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Forward-class cruiser

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Title: Forward-class cruiser  
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Subject: List of cruiser classes of the Royal Navy
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Forward-class cruiser

Class overview
Name: Forward
Operators: Royal Navy
Preceded by: Adventure class
Succeeded by: Pathfinder class
In commission: 1905 - 1921
Completed: Two
General characteristics
Type: scout cruiser
Displacement: 2,860 tons
Length: 365 ft (111.3 m) (p/p), 379 ft (115.5 m) (o/a)
Beam: 39 ft 3 in (11.96 m)
Draught: 14 ft 3 in (4.34 m)
Propulsion: Two 4-cylinder triple-expansion oil-fired steam engines driving twin screws
16,500 ihp
Speed: 25 knots
Range: Carried 150 tons coal (500 tons max)
Complement: 298

As built

As modified 1911/12

Armour: conning tower: 3 in (76 mm)
deck: 1⅛ inch - ⅝ inch
belt: 2 in (51 mm)

The Forward class was a two ship class of scout cruiser serving with the Royal Navy in World War I, and consisting of the ships HMS Forward and HMS Foresight.


They were one of four pairs of scouts ordered to a general specification with the exact design left up to the individual builders. The ships were built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan at a cost of £289,000 each. The class was originally designated as Nore but this was changed before their construction. Their main disadvantage in action proved to be a lack of range and endurance, having been designed at a time when destroyer operations were planned to take place relatively close to home bases, rather than on long patrols on the open sea. Fairfield's original design was criticised by the Admiralty for lacking structural strength and being unrealistic regarding coal consumption. A complete redesign was undertaken but in practise the problem of their lack of range was never satisfactorily addressed. Not long after completion the two additional 12 pounder guns were added and the 3 pounder guns were replaced with six 6 pounders. In 1911-12 they were reamed with nine 4-inch (102 mm) guns.

They were protected with a 2-inch (51 mm) armour belt, with one inch plating on the decks, in an effort to reduce their weight and increase their speed. The 365-foot (111.3 m) long ships displaced 2850 tons and produced 15,000 horsepower (11,190 kW) which gave them a best speed of 25 knots (46.3 km/h). Despite this, they were slower than the new destroyers they were planned to lead and increasingly were relegated to other roles. Both ships survived the First World War, but were scrapped shortly after its end.


  • HMS Forward - launched on 27 August 1904 and sold for scrap on 27 July 1921.
  • HMS Foresight - launched on 8 October 1904 and sold for scrap on 3 March 1920.


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