British expenditure on the Royal Navy between 1900 and 1905.
1900-01 £32,131,062 7s 3d
1901-02 £33,726,491 10s 11d
1902-03 £34,201,994 4s 8d
This represents a remarkable 31 percent (£9,870,338) increase in the naval budget over the five year period.
 HC Deb 29 February 1904 vol 130 c124.
Shale oil in 1914? There’s nowt new under the sun.
Mr. EDGAR JONES asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has caused any experiments to be conducted for the extraction of oil fuel from coal or shale, or caused any inquiries to be made as to the comparative cost of oil extraction by any of the processes now being adopted by commercial concerns?
Mr. CHURCHILL The Admiralty have made some experimental extractions on a small scale of oil from certain shales in the United Kingdom, and the various commercial processes for extracting oil from coal and shale are being watched with the keenest interest. It is not practicable to give any comparative details, as much experimental work is still being done.
Source: United Kingdom. Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 5th ser., vol 58, cc920-1 (1914).
Sergeant Norman Finch, Royal Marine Artillery, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his action during the Zeebrugge Raid of 23 April, 1918. The citation in The London Gazette for 23 July 1918 reads:
Sergeant Norman Augustus Finch, R.M.A., No. R.M.A./12150.
For most conspicuous gallantry. Sergeant Finch was second in command of the pompoms and Lewis guns in the foretop of Vindictive, under Lieutenant Charles N. B. Rigby, R.M.A. At one period the Vindictive was being hit every few seconds, chiefly in the upper works, from which splinters caused many casualties. It was difficult to locate the guns which were doing the most damage, but Lieutenant Rigby, Sergeant Finch and the Marines in the foretop, kept up a continuous fire with pompoms and Lewis guns, changing rapidly from one target to another, and thus keeping the enemy’s fire down to some considerable extent. Unfortunately two heavy shells made direct hits on the foretop, which was completely exposed to enemy concentration of fire. All in the top were killed or disabled except Sergeant Finch, who was, however, severely wounded; nevertheless he showed consummate bravery, remaining in his battered and exposed position. He once more got a Lewis gun into action, and kept up a continuous fire, harassing the enemy on the mole, until the foretop received another direct hit, the remainder of the armament being then completely put out of action. Before the top was destroyed Sergeant Finch had done invaluable work, and by his bravery undoubtedly saved many lives. This very gallant sergeant of the Royal Marine Artillery was selected by the 4th Battalion of Royal Marines, who were mostly Royal Marine Light Infantry, to receive the Victoria Cross under Rule 13 of the Royal Warrant dated 29th January, 1856.
Finch retired from the Royal Marines as a Quartermaster Sergeant in 1929. During the Second World War, he rejoined at age 49 and served as a Storekeeper Officer (Lieutenant) until 1945.His Victoria Cross is on display at the Royal Marines Museum, Eastney Barracks, Southsea.
Royal Navy battleships in commission with full crews, 1st April, 1905.
There were thirty four battleships in commission. Of these, twenty were assigned to Home waters, eight were with the Mediterranean Fleet, five were on the China Station, and one was employed on trooping service.
Atlantic (at Gibraltar)
King Edward VII
Prince of Wales
Barfleur was also temporarily in commission with full crew in trooping service.
Source: United Kingdom. Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 5th ser., vol. 47, col. 635-7W.
HMS/HMAS Vendetta was an Admiralty V-class destroyer that saw service during the First World War and the Second World War. Vendetta served in the Royal Navy from 1917 to 1933 and then transferred to the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS Vendetta in 1933. She was sold for scrap in 1946 and scuttled off Sydney Heads in 1948.
First World War
HMS Vendetta was commissioned in 1917 and assigned to the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla which was attached to the Grand Fleet. In October 1917, the flotilla consisted of the light cruiser HMS Champion as flagship, the depot ship HMS Woolwich, two flotilla leaders, twenty-one M-class destroyers, seven R-class destroyers, and six V-class destroyers (including Vendetta). Her first action was against German minesweepers operating in the Kattegat.
On the night of 17th November 1917, Vendetta formed part of the destroyer screen for the First Light Cruiser Squadron at the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight.
In March 1918, the flotilla was transferred to the Battle Cruiser Force (Rear Admiral William Pakenham).
Following the First World War, Vendetta was assigned to the Baltic in support of White forces during the Russian Civil War. On 12th December 1918, she rescued 430 crew from HMS Cassandra when the cruiser struck a mine and sank. Vendetta also took part in the capture of the Bolshevik Orfey-class destroyer ‘Spartak’ and the Izyaslav-class destroyer ‘Lennuk’ which were transferred to the Estonian Navy.
Between 1924 and 1933, Vendetta served with First Destroyer Flotilla and the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet.
In 1933, Vendetta was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy. Together with the destroyer leader Stuart and the destroyers Vampire, Voyager, and Waterhen, she departed Chatham on 17th October and arrived in Sydney on 21st December. The 5 ships formed the Australian Destroyer Flotilla, later to become the infamous “Scrap Iron Flotilla.”
Second World War
HMAS Vendetta served in the Royal Australian Navy throughout the Second World War. In November 1939, the RAN approved an Admiralty request to transfer Australian destroyers to the Mediterranean Fleets. HMAS Venedtta took passage with Stuart, Voyager, and Waterhen via the Red Sea and Suez, arriving at Malta on 14th December.
During her time in the Mediterranean, Vendetta earned battle honours for the Libya campaign (1940-41), the Battle of Cape Matapan (1941), the Battle of Greece (1941), and Crete (1941). She also served as a convoy escort between Gibraltar, Malta, and Alexandria, and as a member of the famous ‘Tobruk Ferry Service’ ferrying supplies into the besieged city and evacuating wounded. After 2-years continuous service in the Mediterranean, Vendetta was nominated for refit and, after transit of Suez and Bombay, arrived at Sembawang Dockyard, Singapore on 12th November 1941.
When war with Japan broke out, Vendetta was still under refit at Sembawang. When the Japanese bombed Singapore on 8th December 1941, a stick of bombs fell within 200-yards of the destroyer. There was a further air raid on 31st December, during which time Vendetta‘s anti aircraft armament went into action. During an air raid on 21st January 1942, Vendetta shot down a Japanese bomber with a direct hit on its bomb bay. With Japanese forces approaching Singapore from landward, the stripped-down Vendetta was towed from the dockyard on 2nd February, reaching Batavia on 10th February, Fremantle on 4th March, and Melbourne on 15th April. Her refit recommenced at Williamstown and was finally complete in September 1942.
Vendetta‘s refit involved a reduction in main armament and an increase in anti aircraft armament. She would now serve as a well-armed dedicated escort vessel instead of a “workhorse” destroyer. During her service in the Far East, Vendetta earned the battle honours Pacific (1941-43) and New Guinea (1943-44). In September 1945, Vendetta transported Australian representatives to Rabaul to accept the surrender of Japanese forces.
HMAS Vendetta paid off on 17th November 1945 and was placed on the disposal list. The ship was sold for scrapping in 1946 and her hulk was scuttled off Sydney Heads on 2nd July 1948.
HMS Vendetta / HMAS Vendetta Details
Admiralty V and W-class destroyer.
Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Govan.
Laid down November 1916.
Launched 3rd September 1917.
Completed 17th October 1917.
Sold for scrap, scuttled off Sydney 1948.
HMS Vendetta / HMAS Vendetta Specifications
Length: 312ft o/a
Beam: 29ft 6in
Draught: 14ft 8in
Machinery: 3 Yarrow boilers, 2 Brown-Curtis turbines, 29,417 SHP, 2 shafts
Complement: 6 officers and 133 ratings
as built: 4 QF 4-inch Mk V guns, 1 QF 2-pounder Mk II, 2 triple 21-inch torpedo tubes
added later: 2 depth charge rails, 4 depth charge throwers
post-1942 refit: 2 4-inch guns, 2 pom-poms, 4 Oerlikon guns, 7 .303-inch guns, depth charges
HMS Mastiff was a Thornycroft M or Mastif-class destroyer commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1914. Mastiff served throughout the First World War.
In December 1914, Mastiff was one of three M-class (Mastiff, Manly, and Minos) assigned to the First Destroyer Flotilla. In January 1915, she transferred to the Third Destroyer Flotilla. In March 1915, she joined the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla, which formed part of the Harwich Striking Force.
The Tenth Destroyer Flotilla comprised the Arethusa-class light cruiser HMS Aurora (flagship), the old Eclipse-class cruiser HMS Dido (depot ship), and the M-class destroyers Manly, Mastiff, Meteor, Milne, Minos, Moorsoom, Morris, Murray, and Myngs.
In January 1916, Mastiff was assigned to temporary duty with the Eleventh Submarine Flotilla supporting the Grand Fleet, before returning to service with the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla at Harwich. Mastiff did not take part in the Battle of Jutland.
In April 1917, Mastiff transferred to Sixth Destroyer Flotilla with her sister ships Moorsom and Myngs. The Sixth Destroyer Flotilla was assigned to the Dover Patrol. The Dover Patrol was based at Dover in England and Dunkirk in France. The patrol was responsible for antisubmarine operations in the English Channel and for the escort of Allied shipping to-and-from the Channel ports.
In July 1918, the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla comprised the old protected cruiser HMS Arrogant (depot and flagship), the flotilla leaders Botha, Broke, Faulknor, Swift, Velox, Warwick, and Whirlwind, and the destroyers Afridi, Amazon, Cossack, Crusader, Gipsy, Kangaroo, Leven, Manly, Mansfield, Mastiff, Matchless, Melpomene, Mentor, Meteor, Milne, Miranda, Moorsom, Morris, Murray, Myngs, Nugent, Panther, Phoebe, Racehorse, Saracen, Senator, Sikh, Syren, Termagant, Trident, Viking, Violet, and Zubian.
HMS Mastiff was paid off at the end of the war and was sold for scrap in 1921 after six-and-a-half years of service.
HMS Mastiff Construction Details
Thornycroft M or Mastif-class destroyer.
Built by J. I. Thornycroft, Woolston, Hants.
Laid down 10th July 1913.
Launched 5th September 1914.
Completed 12th November 1914.
Sold for breaking up 9th May 1921.
HMS Mastiff Specifications
Length: 274ft o/a
Beam: 27ft 9in
Draught: 10ft 6in
Machinery: Parsons steam turbines, 26,000 SHP, 2 shaft
Complement: 78 officers and ratings
Armament: 3 QF 4-inch Mk IV, 1 QF 2-pounder Mk II, 2 21-inch torpedo tubes
“A remarkable incident has recently occurred on board one of his Majesty’s battleships at Sheerness.”
The Torygraph reported the news on 11th March 1914 without reference to which ship was involved. However, the Daily Chronicle reported the battleship as HMS Queen, a Formidable-class battleship built at Devonport and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 7th April 1904. By March of 1914 she was serving as flagship for Vice Admiral Cecil Burney, in command of the Second Fleet and the Third Fleet. The trail is murky, because Reuters reported the battleship to be HMS Caesar, a Majestic-class pre-dreadnought built at Portsmouth and commissioned into the RN on 13th January 1898, then in reserve at Sheerness.
“A number of members of the crew have been detained, pending the result of the investigation which is being carried out.”
A spot of detective work reveals that the culprit was a signalman aboard HMS Ocean (sorry, Reuters), namely one Herbert Hulton, who was identified by “certain finger-prints” left at the scene of the crime. A court martial sentenced Hulton to four years imprisonment.
Now why the blighter took it… anyone care to dig around for the court martial proceedings?