HMS Lochinvar (1915)

HMS Lochinvar (1915) was a repeat Laforey class destroyer that served with the 9th Flotilla at Harwich from 1916 to March 1917, then the 6th Flotilla at Dover until June 1917 and with the 4th Flotilla at Devonport for the rest of the war, spending most of her time engaged in the battle against the U-boats.

The Lochinvar was one of two repeat L class destroyers ordered in the second war emergency programme of early November 1914.

The Lochinvar was laid down at Beardmore on 9 January 1915, launched on 9 October 1915 and commissioned in December 1915.


The Lochinvar was part of the Ninth Flotilla at Harwich from January 1916 to March 1917, joining her sister ships.

HMS Lochinvar from the right HMS Lochinvar from the right

In January 1916 she was one of eighteen L class destroyers in the Ninth Flotilla at Harwich, but was one of a number of ships from the flotilla that were on escort duty at Devonport. The Ninth was essentially the old Third Flotilla given a new number. The flotilla was filled out with the flotilla leader HMS Lightfoot, the light cruiser HMS Undaunted and the depot ship HMS Dido. At this date she was equipped with a high speed sweep.

Early on 24 April two divisions of destroyers (Loyal, Laertes, Linnet, Lochinvar, Legion, Lassoo, Miranda and Lysander) led by the cruiser Nimrod left Harwich in response to the German raid on Lowestoft. They moved north along the coast and joined Commodore Tyrwhitt at about 3.20. Half an hour later the German raiding force came into view, with at least four battlecruisers and six light cruisers. Tyrwhitt’s response was to head south at full speed in an attempt to draw the Germans into a chase. They ignored him, and instead soon opened fire on Lowestoft. Tyrwhitt turned back north to keep in touch with the Germans, although his force of three light cruisers and eighteen destroyers wasn’t powerful enough to risk an attack on the Germans. The German light cruisers then moved south and came into range, but withdrew after the British opened fire. The German battlecruisers responded by ending their bombardment and heading south to support their light cruisers. At 4.37am the light cruisers briefly opened fire at very long range. The British returned fire, but at 4.45 the German battlecruisers reached the scene and opened fire. The light cruiser Conquest was hit and damaged, and the Laertes was hit by fragments from a near miss. The destroyers were ordered to head south away from the action then scatter and make smoke. At this point the Germans had a real chance to destroy the Harwich Force, but their battlecruisers turned away after ten minutes and retired to the east. The light cruisers attempted to follow them, but this effectively ended the destroyer’s part in the fighting. 

On 5 August 1916 Laertes, Lydiard, Landrail and Lochinvar left Harwich to search for a U-boat that had been spotted passing Dover a few days early, before sinking nine ships between Cherbourg and Portland. They didn’t find the U-boat, but there was a gap in sinkings until 9 August.

On 26 October 1916 the Germans carried out a raid into the Dover Straits. The Lance, Lawford, Lochinvar and Lark were off Deal at the time of the attack. After the Germans clashed with a force of Tribal class destroyers the Lawford’s division was ordered to remain in the Downs and keep a look-out, but the commander of the Lawford interpreted this as referring to airships. When he learnt that the transport Queen had been attacked he decided to take his division out and head for Dunkirk. An order to recall them was issued, but was sent to the Laforey’s division by mistake, so the Lawford’s division kept on heading for Dunkirk. This was fortunate, as they passed close to the Nubian, which had been torpedoed. The Lark was used to try and tow her back to Dover, but the hawser parted after a few hours, and the Nubian drifted ashore under the South Foreland. Part of her was later salvaged and joined with part of the Zulu to form the new Tribal destroyer Zubian.


On 25 February 1917 the Lance, Landrail, Lochinvar, Laverock and Laurel were patrolling around the buoys on the Dover Barrage when the Germans raided into the Dover Straits. The Lochinvar clashed with one German destroyer from a force that was hoping to bombard Dover, and with any chance of surprise gone this part of the German force retired.

When the Germans raided into the Straits of Dover and the Downs on 17-18 March 1917 the Lochinvar was one of five destroyers in reserve at Dover. When the news of the raid first reached Dover this force was ordered to put to sea, but the commander of the Laforey then signalled that the attack was being carried out by submarines, and they were recalled, and dedicated anti-submarine ‘P’ Boats sent out instead.

From April-June 1917 the Lochinvar was part of the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla at Dover.

On 22 May 1917 the Lochinvar took part in a bombardment of Zeebrugge by a force of monitors. Her role was to check that a marker buoy laid earlier was still in the right place. To do this she had to get to a mile and a half of the famous mole at Zeebrugge, but the distance produced by her potentially dangerous run wasn’t terribly accurate, and the attacking force worked out their position by dead reckoning instead.

In June 1917 she was one of twenty nine destroyers in the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla at Dover, which contained three L class ships (Laertes, Lance and Lochinvar).

The Lance took part in a bombardment of Ostend on 5 June 1917. She was one of six destroyers to take part in the raid. The fleet sailed at 10pm on 4 June, and at 12.55am on 5 June the Lance and Lochinvar were detached to lay a buoy thirteen miles from the target, to help the monitors that were to carry out the bombardment to find the correct position. However they ran into a flotilla of German destroyers patrolling in the same area and had to retreat. They made two attempts to get past the Germans, but without success, so the monitors had to use dead reckoning to decide where to anchor. The bombardment had some success, sinking UC-70 (although the U-boat was later raised and repaired).

From July 1917 to the end of the war the Lochinvar was part of the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla at Devonport.


In January 1918 she was part of the large Fourth Destroyer Flotilla at Devonport and was undergoing repairs.

In June 1918 she was one of fifty destroyers in the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla at Devonport, made up of a mix of types.

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

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

The Lochinvar was awarded a battle honour for the Belgian Coast 1916/17

War Service
January 1916-March 1917: 9th Flotilla, Harwich
April 1917-June 1917: 6th Flotilla, Dover
July 1917-December 1918-: 4th Flotilla, Devonport

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

29 knots


2-shaft Parsons turbines
4 Yarrow boilers




268ft 10in oa


27ft 8in


Three 4in/ 45 cal QF Mk IV guns
1 0.303in Maxim Machine Gun
Four 21in torpedo tubes with four torpedoes

Crew complement


Laid down

9 January 1915


9 October 1915


December 1915


November 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 (5 October 2022), HMS Lochinvar (1915) ,

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