HMS Renard (1909)

HMS Renard (1909) 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 1918 and joined the Second Destroyer Flotilla in Ireland.

The Renard was launched at Cammell Laird’s Birkenhead yard on Tuesday 31 November 1909.

HMS Renard from the left HMS Renard from the left

On 12 September 1910 the Wolverine and the Renard were commissioned at Portsmouth for service with the 1st Destroyer Flotilla

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.

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

In May 1914 four of her crew were fatally scalded in an accident during exercises, and she had to return to Bizerta.

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 First Division of the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla (Wolverine, Renard, Scorpion and Scourge), which was at Alexandria. When the war warning telegram arrived, the fleet concentrated back 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.

Late in 1914 it was decided to move the Beagle class destroyers home, to help escort the troop convoys across the Channel. The first four were home by the end of November, and the second four during December 1914.

Not all of the Beagles came home. The January 1915 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 1915 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 Renard took part in the naval attempt to force the Dardanelles and supported the land battles at Gallipoli.

On 3 March she was one of four destroyers (Scorpion, Renard, Wolverine and Grampus) that took part in an attack on the Turkish guns in the straits. When the larger ships withdrew the four destroyers remained in place to support the minesweeping trawlers.

On 4 March she supported the third attempt to land troops to demolish some of the Turkish forts. The overall attack was unsuccessful, and the Scorpion, Basilisk, Renard, Wolverine and Grampus were all called on to bombard the Turkish trenches at Yeni Shehr to cover the retreat.

On Monday 12 April 1915 the Renard was reported to have reached ten miles up the straits on a high speed scouting run, supported by HMS London, which drew much of the Turkish fire.

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 three destroyers (Scorpion, Wolverine and Renard) that were used to bombard the western end of the Turkish lines, where their trenches came down towards the sea, during the attack at Gully Ravine. The British made some progress during the day, and the Turks counterattacked at night in an attempt to regain the lost ground.

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

Mediterranean 1916-1918

In January 1916 she was undergoing a refit at Liverpool, with no clear date for its completion.

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

On 15 October 1917 the Renard rescued the survivors from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary White Head, which had been torpedoed by UC-74 while taking supplies to Suda Bay. The White Head sank very quickly, with the loss of up to 38 men.

Late in 1917 most of the class began to move home to join the Second Destroyer Flotilla at Londonderry. However the move was staggered, and some remained in the Mediterranean into 1918.

In December 1917 there were six Beagle class destroyers left in the Mediterranean – Basilisk and Scorpion were with the Malta Flotilla, while Grampus, Pincher, Rattlesnake and Renard were with the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla

In January 1918 she was one of twenty eight destroyers in the Mediterranean, one of only five G class ships left in the area. On 20 January she was part of the 2nd Detached Squadron at the Dardanelles, and was escorting an oiler.

In February 1918 she was listed as being on detached duty in Egypt.

In June 1918 she was part of the large Fifth Destroyer Flotilla at Brindisi, and was one of only two G class destroyers in the formation (Rattlesnake and Renard). By August the Renard had also left for home, leaving the Rattlesnake as the last G class destroyer in the Mediterranean. The Renard was listed as being about to join the Second Destroyer Flotilla at Londonderry, where she would replace those of her sisters who had been there earlier in the year, but had now moved to Devonport.

Home Waters 1918

In November 1918 she was one of six G Class destroyers in the Second Destroyer Flotilla at Londonderry where her new role was a mix of anti-submarine patrols and convoy escort duties.

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-June 1918-
Second Destroyer Flotilla, Buncrana, Ireland: -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

20 April 1909

Launched

30 November 1909

Completed

September 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 (22 October 2020), HMS Renard (1909) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Renard_1909.html

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