HMS Nestor (1915)

HMS Nestor (1915) was a repeat M class destroyer that was sunk by German battleships during the battle of Jutland, after taking damage in an early attack on the German battlecruisers.

The Nestor was ordered as part of the Third War Programme of late November 1914. She was laid down at Hunters, launched on 9 October 1915 and completed on 22 December 1915.

The Nestor served with the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet in May 1916.


On the eve of Jutland the Nestor was with the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla that was part of Admiral Beatty’s battle cruiser fleet. That fleet put to sea late on 30 May, and moved towards a rendezvous position about seventy miles to the south of the main Grand Fleet.

During the advance east across the North Sea the destroyers were used to guard the flanks of the battle cruiser fleet, while the light cruisers advanced ahead of the fleet. At 2.25pm on 31 May, just after the first contact between Beatty’s cruisers and the German cruisers, the destroyers were ordered to form an anti-submarine screen heading S.S.E. He then followed with his capital ships, in the hope of cutting off the retreat of the German cruisers that had been spotted. The German battlecruisers turned south, and retreated towards the main High Seas Fleet.

At about 4pm, during the chase south, Beatty signalled to the Thirteenth Flotilla that ‘it seemed a good opportunity to attack’. The flotilla turned east, and attempted to get into position to fire its torpedoes. While this was happening, the first of the British battlecruisers was lost, when HMS Indefatigable exploded and sank after being hit by the Von der Tann.

The flotilla commander, in the cruiser Champion, gave the order to attack at 4.15. The first five destroyers (Nestor, Nomad, Nicator, Pelican and Narborough) were able to pass in front of the British line at about 4.20 and turned towards the Germans. They were joined by Turbulent, Termagant, Morris and Moorsom from the Ninth and Tenth Flotillas. German destroyers came out at the same time, originally with the aim of attacking the fast battleships of the British Fifth Battle Squadron. The result was a rather confused melee, in which the German destroyers V-27 and V-29 were sunk, but the Nomad was crippled. The Nestor had been able to fire her torpedoes towards the larger German ships, but they turned away just as she fired, and both missed. She turned east to carry out another torpedo attack, but once again both missed. As she came back from this attack she was hit by fire from the Regensburg and had two boilers put out of action. Her commander refused an offer of a tow from the Petard, not wanting to risk a second destroyer.

The Nestor and Nomad now found themselves right in front of the advancing battleships of the High Seas Fleet. Both destroyers were able to fire their last torpedoes, although without success, before being sunk. Her commander (and commander of his division) Commander E.B.S. Bingham was forced to order his men to abandon ship.The survivors managed to get into their boats, and were rescued by a German destroyer of the 5th Torpedo Boat Flotilla. The casualties on both ships were surprisingly low. On the Nestor two officers and four men were killed and five officers and 75 men were captured. The Nomad lost 8 dead and 72 captured. Bingham was awarded the VC for his leadership of the division. 

This destroyer battle ended at 4.43 when Admiral Beatty recalled the destroyers after the German battleships of the High Seas Fleet were sighted to the south. Beatty was forced to turn north and begin his own retreat back towards Jellicoe and the Grand Fleet.

The Nestor was awarded a battle honour for Jutland.

-June 1916: Commander E.B.S. Bingham

Service Record
May 1916-31 May 1916: 13th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet

Displacement (standard)

1,025t (Admiralty design)
985t (Thornycroft)
895t (Yarrow)

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

34 knots


3-shaft Brown-Curtis or Parsons turbines
3 Yarrow boilers




273ft 4in (Admiralty)
274ft 3in (Thornycroft)
270ft 6in (Yarrow)


26ft 8ft (Admiralty)
27ft 3in (Thornycroft)
24ft 7.5in (Yarrow)


Three 4in/ 45cal QF Mk IV
Two 1-pounder pom pom
One 2-pounder pom pom
Four 21-in torpedo tubes

Crew complement


Laid down



9 October 1915


22 December 1915


31 May 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 (23 October 2023), HMS Nestor (1915) ,

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