HMS Moon (1915)

HMS Moon (1915) was a repeat M class destroyer that served with the Second then Eleventh Flotillas of the Grand Fleet from June 1915 to March 1918, fighting at Jutland, then with the Eleventh Submarine Flotilla from April 1918 onwards.

HMS Moon was a Yarrow special repeat M class destroyer that was ordered as part of the First War Programme of early September 1914. She was laid down on 18 October 1914, launched on 23 April 1915 and completed in June 1915.


From June-August 1915 the Moon served with the Second Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet, a temporary assignment until enough members of her class were completed to fill their own flotilla. In June 1915 the flotilla was based at Cromarty.

From December 1915 to March 1918 she was part of the Eleventh Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet. When she joined the flotilla she was equipped as a mine sweeper.


In January 1916 she was one of fifteen repeat M class destroyers that formed the Eleventh Flotilla at Cromarty, along with the flotilla leader Kempenfelt and the light cruiser Castor.

HMS Moon, Scapa Flow, 1917 HMS Moon, Scapa Flow, 1917

On the eve of Jutland the Moon was one of twelve Repeat M class destroyers from the Eleventh Destroyer Flotila which were at Invergordon, Cromarty (a smaller part of the flotilla was at Scapa Flow). On 31 May she was out at sea on patrol, but joined the flotilla at 2pm on 31 May. The part of the flotilla at Scapa put to sea with Admiral Jellicoe and the main body of the Grand Fleet by 10.30pm on 30 May. The part of the flotilla at Cromarty was also soon at sea, and joined the main body of the fleet at 2pm on 31 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.

Jellicoe now couldn’t be sure which way the Germans had gone and struggled to make firm contact with Scheer during the night. However the fighting didn’t end. Part of the 11th flotilla was now on the port side of Jellicoe’s flagship, with the flotilla cruiser Castor. They spotted smoke to the W.N.W. and discovered twelve German destroyers apparently preparing to attack Beatty’s battlecruisers. The 11th Flotilla and the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron forced the German destroyers away, and the Grand Fleet made contact with the Germans for the third time. Once again the Germans turned away under heavy fire, and by 8.35pm had disappeared into the mist once again. 

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 fighting had ended with the Germans sailing south, just to the west of the Grand Fleet. Admiral Scheer’s plan was to try and turn east and cut behind the Grand Fleet, to reach Horn Reefs and a safe route home. His leading cruisers were sent ahead to try and find the British, and soon after 9.30 then ran into the 11th Flotilla, which was now at the back-right corner of the Grand Fleet. They weren’t at all sure who was approaching them, and so while some of the flotilla fired torpedoes, most of the destroyers believed these were British ships.


In January 1917 Commodore Tyrwhitt at Harwich was ordered to send eight of his destroyer to Dunkirk to help protect against any German raids. To replace them the Grenville and eight destroyers from the Grand Fleet (Morning Star, Moon, Musketeer, Mandate, Opal, Nonsuch, Napier and Strongbow) were sent to Harwich arriving on 19 January. They almost immediately took part in a large minesweeping operation on the Swarte Bank (to the north-east of Lowestoft). After this operation Tyrwhitt was told he could keep the destroyers for the time being.

On 5-9 July 1917 the Maenad, Morning Star, Moon, Patriot and Anzac etc 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.

On 19 September 1917 the Moon ran aground off Leirnaness pier at Lerwick.


On 26 January 1918 the Moon and Morning Star collided

On 15 March 1918 the Moon and Plover damaged timber fences belonging to Messrs Holm & Frazer at Port Glasgow.

From April-December 1918 the Moon served with the Eleventh Submarine Flotilla at Blyth. These submarines operated in support of the Grand Fleet, and the Moon supported the submarines.

On 8 June 1918 the Moon collided with the steam drifter Research off the Tyne.

The Moon was awarded a battle honour for Jutland.


In November 1919 she was serving with the Signal School at Portsmouth, part of the Local Defence and Training Establishment. She was sold for scrap in May 1921.

Service Record
July-August 1915: 2nd Destroyer Flotilla
December 1915-March 1918: 11th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
April 1918-December 1918: 11th Submarine Flotilla

Displacement (standard)

895t (Yarrow)

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35 knots at 23,000shp


2-shaft turbines




270ft 6in (Yarrow)


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

18 October 1914


23 April 1915


June 1915

Sold for break up

May 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 (17 July 2023), HMS Moon (1915) ,

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