattlesnake, Savage and Scourge) and were kept very busy escorting troop ships to France

In March it was decided to replace the Beagles with a similar number of River class destroyers. On 26 March the Beagle class destroyers were ordered to move to the Dardanelles as soon as they had been replaced, and the change was made by the end of the month.

Gallipoli

On 25 April 1915 the Beagle, Bulldog, Foxhound and Scourge were part of the Second Squadron, which supported the landings at Anzac Cove at the start of the Gallipoli campaign.

On the night of 12-13 May 1915 she was one of five G class destroyers (Beagle, Bulldog, Pincher, Scorpion and Wolverine) that were on guard duty off the Dardanelles when the Turkish destroyer Muavenet-i-Miliet managed to slip out and torpedo the battleship Goliath, which sank after being hit by three torpedoes. The Turkish destroyer managed to slip past the Beagle and Bulldog on her way out of the straits.

 

In June 1915 she was one of twenty one destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean, which now contained all sixteen G Class destroyers and five River class boats.

On 28 June 1915 she was one of four destroyers that shielded the Talbot as it bombarded Turkish positions during the Allied attack on Gully Ravine (Beagle, Bulldog, Basilisk and Racoon).

On 6-7 August 1915 she was one of three destroyers (Beagle, Bulldog and Grampus) that supported the disastrous landings at Suvla Bay. Before the landings Brigade-General W. H. Sitwell, commander of the 34th Brigade, was onboard. The landings didn’t go well, and the troops onboard hadn’t been landed until 2.30am on 7 August.

On 8-9 January 1916 she took part in the last stage of the retreat from Gallipoli, helping to pick up the some of the last troops from Helles

The Bulldog was awarded one battle honour, for the Dardanelles 1915-16.

Mediterranean 1916-1917

In January 1916 she was one of eight G Class destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean, where she was serving alongside a mix of other types

On 16 April 1916 the Bulldog hit a mine and was damaged while operating off Gallipoli. Seven of her crew were killed.

In October 1916 she was one of thirty two destroyers in the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla of the Mediterranean Fleet, which now contained the entire class.

In January 1917 she was one of twenty nine destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean, along with the entire G class.

In June 1917 she was one of twenty nine destroyers in the Mediterranean, along with the entire G class

Home Waters 1917-1918

Late in 1917 there was a change in the use of the G class ships, as some of them were recalled to home waters to join the Second Destroyer Flotilla at Buncrana, west of Londonderry. The Bulldog wasn’t one of the first group to arrive, which were in place by October 1917, but she had moved to Ireland by November. She was listed with the Second Destroyer Flotilla from then until March 1918. Her new role was a mix of anti-submarine patrols and convoy escort duties.

By the June 1918 Navy List she was part of the large Fourth Destroyer Flotilla at Devonport, which contained around fifth destroyers of various types, including ten of the G class destroyers. She remained part of the Flotilla for the rest of the war, and in November 1918 she was one of forty destroyers from the Patrol and Escort Forces based at Devonport.

By the end of the war the home based Beagles were allocated two depth charge throwers and thirty depth charges, surrendering their aft gun and torpedo tube to make space.

In November 1919 she was in the Reserve at the Nore, in the hands of a care & maintenance party.

Career Summary
First Destroyer Flotilla: 1910-1011
Third Destroyer Flotilla, First Fleet: May 1912-October 1913
Fifth Destroyer Flotilla, Mediterranean: November 1913-November 1914
Portsmouth Escort Flotilla: November 1914-March 1915
Fifth Destroyer Flotilla, Mediterranean: March 1915-October 1917-
Second Destroyer Flotilla, Buncrana, Ireland: November 1917-March 1918-
Fourth Destroyer Flotilla, Devonport: -June-November 1918-

Displacement (standard)

945t (average)

Displacement (loaded)

1,100t

Top Speed

27 knots

Engine

3-shaft Parsons turbines
5 Yarrow boilers (most ships)

Range

 

Length

263ft 11.25in pp

Width

26ft 10in

Armaments

One 4in/ 45cal QF Mk VIII gun
Three 12-pounder/ 12cwt guns
Two 21in torpedo tubes with four torpedoes

Crew complement

96

Laid down

30 March 1910

Launched

13 November 1909

Completed

7 July 1910

Sold for break up

September 1920

British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War, Norman Friedman. A very detailed look at the design of British destroyers from their earliest roots as torpedo boat destroyers, though the First World War and up to the start of the Second World War, supported by vast numbers of plans and well chosen photographs [read full review]
cover cover cover

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 August 2020), HMS Bulldog (1909) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Bulldog_1909.html

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