HMS Mosquito (1910)

HMS Mosquito (1910) was a Beagle class destroyer that spent most of the First World War in the Mediterranean, where she took part in the Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns. She returned to home waters late in 1917 to carry out anti-submarine and convoy escort duties.

In August 1910 it was announced that the Harpy, Scorpion and Mosquito were all to join the First Flotilla, at Harwich.

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.

On 19 November 1912 the Mosquito lost one of her 21in torpedoes in the waters off Harwich. The Admiralty put up a £5 reward for its return.

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

War Service

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.

On 27 July 1914 she was part of the Second Division of the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla (Foxhound, Racoon, Mosquito and Basilisk). This squadron was split between Alexandria, Malta and Durazzo, and the Mosquito and Basilisk were at Alexandria.

HMS Mosquito from the left HMS Mosquito from the left

In August 1914 she was part of the 2nd Division of the Fifth Flotilla, which still contained all of the G Class destroyers, and was based at Malta

By 9 August nine of the Beagles – Scorpion, Wolverine, Basilisk, Racoon, Renard, Beagle, Scourge, Mosquito and Foxhound were at Zante, off the north-west coast of Greece, partly because of an erroneous message that Britain was at war with Austria and partly to try and intercept the German cruisers Goeben and Breslau. They took on coal, and continued to operate around the entrance to the Adriatic, but by this point the Germans had already slipped away to the east, and soon entered the Dardanelles.

On 21 August she was one of four destroyers (Foxhound, Mosquito, Racoon and Basilisk) that arrived at Port Said from Malta to help protect the Suez Canal. On 10 November the Foxhound and the Mosquito were ordered to move to Port Sudan, to protect an isolated British garrison.

On 3 October she left Port Sudan to escort the 1st Suffolk Regiment as it returned home from Khartoum. The Mosquito escorted them to Alexandria, then the Racoon took over to escort them to Malta.

By November it had been decided to replace the Beagle class destroyers with seven River class destroyers from the China station, so that the Beagles could return to home waters. The first step was to move the six Beagle class destroyers in Egyptian waters to the Dardanelles, to allow eight destroyers from the Dardanelles to return home. The Racoon, Basilisk, Savage and Scourge left Port Said on 19 November, followed by the Foxhound and Mosquito on 21 November, all heading for Tenedos, the British supply base just to the south of the Dardanelles.

Not all of the Beagles came home. The January 1918 Navy List lists eight of them – Basilisk, Grampus, Grasshopper, Mosquito, Racoon, Renard, Scorpion and Wolverine – as ‘Ships Joining Squadrons’, attached to the destroyer depot ship HMS Blenheim, which was based in the Mediterranean. By March 1918 all eight had returned to the Fifth Destroyer Squadron. In January that flotilla had contained the seven River class destroyers from the China station.

Dardanelles and Gallipoli

The Mosquito took part in the naval attempt to force the Dardanelles and the land battles at Gallipoli.

On the night of 1-2 March 1915 the Basilisk, Grasshopper, Racoon and Mosquito supported the trawlers attempting to sweep the Turkish minefields in the Dardanelles. The trawlers came under fire, and the destroyers had to dash into action to help their escape.

On 18 March 1915 the fleets made one final attempt to force their way past the Turkish defences of the straits, but with disastrous results. Three battleships were lost and others badly damaged. The Basilisk, Racoon and four River class boats came under heavy fire during the rescue operations after the battleships were damaged.

On 25 April she acted as a mine sweeper off Anzac Cove, at the start of the Gallipoli campaign. She was hit by Turkish gunfire, and her first lieutenant was killed.

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.

The Basilisk was awarded one battle honour, for the Dardanelles 1915.

Mediterranean 1916-1917

In January 1916 she was undergoing a refit at Belfast, expected to end on 6 February.

In October 1916 she was one of thirty two destroyers in the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla of the Mediterranean Fleet, which now contained fifteen G class destroyers (the Scourge wasn’t listed),

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 Service 1917-1918

Late in 1917 there was a change in the use of the G class ships, and most of them were called home to serve with the Second Destroyer Flotilla at Londonderry. The Mosquito wasn’t one of the first few to arrive, but was one of nine that were with the flotilla by November 1917. By December that had risen to ten. The Mosquito was still listed as part of the flotilla in March 1918, but she had been paid off. Her new role was a mix of anti-submarine patrols and convoy escort duties.

At some point between March and June 1918 all of the G class destroyers that had been in Ireland were moved to join the large Fourth Destroyer Flotilla at Devonport, which contained around fifth destroyers of various types. The Pincher was lost on 24 July 1918, leaving nine at Devonport in August.

In November 1918 she was one of forty destroyers from the Patrol and Escort Forces that were based at Devonport. By this point some of the G-class ships had moved back to Ireland, leaving seven at Devonport (Bulldog, Grasshopper, Harpy, Mosquito, Savage, Scorpion and Scourge).

The Basilisk was one of only three members of the class (Basilisk, Foxhound and Mosquito) to end the war with both of her torpedo tubes. The other members of the class had lost the rear tube and gun to make space for more depth charges. Presumably her late return from the Mediterranean explains why she wasn’t modified in the same way.

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-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

22 April 1909

Launched

27 January 1910

Completed

August 1910

Sold for break up

August 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 (24 September 2020), HMS Mosquito (1910) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Mosquito_1910.html

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