Earnest-class destroyer

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Class overview
Name: Earnest class
Builders: Laird, Son & Co., Birkenhead
Operators:  Royal Navy
Built: 1896–98
In commission: 1895–1919
Completed: 6
Scrapped: 6
General characteristics
Type: Torpedo boat destroyer
Displacement: 355 long tons (361 t)
Length: 213 ft (64.9 m)
Beam: 21.5 ft (6.6 m)
Draught: 9.75 ft (3.0 m)
Installed power: 6,300 ihp (4,698 kW)
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Complement: 63

Six Earnest-class destroyers served with the Royal Navy: Earnest, Griffon, Locust, Panther, Seal and Wolf. These ships were all built by Cammell Laird and were part of the class of 'thirty knotters'.

Concern about the higher speeds of foreign boats had prompted to Admiralty to order new destroyers capable of 30 knots (56 km/h), rather than the 27 knots (50 km/h) requirement which had been standard. The boats were not able to make this speed in bad weather, where they were usually wet and uncomfortable with cramped crew quarters, but they proved their toughness in serving through World War I, despite being twenty years old. Thanks to their watertight bulkheads, their thin plating and light structure they were able to take a great deal of damage and remain afloat, although their plates buckled easily, affecting their handling.

The ships were fitted with Normand boilers which generated around 6,300 HP. They were armed with the standard twelve pounder and two torpedo tubes and carried a complement of 63 officers and men. Ships of this type bore four funnels and were designated B-class destroyers.


  • The British Destroyer by Captain T.D. Manning. Published by Godfrey Cave Associates. ISBN 0-906223-13-X.