HMS Jackal (1911)

HMS Jackal was an Acheron-class destroyer of the Royal Navy that served during the World War I and was sold for breaking in 1920. She was the seventh Royal Navy ship to be named Jackal, after the predatory mammal of the same name.

HMS Jackal in pre-war black paint, with funnel bands
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Jackal
Builder: R. W. Hawthorn Leslie & Company, Hebburn[1]
Launched: 9 September 1911[2]
Fate: Sold, 28 September 1920[2]
General characteristics
Class and type: Acheron-class destroyer
Displacement: 990 long tons (1,010 t)
Length: 246 ft (75 m)
Beam: 26 ft (7.9 m)
Draught: 8.9 ft (2.7 m)
Installed power: 13,500 shp (10,100 kW)
Speed: 27 kn (31 mph; 50 km/h)
Complement: 70


She was built under the 1910-11 shipbuilding programme by R. W. Hawthorn Leslie & Company of Hebburn, Tyneside[1] to an Admiralty design and was launched on 9 September 1911.[3]

Pennant Numbers

Pennant Number[2]FromTo
H556 December 19141 January 1918
H441 January 1918Early 1919
H95Early 191928 September 1920



Jackal served with the First Destroyer Flotilla from 1911 and, with her flotilla, joined the British Grand Fleet in 1914 on the outbreak of the First World War.[3]

The Battle of Heligoland Bight

She was present on 28 August 1914 at the Battle of Heligoland Bight, detached from the First Destroyer Flotilla along with Badger, Beaver and Sandfly.[4] She shared in the prize money for the engagement.[5]

The Battle of Dogger Bank

On 24 January 1915, the First Destroyer Flotilla — including Jackal — were present at the Battle of Dogger Bank, led by the light cruiser Aurora.[6] Her crew shared in the prize money for the German armoured cruiser Blücher.[5]

Grounding of Argyll

The light cruiser Argyll went aground on Bell Rock near Dundee on 28 October after failing to sight the light due to a failure of communications between the ship and the lighthouse. Jackal and Hornet were diverted from their patrol to assist and rescued the crew of approximately 650; there were no fatalities.[7]

SS Lanfranc

At 19:30 on 17 April 1917, the hospital ship HMHS Lanfranc was torpedoed 4 mi (6.4 km) northeast of Le Havre by UB-40 while bound for Southampton. At the time, she had 387 patients, of which 167 were German POWs, and of these patients, 326 were cot-bound. Approximately 570 survivors were picked up by Badger and Jackal, aided by the P-class patrol boat P.47 and the French patrol boat Roitelet, and taken to Portsmouth.[8]

Mediterranean Service

In 1917, the Third Battle Squadron was sent to the Mediterranean, where they took part in the 1918 Naval campaign in the Adriatic, including enforcing the Otranto Barrage.

On the night of 22–23 April 1918, the Tátra-class destroyers Triglav, Uzsok, Dukla, Lika and Csepel under Fregattenkapitän Karl Herkner[9] carried out a raid to interrupt Allied shipping between Italy and Albania south of Valona (now Vlorë, Albania). Jackal, Hornet, Alarm, Comet, the Australian destroyer HMAS Torrens and the French destroyer Cimeterre were formed into three groups, with 10 mi (16 km) between each group. Jackal and Hornet encountered the Austro-Hungarian ships and turned towards, making the challenge signal. At a range of 1.5 nmi (1.7 mi; 2.8 km) the Austro-Hungarian destroyers opened fire, concentrating their fire on Hornet. Both British ships turned away, making smoke, with the intention of drawing the enemy south, but Hornet took a hit in the forward shell room and magazine, starting fires in both compartments and causing an explosion.[9] The bridge and tiller flat both received further hits, and the rudder jammed hard over to starboard, leaving the ship circling hard under fire. Jackal was turned to the east by her captainLieutenant-Commander A M Roberts — but after approximately 15 minutes of firing, Herkner in Triglav broke off the engagement, reasoning that the alarm had certainly been raised. Jackal continued the pursuit, but the faster Austro-Hungarians pulled ahead, and she lost sight of them by 00:20. Alarm, Torrens and Cimeterre had caught up with Jackal by 00:45, but by 01:35 the pursuit was called off.[9]

Hornet was seriously damaged, and Jackal had lost her mainmast, but the appearance of Allied reinforcements had driven the Austrians back to Cattaro (now Kotor in Montenegro).[10][11] The British lost seven killed (including two in Jackal) and 25 wounded, while the Austro-Hungarians suffered no hits. Despite the one-sided casualty figures, two pre-war Royal Navy destroyers had succeeded in driving off five of the latest enemy destroyers.[9]

Jackal was present at the entry of the Allied Fleet through the Dardanelles on 12 November.[12] The Fleet sighted the minarets of Constantinople at 07:00 on 13 November and anchored an hour later. The destroyers maintained an anti-submarine patrol to the west of the anchored fleet.[12]


Along with most ships of her class, she was laid up after the war, and on 28 September 1920 she was sold to J Smith for breaking.[2]


  1. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921. London: Conway's Maritime Press. 1985. p. 75. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.
  2. ""Arrowsmith" List: Royal Navy WWI Destroyer Pendant Numbers". Retrieved 30 June 2008.
  3. " website - Acheron Class". Retrieved 30 June 2008.
  4. "Battle of Heligoland Bight - Order of Battle (World War 1 Naval Combat website)". Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  5. "An Index of Prize Bounties as announced in the London Gazette 1915 - 1925". Retrieved 28 September 2008.
  6. "Battle of Dogger Bank - Order of Battle (World War 1 Naval Combat website)". Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  7. "Bell Rock Lighthouses - the loss of HMS Argyll, 1915". Retrieved 9 April 2009.
  8. "Blue Star Line website - Lanfranc 2". Retrieved 30 June 2008.
  9. Halpern, Paul G (2004). The Battle of the Otranto Straits: Controlling the Gateway to the Adriatic in World War I. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-34379-6.
  10. "French Naval Operations, Engagements and Ship Losses in the Adriatic in World War 1". Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  11. "John Beech's Austro-Hungarian Navy Website". Archived from the original on 28 April 2006. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  12. S E Brooks. "The Entry of the Allied Fleet through the Dardanelles". Oxford University. Retrieved 11 November 2009.
  13. "I-class destroyers (extract from Jane's Fighting Ships of 1919)". Archived from the original on 3 June 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2009.
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