HMS Garland (1913)

HMS Garland (1913) was an Acasta class destroyer that served with the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, fighting at Jutland, before moving to the Humber and then the south coast to join the battle against the U-boats.

The Garland was laid down at Parsons on 15 July 1912, launched on 23 April 1913 and commissioned in December 1913. When the Acasta class became the K Class the new name Kenwulf was chosen for her, but it was never used. She had semi-geared turbines, but used a standard Admiralty hull.

HMS Garland off Netley, Hampshire HMS Garland off Netley, Hampshire

In July 1914 she was one of twenty destroyers in the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla of the First Fleet, which contained the most modern battleships. The flotilla contained all twenty Acasta or K Class destroyers.

In August 1914 she was one of twenty K destroyers in the Fourth Flotilla of what was becoming the Grand Fleet. At the outbreak of war all but the Porpoise were at sea. Over the next two years five members of the class were sunk, while the surviving members of the class remained with the Flotilla into July 1916.

In April 1916 Admiral Jellicoe asked for eight of the class to have one of their 4in guns converted to a high angle gun by placing it on a trap door that could tilt up to fifty degrees. The Garland was one of the ships selected to be converted, and was used as the trial ship for the new mounting.

On the night of 22-23 April 1916 the Ambuscade, Ardent and Garland were involved in a collision in heavy fog during a Grand Fleet sortie into the North Sea. The Ardent was most serious damage and had to be towed stern first back to port.


The flotilla contained sixteen Acasta class destroyers and one Repeat M class destroyer at Jutland. The flotilla put to sea with Admiral Jellicoe and the main body of the Grand Fleet by 10.30pm on 30 May.

As the Grand Fleet advanced into contact with the High Seas Fleet, part of the flotilla was with the British 3rd Battle Cruiser Squadron (Shark, Acasta, Ophelia and Christopher), forming an anti-submarine screen ahead of Admiral Hood’s capital ships. The 3rd Battle Cruiser Squadron was some way ahead of the main battleship force and was thus the first part of the Grand Fleet to get into action. The destroyers found themselves on the port flank of Hood’s battlecruisers, in a position to attack a force of German cruisers. However they soon became engaged in a battle with German destroyers which left the Shark crippled, but stopped the Germans attacking Hood’s battlecruisers. 

The two main fleets finally came together at about 6.30pm on 31 May. By this point the battleships of the German High Seas Fleet were heading north, while the battleships of the Grand Fleet were forming a line running roughly east to west in front of them. For a few minutes the British were able to concentrate their fire on the leading ships of the German line, but the Germans then carried out their famous sixteen point turn, and within a few minutes were heading away south into the North Sea mist. However Admiral Scheer then mis-judged the British movements, and turned back east in the hope that he could pass behind the main British force. Just after 7pm the Germans found themselves steaming straight towards Jelicoe’s battleships, and by 7.15 the bulk of the Grand Fleet was finally able to open fire on the Germans. Once again Scheer was forced to reverse course. During this phase of the battle the destroyer flotillas struggled to keep up with the fast moving battleships and rather disappear from the narrative. After more confused manoeuvres the two fleets came into range of each other for a third time after 8pm, but the Germans turned away for a third time, and disappeared into the mists by 8.35.

HMS Garland from the right HMS Garland from the right

Jellicoe was unwilling to risk a night battle, and at 9.17 ordered the fleet into its night cruising formation. The battleships formed up into lines in their divisions, with the destroyers following behind. The entire formation began to move south in an attempt to keep between the Germans and their home bases. By 10pm the destroyer flotillas were in line, with the 12th Flotilla at the eastern (left) end of the line, then the combined 9th and 10th Flotillas, 13th Flotilla, 4th Flotilla and finally the 11th Flotilla at the western (right) end of the line.

The 4th Flotilla was now split into three. Ophelia and Christopher were with Beatty’s battlecruisers off to the south-west. Owl, Hardy and Midge were with the armoured cruisers. That left ten destroyers and two flotilla leaders with the main part of the flotilla.

At about 10.10pm four German destroyers were sighted to the rear of the flotilla. They fired torpedoes, which missed, and the British fired a few rounds before the Germans disappeared once again. The Garland then spotted a light cruiser heading south to the west, but the flotilla didn’t change course to investigate, or report the sighting.

The key moment of the night actions came at around 11.30, when the High Seas Fleet finally attempted to pass behind the Grand Fleet and ran into the British destroyers. The Germans would make contact with the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, which was towards the right of the British line. There was then a seven mile gap to the 13th Flotilla, with the 9th and 10th Flotilla close by, and the 12th Flotilla to their rear.

The 4th Flotilla first spotted ships approaching from their right at about 11.20, but couldn’t be sure who they were. The flotilla’s commander Captain Wintour waited until the Germans were within 1,000 yards before issuing the challenge of the day. The Germans immediately opened fire, killing Wintour and wrecking his flagship, Tipperary. However the German cruisers were forced to turn away, and the Elbing was rammed by the battleship Posen while they were attempting to pass through the German battle line. Soon after this the Spitfire actually rammed the German battleship Nassau, and stayed afloat. The German briefly turned to starboard before Scheer ordered it back onto its course.

The rest of the 4th Flotilla briefly turned east, once again coming into contact with the Germans, although the worst damage at this point was done by a collision between the Sparrowhawk, Broke and Contest. During the resulting melee one torpedo from the flotilla hit the Rostock, which later had to be scuttled by her own crew. The flotilla was now scattered, with the Fortune sunk and all but the Ardent knocked out of the battle. She attempted to find friendly ships, but instead ran into four German battleships and was sunk at around 12.19am on 1 June. Not only had the flotilla been unable to stop the Germans, the fighting had also failed to alert the Grand Fleet, where the action was mis-interpreted as a failed German attack on the British rearguard.

After the battle the Garland escorted the Porpoise back to the Tyne.

After Jutland

In August 1916 the Fourth Flotilla was relegated from the Grand Fleet, and now formed the Humber Force. It contained fifteen of the K class destroyers.

In December 1916 the Garland and the Fourth Flotilla moved again, and was now based at Portsmouth. It had also been reduced in size once again, and now contained ten K class destroyers (and the light cruiser HMS Active). The remaining five members of the class moved to the Sixth Flotilla at Dover.

On 1 January 1917 the Cockatrice and Garland were sent to hunt for a submarine that had been reported off Trevose Head by an unknown ship, but found nothing and were back at port by 2 January.

At the start of 1917 German submarines disrupted the shipping route from Portugal to France, threatening the movement of Portuguese troops. The Cockatrice, Garland, Midge and Owl arrived at Lisbon on 27 January and were used to patrol the route while three troop transports steamed to France.

In March 1917 the Fourth Flotilla moved to Devonport. It now contained ten Acasta class destroyers and six Laforey or L class destroyers. In April the five ships from Dover rejoined the flotilla at Devonport.

At the start of July 1917 she was part of the escort for convoy HH4, heading across the Atlantic. Towards the end of the voyage the convoy split. On 6 July the oiler Wabasha was torpedoed, and the Garland dropped four depth charges in the area. The Wabasha stayed afloat and reached port. The Garland and the Devonport destroyers then had to take the convoy up the Channel as the Portsmouth destroyers that were meant to replace them never appeared.

In February-March 1918 she was used in trials of the use of smoke screens as an anti-submarine defence. She produced a smoke screen 120ft high and 1,000 yards that was able to screen the ‘convoy’ of HMS Gleaner and USS Vestal, and the results were considered to be satisfactory. However the equipment did require a tank containing six tons of sulphuric acid, so extra safety precautions were required.

On 12 March 1918 the Garland dropped four depth charges after spotting a U-boat on the surface. At the time her crew believed they had damaged the U-boat, but none were sunk on that day.

In April 1918 she lost both of her torpedo tubes to save weight.

In November 1918 she was one of forty destroyers at Devonport.

She was sold to be broke up in September 1921

The Garland was awarded a battle honour for Jutland.

War Service
August 1914-July 1916: 4th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
August-November 1916: 4th Destroyer Flotilla, Humber Force
December 1916-January 1917: 4th Destroyer Flotilla, Portsmouth
March-December 1918: 4th Destroyer Flotilla, Devonport

In November 1919 was in the hands of a care and maintenance party in the Devonport reserve.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

29 knots


2-shaft semi-geared Parsons turbines
4 Yarrow boilers




267ft 6in




Three 4in/ 45cal BL Mk VIII
Two 21in torpedo tubes with four torpedoes

Crew complement


Laid down

15 July 1912


23 April 1913


December 1913

Sold for break up

September 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 (17 February 2022), HMS Garland (1913) ,

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