HMS Northesk (1916)

HMS Northesk (1916) was a repeat M class destroyer that served with the Grand Fleet from 1916 to June 1917, helping escort the first east coast convoy, then at Gibraltar for a year, working with the US Navy, before moving into the Mediterranean for the last months of the First World War.

The Northesk was ordered as part of the Third War Programme of late November 1914. She was laid down at Palmers, launched on 5 July 1916 and completed in August 1916.


From October 1916 to June 1917 the Northesk served with the 15th Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet


On 29 April 1917 the Northesk and Radstock along with four trawlers escorted the first south-bound convoy from Lerwick, consisting of seven neutral steamers, heading for the Humber. The convoy arrived safely, and marked the start of the East Coast convoy system.

HMS Northesk, Gutter Sound, 1917 HMS Northesk, Gutter Sound, 1917

In mid June the Northesk, Leopard and Pellow were escorting an east-bound convoy heading to Norway. On 17 June one of the ships in the convoy was sunk by U-100. She then escorted a west-bound convoy that arrived in British waters towards the end of a large Grand Fleet anti-submarine operation. The convoy was attacked by U-19, which sank three ships on 21 June. Several of the destroyers involved in the Grand Fleet operation joined the convoy escort, while others attempted to hunt the submarine without success.

From July 1917 to July 1918 the Northesk served with the Gibraltar Local Defence Flotilla..

On 20 October 1917 a flotilla of US destroyers arrived at Gibraltar, at the end of a voyage from the Philippines. On 29-30 October the Northesk accompanied the Dale (DD-4) and the Decanter (DD-5) on their first war patrol.


On 25-26 February 1918 the Northesk sortied with the Dale, Barry (DD-2) and Bainbridge (DD-1), to join up with an inbound convoy. However a man fell overboard from the Barry, and the destroyers returned to Gibraltar without meeting the convoy.

In April 1918 the Northesk travelled 3,748.5 miles (the 17th highest of the ships posted at Gibraltar), and spend 312 hours at sea (only 39th highest, demonstrating her highest speed).

In August 1918 she was with the 5th Destroyer Flotilla at Brindisi.

In November 1918 she was at Mudros. She was then sent into the Black Sea to take part in the British intervention in the Russian Civil War, reaching Sevastopol on 23 November 1918.

In December 1918 she was part of the Aegean Squadron.

On 28 April 1919 she returned to Sevastopol to take part in the evacuation of Allied and White Russian forces from the Crimea, after their defeat by the Red Army.

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 May 1921.

Service Record
October 1916-June 1917: 15th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
July 1917-July 1918: Gibraltar Local Defence
August 1918: 5th Destroyer Flotilla, Brindisi
November 1918: Mudros
December 1918: Aegean Squadron

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



5 July 1916


August 1916

Sold for break up

May 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 (1 January 2024), HMS Northesk (1916) ,

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