HMS North Star (1916)

HMS North Star (1916) was a repeat M class destroyer that served at Harwich in 1916-17, then at Dover from August 1917 until she was sunk during the Zeebrugge Raid of 23 April 1918.

The North Star was ordered as part of the Third War Programme of late November 1914. She was laid down at Palmers, launched on 9 November 1916 and completed in February 1917.


The North Star served with the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla at Harwich from April 1916 to June 1917.


On 5 February 1917 the North Star ran aground in Lowestoft Roads.

The North Star served with the Sixth Flotilla at Dover from August 1917 until she was sunk on 23 April 1918.

On 3 October 1917 the North Star and her division destroyed a cable-controlled explosive motor boat that the Germans were using to attack Allied warships.


On 21 March 1918 the Swift, Matchless, Myngs and North Star were on patrol in the Dover Straits in the hope of intercepting a possible German raid aimed at the coastal flank of the Allied armies. However when the Germans did appear they ran into a force based at Dunkirk instead, lead by the Botha. During the resulting battle the German torpedo boats A.7 and A.19 were sunk, although the Botha was also hit and damaged.

North Star and Phoebe formed Unit L during the Zeebrugge Raid of 23 April 1918. She was commanded by Lt Commander K.C. Helyar. Her role during the raid was to guard the storming vessels alongside the mole. She came under heavy fire from German shore batteries. The North Star ended up inside the harbour, east of the mole. She fired torpedoes at a German destroyer inside the harbour, and then attempted to leave the harbour. However she was then hit by a salvo of German shells at very close range and lost power. The Phoebe attempted to take her under tow, but heavy German gunfire kept breaking the tow wires. The Phoebe then attempted to push the North Star to safety, but without success, and forty five minutes after the original damage Lt Commander Helyar had to issue the order to abandon ship. Ninety-nine officers and men managed to reach the Phoebe, and at about 2.30am the Phoebe left Zeebrugge with two crews on board. Seventeen men from the North Star were killed and five taken prisoner. The North Star sank to the north-east of the lighthouse.

The North Star was awarded a battle honour for the Zeebrugge raid.

Service Record
April-June 1917: Tenth Destroyer Flotilla, Harwich
August 1917-23 April 1918: Sixth Flotilla, Dover

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



9 November 1916


February 1917


23 April 1918

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 December 2023), HMS North Star (1916) ,

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