HMS Mounsey (1915)

HMS Mounsey (1915) was a repeat M class destroyer that served with the Eleventh then Third Destroyer Flotillas of the Grand Fleet from November 1915 to April 1918, fighting at Jutland, then on the Coast of Ireland station for the rest of the war.

HMS Mounsey was a Yarrow special repeat M class destroyer that was ordered as part of the Second War Programme of early November 1914. She laid down on 18 October 1914, launched on 11 September 1915, and completed in October 1915, suggesting she was almost complete when launched.

The Mounsey served with the Eleventh Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet from November 1915 to March 1918


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 Mounsey (G1A), 1919 HMS Mounsey (G1A), 1919

On 18 March the Mons and Mounsey were delayed at Glasgow as the North Channel (between Scotland and Northern Ireland) was closed to all traffic because of a report of submarine activity. Later in the day they were given permission to travel through the North Channel to return to the Grand Fleet.

On the eve of Jutland the Mounsey 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).  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.


On 13 April 1917 the Admiralty intercepted a message reporting that UC-30 was attempting to return to Germany around the north coast of Scotland with a damaged engine. The Mounsey and six other destroyers were sent out to hunt for her in the waters around St Kilda, and they were soon joined by the Kempenfelt and four more destroyers. On 14 April the Mounsey reported spotting a submarine, but this was probably the British G.9, which had been sent out to hunt for the U-boat. The destroyers were soon forced by fierce storms to take shelter in Lerwick. UC-30 was briefly sighted on 16 April, but eluded the British searchers. However she then disappeared somewhere in the North Sea, probably after running into a mine.

On 24 July the Opal and Mounsey were escorting an east bound convoy of 11 shops heading for Scandinavia when it was attacked by U.67. She hit the Swedish SS Viking, then escaped.

On 30 July the Mounsey was again escorting an east-bound convoy when she spotted a submarine 12 miles away. The Mounsey headed for the U-boat (U-60), but she dived, and was then able to catch up with the convoy and sink the Norwegian SS Canis.


In April 1918 the Mounsey was part of the newly formed Third Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet.

From May 1918 to December 1918 the Mounsey served with the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla of the Northern Division of the Coast of Ireland Station, based at Buncrana, mainly carrying out a mix of anti-submarine patrols and escort duties.

On 6 October 1918 the troop ship Otranto collided with the Kashmir in a bad storm in the north channel of the Irish Sea, suffering serious damage. She stayed afloat for some time, and after half an hour the Mounsey found her. Her captain, Lt. Francis Craven, ignored orders from Captain Davidson of the Otranto to stand clear and moved his ship onto the Otranto’s lee side, allowing many of the survivors to be rescued. A total of 300 American troops, 266 officers and crew of the Otranto, one YMCA morale officer and 30 French fishermen were taken on board, and the Mounsey then  managed to get them safely to Belfast, despite having suffered damage during the rescue.

The Mounsey 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
November 1915-March 1918: 11th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
April 1918: 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
May-December 1918: 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, Northern Division Coast of Ireland, Buncrana

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


11 September 1915


October 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

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (7 August 2023), HMS Mounsey (1915) ,

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