HMS Highflyer (1898)
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (July 2009)|
|Class and type:||Highflyer class cruiser|
|Builder:||Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan|
|Laid down:||June 1897|
|Launched:||4 June 1898|
|Commissioned:||7 December 1899|
|Fate:||Sold 10 June 1921 for scrapping|
|Length:||350 ft (110 m) (p/p, 372 ft (113 m) (o/a)|
|Beam:||54 ft (16 m)|
|Draught:||22 ft (6.7 m)|
|Propulsion:||Two 4-cylinder triple-expansion engines driving twin propellers
|Range:||Carried 500 tons coal (1,120 tons max)|
|Armour:||conning tower: 6 inch
deck and machinery spaces: 3 inch
engine hatches: 5 inch
HMS Highflyer was the lead ship of the Highflyer class cruiser which served with the Royal Navy. She was built at the yards of Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan, being laid down in June 1897, launched on 4 June 1898 and commissioned on 7 December 1899.
Like her sisters she was a development of the earlier Eclipse class with an uprated 6 inch main armament, water tube boilers and slightly more powerful engines. She carried out trials for the new Belleville boilers.
Early service history
HMS Highflyer was commissioned in late 1899 by Captain F. E. E. Brock for the Training squadron. In February 1900 she was re-commissioned to serve in the Indian Ocean as the flagship of Rear-Admiral Day Bosanquet, Commander-in-Chief East Indies Station. From November 1902 to March 1903 Highflyer was commanded by Captain Arthur Christian as the flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Drury, was at the head of the squadron of six ships which took part in the Somaliland Campaign in various coastal capacities. The ships assisted in landing troops and stores, in transport work, and in the prevention of delivery of munitions to the enemy. Three officers attached to Highflyer were landed, and assisted the progress of the campaign with a wireless telegraphy apparatus.
In the year before the start of the war, she had been serving as the training ship for Special Entry Cadets, but in August 1914 she was allocated to the 9th Cruiser Squadron, under Admiral John de Robeck, on the Finisterre station. She left Plymouth on 4 August, in the company of the admiral on HMS Vindictive. They then captured the liner Tubantia, which was carrying German reservists and gold. Highflyer escorted her to Britain, before returning to her station.
She was then transferred to the Cape Verde station, to support Admiral Stoddart’s 5th Cruiser Squadron in the hunt for the German commerce raider Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse. She had been sighted at Río de Oro, a Spanish anchorage on the Saharan coast. At the Battle of Río de Oro, on 26 August Highflyer found the German ship taking on coal from three colliers. The Highflyer demanded that she surrender. The captain of the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse claimed the protection of neutral waters, but as he was breaking that neutrality himself by taking on coal and supplies for more than a week, his claim was denied. Fighting broke out at 3.10pm, and lasted until 4.45pm, when the crew of the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse abandoned ship and escaped to the shore. The Kaiser Wilhelm de Grosse was sunk, the Highflyer losing one man killed, and six injured in the engagement. In mid-1916 the Prize Court awarded the crew of Highflyer ₤2,680 for the sinking of the German ship.
On 15 October Highflyer briefly became the flagship of the Cape Verde station, when Admiral Stoddard was ordered to Pernambuco. Later in the same month she was ordered to accompany the transport ships carrying the Cape garrison back to Britain. Towards the end of the month she was ordered to search the Atlantic coast of North Africa for the cruiser SMS Karlsruhe.
After the Battle of Coronel Highflyer came back under the control of Admiral de Robeck, as part of a squadron formed to guard West Africa against Admiral Maximilian von Spee. This squadron, consisting of HMS Warrior, HMS Black Prince, HMS Donegal and Highflyer was in place off Sierra Leone from 12 November, but was soon dispersed after the battle of the Falklands. Highflyer then took part in the search for the commerce raider Kronprinz Wilhelm, coming close to catching her in January 1915. She remained on the West Africa station until 1917, making up part of the Cape Verde division.
In 1917 she was transferred to the North America and West Indies Squadron. This was the period of unrestricted submarine warfare, and it was eventually decided to operate a convoy system in the North Atlantic. On 10 July 1917 HMS Highflyer provided the escort for convoy HS 1, the first convoy to sail from Canada to Britain. She was at Halifax for the Halifax Explosion on 6 December 1917 when the French ammunition ship SS Mont-Blanc exploded destroying much of the city. Several of Highflyer's her crew were killed responding to the burning ammunition ship. Her officers and men played a major role in rescue and medical care in the aftermath of the explosion.
She survived to become the last Victorian cruiser in service with the Royal Navy, remaining in commission until 1921 as flagship of the East Indies station in Bombay when she was sold there for scrap on 10 June of that year.
- "Naval & Military intelligence" The Times (London). Tuesday, 16 January 1900. (36040), p. 9.
- "Naval & Military intelligence" The Times (London). Monday, 11 March 1901. (36399), p. 10.
- "Prize Money for Warship.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 5 July 1916. p. 10. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
- Jane's Fighting Ships of World War One (1919), Jane's Publishing Company
- Highflyer class in World War I
- History of HMS Highflyer
- HMS Highflyer
- "Royal Navy Log Books - HMS Highflyer". Retrieved 2012-01-22. Transcription of ship's logbooks and weather information September 1917 to March 1921