Acorn British destroyer class

HMS_FURY_(1911)_attending_Audacious

HMS Fury: closeup detail of HMS Fury acorn class destroyer 1911-1921 attending the sinking of HMS Audacious October 1914. Taken from Image:HMS Liverpool attemps to take HMS Audacious in tow.jpg:View from the passenger decks of RMS Olympic as HMS Liverpool (left) strains to tow the sinking HMS Audacious (bow seen on right), dated October 26 (sic) 1914. HMS Fury, dark vessel, in foreground.

The 20 vessels of this class were constructed under the 1909-10 Programme to an Admiralty design and completed during 1910 and 1911. Their design followed the general pattern of the time, but they were considered as an improvement on the destroyers of the previous year’s Programme (the Beagle Class) because oil-fired boilers were again adopted. These had first been employed in the destroyers of the 1905- 06 Programme but in the Beagle Class coal-fired boilers were installed owing mainly to concern over the possible restrictions of oil supplies in wartime. The advantages of oil were, however, considerable, giving a saving in machinery weight and engine-room complement, and allowing for improved engine performance. In the Acorn Class these advantages were used to reduce the size and cost of the ships. Compared with the Beagles they had one less boiler and were some 200 tons lighter, while they carried a slightly heavier armament and had the same designed speed. All were fitted with Parsons turbines driving three screws, except Brisk which was fitted with a Brown-Curtis twin-screw turbine arrangement as an experiment. On trials all exceeded their designed speed, the best ship of the class being Ruby which averaged 29.4 knots with a little over 16000 shaft horsepower. In general they were slightly faster than the Beagles and could maintain high speeds for longer periods.

They carried 240 rounds of ammunition for the 4-in guns and 200 rounds for the two 12- pdr (3-in) guns. The torpedoes, which weighed nearly 1 1/2 tons and carried a 127-kg (280-lb) charge, had a range of about 9144 m (10000 yd) at 30 knots and 1828 m (2000 yd) at 50 knots. The ships handled and turned well, but when first completed suffered from heavy weather damage and all had their hulls strengthened prior to the outbreak of the First World War. In October 1913 they were redesignated as the H Class.

The steam pipes on the centre funnel of the three vessels constructed by White (Redpole, Rifleman and Ruby) were more pronounced than in the other ships of the class, but otherwise there were practically no differences. Towards the end of the war most of the class were fitted with a 3-pdr antiaircraft gun and an antisubmarine armament of depth-charge racks and throwers.

On the outbreak of war they formed the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla of the Home Fleet based at Scapa Flow. As new destroyers joined the fleet from 1915 to 1917 they were gradually transferred to other theatres, partly because they had insufficient radius of action to operate efficiently with the Grand Fleet. Some of the class joined the 8th Flotilla based on the East coast but the majority went to the Mediterranean, where radius of action was less important. By 1918 all the ships in service were stationed in the Mediterranean.

The first casualty of the class was the Goldfinch which, in a fog on the night of February 18/19, 1915, was wrecked on Start Point, Sanday Island, on the northeast side of the Orkneys. The Staunch and Fury, which were among the first of the class to go to the Mediterranean, assisted in evacuating troops from Gallipoli in December 1915. Three of the class fell victim to submarines: the Staunch being torpedoed and sunk off Gaza, Palestine, on November 11, 1917; the Comet torpedoed and sunk in the Mediterranean on August 6, 1918; and the Nymphe having her stern blown off by a torpedo in 1917: however she was recommissioned the next year. In June 1917 the Minstrel and Nemesis were lent to the Japanese, being commissioned in September as Sendan and Kanran respectively. The surviving units of the class were sold for scrap between 1920 and 1922.

Acorn — built by John Brown and Company, Clydebank, launched 1 July 1910, sold for breaking up 29 November 1921.

Alarm — built by John Brown and Company, Clydebank, launched 29 August 1910, sold for breaking up 9 May 1921.

Brisk — built by John Brown and Company, Clydebank, launched 20 September 1910, sold for breaking up 15 November 1921.

Cameleon — built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Govan, launched 2 June 1910, sold for breaking up 15 November 1921.

Comet — built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Govan, launched 23 June 1910, torpedoed and sunk by Austrian U-boat in the Mediterranean 6 August 1918.

Goldfinch — built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Govan, launched 12 July 1910, wrecked in fog on Start Point, Sanday, Orkney on the night of 18-19 February 1915.

Fury — built by A. & J. Inglis, Pointhouse, Glasgow, launched 25 April 1911, sold for breaking up 4 November 1921.

Hope — built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend, launched 6 September 1910, sold for breaking up February 1920 at Malta.

Larne — built by John I. Thornycroft & Company, Woolston, launched 23 August 1910, sold for breaking up 9 May 1921.

Lyra — built by John I. Thornycroft & Company, Woolston, launched 4 October 1910, sold for breaking up 9 May 1921.

Martin — built by John I. Thornycroft & Company, Woolston, launched 15 December 1910, sold for breaking up 21 August 1920 at Malta.

Minstrel — built by John I. Thornycroft & Company, Woolston, launched 2 February 1911, loaned to Imperial Japanese Navy from June 1917 to 1918 as Sendan, sold for breaking up 1 December 1921.

Nemesis — built by R. W. Hawthorn Leslie & Company, Hebburn, launched 9 August 1910, loaned to Imperial Japanese Navy from June 1917 to 1918 as Kanran, sold for breaking up 26 November 1921.

Nereide — built by R. W. Hawthorn Leslie & Company, Hebburn, launched 6 September 1910, sold for breaking up 1 December 1921.

Nymphe — built by R. W. Hawthorn Leslie & Company, Hebburn, launched 31 January 1911, sold for breaking up 9 May 1921.

Redpole — built by J. Samuel White & Company, Cowes, launched 24 June 1910, sold for breaking up 9 May 1921.

Rifleman — built by J. Samuel White & Company, Cowes, launched 22 August 1910, sold for breaking up 9 May 1921.

Ruby — built by J. Samuel White & Company, Cowes, launched 4 November 1910, sold for breaking up 9 May 1921.

Sheldrake — built by William Denny & Brothers, Dumbarton, launched 18 January 1911, sold for breaking up 9 May 1921.

Staunch — built by William Denny & Brothers, Dumbarton, launched 29 October 1910, torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat UC.38 off Gaza, Palestine 11 November 1917.

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