HMS Napier (1915)

HMS Napier (1915) was a Repeat M class destroyer that served with the Grand Fleet in 1916-1918, taking part in the search for Lord Kitchener, briefly serving at Harwich early in 1917 before returning to the Grand Fleet for the rest of the war.

HMS Napier was ordered under the Fourth War Programme of February 1915. She was laid down at Brown on 24 March 1915, launched on 27 November 1915 and completed on 27 November 1916.

The Napier served with the 12th Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet from February 1916 to July 1918.


On the eve of Jutland the Napier was part of the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla, which was at Scapa Flow, and filled entirely with Repeat M class destroyers.

The Napier was undergoing a refit at the time of Jutland, so missed the battle.

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. The Napier did find a capsized boat, a dinghy and a whaler but nothing else.


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.

HMS Napier and Anzac, Gutter Sound after oiling
HMS Napier and Anzac, Gutter Sound after oiling

On 23 July 1917 the Napier and Rowena were screening a convoy of two oilers heading to the Grand Fleet when they were probably passed by U-66, while they were about 75 miles to the west of the Outer Hebrides. The U-boat was on her way home and reported a strongly escorted convoy but didn’t attack.

The Napier was one of the destroyers that screened the 1st Battle Squadron during the action in the Heligoland Bight on 17 November 1917. However that part of the British fleet never got into action.


From August to December 1918 the Napier served with the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet.

The 3rd Flotilla took part in the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet on 21 November 1918.


In December 1919 she was in the charge of a Care and Maintenance Party at Devonport.

The Napier was sold to be broken up in November 1921.

Service Record
February 1916-July 1918: 12th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
August 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

24 March 1915


27 November 1915


January 1916

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 (7 September 2023), HMS Napier (1915) ,

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