HMS Moresby (1915)

HMS Moresby (1915) was a repeat M class destroyer that  served with the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet from May 1916 to September 1917, fighting at Jutland, then on the Coast of Ireland station for the rest of the war.

The Moresby was an Admiralty type repeat M class destroyer ordered under the First War Programme of September 1914. She was originally going to be named HMS Marlion. She was laid down on 15 January 1915, launched on 20 November 1915 and completed on 7 April 1916.


The Moresby served with the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilal of the Grand Fleet from May 1916 to September 1917.

HMS Moresby leading 13th Flotilla HMS Moresby leading 13th Flotilla

On the eve of Jutland the Moresby was with the part of the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla that was with the battlecruiser fleet at Rosyth. She sailed with the fleet on 30 May. Early on 1 June the Moresby and Onslow were ordered to protect the seaplane tender Engadine. This meant they fell behind the fleet while the Engadine was stationary recovering a seaplane. Once the seaplane had been recovered the two destroyers joined their flotilla.

Towards the end of Beatty’s retreat towards the battleships of the Grand Fleet the Moresby supported the Onslow in an attack on the German battle line. The Moresby managed to launch a torpedo at the third ship in the German line, the Kronprinz, from 9,000 yards, but without success. The Moresby then retreated safely.

During the confused night action her flotilla leader managed to lose touch with most of his flotilla while responding to gunfire (by moving away from it), but the Moresby was one of only two destroyers that managed to stay with him. At 2.30am the flotilla made the last sighting of any major German warships during the battle, spotting the rear four Deutschland class battleships in Scheer’s fleet but once again the flotilla leader decided to turn away. Lt Commander R.V. Alison of the Moresby ignored this order in the belief that it was important to attack, and fired a torpedo at 0237. This scored a hit, but only on the torpedo boat V4. At about 0330 the Moresby, Obdurate, Marksman and Maenad were heading NNW when they encountered four German destroyers that were carrying the survivors from the Lutzow. The British destroyers attempted to engage them, but the Germans had no interest in a battle when crowded with survivors and steamed on and out of sight.


In January 1917 the Moresby was with the Thirteenth Flotilla at Rosyth.

From October 1917 to December 1918 the Moresby served with the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla of the Northern Division of the Coast of Ireland Station, based at Buncrana. This flotilla’s main duties were anti-submarine patrols and escort duties.

On 2 October 1917 the cruiser Drake was torpedoed by a U-boat just after dispersing Convoy HH.24 off the North Coast of Ireland. Her commander attempted to make for Rathlin Island, and called for a destroyer escort. She was soon protected by the Brisk, Martin, Delphinium, Martial, Lizard and three other destroyers. The Drake reached Church Bay in Rathlin Sound by noon, but began to heel over rapidly and had to be abandoned. The Medina and Moresby were sent from Glasgow to replace some of the other destroyers, and were soon joined by the Marne. However during the afternoon the Drake rolled over and sank, so the Medina and Moresby returned to Glasgow. 


On 15 March 1918 the Moresby and Michael were patrolling at sea when U-110 sank the liner Amazon to the north-west of Malin Head, Ireland. At the time the Amazon was in the early stages of a voyage from Liverpool to Brazil, carrying twenty four passengers. All of her passengers and crew were rescued. The submarine dived, but was forced back to the surface by depth charges from the two destroyers and sunk by gunfire. Six of her crew were rescued.


The Moresby was awarded a battle honour for Jutland.

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

Service Record
May 1916-September 1917: 13th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
October 1917-December 1918: 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, North Division Coast of Ireland, Buncrana

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 White-Forster 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

15 January 1915


20 November 1915


7 April 1916

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 (24 July 2023), HMS Moresby (1915) ,

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