HMS Tower (1917)

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HMS Tower during sea trials
Tower during sea trials
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Tower
Namesake: White Tower, Tower of London
Builder: Swan Hunter
Laid down: September 1916
Launched: 5 April 1917
Decommissioned: 17 May 1928
Motto: "God save King George and his Tower"
Fate: Sold for scrapping.
General characteristics
Class and type: R-class destroyer
Length: 276 ft (84.1 m)
Beam: 26 ft 9 in (8.15 m)
Draught: 9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)
Speed: 36 knots (41.4 mph; 66.7 km/h)
Range: 3,440 nmi (6,370 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
Complement: 82

HMS Tower was a modified R-class destroyer of the Royal Navy, named after the White Tower of the Tower of London. She was built by Swan Hunter, and launched on 5 April 1917. She is noted for having the first modern Royal Navy ship's badge. She served as part of the Grand Fleet and Harwich Force.

She held the pennant number of F24 from January 1918 until she was sold in 1928. Prior to this the pennant number of F24 was held by HMS Rival for one year from January 1917 onwards.[1]

Ship's badge[edit]

Prior to 1917 there was no standard design for a ship's badge. The first modern ship's badge was designed by Mr George Richardson; Director of the Swan Hunter shipyard on the Tees; and Major Charles ffoulkes; the curator of the government endorsed museum for the collection of artefacts of war.

The Commanding Officer of Tower asked Richardson if he could offer a design for the badge for his ship. Richardson spoke to ffoulkes and together they came up with a design that showed the White Tower of the Tower of London, with the motto "God save King George and his Tower". This was encased in a circular rope frame, with a Naval Crown at the top, along with the name "Tower" set into a rectangular panel at the bottom. This design set the standard for all future ship's badges and became the design from which all today's badges are derived.[2] Major ffoulkes was subsequently requested to design others and the Admiralty Board set up a Ships' Badges Committee in 1918 to regulate ships' badges with him as the first Adviser on Heraldry.[3]

Tower was sold for scrap on 17 May 1928 and subsequently broken up by John Cashmore Ltd at Newport.

Loss of Donald Fairfax Mackeson[edit]

In 1917 Acting First Lieutenant Donald Fairfax Mackeson lost his life on 1 December whilst securing a buoy in heavy weather and after dark. He was later commended by his senior officers "as being an example of fearlessness in the face of danger, and also of great devotion to duty, of which will not be forgotten as long as the flotilla exists."

He is a notable loss as he was the grandson of Rear Admiral John Moresby and great-grandson of former Admiral of the Fleet Sir Fairfax Moresby, and most notably, the only descendant of either Admiral Moresby to be in the Royal Navy during World War I.[4] He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial as well as the East Lavant War Memorial.[5]