"D" Class Destroyer (1896)

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Ten of the 30 Knotters built for the Royal Navy late in the 1890s had two funnels. All were built by John I. Thornycroft & Company, and were re-designated as "D" class destroyers on 30 August 1912, along with the contemporary, foreign-built Taku, as she also happened to have two funnels.[1]

Their average cost was £60,000.[2]

In July, 1918, seven ships were still in service, four serving in the local defence force in Portsmouth, two in the Irish Sea, and one paid off in China.[3]

By May 1920, seven of the ships were still considered worth documenting as regards their armament,[4] though the ships were all to be broken up by the end of 1921.


As had been done since the "B" class, the "D" class ships mounted:

  • One 12-pdr 12 cwt on a P. I mounting. The gun recoiled 12 inches and the mounting and its sights were capable of 30 degree elevations (9500 yards).[4]
  • Five Q.F. 6-pdr on Mark I* mountings recoiling 5 inches. The mounting could elevate 30 degrees, but the sight only 25 degrees (4000 yards). By 1920, two 6-pdrs had been removed.[5] [4]

In late-1913, the 12-pdr mountings were equipped with percussion firing gear.[6]

By 1920, those remaining had also been fitted with a Q.F. 6-pdr on Mark IV H.A. mounting.[4]


Two 18-in single torpedo tubes on the centre line.

In 1905-06, it was decreed that all ships but Fame and Foam were to have their 10 cubic foot air compressors replaced by 20 cubic foot models to be able to pump to 2,500 psi. In 1906-07, Fame and Foam were to receive theirs.[7]

From 1907, the decision was made to standardise the "A" through "D"s with torpedoes set for short range, allotting them the Mark IV S.R..[8]

Other Weapons


Fire Control

The Technical History and Index indicates that destroyers prior to the Acorn class relied on a visual system for transmitting fire control information.[9]

By mid-1918, these destroyers were among several earlier classes for which "alarm circuits" were to be fitted.[10]

Torpedo Control

See Also


  1. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 18.
  2. Smith. Hard Lying. Table 5.
  3. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1918). pp. 16, 17, 19, 28.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Technical History and Index Vol. 4, Part 34, p. 15.
  5. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860-1905, p. 93.
  6. Admiralty Weekly Order No. 430 of 1 Aug, 1913.
  7. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1904. p. 75.
  8. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1907. p. 32.
  9. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 34. pp. 15-16.
  10. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. p. 232.


"D" Class Destroyer
Desperate Fame Foam Mallard Angler
  Ariel Coquette Cynthia  
  Cygnet Stag Taku  
<– "C" Class Destroyers (UK) River Class –>