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
(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 shp 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 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 2 single tubes for 18 inch torpedoes.
originally Star class
(390 tons, built by Palmers
- Star, launched 11 August 1896, sold for breaking up 10 June 1919.
- Whiting, launched 26 August 1896, sold for breaking up 27 November 1919.
- Bat, launched 7 October 1896, sold for breaking up 30 August 1919.
- Chamois, launched 9 November 1896, foundered 26 September 1904 after mechanical failure caused a propeller blade to penetrate the hull plating.
- Crane, launched 17 December 1896, sold for breaking up 10 June 1919.
- Flying Fish, launched 4 March 1897, sold for breaking up 30 August 1919.
- Fawn, launched 13 April 1897, sold for breaking up 23 July 1919.
- Flirt, launched 15 May 1897, torpedoed and sunk by German destroyers 27 October 1916.
originally Bullfinch class (345 tons, built by Earle, Kingston upon Hull)
originally Violet class (350 tons, built by Doxford, Sunderland)
originally Avon class (355 tons except last two ships 350 tons, all built by Naval Construction and Armament Company - later Vickers Limited, Barrow in Furness)
- Avon, launched 10 October 1896, sold for breaking up 1 July 1920.
- Bittern, launched 1 February 1897, rammed and sunk by SS Kenilworth off Portland Bill, 4 April 1918.
- Otter, launched 23 November 1896, sold at Hong Kong 26 October 1916.
- Leopard, launched 20 March 1897, sold for breaking up 10 June 1919.
- Vixen, launched 29 March 1900, sold for breaking up 17 March 1921.
originally Brazen class (345-380 tons, built by J & G Thomson - later to become John Brown and Company, Clydebank)
- Brazen, launched 3 July 1896, sold for breaking up 4 November 1919.
- Electra, launched 14 July 1896, sold for breaking up 29 April 1920.
- Recruit, launched 22 August 1896, torpedoed and sunk by U-boat off the Galloper in the River Thames Estuary, 1 May 1915.
- Vulture, launched 22 March 1898, sold for breaking up 27 May 1919.
- Kestrel, launched 25 March 1898, sold for breaking up 17 March 1921.
originally Mermaid class (355 tons, built by Hawthorn, Newcastle upon Tyne)
- Cheerful, launched 14 July 1897, mined and sunk off Shetland Islands, 30 June 1917.
- Mermaid, launched 22 February 1898, sold for breaking up 23 July 1919.
- Greyhound, launched 6 October 1900, sold for breaking up 10 June 1910.
- Racehorse, launched 8 November 1900, sold for breaking up 23 March 1920.
- Roebuck, launched 4 January 1901, broken up at Portsmouth Dockyard in 1919.
originally Gipsy class (355 tons, built by Fairfield, Govan)
- Gipsy, launched 9 March) [[1897, sold 17 March 1921 and then used as a floating pontoon at Dartmouth for many years.
- Fairy, launched 25 September 1897, foundered after damaged sustained ramming U boat UC-75 in North Sea, 31 May 1918.
- Osprey, launched 7 April 1897, sold for breaking up 4 November 1919.
- Leven, 370 tons, launched 28 June 1898, sold for breaking up 14 September 1920.
- Falcon, 375 tons, launched 29 December 1899, sunk in collision 1 April 1918 with trawler John Fitzgerald in the North Sea.
- Ostrich, 375 tons, launched 22 March 1900, sold for breaking up 29 April 1920.
originally John Brown private builds, purchased 31 May 1900 (380 tons, built on speculation by John Brown and Company, the former J & G Thomson firm, at Clydebank)
originally Thornycroft special
originally Viper class Hawthorn specials, (4 shafts, steam turbines)
List of destroyer classes of the Royal Navy
- Destroyers of the Royal Navy, 1893-1981, Maurice Cocker, 1983, Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-1075-7.
- The First Destroyers, David Lyon, 1996, Chatham Publishing. ISBN 1-86176-005-1.