HMS Wolf (1897)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Wolf.
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Wolf
Ordered: 9 January 1896
Builder: Laird, Son & Co., Birkenhead
Laid down: 12 November 1896
Launched: 2 June 1897
Completed: July 1898
Decommissioned: 1921
Fate: Scrapped, 1921
Status: Scrapped
General characteristics
Class & type: Earnest-class destroyer
Displacement: 395 long tons (401 t)
Length: 210 ft (64 m)
Beam: 21.5 ft (6.6 m)
Draught: 9.75 ft (3.0 m)
Propulsion: vertical triple-expansion steam engines
Coal-fired Normand boilers
6,300 hp (4,698 kW)
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Complement: 63
Armament: 1 × QF 12-pounder gun
2 × 18 in (460 mm) torpedo tubes

HMS Wolf was a B-class torpedo boat destroyer of the British Royal Navy. She was completed by Laird, Son & Company, Birkenhead, in 1897.


Wolf[a] was ordered on 9 January 1896 as the last of six 30-knotter destroyers programmed to be built by Lairds under the 1895–1896 programme.[1] These followed on from four very similar destroyers ordered from Lairds as part of the 1894–1895 programme.[2] Like the other Laird-built 30-knotters, Wolf was propelled by two triple expansion steam engines, fed by four Normand boilers, rated at 6,300 ihp (4,700 kW), and was fitted with four funnels.[2][3] Armament was the standard for the 30-knotters, i.e. a QF 12 pounder 12 cwt (3 in (76 mm) calibre) gun on a platform on the ship's conning tower (in practice the platform was also used as the ship's bridge), with a secondary armament of five 6-pounder guns, and two 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes.[4][5]

Wolf was laid down on 12 November 1896 and launched on 2 June 1897.[1] On 9 March 1898, she carried out final trials, reaching an average speed of 31.2 kn (35.9 mph; 57.8 km/h) over the measured mile.[6] Wolf commissioned in July 1898.[1]


HMS Wolf served, under the command of Lieutenant and Commander B. Long, as part of the Devonport Destroyer Instructional Flotilla until she was paid off at Devonport 2 September 1901,[7][8] taking part in the 1901 Naval Manoeuvres.[9]

Following the loss of the turbine-powered destroyer HMS Cobra, which broke in two and sank while on its delivery voyage on 19 September 1901,[10][11] the Admiralty set up a committee to investigate the strength and seaworthiness of its destroyers. As part of these investigations, a number of full-scale tests were carried out on Wolf to determine the stresses to which destroyers could be exposed to at sea. Wolf was fitted with strain gauges and subject to hogging and sagging tests in dry dock at Portsmouth. Following this, Wolf, still fitted with strain gauges, was sent to sea to look for bad weather. The investigation indicated that the destroyers built to Admiralty design requirements had adequate strength.[12]

On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyers were to be grouped into classes designated by letters based on contract speed and appearance. As a four-funneled 30-knotter destoyer, Wolf was assigned to the B Class.[13][14]

Wolf was a member of the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla, based at Devonport, in 1910, and of the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla, also based at Devonport, in 1913.[15] On the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, Wolf remained part of the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla.[16]


  1. ^ Wolf's original name was Squirrel but she was re-named before acceptance.[1]
  1. ^ a b c d Lyon 2001, p. 62.
  2. ^ a b Lyon 2001, pp. 61–62.
  3. ^ Chesneau and Kolesnik 1979, p. 94.
  4. ^ Lyon 2001, pp. 98–99.
  5. ^ Friedman 2009, p. 40.
  6. ^ "The Birkenhead Destroyers: Official Trials of the Wolf". The Engineer. Vol.85: p. 254. 18 April 1898. 
  7. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence" The Times (London). Friday, 30 August 1901. (36547), p. 8.
  8. ^ "Earnest Class Destroyers". World Naval Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Brassey 1902, p. 90.
  10. ^ Chesneau and Kolesnik 1979, p. 98.
  11. ^ Friedman 2009, p. 304.
  12. ^ Brown 2003, pp. 184–185.
  13. ^ Gardiner and Gray 1985, p. 18.
  14. ^ Manning 1961, pp. 17–18.
  15. ^ "NMM, vessel ID 378940". Warship Histories, vol iv. National Maritime Museum. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  16. ^ "HMS Wolf". Late 18th, 19th and early 20th Century Naval and Naval Social History. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  • Brassey, T.A. (1902). The Naval Annual 1902. Portsmouth, UK: J. Griffin and Co. 
  • Brown, D. K. (2003). Warrior to Dreadnought: Warship Development 1860–1905. London: Caxton Editions. ISBN 1-84067-5292. 
  • Chesneau, Roger; Kolesnik, Eugene M (1979). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-133-5. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-049-9. 
  • Gardiner, Robert; Gray, Randal (1985). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5. 
  • Lyon, David (2001). The First Destroyers. London: Caxton Editions. ISBN 1-84067-3648. 
  • Manning, T. D. (1961). The British Destroyer. London: Putnam & Co. Ltd.