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  World War 1 at Sea - In Memory of

His service on HMS ZUBIAN, 1918

with thanks to Jon Richards

Four officers in the wardroom of HMS Zubian;
Sub-Lt Richards second from left (click to enlarge)
HMS Zubian

F or Tribal-class destroyer, 1,050t (tons), "completed" July 1917 by Chatham Dockyard, approximately 280ft long, speed 34kts (knots), armed with two 4in guns and two single 18in  tt (torpedo tubes).

Sister ship HMS Nubian was damaged by torpedo 27 October 1916, the stern survived. HMS Zulu was mined and disabled on 8 November 1916, in this case the bow survived. The two halves were joined between the 3rd and 4th funnels, and HMS Zubian was born. Whoever said the British Admiralty does not have a sense of humour?

The 12 Tribal-class vessels (Zubian was the 13th) served as the 6th Destroyer Flotilla at Dover for most of the war. Two more were lost in addition to Nubian and Zulu.

1. Starboard side

Perhaps quite a rare connection - the name and photograph of a Dockyard worker linked to a World War 1 ship he worked on. In this case, the building of HMS Zubian from the two Tribal-class halves. Arthur Thomas Mudge, 1878-1952, worked all his life as a Blacksmith in Chatham Dockyard, including World War 2, and died aged 74. Described as a kind man, who never married, he also had a "smithy" at his Uncle John Mudge's farm in Gillingham, Kent,  where he would repair equipment and shoe the horses. (With thanks to Ann  Booker (24 Sep 2012). Arthur was her Grandmother's cousin.)

2. White Ensign and French ensign flying on mainmast

3. and 4. At anchor


5. Forecastle, looking aft past forward 4in gun
6. Quarterdeck, looking astern. Note single depth charge

7. Underway, starboard side from bridge
8. Moored, starboard side looking forward

Patrol boat in background

9 and 10. Moored in Dover Harbour

Naval drifters and paddle minesweepers in background

11. Going alongside an apparent merchant vessel in Dover; Sub Lieutenant RN in charge. Name on side of vessel could be British and/or Georgiana. No British Georgia or Georgiana identified. Might be SS Georgiana, cargo ship, 4,523grt
12. Wheelhouse, probably Coxswain at the wheel
Her Officers

As the photographs were probably taken between March and December 1918, this narrows down the identification of the officers. Numbers in brackets are to help identification.


November 1917 Navy List

Lieutenant in Command Henry J. Hartnott, assigned 20 June 1917 (1)
Lieutenant, RNR, William Campbell (Acting), assigned 18 June 1917 (2)
Acting S/Lt, RNR Thomas N. Heap (Acting), assigned 20 June 1917 (3)
Chief Artificer Engineer Francis S. Curtis, assigned May 1917 (4)
Gunner (T) Arthur Eves (Acting), assigned 17 September 1917 (5)


December 1918 Navy List

Lieutenant in Command Gordon F. Hannay, assigned 30 May 1918 (6)
S/Lt William A.H. Harrison, assigned 1 November 1917 (7)
S/Lt John P. Apps, assigned 6 August 1918 (8)
Surgeon S/Lt, RNVR Beresford T. Richards, assigned 25 March 1918 (9)
Chief Artificer Engineer (4) and Gunner (T) (5) as 1917 List


13. Lieutenant RN, probably one of two commanding officers - Henry Hartnott from June 1917 or Gordon Hannay from May 1918. Believed the latter.
14. From Image 22, Sub-Lieutenant RN, but may not be included in 1918 Navy List

15. Believed to be Chief Artificer Engineer Curtis
16. Not identified

17. Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve, only William Campbell is included in Navy Lists
18. Believed to be Chief Artificer Engineer Curtis and another Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve

19. Sub-Lieutenant RN (possibly 7 or 8), Gunner (T) Eves (5), Chief Artificer Engineer Curtis (4)
20. Chief Artificer Engineer Curtis (4), believed Lieutenant in Command Gordon F. Hannay, Gunner (T) Eves (5),  Sub-Lieutenant RN believed to be officer in No.14,

21. Having a drink in the Wardroom - Two Sub-Lieutenants RN (possibly 7 and 8), Surgeon Sub-Lieutenant Richards, aged 24 or 25, (9), believed to be officer in No.14, probably Gunner (T) Eves (5)
22. Unoccupied wardroom, reference is made to it being the sick bay

23. Wardroom possibly earlier in 1918 - officer "at ease" (see 24), possibly Captain's wife and
earlier Lieutenant in Command Henry Hartnott, fourth person not known
24. "At ease" - possibly Sub-Lieutenant RN

25. Wife and daughters, possibly of Lieutenant in Command Henry Hartnott
Torpedo Firing, Recovery and Maintenance

26. 18 inch torpedo being fired
27. Recovery by 27ft whaler. Note torpedo floating vertically at end of run

28. Torpedo under tow
29. (to 32.) Being hoisted on board; Gunner (T) Eves in charge

31. Note dent in practise warhead

33. Removing the practise warhead
34. Looks like three Petty Officer by the aft torpedo tube. Behind is a bandstand believed to mount a 2pdr AA pom-pom gun   35. .... and again
Dover Patrol Destroyers
Other Tribal-class vessels of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla
all launched 1907-09, characteristics similar to HMS Zubian, although differing in appearance

36. HMS Amazon
37. HMS Viking

38. HMS Crusader
39. HMS Crusader
right - A famous Flotilla Leader. With HMS Swift, sank German destroyers G85 and G42 in the Battle of the Dover Straits, the night of 20/21 April 1917. During the action Broke rammed G42 leading to hand-to-hand fighting by the crews. Commander Evans of the Broke was subsequently renowned as "Evans of the Broke"  
40. HMS Broke, Faulknor-class, 1,610t,  launched May 1914, 31kts, 6-4in/4-21in tt
M-class, c1,000t, launched July-December 1914, 34kts, 3-4in/4-21in tt, appearance depended on builder

41. HMS Mastiff, Thornycroft-built with three funnels
42. HMS Mastiff

43. HMS Moorsom, John Brown-built, also three-funnelled
44. HMS Moorsom

45. HMS MIranda, Yarrow-built with two funnels
46. HMS Myngs, Palmer-built

47. HMS Mentor, Hawthorn-built with four funnels; believed to be transport  Ville de Liege in background
48. Minesweeping paravanes on the stern, probably of an unidentified destroyer laying alongside. Note gun breech on left
Talisman-class, HMS Trident, 1,098t, launched 15 July 1915, 32kts, 5-4in/4-21in tt

49. and 50. both HMS Trident


Repeat M-class, c1,000t, launched 1915-16, c34kts, 3-4in/4-21in tt

51. HMS Phoebe
Other Dover Patrol Naval Vessels and Escorts

52. Believed to be Dover Harbour Board tug and ex-cruiser HMS Vindictive. She returned to Dover after the Zeebrugge Raid on 23 April 1918 and was patched up before being expended at Ostend on the 9 May. Photograph must have been taken in early May 
53. Lord Clive-class 12in monitor, possibly General Crauford or Sir John Moore

54. HMS Glatton (above - Photo Ships), monitor, ex-Norwegian coast defence battleship, 5,700t, commissioned 31 August 1918. Magazine exploded and caught fire on 16 September. Scuttled by torpedoes.
55. Wreck of HMS Glatton in Dover harbour

56. (to 58) P-type patrol craft, 610t, launched 1915-18, 20kts, 1-4in/2-14in tt.  Above and right - HM P.21, launched March 1916, moored at Dover

57. HM P21

58. HM P.48, launched September 1917
59. US Elco-built Motor Launch ML.588 entering port

60. Armed trawlers at their moorings inside Dover mole, apparently raising steam
61. HMS Zubian presumably passed one of them as she departed Dover herself

62. One crew member with HMS Victory cap tally, annotation appears to read "Trawler, (possibly) W H Pond?". Believed to be HM Minesweeping Trawler W H Podd, Milford Haven-registered M.1, 225grt, built 1914, Admiralty No. 154, armed with 1-6pdr AA gun
63. US Elco-built motor launches with their depot ship, HMS Arrogant. She was an ex-Arrogant-class 2nd class cruiser, 5,750t, launched in 1896, and sister ship to HMS Vindictive expended in the second Ostend Raid

64. Short 184 seaplane in Dover. P-type patrol craft in background.

65. SS or Submarine Scout non-rigid airship flown by the Royal Naval Air Service for convoy escort and anti-submarine patrol. In this case SSZ.30.
66. Another image of the same SSZ.30, referred to in this case as a "Gas bag"
Merchant Navy Vessels
mostly in dazzle camouflage
Troop Transports

67. Unidentified troop transport in Dover, with troops onboard
68. Could be cross-Channel steamer SS Victoria which was also employed as troop transport, but there are differences from other photographs. Annotation suggests SS Vafer or Nafer, but no such vessel identifed; might also read Victoria
69 and 70. Believed to be passenger paddle steamer P/S Princesse Clementine, 1,474grt, built 1897, owned by Belgian Government

71. Cross-Channel passenger ship SS Ville de Liege, 1,366grt, built 1913, owned by  Belgian Government
72. SS Princess Elizabeth, also owned by Belgian Government
Other Vessels

73. Tug Scott and believed to be British merchant ship SS Manora, 7.875grt, built  1913
74. Cargo ship

75. Cargo ship. Note defensive gun on stern
76. Coastal collier

77. Dover Harbour Board tug in Dover Harbour, believed Lady Crundall
78. Sunken brig - one of hundreds of ship casualties around the British Isles in World War 1


from Jon Richards, his grandson

"I have set up a group on Flickr to display around 80 pictures taken by my Grandfather Beresford Tom Richards, who served in HMS Zubian in 1918 to 1919 as ship's doctor. He was awarded the White Ensign from the ship when it was decommissioned, we believe, for being the only ship to suffer no casualties during the 1919 Spanish Flu epidemic.

"Ultimately I started off trying to find the history of my grandfather so any help with it would be hugely appreciated.

"We have the original flag from the ship and a medal he was presented with when the boat was decommissioned."

Jon can be contacted by email at

Further research by Gordon Smith


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revised  15/11/12