HMS Wolverine (1910)

HMS Wolverine (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, where she sank after a collision with a minesweeper on 12 December 1917.

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

HMS Wolverine from the left HMS Wolverine from the left

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. 

On Monday 30 January 1911 Able Seaman Frank Crudington was drowned during night operations. He and four other men were lowering a boat to recover a torpedo that had been fired when their boat was swamped and they were all thrown into the sea.
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.

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, and was the flagship of Captain C.P.R. Coode, commander of the Flotilla. When the war warning telegram arrived the fleet moved to Malta.

In August 1914 she was part of the 1st 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 1 November the Wolverine and Scorpion were sent to cut out a minelayer believed to be sheltering in the Gulf of Smyrna. On their arrival they found a large armed yacht, the Beyrout,and summoned it to surrender. Her crew responded by setting her on fire. The two destroyers opened fire, and she sank. A series of large explosions as she sank suggested that she was the minelayer being searched for. A smaller supply vessel also sank, once again with explosions that suggested she was carrying mines.

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 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 Wolverine took part in the naval attempts to force the Dardanelles and supported the land battle 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 destroyesr 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. The Wolverine was used by General Trotman, the commander of the Marines carrying out the landing, as his HQ.

On 28 April 1915 she was hit on the bridge by shore fire (probably from a 10.5cm gun on the Asiatic shore), during an attempt to use her as a minesweeper and suffered three dead (Her captain - Commander Osmond J. Prentis, Sub Lieutenant Jeffreys I Jones-Parry and Chief Petty Officer William H. Endean) during the First Battle of Krithia. This would have made up most of her contingent of officers. 

On the night of 12-13 May 1915 she was one of five G class destroyers (Beagle, Bulldog, Pincher, Scorpion and Wolverine) that were on guard duty off the Dardanelles when the Turkish destroyer Muavenet-i-Miliet managed to slip out and torpedo the battleship Goliath, which sank after being hit by three torpedoes. The Scorpion and Wolverine attempted to intercept the destroyer as she returned to the Straits, but failed.

After two battleships were sunk by the same U-boat in May the role of providing on-demand fire support for the troops was passed to the destroyers. The Wolverine and the Scorpion were posted off Cape Helles.

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. On the coastal front the Scorpion and the Wolverine lit up the attackers with their searchlights and helped defeat the counterattack with their guns.

In January 1916 she was one of eight G Class destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean, where she was serving alongside a mix of other types

At the start of January she was part of the force posted in the Aegean to support the last stages of the retreat from Gallipoli. During the night of 7-8 January she helped defeat a Turkish attack on the British lines around Gully Spur.

The Wolverine was awarded one battle honour, for the Dardanelles 1915-16.

Mediterranean 1916-1917

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),

On 30 November 1916 the Scorpion was rammed from the right by the Wolverine. One crewman was killed on the Scorpion, and she suffered damage that required her to move to Malta for repairs.

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

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 Wolverine was one of six that had joined that flotilla by October 1917.

The Wolverine was sunk after colliding with the fleet mine sweeping sloop Rosemary off the north-west of Ireland on 12 December 1917, with the loss of two men.

Career Summary
First Destroyer Flotilla: 1910-1011
Third Destroyer Flotilla, First Fleet: May 1912-October 1913
Fifth Destroyer Flotilla, Mediterranean: November 1913-June 1917-
Second Destroyer Flotilla, Buncrana, Ireland: October 1917-12 December 1917

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

26 April 1909

Launched

15 January 1910

Completed

September 1910

Sunk in collision

12 December 1917

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 (26 November 2020), HMS Wolverine (1910), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Wolverine_1910.html

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us -  Subscribe in a reader - Join our Google Group - Cookies