List of destroyer classes of the Royal Navy

This is a list of destroyer classes of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, organised chronologically by entry into service.

Torpedo boat destroyers

In 1913, the surviving members of the large heterogeneous array of older 27-knot and 30-knot torpedo boat destroyer types (all six of the original 26-knot ships had been disposed of by the end of 1912) were organised into the A, B, C and D classes according to their design speed and the number of funnels they possessed. All were of a "turtle-back" design and, excepting a few "builder's specials", powered by reciprocating engines. It should be stressed that these A to D class designations did not exist before 1913, and only applied to those "turtle-backed" destroyers surviving to that time.

Conventional destroyers

In 1913, lettered names were given to all Royal Navy destroyers, previously known after the first ship of that class. The River or E class of 1913 were the first destroyers of the Royal Navy with a high forecastles instead of "turtleback" bow making this the first class with a more recognizable modern configuration.

Inter-war standard classes

World War II War Emergency Programme destroyers

The following were ordered as part of the War Emergency Programme classes:

Post-war all-gun design

Guided-missile destroyers

  • County class: 8 ships (4 Batch I, 4 Batch II), 1961–1967
  • Type 82: 1 ship, 1969
  • Type 42: 14 ships (6 Sheffield, 4 Exeter, 4 Manchester), 1971–1983
  • Type 43: 0 ships (8 cancelled), 1981
  • Type 45: 6 ships, all commissioned between 2009–2013

See also

Banshee-class destroyer

The Banshee class was a class of three torpedo boat destroyers that served with the Royal Navy into the early part of the Twentieth century.

They were all built by Laird at Birkenhead. Displacing 290 tons, they carried one 12-pounder gun and two torpedo tubes. With 4,400 horsepower (3,300 kW) they made a speed of 27 knots (50 km/h).

Banshee had a length of 210 ft (64 m), beam 19 ft (5.8 m) and draught of 7 ft (2.1 m) They carried a complement of 53 officers and men.

Along with the near-identical Ferret-class torpedo boat destroyers they were all disposed of in 1911/1912.

British World War II destroyers

At the start of World War II, the Royal Navy operated a range of destroyer classes. Some of these were legacies of World War I, some were designed during the inter-war years and the rest were the result of wartime experience and conditions. British-built and -designed vessels were also supplied to and built by allied navies, primarily the Australian and Canadian navies.

C-class destroyer (1913)

The C class as designated in 1913 was a heterogeneous group of torpedo boat destroyers (TBDs) built for the Royal Navy in the late-1890s. They were constructed to the individual designs of their builders to meet Admiralty specifications. The uniting feature of the class was a top speed of 30 knots, a "turtleback" forecastle and that they all had three funnels. The funnels were spaced equidistantly and were of equal height, but the central one was thicker.

In 1913 all "30 knotter" vessels with 3 funnels were classified by the Admiralty as the "C" class to provide some system to the naming of HM destroyers (at the same time, the 4-funnelled, "30 knotters" became the "B" class and the 2-funnelled ships the "D" class). All vessels had the distinctive turtleback that was intended to clear water from the bows but actually tended to dig the bow in to anything of a sea, resulting in a very wet conning position and poor seaboats that were unable to reach top speed in anything but perfect conditions.

They generally displaced around 350 tons and had a length of around 200 feet. All were powered by triple expansion steam engines for 5,800 shaft horsepower (4,300 kW) and had coal-fired water-tube boilers, except some unique "specials" that used steam turbines in addition to, or in lieu of, the reciprocating engines. Armament was one QF 12-pounder gun 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 two single tubes for 18-inch torpedoes.

Falcon-class destroyer

The Falcon-class destroyers were a batch of three destroyers, built for the Royal Navy between 1899 and 1901 and serving in the First World War. The destroyers were sometimes referred to as the Falcon-class, after the lead ship of the batch HMS Falcon, however they were officially classified as part of the Gipsy-class.

Ferret-class destroyer

Two Ferret-class destroyers served with the Royal Navy. Ferret and Lynx were built by Laird, displaced 280 tons and were 199 feet (61 m) in length. They were armed with one 12-pounder gun and two bow torpedo tubes. They carried a complement of 53.

List of Royal Navy equipment

This is a list of equipment used in the Royal Navy.

R-class destroyer (1916)

The first R class were a class of 62 destroyers built between 1916 and 1917 for the Royal Navy. They were an improvement, specifically in the area of fuel economy, of the earlier Admiralty M-class destroyers. The most important difference was that the Admiralty R class had two shafts and geared turbines, compared with the three shafts and direct turbines of the Admiralty M class, but in appearance the R class could be distinguished from its predecessors by having the after 4-inch gun mounted in a bandstand. The Admiralty ordered the first two of this class of ships in May 1915. Another seventeen were ordered in July 1915, a further eight in December 1915, and a final twenty-three in March 1916 (of which eleven were to a slightly modified design).

As well as these fifty ships to the standard 'Admiralty' design, twelve more R class were designed and built by the two specialist builders Yarrow Shipbuilders and John I. Thornycroft & Company to their own separate designs. Three were ordered from Thornycroft and four from Yarrow in July 1915, and two from Thornycroft and three from Yarrow in December 1915.

They were the last three-funnelled destroyers ordered by the Royal Navy (although HMS Bristol commissioned in 1973 had three funnels, these were not all on the centreline). All of these ships saw extensive service in World War I. Some saw service as minelayers. Eight R-class ships were sunk during the war and all but two of the surviving ships were scrapped in the 1920s and 1930s. One Admiralty R-class vessel, HMS Skate, survived to see service in World War II as a convoy escort, making her the oldest destroyer to see wartime service with the Royal Navy. A second, HMS Radiant was transferred to the Royal Siamese Navy as Phra Ruang in September 1920 and survives to this day as a hulk.


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