HMS Paragon (1913)

HMS Paragon (1913) was an Acasta class destroyer that served with the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, but missed Jutland, before moving to the Humber then the South Coast, where she was sunk by German destroyers during the raid into the Dover Straits of 17-18 March 1917.

The Paragon was laid down at Thornycroft on 14 March 1912, launched on 21 February 1913 and commissioned in December 1913. When the Acasta class became the K Class the new name Katrine was chosen for her, but it was never used.

In July 1914 she was one of twenty destroyers in the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla of the First Fleet, which contained the most modern battleships. The flotilla contained all twenty Acasta or K Class destroyers.

HMS Paragon from the left HMS Paragon from the left

In August 1914 she was one of twenty K destroyers in the Fourth Flotilla of what was becoming the Grand Fleet. At the outbreak of war all but the Porpoise were at sea. Over the next two years five members of the class were sunk, while the surviving members of the class remained with the Flotilla into July 1916.

In November 1914 all twenty K class destroyers were in the Fourth Flotilla, part of the Grand Fleet. She was at Southampton to have a defective turbine fixed, and was to be equipped with a submarine sweep at the same time. 

On 11 March 1915 the armed merchant cruiser Bayano was torpedoed and sunk off Corsewell Point, having just left the Clyde, with the loss of all but 50 of her crew. In response Jellicoe sent the Faulknor and six destroyers from the 4th Flotilla (Achates, Ambuscade, Ardent, Fortune, Paragon and Porpoise) to patrol the area between Oversay and the North Channel into the Irish Sea. They reached Larne on 13 March and spent the next week patrolling the area between Belfast, the Clyde and the North Channel. However the submarine in question, U-27, had left the area heading north on 13 March and was back in German home waters by 16 March.

In January 1916 nineteen K class destroyers were in the Fourth Flotilla, based at Scapa. She had been equipped with a submarine sweep. She was at Southampton having defects with one of her turbines repaired.

In March 1916 a plan was produced for turning the Paragon type ‘Thornycroft specials’ into minelayers. They would have carried twenty-two mines on the upper deck, and keep all of her original guns. However none were converted.

On the eve of Jutland the Paragon was part of the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla at Scapa Flow but she was in dockyard hands

In August 1916 the Fourth Flotilla was relegated from the Grand Fleet, and now formed the Humber Force. It contained fifteen of the K class destroyers.

On 21 November 1916 the Porpoise, Ambuscade and Paragon were sent from the Humber to join the Dover Patrol, in response to a German raid into the channel on 26 October.

In December 1916 the 4th Flotilla moved to Portsmouth, but the Porpoise, Ambuscade and Paragon officially joined the 6th Flotilla at Dover, where they were joined by the Unity and the Victor.  In January 1917 she was one of twenty destroyers in the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla at Dover.

When the Germans raided into the Dover Straits on 25 February 1917 the Ambuscade, Porpoise, Paragon and Unity were anchored off Deal, but they didn’t take part in the action.

When the Germans raided into the Dover Straits on the night of 17-18 March 1917 the Paragon was posted at Buoy 11A on the channel barrage. At 10.50pm on 17 March she was steaming north-east towards the buoy when she spotted strange destroyers. The British struggled with night actions during the First World War, and the Paragon’s fate wasn’t helped by her captain’s decision to issue an identification challenge, which allowed the Germans to open fire first. She was hit by a torpedo in the engine room and by several shells. Her depth charges exploded, she split in half and sank, with the loss of 75 men. There were only ten survivors.

The confusion didn’t stop there. The Llewellyn and Laforey heard firing and the final explosion. The Laforey concluded that a destroyer had hit a mine, and set off to help. When she found the wreckage she turned on her searchlight and signalled to the Llewellyn for help. The German flotilla then came back onto the scene, and saw the two British destroyers illuminated by a searchlight. The Germans fired torpedoes and hit the Llewellyn. Even now the British failed to realise what was going on, and the Laforey reported that the attack had been carried out by submarines.

War Service
August 1914-July 1916: 4th Destroyer Flotilla, Grand Fleet
August-November 1916: 4th Destroyer Flotilla, Humber Force
December 1916-March 1917: 6th Destroyer Flotilla, Dover
17-18 March 1917: Sunk by German destroyer

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

29 knots


2-shaft Parsons turbines
4 Yarrow boilers




267ft 6in




Three 4in/ 45cal BL Mk VIII
Two 21in torpedo tubes with four torpedoes

Crew complement


Laid down

14 March 1912


21 February 1913


December 1913


18 March 1917

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 (24 March 2022), HMS Paragon (1913) ,

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