HMS Lassoo (1915)

HMS Lassoo (1915) was a Laforey class destroyer ordered under the Second War Emergency Programme that served at Harwich from October 1915 until 13 August 1916 when she was sunk by a German torpedo fired by UB-10.

The Lassoo was one of two L class destroyers ordered in November 1914 as part of the Second War Emergency Programme. She was laid down on 24 January 1915, launched on 24 August 1915 and commissioned on 11 October 1915. She joined her sister ships at Harwich, where they formed the newly renumbered Ninth Destroyer Flotilla (Third Flotilla until the month before).

At the end of October 1915 the Lance, Lysander, Laurel, Lassoo and Loyal took part in a sweep across the German Bight led by Commodore Tyrwhitt. No German ships were spotted during the sweep, and the force returned to Harwich on the afternoon of 1 November.


In January 1916 she was one of eighteen L class destroyers in the Ninth Flotilla at Harwich, but was one of a number of ships from the flotilla that were on escort duty at Devonport. The Ninth was essentially the old Third Flotilla given a new number. The flotilla was filled out with the flotilla leader HMS Lightfoot, the light cruiser HMS Undaunted and the depot ship HMS Dido.

On 25 March 1916 she took part in a failed attempt to bomb the German base on Sylt Island. On the morning of the 25th the destroyer Medusa was rammed by the Laverock, and had to be taken under tow by the flotilla leader HMS Lightfoot. However after five hours, as the light began to fade, it became clear that the Medusa couldn’t reach home without endangering her escorts. The Lassoo was given the task of taking off her crew. She rammed the Medusa in the forecastle, then kept her power on to keep the two ships in contact, and Lieutenant-Commander Butler, CO of the Lassoo was awarded the D.S.O. for the successful rescue. She was then detached from the force and ordered to make directly for Harwich.

Early on 24 April two divisions of destroyers (Loyal, Laertes, Linnet, Lochinvar, Legion, Lassoo, Miranda and Lysander) led by the cruiser Nimrod left Harwich in response to the German raid on Lowestoft. They moved north along the coast and joined Commodore Tyrwhitt at about 3.20. Half an hour later the German raiding force came into view, with at least four battlecruisers and six light cruisers. Tyrwhitt’s response was to head south at full speed in an attempt to draw the Germans into a chase. They ignored him, and instead soon opened fire on Lowestoft. Tyrwhitt turned back north to keep in touch with the Germans, although his force of three light cruisers and eighteen destroyers wasn’t powerful enough to risk an attack on the Germans. The German light cruisers then moved south and came into range, but withdrew after the British opened fire. The German battlecruisers responded by ending their bombardment and heading south to support their light cruisers. At 4.37am the light cruisers briefly opened fire at very long range. The British returned fire, but at 4.45 the German battlecruisers reached the scene and opened fire. The light cruiser Conquest was hit and damaged, and the Laertes was hit by fragments from a near miss. The destroyers were ordered to head south away from the action then scatter and make smoke. At this point the Germans had a real chance to destroy the Harwich Force, but their battlecruisers turned away after ten minutes and retired to the east. The light cruisers attempted to follow them, but this effectively ended the destroyer’s part in the fighting.  

On 13 August 1916 the Lance, Lassoo, Lennox and Laverock were escorting a convoy of seven ships to the Netherlands. At about 5.37am the Lassoo, which was leading the group, was torpedoed by UB-10 when about ten miles to the west of the Maas Light Vessel. Four men were killed in the initial explosion. At first there was some hope that part of the ship might be saved, and the Lance attempted to save the forward part of the ship, while the Lennox and Laverock circled around to protect against further attack. However at 6.15am the Lassoo broke in half and sank, causing another of the six recorded fatalities.

War Service
October 1915-13 August 1916: 9th Flotilla, Harwich

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

29 knots


2-shaft Parsons turbines
4 Yarrow boilers




268ft 10in oa


27ft 8in


Three 4in/ 45 cal QF Mk IV guns
1 0.303in Maxim Machine Gun
Four 21in torpedo tubes with four torpedoes

Crew complement


Laid down

24 January 1915


24 August 1915


11 October 1915


13 August 1916

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 (21 July 2022), HMS Lassoo (1915) ,

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