HMS Chelmer (1904)

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HMS Chelmer
HMS Chelmer at Mudros
Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Chelmer
Ordered: 1903 – 1904 Naval Estimates
Builder: John I Tornycroft Chiswick
Laid down: 11 December 1903
Launched: 8 December 1904
Commissioned: June 1905
Out of service: 1919 laid up in reserve awaiting disposal
Honours and
Dardanelles 1915 - 1916
Fate: 30 June 1920 sold to Thos W Ward of Sheffield for breaking at Hayle, North Cornwall
General characteristics
Class and type: Thornycroft Type River Class destroyer[1][2]
  • 550 t (541 long tons) standard
  • 615 t (605 long tons) full load
  • 225 ft 9 in (68.81 m) o/a
  • 23 ft 10.5 in (7.277 m) Beam
  • 8 ft (2.4 m) Draught
Speed: 25.5 kn (47.2 km/h)
  • 127 tons coal
  • 1,695 nmi (3,139 km) at 11 kn (20 km/h)
Complement: 70 officers and men
Service record
Part of:
Operations: World War I 1914 - 1918

HMS Chelmer was a Thornycroft type River Class Destroyer ordered by the Royal Navy under the 1903 – 1904 Naval Estimates. Named after the River Chelmer in eastern England, north east of London, she was the first ship to carry this name in the Royal Navy.


She was laid down on 11 December 1903 at the Thornycroft shipyard at Chiswick and launched on 8 December 1904. She was completed in June 1905. Her original armament was to be the same as the Turleback torpedo boat destroyers that preceded her. In 1906 the Admiralty decided to upgrade the armament by landing the five 6-pounder naval guns and shipping three 12-pounder 8 hundredweight (cwt) guns. Two would be mounted abeam at the foc'x'le break and the third gun would be mounted on the quarterdeck.


After commissioning she was assigned to the East Coast Destroyer Flotilla of the 1st Fleet and based at Harwich.

From 1908 to 1910 she was under the command of Lieutenant Loftus W. Jones.

On 27 April 1908 the Eastern Flotilla departed Harwich for live fire and night manoeuvres. During these exercises the cruiser Attentive rammed and sank the destroyer Gala then damaged Ribble.

In 1909/1910 she was assigned to China Station.

On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyers were to be grouped into classes designated by letters starting with the 'A'. The ships of the River Class were assigned to the E Class.[3] After 30 September 1913, she was known as an E Class destroyer and had the letter 'E' painted on the hull below the bridge area and on either the fore or aft funnel.[citation needed]

First World War[edit]

In July 1914 she was on China Station based at Hong Kong tendered to HMS Triumph.[4] At the outbreak of war she was in dockyard hands undergoing a refit.[5] On 14 September 1914, she captured the German collier Tannenfels in the Basilan Strait, south of Mindanao. The United States protested about Chelmer's action, claiming that Tannenfels was within American territorial waters, but Britain rejected that claim.[6] With the fall of Tsingtao and the sinking of the SMS Emden, Chelmer, along with the other River-class destroyers attached to the China Station, was redeployed to the 5th Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean Fleet in November 1914, replacing more modern destroyers that had been recalled to British waters.[7][8]

On 18 March 1915 she in conjunction with HMS Jed and HMS Colne assisted with the rescue of the crew of the battleship HMS Ocean after she struck a mine in the Dardanelles.[9]

On 25 April 1915 under the command of Lieutenant-Commander H. T. England, RN, she supported the landings at ANZAC Cove. While ferrying troops ashore she suffered one of her crew killed in action.

On 25 May 1915 she was patrolling near HMS Triumph when she was torpedoed. She attacked the submarine without success then returned to aid in the rescue efforts.[10]

She remained in the Mediterranean for the duration of the war.


In 1919 she returned to Home waters, was paid off and laid up in reserve awaiting disposal. On 30 June 1920 she was sold to Thos W Ward of Sheffield for breaking at Hayle, North Cornwall.[11]

She was awarded the Battle Honour Dardanelles 1915 - 1916 for her service.[12]

Pennant Numbers[edit]

It is not known if she was assigned a pennant number as no record has been found.[13]


  1. ^ Jane, Fred T. (1969) [First published by Sampson Low Marston, London 1905]. Jane's Fighting Ships 1905/6. New York: ARCO Publishing Company. p. 75.
  2. ^ Moore, John E. (1990). Jane's Fighting Ships of World War I. Studio Editions. p. 76. ISBN 1 85170 378 0.
  3. ^ Gardiner & Gray 1985, p. 18
  4. ^ "Naval Database".
  5. ^ The Naval Review Volume III No. 2, p. 13.
  6. ^ Naval Staff Monograph No. 16 1922, p. 66
  7. ^ Naval Staff Monograph No. 16 1922, p. 109
  8. ^ Naval Staff Monograph No. 21 1923, p. 85
  9. ^ "Royal Navy Warships".
  10. ^ The Naval Review Volume VI (PDF). 1918. p. 21 to 22.
  11. ^ ""Arrowsmith" List – Part 1 Destroyer Prototypes through "River" Class". Retrieved 1 Jun 2013.
  12. ^ "Battle Honours and Single-Ship Actions, 1914-1918 with the ships - by name, type and honour".
  13. ^ ""Arrowsmith" List – Part 1 Destroyer Prototypes through "River" Class". Retrieved 1 Jun 2013.