HMS Mischief (1915)

HMS Mischief (1915) was a repeat M class destroyer that served with the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet from January 1916 to August 1918, fighting at Jutland, then with the Third Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet.

The Mischief was an Admiralty type repeat M class destroyer ordered under the Second War Programme of early November 1914. She was laid down on 3 February 1915, launched on 12 October 1915 and completed on 16 December 1915.


The Mischief served with the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet from January 1916 to August 1918

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.

In April 1916 she took part in Operation L, a destroyer sweep into the Kattegat to try and intercept ships carrying iron ore from Sweden to Germany. This was a sizable operation – the destroyers would carry out the sweep itself, with a light cruiser squadron close by, a battle cruiser squadron outside the Skagerrak and a battle squadron at sea to support the battle cruisers. However on the eve of the operation it was discovered that the High Seas Fleet was moving, so the entire Grand Fleet was ordered to sea. However by early on 22 April it was known that the Germans were returning to port. The Grand Fleet was now sent on a sweep towards the Skagerrak in the hope that the Germans would turn back and attack. When this didn’t happen the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron, supported by the Mischief, Onslaught and Mary Rose were sent into the Skagerrak. They reached some way into the Skagerrak on the night of 22-23 April but didn’t find any suspect ships. The fleet was back at Scapa Flow early on 24 April.


On the eve of Jutland the Mischief 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. However soon after leaving port she was ordered to join the screen of the armoured cruisers, and she spent the rest of the battle with them.

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 Frankfurtand 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.

After Jutland

On 26 September the collier Thelma was sunk by the German submarine U-20 to the south-east of Fair Isle. Her crew were briefly taken onboard the submarine, then transferred to the Norwegian schooner Marie. On the morning of 27 September they were taken onboard the Mischief, which was then patrolling east of the Pentland Skerries.

On 10 December a large operation began to try and intercept a German raider that was believed to be about to leave the Baltic. This report was in error, but the raider Seeadler was about to leave Hamburg. The Mischief, Ossory and Minster escorted the Comus, Royalist and Calliope from the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron, which formed part of the patrol line between Shetland and Norway. The operation ended on 14 December, by which time it was clear the original report was in error. The Seeadler didn’t move until later in December.


In May 1917 the Mischief collided with the Royal Alfred Dock at Liverpool.

The Mischief was part of the destroyer screen for the 1st Battle Squadron during the brief action in the Heligoland Bight (16-17 November 1917).


In the June 1918 Pink List she was part of the newly formed Third Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet, but was detached for service with the Twelfth Flotilla.

In November-December 1918 the Mischief was part of the newly formed Third Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet. She was on detached duties in November.

On 2 November the Mischief ran aground on the north coast of Ireland.

The Mischief was awarded a battle honour for Jutland.


In November 1919 she was in the hands of a care and maintenance party in the Devonport reserve. She was sold for scrap in November 1921.

Service Record
January 1916-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

3 February 1915


12 October 1915


16 December 1915

Sold for break up

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 (3 July 2023), HMS Mischief (1915) ,

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