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HMS Mary Rose (1915)
Name: HMS Mary Rose
Builder: Swan Hunter
Launched: 8 October 1915
Fate: Sunk, 17 October 1917
General characteristics
Class & type: Admiralty M-class destroyer
Displacement: 994 long tons (1,010 t) standard
1,042 long tons (1,059 t) full load
Length: 269 ft (82 m)
Beam: 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m)
Draught: 8 ft 8 in (2.64 m) mean
10 ft 6 in (3.20 m) maximum
Propulsion: 3 shafts, steam turbines, 25,000 shp (18,642 kW)
Speed: 34 knots (63 km/h; 39 mph)
Range: 237–298 tons fuel oil
Complement: 80
Armament: • 3 × QF 4 in (100 mm) Mark IV guns, mounting P Mk. IX
• 3 × single QF 2 pdr "pom-pom" Mk. II
• 2 × twin 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes

HMS Mary Rose, launched on 8 October 1915, was an Admiralty M-class destroyer . sunk on 17 October 1917 approximately 70 miles east of Lerwick while escorting a convoy of 12 merchant ships from Norway. The wreck is designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.


The convoy had sailed Norway on 16 October; at dawn on the following day, the captain of the Mary Rose, Lieutenant-Commander Fox, observed two warships approaching. Their profiles and dark-grey colour led him to assume they were British light-cruisers, and recognition signals were duly transmitted. The approaching ships were in fact the German cruisers SMS Brummer and SMS Bremse, despatched as part of a plan by Admiral Reinhard Scheer to supplement U-boats with high speed surface raiders.[1]

The German ships closed to 2700  m before opening fire, quickly sinking the convoy's second escort, HMS Strongbow. Mary Rose was hit in the engine room shortly afterwards, and disabled. Sub-Lieutenenant Marsh, RNVR, maintained fire with the one gun left operational, while the only two surviving members of the torpedo crew, French and Bailey, were able to fire the last remaining torpedo, but to no avail. With further salvoes wrecking the superstructure, Fox ordered Master Gunner Handcock to scuttle the ship. The ship's boats reduced to matchwood, only a handful of men survived by clinging to a raft; Fox and the First Lieutenant went down with the ship. Several hours later, the survivors boarded a lifeboat from one of the merchant ships and were able to reach Norway.[2]

The escorts sunk, the SMS Brummer and SMS Bremse proceeeded to sink nine of the merchant ships; only three and two trawlers survived.[1]


In response to the new threat of surface raiders, later convoys were accorded heavier escorts, which ensured there was no repetition of the disaster.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Halpern, P. (1995). Naval History of World War I. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis. ISBN 1-55750-352-4
  2. Haydon, A. L. (editor), (1918). The Boy's Own Paper. Part 8, Vol. XL, June 1918, p 422. The Religious Tract Society Inc., London.

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