HMS Savage (1910)

HMS Savage (1910) was a Beagle class destroyer that spent most of the First World War in the Mediterranean, where she took part in the Gallipoli. She returned to home waters briefly over the winter of 1914-15 to escort troop ships across the Channel and permanently in 1917 to carry out anti-submarine warfare and convoy escort duties.

The Savage was launched at Thorneycroft’s Woolston yard on Thursday 10 March 1910. She differed from the standing Beagle design by using a high rate of ‘forcing’ to get more power out of her machinery.

In August-September 1910 the Savage was reported to be part of the Second Destroyer Flotilla, and took part in exercises in the Orkneys.

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.

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.

HMS Savage from the right HMS Savage from the right

On 27 July 1914 she was part of the Fourth Division of the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla. Within the division Savage, Pincher and Rattlesnake were at Alexandria and Grampus was at Malta.

On 5 August the Pincher, Savage and Rattlesnake were part of a fleet that was ordered to concentrate off Pantellaria after news arrived of the declaration of war. Savage and Rattlesnake remained with the fleet as it patrolled along a line between Africa and Sardinia, to protect the French troop movements. On 7 August the Savage and Rattlesnake were ordered to take a captured German prize into Bizerta. They then joined with the Pincher and on 8 August departed for Malta.

By October she was based off the Dardanelles, but the Admiralty then decided to move two destroyers to Aqaba, at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba, to provide a wireless link between the port and Suez. This was part of a larger effort to prevent the Turks laying mines in the Red Sea to block the movement of British troop convoys. The Savage and Scourge were chosen. They arrived at Port Said on 29 October and immediately departed for Aqaba. On their arrival they found a garrison of about sixty men in a fort, and had to wait until the cruiser HMS Minerva arrived on 2 November before they could take action. The Minerva then led a bombardment of the fort, causing a great deal of damage.

Home Service 1914-1915

In November 1914 it was decided to move the Beagles back to home waters to help escort troop transports across the Channel.

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.

The Savage was probably back in home waters by mid-December 1914. By February 1915 eight of the Beagle class destroyers were based at Portsmouth (Beagle, Bulldog, Foxhound, Harpy, Pincher, Rattlesnake, Savage and Scourge) and were kept very busy escorting troop ships to France.

On 1 February 1915 U-24 torpedoed and sank the battleship HMS Formidable near the Isle of Portland. Although this was close to the Portsmouth command, Admiral Bayly, in command of the Formidable’s squadron, didn’t ask for help from there, and the Savage was only sent after Admiral Meux learnt of the incident through intercepted telegrams! The Savage recovered five bodies but no survivors.

In March it was decided to replace the Beagles with a similar number of River class destroyers. On 26 March the Beagle class destroyers were ordered to move to the Dardanelles as soon as they had been replaced, and the change was made by the end of the month.

Gallipoli

The Savage supported the land battle at Gallipoli, but was one of only two members of the class not to be awarded the battle honour.

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.

In August 1915 the Savage and the Harpy supported the fighting on the right flank at Cape Helles, carried out to support the landings at Sulva Bay.

Mediterranean 1916-1917

In January 1916 she was undergoing a refit at Southampton, with an unclear completion date.

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 Waters 1917-1918

In the autumn of 1917 there was a change in the use of the G class, and they began to move home to join the Second Destroyer Flotilla at Londonderry, to take part in anti-submarine and convoy escort duties. The Savage wasn’t one of the first six, which had moved by October, but was listed with the Second Flotilla in December 1917. In January 1918 she was still placed with the Second Destroyer Flotilla in the Navy List, but the official history of Royal Navy operations during the war records her as being detached from the Aegean Squadron, undergoing a refit in home ports on 20 January 1918.

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).

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 Portsmouth, 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-November 1914-
Portsmouth Escort Flotilla: -December 1914-March 1915
Fifth Destroyer Flotilla, Mediterranean: March 1915-October 1917-
Second Destroyer Flotilla, Buncrana, Ireland: -December 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

2 March 1909

Launched

10 March 1910

Completed

August 1910

Sold for break up

May 1921

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 (29 October 2020), HMS Savage (1910) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Savage_1910.html

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