HMS Menace (1915)

HMS Menace (1915) was a repeat M class destroyer that served with the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet from May 1916 to June 1918, fighting at Jutland, then with the Third Flotilla of the Grand Fleet for the rest of the war. 

The Menace was an Admiralty type repeat M class destroyer that was ordered under the First War Programme of September 1914.

The Menace was laid down at Swan Hunter on 17 October 1914, launched on 9 November 1915 and completed in April 1916.


The Menace was listed in the March 1916 Navy List but not allocated to any formation.

From May 1916-June 1918 the Menace served with the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet

HMS Marvel and HMS Menace, Firth of Forth, 1917 HMS Marvel and HMS Menace, Firth of Forth, 1917

On the eve of Jutland the Menace was part of the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla, which was at Scapa Flow, and filled entirely with Repeat M class destroyers. She sailed with the fleet on 30 May.

The Menace fought with the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla at Jutland, part of the Grand Fleet. The flotilla put to sea with Admiral Jellicoe and the main body of the Grand Fleet by 10.30pm on 30 May.

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.

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 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. The Menace only just avoided being rammed by one of the cruisers, probably the Frankfurt.

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 Menace was in that part of the flotilla.

Post Jutland

Early on 6 June the Opal, Menace, Munster and Napier were ordered to put to sea to take part in the search for any survivors from HMS Hampshire, which had been sunk by a mine on the previous day at the start of a voyage to carry Lord Kitchener to Russia. They were sent to search for any of Hampshire’s boats off Marwick Head, but there were only twelve survivors, all of whom had come ashore on three carley floats.

On 1 October 1916 the Menace was one of nineteen destroyers in the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet.


On 1 January 1917 the Menace was one of twenty destroyers in the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet.

The Menace was accused of causing damage to SS Diana in the River Clyde on 24 April 1917 by travelling past her at excessive speed.

In June 1917 the Menace took part in a diplomatically embarrassing sweep along the coast of Norway, carried out in an attempt to intercept German ships moving between Narvik and Germany. The cruisers Cambrian and Comus, supported by four destroyers were sent to sweep around the southern end of the Norwegian coast from Utsira to the Naze (Lindesnes), keeping outside Norwegian territorial waters.

At some point on 2 June the Marvel and Menace collided, and the Menace’s bows were damaged. This appears to have been early in the day, as the coordinates for the collision place it close to Utsira.

On 30 June 1917 the Menace was one of eighteen or nineteen destroyers in the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet.


On 2 January 1918 the Menace was one of two destroyers from the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla that were based at Lamlash on the Isle of Arran on the west coast of Scotland.

From June 1918-December 1918 she was part of the Third Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet. However on 30 June 1918 the Menace was part of the Third Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet, on detached service with the Twelfth Flotilla, presumably because the Third Flotilla was still forming.

By 11 November 1918 the Menace was serving with the Third Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet.

Post War

The Menace was awarded a battle honour for Jutland.

By November 1919 the Menace was in the charge of a care and maintenance party in the reserve at the Nore.

Service Record
May 1916-June 1918: 12th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
July 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 geared 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



9 November 1915



Sold for break 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 (25 May 2023), HMS Menace (1915) ,

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