HMS Flirt

HMS Flirt was one of eight Star-class destroyers (three-funnelled C-type) and the only remaining example today, the remaining seven sold for breaking. She was launched by Palmers in May 1897 and served in the Great War patrolling the Strait of Dover as part of the Dover Patrol. Her service came to an abrupt end in the early morning of 27th October 1916 during the Battle of Dover Strait. She had launched her lifeboats to pick up survivors of the sinking drifter HMD Waveney II and whist her spotlight was illuminated in the darkness, she was dramatically shelled and sunk by German destroyers.

“She was the last of eight vessels of the same type which Palmer’s Company built for Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s government in 1897. Flirt’s dimensions were 65m in length, less than 6.5m in width and had a displacement of 300 tons. Her armament consisted of one 6-pounder quick firing gun to the forward of the conning tower, two 6-pounder quick firing guns each side and one 6-pounder on a platform, aft. There were also two revolving torpedo tubes on the deck, arranged to fire either side.

“The builders guaranteed a speed of 30 knots per hour and the machinery, which has been designed by them, consisted of two sets of triple expansion engines, steam being supplied to them by four of Reed’s patent water tube boilers.

“As HMS Flirt was launched, she was Christened by Miss Rosalind Milburn, the daughter of the Chairman of the Company, the band of the training ship playing Rule Britannia”.

Source: Jarrow Express

HMS Flirt Postcard - FRONT
HMS Flirt Postcard Dated 1905
Reverse Of Postcard With Message

First World War

  • In August 1914 HMS Flirt was one of four destroyers from the Sixth Flotilla that were still at Portsmouth, although most of the flotilla had moved to its wartime base at Dover.
  • In November 1914 the Flirt was part of the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla based at Dover.
  • On 21st November 1914 she was one of six destroyers from the Dover patrol that escorted Admiral Hood, in HMS Crusader, along with HMS Revenge and HMS Bustard as they moved to Dunkirk as part of a plan to bombard Zeebrugge. Eventually the bombardment was carried out by the four Duncan class battleships of Admiral Nicholson’s division of the 3rd Battle Squadron.
  • In January 1915 she was part of the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla, one of the Patrol Flotillas.
  • In June 1915 the Flirt was one of twenty four destroyers in the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla based at Dover.
  • The Flirt was awarded a battle honour for operations off the Belgian Coast in 1914-1915.
  • In January 1916 she was one of fifteen destroyers in the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla at Dover.
  • On 1st June 1916 her commander, Andrew N. Swainson and five other crewmen drowned in an otherwise obscure incident. Swainson was followed as commander by Lt R. Kellett, appointed on 5thJune 1916.
  • In October 1916 she was one of twenty five destroyers in the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla at Dover.
  • On the night of 26th/27th October 1916 ten destroyers from the German Flanders flotilla and based at Zeebrugge, carried out their first raid into the channel. During the raid they sank the transport SS The Queen and the destroyers HMS Nubian and of course, Flirt. This was known as the First Battle of the Dover Straight.

The First Battle of the Dover Strait

Following the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916, the German High Seas Fleet was confined to port by orders and necessity. As an American journalist had written, the German fleet had ‘assaulted its gaoler but remains in jail’. This lack of activity and a desire to damage the Dover Barrage, thus easing the passage of U-boats, led the German navy to transfer two full flotillas of destroyers and torpedo boats from the High Seas Fleet to the Flanders Flotilla.

The units so assigned were the 3rd Flotilla, which comprised the 5th ad 6th Half-Flotillas, some thirteen vessels in total, generally mounting 4.1 inch guns ans six torpedo tubes; and the the 9th Flotilla, which was comprised of the 17th and 18th Half-Flotillas, eleven vessels armed with three 4.1 inch guns or three 22 pounders and six torpedo tubes. Up until that point, there had been little enemy activity near the Barrage of the Belgium coast for some time, in part because the Flanders Flotilla has limited surface capacity. Now however, the balance of power was changed. It was estimated by July 1916, the Germans had twenty two destroyers in the Flanders flotillas, half of them the newer types.

The Admiralty gained knowledge of the concentrations and warned Admiral Reginald Bacon, but his problem was that he did not have the resources to be strong everywhere. He decided that such forces that he possessed should be concentrated around the Downs, the area where shipping carrying supplies into the Port of London assembled. This, it seemed to him, was the most likely target. He was reinforced by ships from the Harwich Patrol, but took little care to alert the vessels maintaining the Dover Barrage of the possibility of action.

The Dover Straits Barrage

The expected strike came late in October 1916. Under the command of Kapitän Andreas Michelsen, the commodore of the High Seas Fleet flotillas, the German forces split into five groups, all ordered to attack, not in the Downs, but at various points along the Dover Barrage itself and against the transport line between England and France.

Their first victim was was the empty transport vessel, SS The Queen, the same ship that had rescued the the survivors of Admiral Ganteaume in October 1914 and was now carrying nothing more than cross channel mail. German destroyers steamed rapidly up on each side of the ship and stopped her. An officer came on board and allowed the captain and crew to get into lifeboats, where upon the Queen was sunk by gunfire.

The Queen had been observed, as had the German destroyers, by the hospital ships Jan Breydel and St Denis in transit between England and France. Neither reported the presence of the enemy forces because they were bound to take no warlike part under the Hague Convention part X of 1907.

So they kept quiet and neither did the Germans molest them. This was not always the German’s behaviour as at east sixteen British and Commonwealth flagged hospital ships were sunk in the war by mine and U-boat torpedo.

The German 5th Half-Flotilla sailed to the Dover Barrage and soon came into contact with the drifters of the 10th Drifter Division which were tending to anti-submarine nets. This comprised of five boats, under the command of Paradox. Just after 22.00pm on 26th October, the leading drifters sighted a number of destroyers. These strangers did not answer the challenge and the drifter captains fired rifles at them. The leading destroyers took no notice and passed on, but those in the rear switched on searchlights and opened fire. The drifters Spotless Prince, Datum and Gleaner of the Sea sank at once, Waveney II was damaged and set on fire, but paradox escaped and made off to the northwest.

The drifters’ escort was the old destroyer, HMS Flirt. She had in fact already sighted some of the enemy forces, but in the darkness mistook them for Allied ships. On hearing the firing, her commander, Lieutenant Rickard P Kellet, turned her back to the sound of the guns and found the drifters on fire or sunk. Again, believing the German destroyers to be friendly, he flashed a recognition signal which they repeated back. Seeing men in the water, Kellet stopped and lowered a boat. Just as the boat got clear of the ship, the Germans opened heavy fire on Flirt and hit multiple times. She sank in only a few minutes, taking all on board with her. Only the men in the rescue boat and their officer escaped with their lives.

Meanwhile, another division of German destroyers had arrived at the line of the barrage buoys, watched by the drifters and began to "roll it up". Their first victim was the drifter Waveney, damaged by the first shot fired at her. This firing was was seen by HMS Flirt, which made forward to the scene, eventually to come up with the damaged drifter. Although the German destroyers were sighted in the area, they were assumed to be French and Flirt stopped to pick up the Waveny's crew. She thus became a sitting target and was almost blown out of the water but the concentrated shelling of the enemy destroyers.

HM Destroyers (Lieut-Condr PK Kemp RN)

On arriving in the Dover Strait, the enemy attacked the drifters who were attending the mine nets and sank two of them. HMS Flirt was arrived on the scene after the German destroyers had finished pounding the little fishing craft. Finding some of the drifters' crews swimming about in the sea, Flirt lowered a boat, which attempted to save life. While the lifeboat with the First Lieutenant was pulling about and looking for drifters' crews, the German destroyers came back and riddled Flirt with shell until she finally sank.

Keeping The Seas (Captain ERGR Evans)
After sinking the Flirt, the Germans continued to attack the Barrage, sinking two more drifters from the 8th and 16th Drifter Divisions before they withdrew.

Commander WH Owen RNR, commanding the armed yacht Ombra was the first to give the alarm. He was somewhere near number 11 buoy when the 10th Drifter Division was attacked and as soon as he sighted gun flashed to the west of him, reported by wireless that the enemy warships were twenty miles east of Dover. Bacon immediately ordered the Tribal class destroyers Viking, Mohawk, Tartar, Nubian, Cossack and Amazon to slip and proceed in haste to the Barrage line. This they did by 22.50pm.

HMS Cossack 1907
HMS Cossack 1907
HMS Viking 1910
HMS Viking 1910

If a credulous simplicity had done for Flirt, then a similarly crass ignorance of standard naval procedure would sink and injure other British forces. Instead of keeping his Tribals concentrated, Commander Henry GL Oliphant, the senior officer in Viking, split his forces into two. As a result, Nubian, Amazon and Cossack ran separately into the whole German 17th and 18th Half-Flotillas. Nubian had been in front and it was her that made first contact at 00.21am. Commander Montague Bernard, her captain, again thought that the destroyers were friendly. Accordingly, he challenged by light and put his helm over to avoid them. A moment, the 17th Half-Flotilla passed along his port side and poured a heavy and destructive fire into him. Hardley a shot missed, but bravely Bernard turned to try and ram the last vessel in the enemy’s line. His luck was out and a torpedo struck under Nubian’s fore-bridge and below the bows off the ship. The fires of the vessel’s funeral pyre made a beacon in the centre of the Strait, marking the battle for all to see.

Amazon‘s commanding officer must have sighted the gun flashes on Nubian’s action and heard the firing, but because Oliphant had not concentrated his forces, his commanders had, of necessity, to identify every single vessel they met in case they fired on a friendly ship. Thus Amazon, on reaching the German destroyers at 00.45am and finding them firing on him, still believed them to be British and and signalled with recognition lights. Amazon’s torpedo operator actually had his sights on a German vessel and was about to fire, but was ordered not to as “the captain says they are ours”. The Germans sailed past Amazon at 30 yards range, firing as they went past.

Only three shells found their mark on the Amazon, two exploding in the after boiler room and one destroying the aft gun. The trawler HE Stroud, still in the area, was also hit and her skipper, Lieutenant James Richard McClorry RNR was killed. The destroyer Swift later put a doctor on board to tend to three wounded crewmen and one other, who had died from “illness”.

HMS Amazon

Amazon Logbook Thursday 26th October 1916.

Dover to escort duty, to Dover, to sea. Lat 51.1, Long 1.3

  • 7.15am: Proceeded to Eastern Arm – oiled
  • 9.20am: Slipped and proceeded out of harbour
  • 10.50am: Courses various while awaiting transport and as requisite for keeping station on port bow of transport
  • 12.35pm: Courses as requisite for entering Dover
  • 12.45pm: Secured to No 26 buoy
  • 11.22pm: Slipped and proceeded; course and speed as requisite for leaving harbour

Amazon Logbook Friday 27th October 1916.

Sea to Dover. Lat 51.1, Long 1.3

  • 12.50am: Engaged with enemy’s destroyers
  • 1.05am: Altered course W
  • 2.10am: Entered Dover Harbour
  • 2.30am: Secured to No 50 buoy
  • 3.10am: Discharged to hospital – Lieutenant Bunyard RN, OS Roberts RN, OS Fox RN, Stoker Bascombe, AB Cuell, Stoker Hill, OS Roper, OS Terry, AB Collings
  • 11.15am: Discharged dead – SPO Howard, Leading Stoker Perry, Stoker Kavanagh, Stoker Wheatley, OS Constable
  • 3.40pm: Effects of wounded ratings sent to HMS Arrogant

The German 17th Half-Flotilla had now completed a successful night’s work, but the 18th was near at hand and still eager for action. Viking, Mohawk and Tartar were approaching them and amazingly, Oliphant in Viking hesitated over their identification. He challenged them, but they crossed his bows and opened fire before passing down his starboard side and firing as they went. Mohawk was badly damaged and fell out of line. Viking fired one shot from her forward 4-inch gun, which them jammed. With this, the action effectively ended.

Nubian was lying disabled near buoy 5A. At 01.00am she was sighted and taken in tow, stern first as she had no forepart. But the weather conditions worsened and the tow parted. She started to drift uncontrollably towards the shore between South Foreland and St Margaret’s Bay. Seas were sweeping over her and it was clear that without some divine intervention, her crew were doomed. Fortunately a hero was to hand. Whilst Nubian was drifting helplessly towards shore and in rising and sweeping tides, Thomas William Smith, master of the tug William Gray, steered his ship alongside and took off the wounded. It was a remarkable piece of seamanship, both brave and skilful. When he placed himself alongside the Nubian, the two vessels were only about 100 yards from shore.

Admiralty Announcement
Daily Mirror - Saturday 28 October 1916

British losses were one destroyer (HMS Flirt) and six navel drifters sun, three destroyers, a navel trawler and three drifters damaged. Flirt had 60 dead, with only nine survivors. Amazon five dead, Nubian fifteen dead and six wounded. Mohawk four dead, thirty seven RNR sailors died, nearly all of them fishermen until the war had commenced. The Germans sustained no losses. It has not been a goof night for the Royal Navy.

Poor Little Flirt

There was nothing beautiful about the Flirt, except perhaps her name. She was just a dirty, pre-war type of destroyer of that kind which only burns coal and which makes a point of collecting cinders from her funnels on the bridge, in her lifeboats and every conceivable corner of her much congested deck space. Down below, in her wardroom, especially in winter, there was not room to swing a cat, for the bunks all round were crowded with clothes, books and other gear to permit chair room for the officers to take their meals or sit at their table. There was nothing in her surroundings to make these people cheerful, but no-one could accuse them of being anything else. Forward on the messdeck, the accommodation was even worse, but no-one ever heard a moan. Complaint was unknown to the men. The Flirt was a happy ship, but, but why she was a designated ship, or whatever her over-worked, uncomfortable crew had to make them happy about, God only knows. There is no disputing the fact however, that she was once His Majesty's Ship and she was happy and what was more, after twenty years of bumping and buffetting about, she met a greatly superior force of the enemy and took them on, bravely firing her guns until she sunk for the honour of her country. Poor little Flirt!

Keeping The Seas (Captain ERGR Evans)
HMS Flirt Postcard - Starboard
HMS Flirt Postcard - Circa 1898
HMS Flirt Postcard - Port
HMS Flirt Postcard - Circa 1901

We Remember

  • ALLEN, JOHN EDMUND (25), Leading Stoker (no. K/8742), Son of Fanny Allen, of 57, King Edmund St., Dudley, Worcs, and the late Henry Allen, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • ATHERTON, GEORGE (19), Able Seaman (no. SS/5985), Son of George and Susannah Atherton, of 1, Enfield St., Pemberton, Wigan, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • BAILEY, ALFRED (29), Petty Officer Stoker (no. 307228), Son of William and Emma Bailey, of Hazel Bank, Warsash, Southampton, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • BELL, JOHN GEORGE (23), Stoker 1st Class (no. K/33619), Son of John and Hannah Bell, of 53, Ramsey St., Tursdale, Ferryhill, Co. Durham, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • BELL, WILLIAM (29), Stoker (no. 5906S), HMS Flirt, Royal Naval Reserve, Son of George and Christina Bell, of Glasgow; Husband of Mary Bell, of 42, Weir St., Glasgow, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • BRIDGER, WILLIAM ALFRED (20), Stoker 1st Class (no. K/21472), Son of William Arthur and Frances Eliza Bridger, of 26, Grosvenor Rd., Southsea, Portsmouth, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • BUCKLE, ALFRED , Leading Stoker (no. 307363), Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • BURDON, OLIVER , Stoker (no. 4348S), HMS Flirt, Royal Naval Reserve, Memorial: Chatham Naval Memorial
  • CAMERON, COLIN CAMPBELL (33), Officer’s Steward 2nd Class (no. L/9018), Son of James and Betsy Cameron, of Fionphort, Oban, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • CARROLL, JAMES (35), Petty Officer Stoker (no. 284276), Son of Patrick and Ellen Carroll, of Aghamore, Co. Kerry, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • CHAMBERS, THOMAS ARTHUR (31), Yeoman of Signals (no. 211843), Son of the late Thomas Chauner Chambers and Florence Mary Chambers, of Birmingham, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • CHANNON, JOSEPH STEPHEN (25), Leading Stoker (no. K/4306), Son of Mr. and Mrs. John Channon, of London, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • CHAPMAN, EDWARD JOHN (21), Cook’s Mate 2nd Class (no. M/16950), Son of Edward and Elizabeth Chapman, of 54, Goldsmiths Row, Hackney Rd., London, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • CHASE, HENRY JOHN , Leading Seaman (no. 186621), Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • CLARIDGE, LESLIE ARTHUR , Able Seaman (no. J/17581), Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • CLEGG, WILLIAM SAMUEL , Stoker 1st Class (no. SS/116626), Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • COLEBOURNE, ALBERT EDWARD (21), Stoker 1st Class (no. SS/114735), Son of Mr. and Mrs. F. F. Colebourne, of 7, Rivett St., Derby, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • COX, JOHN ROBERT , Stoker 1st Class (no. K/9678), Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • CREASE, WILLIAM THOMAS (32), Stoker 1st Class (no. 303819), Son of William and Alice Crease, of Forest Gate, London; husband of Ellen Crease, of 114, Vicarage Lane, Stratford, London, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • CROFT, WILLIAM (22), Stoker 1st Class (no. SS/113963), Son of Mrs. Louisa Croft, of 50, Bloomsgrove St., Nottingham, and the late Daniel Croft, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • CROOKS, JOHN ALBERT (22), Stoker 1st Class (no. K/16515), Son of Sherbrook and Catherine Crooks, of 134, Railway St., South Wigston, Leicestershire, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • DITCH, JAMES WILLIAM HENRY (20), Stoker 1st Class (no. K/23281), Brother of Florence Maud Ditch, of 27, Steigulung St., New Bridge Rd., Holderness Rd., Hull, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • DOYLE, RICHARD JAMES (16), Stoker (no. 9110S), HMS Flirt, Royal Naval Reserve, Son of Thomas and Ellen Doyle (nee O’Hare), of Newry, Co. Down. Served at the Battle of Jutland, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • DUCKWORTH, CHARLES (17), Boy Telegraphist (no. J/37607), Son of George and Mary Duckworth, of 19, Cartwright St., Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs, Memorial: Plymouth Naval Memorial
  • FENNELL, CHARLES HENRY (26), Stoker 2nd Class (no. R/30751), Son of Henry Fennell, of 50, Abbotts Ann, Andover, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
C Fennell
Image copyright Tom P and Mutiny Diving
Pictured here is a nameplate from a locker. It is stamped C Fennell and was found on the seabed in 40 metres of water by Tom close to the final resting place of HMS Flirt. Charles Henry Fennell was a Stoker, 2nd Class and was one of those who went down with the ship on that bloody night. He was 26 years old and is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial which commemorates some 25,000 sailors from both the First and Second World Wars, lost at sea and where no permanent memorial at the precise location can be provided.
  • FOUNTAIN, GEORGE (30), Ordinary Seaman (no. J/58111), Son of William Fountain; husband of Hannah Elizabeth Fountain, of 12, Elmfield Avenue, Oldfield Lane, Wortley, Leeds, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial

There was at least one Leeds young man onboard the destroyer Flirt and the news to his safety is anxiously awaited. The seaman George Fountain, the fourth son of Mr William Fountain of 7, Moorfield Grove, Armley, Leeds. Seaman Fountain joined the Navy only in August and after a few weeks training, he went afloat in the Flirt on which he has crossed the Channel several times. In one of his latest letters, he said he was settling down to his new experience of "tossing around like a cork" on the sea and expressed the hope that we would be home around Christmas. Seaman Fountain who is 30 years of age, prior to joining the Navy, had been employed for about 15 years in the composing department of the Yorkshire Post and his father is an old employee in the stereotyping department of The Yorkshire Evening Post. For a time before going to see, Seaman Fountain drilled with the 7th Platoon of the 12th Battalion West Riding Volunteers. He married about 18 months ago and has a baby daughter. His home is at 12 Elmfield Avenue, Oldfield Lane, Wortley, Leeds.

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 28 October 1916
George Fountain Family Tree

Inspired by the Yorkshire Post article regarding George Fountain, I have used my My Heritage account for a little research. It would appear that George Fountain was married to Hannah Elizabeth Sowden in the summer of 1915, which coincide with the article comments. In May 1916 Hannah gave birth to their first and only child, a daughter aptly named May Fountain. May would have been around 5 months old when her father died. A laundry packer, May went on to marry a Jack Stubbs in 1940 aged 24 years old. In 1941 she had a son called Frank and a daughter in 1946 called Dianne. She died in November 1973 aged 63.

Mark Lewis - My Heritage Research
  • GRIFFITHS, ARTHUR (24), Stoker 1st Class (no. K/30163), Son of George Griffiths and Jessie, his wife, of Whitwick, Leicestershire. Native of Stafford, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • HAGUE, JOSEPH ARTHUR (24), Stoker 1st Class (no. K/32504), Son of Joseph and Mary Hague, of Walsall, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • HALL, ALBERT EDWARD (23), Able Seaman (no. J/7338), Son of Charles Edwin and Alice Jane Hall, of 7, Broad Lane, Lymington, Hants. Born at Totland Bay, Isle of Wight, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • HUBBARD, EDWIN THOMAS (28), Signalman (no. Mersey Z/1332), HMS Flirt, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Son of Mrs. M. E. Hubbard, of Grassmere, 241, Stockport Rd., Cheadle Heath, Stockport, and the late Mr. F. R. Hubbard, Memorial: Plymouth Naval Memorial
  • HUGHES, WILLIAM (19), Stoker 1st Class (no. K/25378), Son of Abel and Elizabeth Hughes, of 10, Castletown Rd., Moss, Wrexham, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • JENKINS, WILLIAM CALEB (39), Signalman (no. 177611), Son of William and Julia Jenkins; husband of Florence Gertrude Jenkins, of The Holt, Harehatch, Twyford, Berks, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • KELLETT, RICHARD PINDER (36), Lieutenant, Son of John and Catherine Jane Kellett; husband of Dorothy Kellett, of Uplands, Dousland, Yelverton, Devon, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • LEE, EDWARD MIDDLEMISS , Stoker 2nd Class (no. K/29879), Son of the late John and Annie Lee, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • LYONS, JOHN , Petty Officer Stoker (no. 163666), Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • MALCOLM, FRED BARCLAY , Engine Room Artificer 4th Class (no. M/22988), Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • MATTHEWS, ARTHUR (36), Chief Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class (no. 271000), Mentioned in Despatches, Son of Joseph and Hannah Matthews, of Whitehaven; husband of Caroline Matthews, of IOO, Lyndhurst Rd., North End, Portsmouth, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • MCINTOSH, HUGH (32), Seaman (no. 3162B), Son of James and Helen McIntosh, of 6, George St., Avoch, Ross-shire, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • MCQUEEN, WILLIAM ALEXANDER (22), Leading Telegraphist (no. J/6610), Son of W. A. and E. McQueen, of 28, Northbank Rd., Walthamstow, London, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • MURCH, LIVINGSTONE (22), Engine Room Artificer 4th Class (no. M/19847), Son of Ebenezer and Sara Murch, of 54, Grierson St., Kennyhill, Glasgow, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • NEEDHAM, CHRISTOPHER , Stoker 1st Class (no. K/27007), Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • PARSONS, ALBERT (22), Stoker 1st Class (no. K/36051), Son of William and Jane Parsons, of North St., Theale. Berks, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • PATIENCE, WILLIAM (19), Seaman (no. 5484A), HMS Flirt, Royal Naval Reserve, Son of George and Jessie Patience, of 30, High St., Avoch, Ross-shire, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • PORTEOUS, SAMUEL , Able Seaman (no. SS/878), HMS Flirt, Royal Fleet Reserve, Service: RFR/CH/B/6255, Memorial: Chatham Naval Memorial
  • POVEY, EDWARD AUSTIN (18), Stoker (no. 8095S), HMS Flirt, Royal Naval Reserve, Son of Joseph and Margaret Alice Povey, of 49, North Row, New Delaval, Newsham, Northumberland, Memorial: Chatham Naval Memorial
  • PRINGLE, THOMAS RUTHERFORD (19), Stoker (no. 8260S), HMS Flirt, Royal Naval Reserve, Son of James and Sarah Pringle, of 10, New Row, Isabella Rd., Newsham, Northumberland, Memorial: Chatham Naval Memorial
  • SEAGER, HAROLD ARTHUR (24), Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class (no. M/103), Son of George James Upton Seager, and Emma Seager, of 3, Grove Park Terrace, Par, Cornwall. Born at Gloucester, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • SHOTT, ALBERT HENRY (23), Engine Room Artificer 4th Class (no. M/1128), Husband of Ivy Jewel Shott, of 32, Alverstone Rd., Milton, Portsmouth, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • SMITH, HENRY , Leading Stoker (no. K/721), Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • STEELE, FREDERICK ARTHUR GODFREY (21), Able Seaman (no. J/18803), Brother of Daisy Marjorie Lea, of Ivy Cottage, Lyne, Chertsey, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • STROUD, ARTHUR , Able Seaman (no. J/2277), Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • VICKERY, JOHN ROBERT (41), Artificer Engineer, Husband of Emily Jessie Vickery, of 58, Warleigh Avenue, Keyham, Devonport, Memorial: Plymouth Naval Memorial
  • WALLIS, JOSEPH HENRY , Leading Cooks Mate (no. M/2269), Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • WARDHAUGH, GEORGE ESTALL (23), Stoker 1st Class (no. K/26184), Son of Mary Ann Wardhaugh, of 14, General Graham St., Sunderland, and the late Edward Wardhaugh, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • WATSON, ALFRED EDWARD (37), Petty Officer (no. 177741), Son of the late Alfred Edward Watson; husband of Annie Elizabeth Watson, of 43, Byerley Rd., Fratton, Portsmouth. Native of Hastings Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • WHITE, HARRY (28), Leading Seaman (no. 225895), Son of Harry White; husband of A. White, of 114, Eign Rd., Hereford, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • WILSON, WILLIAM (26), Stoker 1st Class (no. K/9356), Son of Esther Wilson, of 6, Sales St., Pitsmoor, Sheffield, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • WISE, JOSEPH (29), Leading Signalman (no. 222824), D S M, Mentioned in Despatches, Son of James Loftus Wise and Agnes Eleanor Wise, of London; husband of Edith Green (formerly Wise), of Corporation House, Tower Hamlets Rd., Dover, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • WOOD, JOHN , Chief Stoker (no. 170070), Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • WOODS, JOHN JAMES (28), Stoker 1st Class (no. K/3757), Husband of Emma Kate Jones (formerly Woods), of 9, Hope St., Landport, Portsmouth, Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial

Flirt Survivors

HMS Flirt Survivors
Irish Independent - Monday 30 October 1916
  • BARTER, JOHN A , Acting Gunner
  • CHATER, JOHN D G , Sub-Lieutenant
  • HANKINS, GEORGE EDWARD , Able Seaman (no. J25075 (PO))
  • HIGGINS, FREDERICK CECIL , Able Seaman (no. SS4048 (PO))
  • INNES, ALEXANDER , Seaman, RNR (no. 6889A)
  • PHILPOT, SYDNEY CHARLES , Signaller RNVR (no. Z4862)
  • RIGGS, REGINALD OWEN , Able Seaman (no. J22629 (PO)
  • SMITH, CHARLES , Able Seaman (no. J23424 (PO)
  • TREVETT, JAMES FREDERICK , Able Seaman (no. J23916 (PO

HMS Flirt Today

Today, the wreck sits at on a sandy bottom at roughly 40m with an orientation of NE-SW, sitting slightly proud at 4m with a length of 63m and width of 8m.

Location of HMS Flirt
Location of HMS Flirt
Dover Straight - Eastern Part
Dover Straight - Eastern Part

Diving HMS Flirt

All divers should be aware of the depth and although within recreational limits, the dive is a pretty flat profile and any NDL time can quickly disappear. Being an offshore location, visibility is typically better than the inshore wrecks. Ideally a neap tidal dive as tidal flow can change quickly in the Dover Strait and care should be taken to ensure any ascent is back via the shot line as she is laying within the shipping lanes. With a smaller footprint of 65m by 8m, she is relatively flat wreck and easily navigable in ambient light with no overhead environments. There is an old fishing net over some of the site, but there is no real snagging hazard. Live ordinance can be found around the wreck. Under no circumstances should any ammunition be touched or moved for obvious reason. Although not designated a protected wreck or war grave, the wreck should be respected.