R-class destroyer (1916)

For the R class of destroyers built in 1942, see Q and R-class destroyer.
HMS Skate in 1942
Class overview
Name: R class
Preceded by: Admiralty M class
Succeeded by: S class
Built: 19161917
In commission: 19161947
Completed: 62
Lost: 8
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
Length: 276 ft (84.1 m)
Beam: 26 ft 9 in (8.15 m)
Draught: 9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)
Speed: 36 knots (41.4 mph; 66.7 km/h)
Range: 3,440 nmi (6,370 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
Complement: 82

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.

Admiralty R-class ships

Seventeen ships ordered in July 1915.

HMS Romola

Eight ships ordered in December 1915.

HMS Satyr

Twenty-three ships ordered in March 1916, of which twelve were to the same design as the previous batch.

Admiralty Modified R-class ships

The remaining eleven ships ordered in March 1916 were of the Admiralty Modified R class with a slightly increased breadth of 27ft, a draught of 11ft, and a tonnage of 1,085. These ships had two funnels.

HMS Undine

Thornycroft R-class ships

Yarrow R-class ships

These seven ships built by Yarrow Shipbuilders were sometimes classified as the Yarrow Later M-class destroyer. These ships had two funnels.

Four vessels were ordered in July 1915:

Three vessels were ordered in March 1916:

See also


  1. Kemp, Paul (1999). The Admiralty Regrets: British Warship Losses of the 20th Century. Sutton Publishing Ltd. p. 55. ISBN 0-7509-1567-6. OCLC 46471901.


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