HMS Nereus (1916)

HMS Nereus (1916) was a repeat M class destroyer that served with the Grand Fleet from 1916 to March 1918, then with the 4th Destroyer Flotilla at Devonport for the rest of the war.

The Nereus was ordered as part of the Second War Programme of early November 1914. She was laid down at Thornycroft in March 1915, launched on 24 February 1916 and completed in May 1916.


From May 1916 to October 1917 the Nereus served with the 13th Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet

HMS Nereus in the Thames, 1919
HMS Nereus in the Thames, 1919

On the eve of Jutland the Nereus was with the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla that was with the battlecruiser fleet at Rosyth, but she was in dockyard hands

On 1 July the Nereus damaged the oiler Appalachee.

On 12 December the Nereus was part of a force made up of the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, one boarding steamer and six destroyers from the 13th Flotilla that left Scapa to patrol an area between the Orkneys and Faeroes looking for German surface raiders. They were in place by 13 December, but at just after 3pm the Nereus suffered storm damage to her forecastle and was forced to heave too. The Commodore in charge of the operation ordered the destroyers to return to base to avoid further damage. The cruisers remained in place until 14 December before also returning home. During the patrol they had inspected nine ships, but found no raiders.


When the Germans attacked a Scandinavian convoy on 16 October, sinking the destroyers Mary Rose and Strongbow, the Nereus was one of four destroyers from the 13th Flotilla that were allocated to the 1st Cruiser Squadron at Rosyth. The squadron, made up of the Courageous and Glorious (in their original battlecruiser form) was sent to try and catch the Germans as they retreated after the battle, but without success.

From November 1917 to December 1918 she served with the 4th Destroyer Flotilla at Devonport.


On 25 January 1918 the Nereus ran aground on Grim rock on the Scilly Isles.

In December 1919 she was in the charge of a Care and Maintenance Party on the Nore.

She was sold to be broken up in November 1921

Service Record
May 1916-October 1917: 13th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
November 1917-December 1918: 4th Destroyer Flotilla, Devonport

Displacement (standard)

1,025t (Admiralty design)
985t (Thornycroft)
895t (Yarrow)

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35 knots at 26,500shp


3-shaft turbines




274ft 3in (Thornycroft)


27ft 3in (Thornycroft)


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

March 1915


24 February 1916


May 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 (10 October 2023), HMS Nereus (1916) ,

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