HMS Nemesis (1910)/ Kanran

HMS Nemesis (1910) was an Acorn class destroyer that served with the Second Destroyer Flotilla with the Grand Fleet in 1914-15 and at Devonport later in 1915 and for most of 1916. At the end of 1916 she joined the British Adriatic Squadron, attached to the Italian fleet, before moving to Malta. From September 1917 she was in Japanese hands, as the Kanran, but was still based at Malta.  

HMS Nemesis from the left HMS Nemesis from the left

The Nemesis was laid down at Hawthorn Leslie on Tyneside on 24 November 1909, launched on 9 August 1910 and completed in March 1911.

From 1911-14 the Nemesis, along with the entire Acorn class and the Laferoy class destroyer HMS Lark formed the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, a fully manned flotilla that was part of the 2nd Division of the Home Fleet until 1912, then part of the First Fleet from 1912-1914. At the outbreak of war in 1914 the First Fleet became the Grand Fleet.

On Saturday 1 July 1911 seven members of the class (Acorn, Alarm, Rifleman, Nemesis, Lyra, Nymphe and Larne) carried out high speed trials off Berehaven, where they were all said to have reached 28 knots. However the weather was rough, and when they reached Portland on Tuesday 4 July they were all said to have been leaking, with some water getting into the oil bunkers. Repairs had to be carried out by divers at Portland.

In July 1914 she was one of twenty destroyers in the Second Flotilla, part of the First Fleet of the Home Fleet, which contained the most modern battleships. The Second Flotilla contained the entire Acorn or H class of destroyers.

First World War

After the outbreak of war in August 1915 the Nemesis and the entire class formed the Second Flotilla of the Grand Fleet. By November 1914 they had been joined by the flotilla leader Broke. On 19 February 1915 her sister ship Goldfinch was wrecked, leaving the nineteen survivors in the flotilla. By June 1915 the flotilla contained all nineteen of the Acorn class boats and the M class destroyer HMS Moon.

On 15 October 1914 the Alarm was part of a division of destroyers (Alarm, Lyra, Nemesis and Nymphe) sent out to patrol off the eastern entrance to Scapa Flow after the cruiser HMS Hawke was sunk by a U-boat. The destroyers were themselves attacked at about 1.30pm, and both the Nymphe and the Alarm narrowly avoided torpedoes.

On 6 May 1915 the Comet and the Nemesis were escorting the minelayer Orvieto from Scapa Flow into the Heligoland Bight on a mine laying raid. However in dense fog the Nemesis was seriously damaged in a collision, and the raid had to be cancelled.

In January 1916 she was one of three destroyers left in the Second Flotilla at Cromarty, but she was to be relieved by the newly commissioned destroyer HMS Magic, which was to join the Eleventh Flotilla.

By March 1916 she had joined most of the Second Flotilla at its new base at Devonport.

In November 1916 the Nemesis was still listed as being at Devonport, but in December 1916 she was one of four Acorn class ships (Cameleon, Nereide, Larne and Nemesis) that had moved to the Mediterranean to join the British Adriatic Squadron. In January 1917 all four were reported as being attached to the Italian Fleet. However their time in the Adriatic was short, and by March they were all part of the contingent from the 5th Destroyer Flotilla that was based at Malta, joining four of their sisters (Acorn, Minstrel, Rifleman and Sheldrake). In May 1917 these eight ships all became part of the separate Malta Flotilla.

In January 1917 she was one of four H class destroyers that were attached to the Italian Fleet.

In April 1917 a Japanese force reached Malta, to help in the campaign against Austrian and German U-boats in the Mediterranean. In June 1917 the Minstrel and the Nemesis were transferred to Japanese control, and manned and officered by the Japanese Navy. The Minstrel became the Sendan and the Nemesis became the Kanran.

On 26 May 1917 the Cameleon and the Nemesis were escorting the hospital ships Dover Castle and Karapara as they steamed along the Algerian coast. The ships were being escorted because the Germans had announced that they were no longer going to respect hospital ships in the Mediterranean because they believed they were being to transport troops and military supplies. Despite the escort UC-67 was able to torpedo and sink the Dover Castle, killing seven of her crew. Luckily the patients were all rescued before she was sunk by a second torpedo. The Cameleon and Nemesis never sighted the submarine.

In June 1917 Cameleon, Nereide, Larne and Nemesis were listed as being with the Malta Flotilla, but also as still attached to the Italian Fleet.

In January 1918 she wasn’t listed in the Pink List, but was probably one of the four Japanese destroyers at Malta.

Until February 1918 she was still listed as part of the British Malta Flotilla, although under her Japanese name. From March 1918 onwards she was listed as being embedded within the Japanese flotilla.

In June and November 1918 she was one of fourteen Japanese destroyers at Malta, as the Kanran.

In November 1919 she was in the hands of a care and maintenance party in the Devonport Reserve, having returned to British control after the end of the war.

Wartime Career
-August 1914-January 1916: Second Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
March 1916-November 1916: Second Destroyer Flotilla, Devonport
December 1916-January 1917-: British Adriatic Squadron (reported as attached to Italian Fleet in January and June 1917)
March 1917-April 1917: 5th Destroyer Squadron, Malta
May-August 1917: Malta Flotilla
September 1917-February 1918: Malta Flotilla but under Japanese flag as Kanran
March 1918-November 1918: Malta as part of Japanese flotilla

Lt Commander Gerald C.Wynter: 7 September 1911-October 1914-

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

27 knots


3-shaft Parsons turbines (most in class)
4 Yarrow boilers (most in class)




246ft oa


25ft 3in to 25ft 5.5in


Two 4in BL Mk VIII guns
Two 12-pounder/ 12cwt guns
Two 21in torpedo tubes

Crew complement


Laid down

24 November 1909


9 August 1910


March 1911

To Japan

June 1917

Back from Japan


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 (8 April 2021), HMS Nemesis (1910)/ Kanran ,

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