HMS Phoenix (1911)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Phoenix.
HMS Phoenix
HMS Phoenix
Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Phoenix
Builder: Vickers Limited of Barrow-in-Furness
Launched: 9 October 1911[1]
Fate: Sunk on 14 May 1918 by the Austrian submarine SM U-27[1]
General characteristics
Class and type: Acheron-class destroyer
Displacement: 990 tons
Length: 75 m (246 ft)
Beam: 7.8 m (26 ft)
Draught: 2.7 m (8.9 ft)
  • Three shaft Parsons Turbines
  • Three Yarrow boilers (oil fired)
  • 13,500 shp
Speed: 28 kt (66.7 km/h)
Complement: 72

HMS Phoenix was an Acheron-class destroyer of the British Royal Navy. She is named for the mythical bird, and was the fifteenth ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name. She was the only British warship ever to be sunk by the Austro-Hungarian Navy.[2][3]

Pennant Numbers[edit]

Pennant Number[1] From To
H75 6 December 1914 Unknown
H94 Unknown Sunk 14 May 1918


Phoenix was ordered during the building programme of 1910-1911 and laid down by Vickers Limited of Barrow-in-Furness. She was launched on 9 October 1911.[4] Capable of 28 knots (52 km/h), she carried two 4-inch (102 mm) guns, other smaller guns and 21-inch (530 mm) torpedo tubes and had a complement of 72 men.


At the beginning of the First World War, Phoenix was part of the First Destroyer Flotilla operating in the North Sea. She and her sisters were attached to the Grand Fleet as soon as the war started.

Action on 16 August 1914[edit]

On 16 August 1914, within days of the outbreak of war, the First Destroyer Flotilla engaged an enemy cruiser off the mouth of the Elbe, which is reported with great verve by an author writing under the pseudonym "Clinker Knocker" in 1938:

The Battle of Heligoland Bight[edit]

She was present with First Destroyer Flotilla on 28 August 1914 at the Battle of Heligoland Bight, led by the light cruiser Fearless.[6] Phoenix suffered one man wounded during the action[7]

The Battle of Dogger Bank[edit]

On 24 January 1915 Phoenix took part in the Battle of Dogger Bank, and her crew shared in the Prize Money for the German armoured cruiser Blücher.[8]

The Battle of Jutland[edit]

Phoenix was not present with her flotilla at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916.

HMAT Ballarat[edit]

Phoenix was escorting the Australian troopship Ballarat when she was attacked by a German submarine on Anzac Day (25 April) 1917 in the English Channel. Although efforts were made to tow Ballarat to shallow water, she sank off The Lizard the following morning. No lives were lost of the 1,752 souls on board, a striking testament to the calmness and discipline of the troops.[9]

Mediterranean Service[edit]

In September 1917, Phoenix transferred to the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla which was operating in the Mediterranean. This posting was to be her last.[10]

HMS Phoenix lists to port after being torpedoed, viewed from HMAS Warrego


At 9:18 on 14 May 1918, while patrolling the Otranto Barrage, the Phoenix was torpedoed amidships by the Austro-Hungarian submarine SM U-27, at position 40°12′30″N 18°52′12″E / 40.20833°N 18.87000°E / 40.20833; 18.87000.[3][11] HMAS Warrego made an unsuccessful attempt to tow her to Valona (now Vlorë in Albania),[12] but she sank within sight of the port at 13:10 in position 40°23.5′N 19°14′E / 40.3917°N 19.233°E / 40.3917; 19.233Coordinates: 40°23.5′N 19°14′E / 40.3917°N 19.233°E / 40.3917; 19.233.[13] The crew had been taken off before she capsized, and there were only two fatalities; a Leading Stoker and an Engine Room Artificer.[14]


  1. ^ a b c ""Arrowsmith" List: Royal Navy WWI Destroyer Pendant Numbers". Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  2. ^ "The Austro-Hungarian Navy at". Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  3. ^ a b "HMS Phoenix at the Wrecksite". Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  4. ^ "HMS Phoenix at Battleships-Cruisers website". Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  5. ^ Knocker, Clinker (1938). Aye, Aye, Sir, a saga of the lower deck. London: Rich & Cowan Ltd. 
  6. ^ "Battle of Heligoland Bight - Order of Battle (World War 1 Naval Combat website)". Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  7. ^ "Hansard, Written Answers, 25 November 1914". Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  8. ^ "An Index of Prize Bounties as announced in the London Gazette 1915 - 1925". Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  9. ^ "Ballarat photograph at the Australian War Memorial website". Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  10. ^ Supplement to the Monthly Navy List (September 1917), p. 21.
  11. ^ Gibson, R. H.; Maurice Prendergast (2003) [1931]. The German Submarine War, 1914–1918. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 271. ISBN 978-1-59114-314-7. OCLC 52924732. 
  12. ^ "HMAS Warrego at the Australian War Memorial website". Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  13. ^ Hepper, David (2006). British Warship Losses in the Ironclad Era 1860 – 1919. London: Chatham Publishing. p. 133. ISBN 978-1-86176-273-3. 
  14. ^ "Royal Naval Casualties May 1918 at". Retrieved 2008-09-28.