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D-class destroyer (1913)

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Title: D-class destroyer (1913)  
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Subject: River-class destroyer, D-class destroyer, Brazen-class destroyer, List of destroyer classes of the Royal Navy, Destroyer classes
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D-class destroyer (1913)

HMS Fame
Class overview
Builders: John I. Thornycroft & Company
Preceded by: A class
Succeeded by: River class (E class)
Built: 1895–1899
In commission: 1896–1921
Completed: 10
General characteristics
Type: Torpedo boat destroyer
Displacement: 355 to 370 tons at full load
Length: 210 ft (64 m)
Beam: 19 ft 9 in (6.02 m)
Draught: 7 ft 8 in (2.34 m)
Speed: 30 kn (56 km/h)

The D class as they were known from 1913 was a fairly homogeneous group of torpedo boat destroyers (TBDs) built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1890s. They were all constructed to the individual designs of their builder, John I. Thornycroft & Company of Chiswick, to meet Admiralty specifications. The uniting feature of the class was a top speed of 30 knots (56 km/h) and they all had two funnels. In 1913 the nine surviving "30 knotter" vessels with two funnels (all ten had been built by Thornycroft, but Ariel was lost before their renaming as "D" class) were retrospectively classified by the Admiralty as the "D" class to provide some system to the naming of HM destroyers. In the same way those with three funnels were classified as the "C" class and those with four funnels as the "B" class. All these vessels had a distinctive "turtleback" forecastle that was intended to clear water from the bow, but actually tended to dig the bow in to anything of a sea, resulting in a very wet conning position. They were better constructed than their A-class forebears (the "26 knotter" and "27 knotter" groups), but still were poor seaboats unable to reach top speed in anything but perfect conditions.

They generally displaced 355 to 370 tons and had a length of 210 ft (64 m). All were powered by triple expansion steam engines for 5,700 indicated horsepower (4,300 kW) and had coal-fired water-tube boilers, except for the final vessel (Stag) in which the engine power was slightly raised to 5,800 ihp (4,300 kW). Armament was one QF 12 pounder on a bandstand on the forecastle, five QF 6 pounder (two sided abreast the conning tower, two sided between the funnels and one on the quarterdeck) and 2 single tubes for 18-inch (450-mm) torpedoes.

Due to the successful development of their previous 26 and 27 knot torpedo boat destroyers, John I Thornycroft & Company developed their two funnel design for the 1894/95 – 1897/98 building programs. The ships were considered an incremental improvement to the previous 27-knot design of the 1893/94 program. This design would be used for all follow-on turtleback ships under the 30-knot specification. The 30 knot torpedo boat destroyers built by Thornycroft were referred to as two funnel – 30 knot ships and were not assigned a class name at the time.[1]

They featured a large fore-bridge, mast halfway between bridge and fore funnel, turtleback cut-away bow, large round stern, both torpedo tubes on centerline aft of second funnel and two funnels. They had a Thornycroft stern with the rudder not visible. They had dual rudders which made them very responsive to the helm.[2][3]


  • Ships 1
    • Key dates and fates 1.1
  • See also 2
  • Notes 3
  • Bibliography 4


All ten of the "D" class were built by Thornycroft at Chiswick, in four batches.

  • First group (ordered 10 May 1895 under 1894-95 programme);
  • Second group (ordered 23 January 1895 under 1895-96 programme) - identical with the preceding group;
  • Third group (ordered 21 April 1896 under 1896-97 programme) - modified from the previous six vessels;
  • Last group (ordered 7 September 1897 under 1897-98 programme) - with slightly enhanced engine power;

Key dates and fates

Name Yard number Laid down Launched Completed Fate
Desperate 305 1 July 1895 15 February 1896 February 1897 Sold for scrap 20 May 1920, to Ward, Milford Haven
Fame 306 4 July 1895 15 April 1896 June 1897 Sold for scrap 31 August 1921, at Hong Kong.
Foam 307 16 July 1895 8 October 1896 July 1897 Sold for scrap 26 May 1914, at Chatham
Mallard 308 13 September 1895 19 November 1896 October 1897 Sold for scrap 10 February 1920, to South Alloa Shipbreaking Co.
Angler 313 21 December 1896 2 February 1897 July 1898 Sold for scrap 20 May 1920, to Ward, Milford Haven
Ariel 314 23 April 1896 5 March 1897 October 1898 Wrecked at Malta 19 April 1907
Coquette 319 8 June 1896 25 November 1897 January 1899 Mined and sunk in the North Sea, 7 March 1916
Cygnet 320 25 September 1896 3 September 1898 February 1900 Sold for scrap 29 April 1920, to Ward, Rainham
Cynthia 321 16 July 1896 8 January 1898 June 1899 Sold for scrap 29 April 1920, to Ward, Rainham
Stag 334 16 April 1898 18 November 1899 September 1900 Sold for scrap 17 March 1921, to Ward, Grays

See also

A sister-ship built for the Imperial German Navy as flotilla leader for torpedo boats, called Torpedo-Divisionsboot.

Name Yard number Laid down Launched Completed Fate
SMS D 10 24 March 1898 13 October 1898 Sold for scrap 28 July 1922, broken in Wilhelmshaven


  1. ^ Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships 1906 to 1922. Conway Maritime Press. 2006. pp. 17–19.  
  2. ^ Jane, Fred T. (1969) [1898, Sampson Low Marston, London]. Jane’s All The Worlds Fighting Ships 1898. New York: ARCO Publishing Company. pp. 84–85. 
  3. ^ Jane, Fred T. (1990) [1919]. Jane’s Fighting Ships of World War I. Jane’s Publishing. p. 76.  


  • Destroyers of the Royal Navy, 1893-1981, Maurice Cocker, 1983, Ian Allan ISBN 0-7110-1075-7.
  • The First Destroyers, David Lyon, 1996, Chatham Publishing ISBN 1-86176-005-1.

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