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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS  THRACIAN (D 86) - Old S-class Destroyer

HMS Tenedos, sister-ship (NavyPhotos, click to enlarge)

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S-Class Destroyer ordered from Hawthorn Leslie at Newcastle under the 1917-18 Programme with the 12th Destroyer Order in July 1917. Although laid down on 10th January 1918 the ship was not launched until 5th March 1920 owing to economies in naval expenditure after the end of WW1. She was the 2nd ship to bear this name, introduced in 1809 for a Sloop broken-up in 1829. After launch the ship was towed from the build yard to HM Dockyard at Sheerness and build was completed on 21st April 1922.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s



H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, a Vine Gold


M o t t o

'Thrust On'



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)



1 9 3 9


September             Deployed with the Hong Kong Local Flotilla.

                3rd          Nominated for patrol duties to intercept German merchant shipping in China Sea.



October                  Nominated for conversion to minelaying role.

                                (Note: HM Destroyers TENEDOS and THANET of this Class and serving on the

                                China Station were also designed for this role. (See Special Note below.)

                                Endurance of these ships was 2,750 miles at 15 knots or 1210 miles at

                                25 knots.)

                18th        Taken in hand for conversion by HM Dockyard, Hong Kong.

                                (Note: Torpedo Tubes and after gun mounting were removed to allow the fit of

                                discharge rails for a total of 40 mines.)

                21st         Laid defensive minefield in Lantau Channel with HMS THANET and a requisitioned

                                naval auxiliary HMS MAN YEUNG. 83 mines were laid.

                                (Note: MAN YEUNG was designed for use as a Ferry.)

                27th        On completion prepared for further minelay.

                28th        Laid another defensive mine field at Shap, Hong Kong.

                31st         Reverted to general duties role on completion of Shap lay.


November              Patrol and interception duties in continuation.




1 9 4 0


January                  Interception Patrol deployment with Flotilla in continuation.

                                (Note: Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes was changed to

                                I 86 in May)


1 9 4 1


January                  Nominated for minelaying duties

                                Taken in hand for conversion.

                23rd        Laid extension to west Lamma Field with HMS MAN YEUNG.

                                138 mines were laid.



                                Minelaying deployment in continuation.

                11th        Further extension of West Lamma Field with HMS MAN YEUNG.

                                140 mines laid.

                                On completion reverted to general duties role with Flotilla.


March                    Hong Kong patrol duties in continuation.




October                  Nominated for minelaying duty and taken in hand for conversion.

                21st         Laid further extension to West Lamma Field with HMS MAN YEUNG.

                                (Note: This improvement of defensive minefields at Hong Kong was made after

                                increased threat of Japanese attacks in southern area and in conjunction

                                with measures agreed with the USA. See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)

                                For details of all minelaying operations see Naval Staff History (Mining)

                                which also describes types of mine and types of Fields.)


November              Deployed at Hong Kong and prepared for war Service.

                                (Note: Nominated for lay of two minefields near Mirs Bay to protect east side of the

                                New Territories from landings and a third to close the western entry to main

                                anchorage and harbour.)


December              Hong Kong deployment for minelays in continuation.

                8th          Following Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour laid Field in Kap Shuin Muni

                                between Green Island and Tsing Yi to close western entrance to harbour.

                                (Note: A gap had been left to allow freedom of traffic between Macau and

                                Hong Kong

                                The other two destroyers in the Local Flotilla, HMS SCOUT and HMS

                                THANET of Local Flotilla were transferred to Singapore via Manila for escort

                                duties after Japanese declaration of war.)

.                               Under air attacks during minelay but was undamaged.

                                On completion of minelay deployed for patrol in Lamma, Lantau and Lema islands

                                area to intercept shipping attempting to carry out landings.

                10th        Patrol deployment in continuation and under air attacks,

                                Took part in attacks on craft attempting to land Japanese troops on Lamma Island.

                                (Note: During replenishment periods in Dockyard, taken in hand for the

                                removal of minelaying equipment and replacement of armament.)

                                Assisted in evacuation of personnel from Stonecutters Island

                11th        Patrol deployment and conversion to destroyer role in continuation.

                12th        Despatched with two Motor Torpedo boats to foot of Devils Peak to evacuate army

                                Rearguard from Kowloon During this operation one MTB was hit and taken in tow.

.                               Landed army personnel at Aberdeen and returned to Dockyard at Victoria to continue


                13th        Conversion work by HM Dockyard in continuation,

                to            (Note: Colony was under air attacks and fire from enemy units ashore in

                14th        Kowloon.)

                15th        Dockyard work completed and sailed under shore fire to resume patrol.

                                Despatched after nightfall to carry out attack on enemy ships embarking troops in

                                Kowloon Bay for attack on Hong Kong Island. Grounded during passage near Lamma

                                Island and ruptured fuel tank

.                               (Note: Ship was at high speed and serious flooding was contained but ship developed


                16th        Engaged shipping in Kowloon Bay and sank several small vessels.

                                Took passage to Aberdeen under shore

                                Inspection revealed major structural damage and docking required.

                                Owing to bomb damage during persistent attacks Dock Gates could not be opened and

                                planned repair impossible.

                                Casualties sustained by ship's company included three killed.

                                Decision to abandon ship made and stores with other portable equipment landed.

                                (Note: Repair to damaged fuel tank rendered impossible a passage from Hong Kong

                                as insufficient fuel would be available.)

                17th        Ship sailed from Aberdeen and deliberately run aground between Repulse Bay and

                                Deepwater Bay.

                                (Note: Arrangements made for Floating Crane to attend wreck for removal of 4in guns

                                an Torpedo Tubes. Guns were intended for use ashore.)

.                               Primers placed for detonation of explosives to prevent ship falling into

                                enemy hands.

                                Ship's company left ship

                18th        Planned removals not carried out due to extent of enemy occupation and the Ship's

                                company ordered to take up military duties to assist Canadian Army units in defence

                                of the area.

.                               (Note: This decision resulted in the deaths of many of the ship's company in defence

                                of the Colony before its surrender on 25th December 1941 and later during


                24th        Japanese began salvage of wrecked ship


 1 9 4 2


                                Under repair on completion of salvage work.

                                On completion taken into service as Patrol Vessel  IJN110.


1 9 4 3    t o    1 9 4 4


                                Deployed by Imperial Japanese Navy as IJN110.


1 9 4 5


January                  IJN service in continuation.




P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS THRACIAN was found at Yokosuka, near Tokyo after the occupation of the area in August 1945. An unsuccessful attempt to scuttle had been made and she was lying alongside a jetty where she was recovered by a party from HM Destroyer UNDINE in December 1945. One surprising feature was a Japanese centimetric radar fitted aft on a special mast structure and it is reported that she had been used as a Trials ship for the successful LONG LANCE torpedoes, but the ship was clearly in poor condition. She was placed on the Disposal List at Hong Kong and sold in 1946 for breaking-up locally. Miraculously the Ship's Bell  survived her service and is now held by the Public House BLUE BOAR at Poole, Dorset.


Special Note


This Chronology has been twice revised since the original research in 1997. Details received from Sid Porrett of Theydon Bois, Essex and later research have been included in this Revised issue. The help given and study of the documentation provided has been a major contribution and enabled extensive improvements to be made. This is most gratefully acknowledged.


The General Information provided with this record refers to the Class of destroyer and is not applicable to each individual ship. HMS STURDY, HMS STRONGHOLD and HMS THRACIAN were all modified during pre-war service for conversion to use as minelayers. In this role the after 4in gun and torpedo tubes were landed with depth charge racks and control units to enable mine rails to be fitted on either side. 20 mines were carried in each set of rails and mines were discharged over the stern.


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