HMS Flirt (1897)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Flirt.
HMS Flirt (1897) IWM Q 021257.jpg
HMS Flirt
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Flirt
Ordered: 1896 – 1897 Naval Estimates
Builder: Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company Jarrow-on-Tyne
Laid down: 5 September 1896
Launched: 15 May 1897
Commissioned: April 1899
Honours and
Belgian Coast 1914 - 1915
Fate: Sunk 26/27 October 1916 in combat
General characteristics
Class and type: Palmer three funnel, 30 knot destroyer[1][2]
  • 390 t (384 long tons) standard
  • 420 t (413 long tons) full load
Length: 219 ft 9 in (66.98 m) o/a
Beam: 20 ft 9 in (6.32 m)
Draught: 8 ft 11 in (2.72 m)
Installed power: 6,000 shp (4,500 kW)
Speed: 30 kn (56 km/h)
  • 80 tons coal
  • 1,490 nmi (2,760 km) at 11 kn (20 km/h)
Complement: 60 officers and men
Service record
Operations: World War I 1914 - 1918

HMS Flirt was a Palmer three funnel, 30 knot destroyer ordered by the Royal Navy under the 1896 – 1897 Naval Estimates. She was the fifth ship to carry this name since it was introduced in 1782 for a 14-gun brig in service until 1795.[3][4]


Flirt was laid down on 5 September 1896 at the Palmer shipyard at Jarrow-on-Tyne and launched on 15 May 1897. During her builder’s trials she made her contracted speed requirement. She was completed and accepted by the Royal Navy in April 1899.[3][4]

Service history[edit]


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

On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyer classes were to be designated by alpha characters starting with the letter 'A'. Since her design speed was 30-knots and she had three funnels she was assigned to the C class. After 30 September 1913, she was known as a C-class destroyer and had the letter ‘C’ painted on the hull below the bridge area and on either the fore or aft funnel.[5]

World War I[edit]

For the test mobilization in July 1914 she was assigned to the 6th Destroyer Flotilla based at Dover. During her deployment there she was involved in anti-submarine, counter-mining patrols and defending the drifters of the Dover Barrage.

On 28 October 1914 under the command of Lieutenant H. S. Braddyll, Flirt took part in operations off the Belgian coast.


On the night of 26/27 October 1916 the German Navy raided the Dover Barrage with two and a half flotillas of torpedo boats and destroyers. Flirt under the command of Lieutenant R. P. Kellett responded to gunfire from the drifter line. She found the drifter Waveney II on fire and sent a boat to assist. When unidentified ships approached she issued a challenge and was immediately fired upon by the Germans. Flirt was lost; the only survivors were those dispatched to aid Waveney II.

She was awarded the battle honour "Belgian Coast 1914 – 15" for her service.

Pennant numbers[edit]

Pennant number[6] From To
P87 6 Dec 1914 1 Sep 1915
D56 1 Sep 1915 27 Oct 1916

Further reading[edit]

Captain Evans tells in his book Keeping the Seas that the life boat carrying the last survivors of Flirt was depth charged by a passing destroyer who thought it was a submarine. A real enemy submarine in the area also "took a look at them" and in the darkness mistook them for a British submarine, and dived to escape destruction.


Note: All tabular data under General Characteristics only from the listed Jane's Fighting Ships volume unless otherwise specified

  1. ^ Jane, Fred T. (1969) [1905]. Jane’s Fighting Ships 1905. New York: first published by Sampson Low Marston, London 1905, Reprinted ARCO Publishing Company. p. 77. 
  2. ^ Jane, Fred T. (reprinted © 1990). Jane’s Fighting Ships of World War I. Jane’s Publishing © 1919. p. 77. ISBN 1 85170 378 0.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ a b Jane, Fred T. (1969) [1898]. Jane’s All The Worlds Fighting Ships 1898. New York: first published by Sampson Low Marston, London 1898, Reprinted ARCO Publishing Company. p. 84 to 85. 
  4. ^ a b Jane, Fred T. (reprinted © 1990). Jane’s Fighting Ships of World War I. Jane’s Publishing © 1919. p. 76. ISBN 1 85170 378 0.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships 1906 to 1922. Conway Maritime Press. 1985, Reprinted 1986, 1997, 2002, 2006. p. Page 17 to 19. ISBN 0 85177 245 5.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ ""Arrowsmith" List – Part 1 Destroyer Prototypes through "River" Class". Retrieved 1 Jun 2013. 


  • Manning, Captain T.D. The British Destroyer. Godfrey Cave Associates. ISBN 0-906223-13-X. 
  • Evans, E.R.G.R. Keeping the Seas. Toronto: S.B. Gundy published in Canada for Humphrey Milford.