HMS Maenad (1915)

HMS Maenad (1915) was a repeat M class destroyer that served with the Twelfth Flotilla of the Grand Fleet from November 1915 to August 1918, fighting at Jutland and taking part in anti-submarine operations in 1917.

The Maenad was an Admiralty type M-class destroyer. It was laid down by Denny on 10 November 1914, launched on 10 August 1915 and completed on 12 November 1915.


The Maenad was part of the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet from November 1915 to August 1918. She was one of the first destroyers to reach the flotilla, which was eventually filled with repeat M class destroyers.


In January 1916 she was one of five repeat-M class destroyers that formed the Twelth Flotilla at Scapa, along with the flotilla leader Marksman and the light cruiser Royalist.

The Maenad served with the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla at Jutland. The flotilla contained twelve Repeat M class destroyers at Jutland. The flotilla put to sea with Admiral Jellicoe and the main body of the Grand Fleet by 10.30pm on 30 May.

At the end of the first day of the battle 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.

HMS Maenad after oiling, Gutter Sound, 1917 HMS Maenad after oiling, Gutter Sound, 1917

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.

In a series of clashes the Germans inflicted heavy damage on the 4th Flotilla, but instead of rushing to their aid, the 13th Flotilla, which was next in line, believed they were the target of the gunfire, and that there were friendly ships between them and the Germans preventing a torpedo attack. The flotilla leader Captain Farie ordered the flotilla to turn away to the east to get out of range, but he failed to signal the move, so only two of the flotilla followed him. His move also forced the 9th and 10th Flotillas and the 12th Flotilla to turn to port to get out of the way. As a result the British destroyers were no longer in the correct place when the High Seas Fleet passed behind the Grand Fleet. As a result the Germans were able to move past almost without being detected and the one clash that did occur was with two cruisers so didn’t cause any alarm.  The Menace and Nonsuch from the 12th Flotilla clashed with the German cruisers Frankfurt and Pillau and were lucky to escape.

Despite all of the chaos and confusion, a large part of the 12th Flotilla ended up in position to launch one final attack on the High Seas Fleet as it passed behind the Grand Fleet. Twelve destroyers and two flotilla leaders were still together, and had been forced into a position some thirty miles behind the main fleet. As they headlined south they ran into the German fleet. The Germans were sighted at about 1.45am on 1 June. The flotilla commander ordered his 1st Division to attack, and signalled the news of the sighting to Jellicoe. The Germans turned away to avoid the torpedo attack and were briefly lost to sight. However the flotilla soon found them again, and was able to launch a powerful torpedo attack. One torpedo hit the Pommern, which exploded, taking her entire crew with her. The Germans were forced to turn away again, preventing the rest of the flotilla from attacking effectively. The Maenad was leading the 2nd Division of the Flotilla, which fired its torpedoes but from a poor position and thus with no impact.


Soon after midnight on the night of 14-15 March 1917 the ‘standby’ destroyer division (Maenad, Noble, Mindful and Nessus) was sent out to sea to try and intercept a damaged German submarine (U.48) that was attempting to get home. Just after noon on 15 March the destroyers found a surfaced submarine. The submarine signalled an identification challenge, but although they were still 150 miles short of their destination, the destroyers assumed this was their target and opened fire from 3,000 yards. Two depth charges were dropped and the captains of the Maenad and Noble were sure the submarine had been sunk. Only after their return to port was it discovered that their target had been the British submarine G.12, which had been damaged but luckily not sunk.

In June 1917 the Maenad took part in Destroyer Operation B.B., an attempt to try and intercept a number of U-boats that were expected to be heading home around the northern coast of Scotland. The twelve destroyers of the 12th Flotilla were used to patrol the area west of the Hebrides, with eight at sea and four in port at Stornoway at any time. On 18 June the SS Buffalo was torpedoed by U-70. Maenad and Obedient were close by and saw the gunfire. They were able to force the U-boat to submerge, but an attempt by the Obedient to tow the Buffalo to safety failed when the merchant ship sank at 3.45pm on 19 June.

On 5-9 July 1917 the Maenad, Morning Star, Moon, Patriot and Anzac took part in Operation CC, an experimental attempt to hunt submarines using destroyers equipped with kite balloons. The five destroyers (along with HMS Norman without a balloon) were sent to patrol an area with a radius of 40-50 miles on the route the U-boats were believed to be using to return home. Visibility was excellent, and the Shetlands could be seen at a range of 80 miles from the balloons. A number of possible submarines were sighted from the balloons, but couldn’t be found by the surface ships.

The operation was repeated a few days later with more success. On 12 July Patriot, Maenad and Moon were towing balloons while Anzac and Norman were in support. At 5.37am the Patriot’s balloon spotted a submarine 28 miles to the east. The Patriot headed towards it and after a two hour search dropped two depth charges on the spot where it was last seen. Four hours later there was a massive explosion underwater, felt on all of the destroyers. At about the same time U-69 was lost in the same area, and was probably destroyed by damage caused by the attack.

In September 1917 the Maenad suffered a minor mutiny when twelve of her crew broke ship at Lerwick. They were soon arrested and brought back onboard, but broke out of their confinement, fired a blank shell from the forward gun and broke into the wine store before finally being got under control. The men were punished for the affair, but so were the officers who were judged to have allowed affairs to get out of control on the ship.


By November 1918 the Maenad had moved to the Third Destroyer Flotilla, which was reformed as part of the Grand Fleet late in 1918.

The Maenad was awarded one battle honour, for Jutland.

After the war the Maenad entered the reserve, before being sold for scrap in September 1921.

Service Record
November 1915-August 1918: 12th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
November 1918-December 1918: 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet

Displacement (standard)

1,025t (Admiralty design)
985t (Thornycroft)
895t (Yarrow)

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

34 knots


3-shaft Brown-Curtis or Parsons turbines
3 Yarrow boilers




273ft 4in (Admiralty)
274ft 3in (Thornycroft)
270ft 6in (Yarrow)


26ft 8ft (Admiralty)
27ft 3in (Thornycroft)
24ft 7.5in (Yarrow)


Three 4in/ 45cal QF Mk IV
Two 1-pounder pom pom
One 2-pounder pom pom
Four 21-in torpedo tubes

Crew complement


Laid down

10 November 1914


10 August 1915


12 November 1915

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 (1 March 2023), HMS Maenad (1915) ,

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