HMS Lynx (1913)

HMS Lynx (1913) was an Acasta class destroyer that served with the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, fighting against the Yorkshire coast raid of 1914 before being sunk by a mine off the Moray Firth on 9 August 1915.

The Lynx was laid down at L&G on 18 January 1912, launched on 20 March 1913 and commissioned in January 1914. When the Acasta class became the K Class the new name Koodoo was chosen for her, but it was never used.

HMS Lynx from the right HMS Lynx from the right

In July 1914 she was one of twenty destroyers in the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla of the First Fleet, which contained the most modern battleships. The flotilla contained all twenty Acasta or K Class destroyers.

In August 1914 she was one of twenty K destroyers in the Fourth Flotilla of what was becoming the Grand Fleet. At the outbreak of war all but the Porpoise were at sea. Over the next two years five members of the class were sunk, while the surviving members of the class remained with the Flotilla into July 1916.

In November 1914 all twenty K class destroyers were in the Fourth Flotilla, part of the Grand Fleet. She had been equipped with a submarine sweep.

On 24 November the British attempted to raid a possible Zeppelin base at Cuxhaven, in the hope of drawing out the High Seas Fleet. The Hardy, Lynx, Midge and Owl were part of the fleet that ventured into the Heligoland Bight, but the operation had to be abandoned when a force of German cruisers entered the area the seaplanes would have had to launch from. 

When the Germans raided the Yorkshire Coast in December 1914 the Lynx was one of seven Acasta class destroyers that were with Admiral Warrender’s 2nd Battle Squadron when it was sent out to try and intercept them. During the night of 15-16 December the destroyers were posted ten miles to the port of the battle squadron, with orders to close in on them at daylight. The Acasta was leading the 1st Division of the Fourth Flotilla during this sortie..

At about 5.15am the Lynx spotted an unknown destroyer to her port. She issued the identification challenge, but the destroyer answered wrongly, so the Lynx turned to port and opened fire. The German destroyer retreated north, with the British in pursuit. Shortly into the chase the Lynx was hit by two shells, which jammed her steering and flooded her forward magazine, and she swung further to port. The rest of the destroyers appear to have followed her, and soon the original target was out sight.

The Lynx then turned to the south-west in order to get closer to the battle squadron, but only three minutes later a light cruiser was sighted. The cruiser turned on her recognition lights, which identified her as German. The Hardy and Shark, third and fourth in the line, opened fire on the cruiser which fired back. The two destroyers were forced to alter course to avoid suffering too much damage, and the rest of the flotilla followed. Lynx and Unity, at the front, didn’t come under fire, and continued on their original course, so were soon out of sight of the rest of the flotilla and of the German cruiser.

Soon after 6 the noise of gunfire to the rear ended, and the Lynx heard a transmission from the damaged Ambuscade asking for help. The Unity was detached to try and help her, but at first her way was blocked by a German cruiser. At this point the Lynx ran into three more German cruisers, who challenged her. Luckily her signallers were able to repeat the signal the original destroyer had made and this convinced the Germans that she was friendly and they steamed off to the east.

HMS Lynx from the right HMS Lynx from the right

By daybreak the Lynx was alone, and apparently damaged. The Unity soon returned, and escorted her out of the danger area. The Lynx then heading back to port, while the Unity went to escort the Ambuscade back to Leith.  

The clash had been with the light cruiser Hamburg and several of the German destroyers, which were part of the screen for Admiral von Ingenohl and the High Seas Fleet, which were there to protect the forces actually carrying out the raid. News of the clash with British destroyers convinced von Ingenohl to withdraw, as part of his orders were not to risk losses

On 8 August 1915 Admiral Jellicoe was at Cromarty to meet with the Prime Minister and Chancellor when a U-boat attacked the steamer Glenravel off Kinnaird Head. Jellicoe ordered four destroyers from the 4th Flotilla sent out to hunt for the U-boat. However a new minefield was then discovered in the Moray Firth (after the Lynx saw an explosion), so all destroyers apart from the Lynx and Midge were recalled to search for mines. The submarine escaped from the area.

The Lynx wasn’t so lucky. At 6.10am on 9 August she struck a mine that had been laid by the Meteor off the Moray Firth. The bridge area was destroyed and her back was broken. The front part sank almost immediately, and the stern area ten minute later. All but 24 of her crew were lost, and they were adrift for three hours before they were picked up.

War Service
August 1914-9 August 1915: 4th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
9 August 1915: Sunk by mine

Displacement (standard)

1,072t

Displacement (loaded)

1,300t

Top Speed

29 knots

Engine

2-shaft Parsons turbines
4 Yarrow boilers
24,500shp

Range

 

Length

267ft 6in

Width

27ft

Armaments

Three 4in/ 45cal BL Mk VIII
Two 21in torpedo tubes with four torpedoes

Crew complement

73

Laid down

18 January 1912

Launched

20 March 1913

Completed

January 1914

Mined

9 August 1915

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 (3 March 2022), HMS Lynx (1913) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Lynx_1913.html

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