HMS Vindictive

This is the story of the men and their ship called HMS Vindictive, the action they undertook in 1918.

Early in 1918 the HMS Vindictive was fitted out for the Zeebrugge Raid. Most of her guns were replaced by howitzers, flame-throwers and mortars. On 23 April 1918 she was in fierce action at Zeebrugge when she went alongside the mole, and her upperworks were badly damaged by gunfire, her Captain, Alfred Carpenter was awarded a Victoria Cross for his actions during the raid.


This event was famously painted by Charles de Lacy, the painting hangs in the Britannia Royal Naval College. In addition to her usual complement, she embarked Royal Marine gunners to man the supplementary armament, and a larger raiding party. This comprised two of the three infantry companies of the 4th Battalion, Royal Marine Light Infantry, along with two "companies" of seamen raiders commanded by Lieutenant Commander Bryan Fullerton Adams and Lieutenant Arthur Chamberlain ("A" & "B" seamen Companies) respectively.

She was sunk as a blockship at Ostend during the Second Ostend Raid on 10 May 1918. The wreck was raised on 16 August 1920 and subsequently broken up. The bow section has been preserved in Ostend harbour serving as a memorial. One of Vindictive's 7.5-inch howitzers was acquired and preserved by the Imperial War Museum.

The bow section of the ship was recently moved to the new eastern mole of the Ostend harbour where I visited it early July 2017. More photos of the memorial and surroundings can be seen in the album "Belgium 2017".

Never forget the sacrifices made by the people who took action in the great war of 1914-1918.