HMS Jed (1904)

HMS Jed was a River class destroyer that was on the China station at the outbreak of war in 1914, but moved to the Mediterranean late in the year. She took part in the Gallipoli campaign, and spent the rest of the war in the Mediterranean.

The original River class boats carried their forward 6-pdr guns on sponsons on either side of the forecastle, but this made them too low and rather wet in some circumstances. From the 1902/3 batch onwards the forward guns were thus moved to a higher position alongside the 12-pdr gun.

HMS Jed from the right
HMS Jed from the right

The Jed was one of two boats ordered from Thornycroft in the 1902/3 batch. Both had two funnels. Their hull shape was based on that of TB 98, but enlarged and with a modified stern.

The dates for the Jed’s trials were announced in the press, with her three hour coal consumption trial set for 6 September 1904, her full speed trial for 7 September and her torpedo and circle trials for 13-15 September.

Brassey’s Naval Annual of 1905 published the results of her trials. On her four hour speed trial she averaged 25.98 knots at 7,990 ihp. On her four hour coal consumption trial she averaged 25.80 knots at 7,425 ihp and used 2.46 lb of coal per ihp per hour.

By 1912 Brassey’s Naval Annual listed her as being armed with four 12-pounders, after the 6-pounders were replaced across the River class as they were no longer felt to be effective

Pre-war career

In 1905-1907 the Jed was one of three River class boats in the Devonport Flotilla, one of three flotillas that supported the Home Fleet battleships. 

In 1907-1909 the Jed was one of fourteen River class destroyers in the 1st or 3rd Destroyer Flotillas of the Channel Fleet, which was now becoming less important. As a result its destroyers only had nucleus crews.

In 1909-1913 the Jed was part of the Mediterranean Destroyer Flotilla, one of six River class destroyers that served there for at least part of that period.

In March 1909 the Jed escorted the King as he sailed from Dover to Calais on the Royal Yacht Alexandria at the start of a holiday.

In November 1912 the Jed moved east from Malta to Suda Bay, one of five of the larger British destroyers that moved east during the crisis caused by the First Balkan War. In a preview of events two years later the German warship Goeben was also reported to be heading east to Constantinople.

In 1913 the Jed was one of four River class destroyers that moved to the China Station, joining three other River class boats that had been there since 1911.

In July 1914 the Jed was one of eight destroyers on the China Station.

First World War

In August 1914 the Jed was one of three destroyers on the China Station based at Hong Kong.

In November 1914 she was one of eight destroyers on the China Station based at Hong Kong.

When the German cruiser Emden attacked Cocos Island, Admiral Jerram distributed his available forces in an attempt to catch her. On 9 November he informed the Admiralty that the Jed, Colne and Welland and the Japanese warship Yakumo were to leave Singapore that evening to move to the Sunda Strait. However by the following morning news arrived at the Sydney had caught and sunk the Emden.

The fall of Tsingtau to the Japanese on 7 November and the destruction of the Emdenreduced the need for British warships in the Far East, and on 17 November Admiral Jerram was ordered to send his river class destroyers to Egypt.  The Colne, Jed, Chelmer and Welland were ordered to Singapore, where they were joined by the Kennet after she completed a minor refit. The flotilla then left for Egypt on 30 November. They reached Suez on 28 December 1914 and were ordered to go to Malta.

In March 1915 the Jed was part of the 1st Division of destroyers off Gallipoli, where she was used to support the trawlers acting as mine sweepers.

On 18 March the Allies carried out a disastrous attempt to force the narrows, using battleships to bombard the shore forts while the minesweepers cleared the way. The Jed was one of four destroyers that were on rescue duties, coming under heavy fire during the operation. Three battleships, the French Bouvet and the British Irresistible and Ocean were all lost. The Ocean hit a mine while attempting to rescue the Irresistible. It quickly became clear she was going to sink, and her captain ordered the Colne, Jed and Chelmer to come alongside and rescue his crew. The Ocean was then allowed to drift in the hope that she would end up out of danger.

In mid-April 1915 the Jed was part of a force posted at Port Trebuki, Skyros, to guard the route being used by Allied shipping carrying troops towards the Dardanelles. On 16 April an Ottoman torpedo boat, the Demir Hissar, slipped out of Smyrna and stopped the troop transport Manitou. The moment the news reached Skyros, the Kennet and the Jed were ordered to sea to try and intercept the raider. They soon spotted her smoke and began to overhaul her. Soon afterwards the Demir Hissar ran into the Wear, coming from the other direction. Her captain realised that she was trapped, and beached his ship in Kalamuti Bay, and the crew were interned by the Greeks. In the following year the crews of the Kennet, Jed and Wear shared a bounty of £175 for the destruction of the Demir Hissar.

In April 1915 the Devon Linen League dispatched parcels of ‘comforts’ to the Jed.

In June 1915 she was one of twenty two destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean, supporting operations at Gallipoli. She was posted in the Gulf of Xeros (to the north of Gallipoli), to keep in radio contact with the Allied submarines operating in the Sea of Marmora.

On 6 August 1915 she and the Minerva were allocated to a flotilla of trawlers which was to land 350 troops and two French officers for a raid on the north-eastern shore of the Gulf of Xeros

In January 1916 she was one of eight River Class destroyers in the sizable destroyer forces in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Jed was awarded the Dardanelles battle honour.

In October 1916 she was one of seven River Class destroyers in the large Fifth Destroyer Flotilla of the Mediterranean Fleet.

In January 1917 she was one of eight River Class destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In June 1917 she was one of eight River Class destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In January 1918 she was one of eight River Class destroyers in the Mediterranean.

When the two German warships in Turkish service made their last sortie in late January the Jed was one of three destroyers that had been detached from the Aegean Squadron to serve in the Adriatic.

In June 1918 she was one of eight River Class destroyers in the large Fifth Destroyer Flotilla based at Brindisi.

In November 1918 she was one of eight River Class destroyers in the large Fifth Destroyer Flotilla based at Mudros.

By January 1920 the Jed was described as ‘To be Sold’ in the Navy List.

On Friday 7 January 1921 the Jed arrived under tow at Teignmouth, where she was to be broken up by the Channel Shipbreaking Company.

Lt & Commander Geoffrey P. Russell: 27 August 1912-April 1913-
Lt & Commander George F.A. Mulock: 14 May 1913-January 1914-
Lt in Command France R. Baxter: 22 April 1918-February 1919-

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



Thornycroft boilers


225ft oa
220ft pp


23ft 10.5in


One 12-pounder gun
Five 6-pounder guns
Two 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement


Laid down

27 February 1903


16 February 1904


January 1905

Broken Up


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 (9 April 2020), HMS Jed (1904) ,

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