HMS Scourge (1910)

HMS Scourge (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 troops ships to France, and permanently late in 1917 to carry out anti-submarine patrols and convoy escort duties.
HMS Scourge from the right HMS Scourge from the right

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 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.

War Service

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 warning telegram in late July arrived the fleet concentrated at Malta.

No.1 Field Ambulance on HMS Scourge, Gallipoli No.1 Field Ambulance on HMS Scourge, Gallipoli

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.

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 Scourge 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

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 Scourge took part in the Gallipoli campaign.

On 25 April 1915 the Beagle, Bulldog, Foxhound and Scourge were part of the Second Squadron, which supported the landings at Anzac Cove at the start of the Gallipoli campaign. Able Seaman G. Graham was reported to have been slightly wounded on 26 April.

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 7 August 1915 she was hit by a Turkish shell while operating off the Suvla beaches (attempting to rescue some lighters that had run aground earlier in the operation), and one crewman was killed. The shell hit her engine room and she had to retire to be repaired.

Worse came on 19 November 1915 when six of her crew (all stokers or leading stokers) were killed in a boiler explosion.

The Scourge was awarded one battle honour, for the Dardanelles 1915

Mediterranean 1916-1917

In January 1916 she was undergoing a refit at Malta, and was in the hands of a care and maintenance party.

In October 1916 she wasn’t listed as part of the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla.

On 12 November 1916 the converted liner Britannic (a sister ship to the Titanic) ran into a mine in the Zea Channel, 4 miles to the west of Port St. Nikolo on the Greek island of Kea. At the time she was being escorted by the Foxhound and the Scourge, and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Heroic. Between them they managed to rescue all but 30 of the 1,065 people on board.

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

Late in 1917 there was a change in the use of the G class, and many of them were recalled home to join the Second Destroyer Flotilla, based at Buncerana west of Londonderry. The Scourge was one of six that had joined that flotilla by October 1917. She was listed as part of the Second Destroyer Flotilla through to March 1918, where 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. However the Scourge was recorded as being paid off in June and August Navy Lists.

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 Beagle and Scourge were both equipped with four depth charge throwers and fifty charges, while most other surviving members of the class had two throwers. The aft gun and torpedo tubes were removed to make space.

In November 1919 she was in the Reserve at Portsmouth, in the hands of a care & maintenance party. G

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-June 1917-
Second Destroyer Flotilla, Buncrana, Ireland: October 1917-March 1918-
Fourth Destroyer Flotilla, Devonport: -June-November 1918-qqwq

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

9 March 1909

Launched

11 February 1910

Completed

August 1910

Sold

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 (19 November 2020), HMS Scourge (1910), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Scourge_1910.html

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