HMS Foresight (1904)

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HMS Foresight (1904).jpg
Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: Forward class scout cruiser
Name: HMS Foresight
Builder: Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan
Laid down: October 1903
Launched: 8 October 1904
Commissioned: August 1905
Fate: Sold for scrap, 3 March 1920
General characteristics (as built)
Type: Scout cruiser
Displacement: 2,850 long tons (2,896 t)
Length: 365 ft (111.3 m) (p/p)
Beam: 39 ft 2 in (11.9 m)
Draught: 14 ft 3 in (4.3 m)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 2 Shafts, 2 triple-expansion steam engines
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Complement: 289

HMS Foresight was one of two Forward-class scout cruisers built for the Royal Navy during the first decade of the 20th century.

Design and description[edit]

The Forward-class ships were one of four classes of scout cruisers ordered by the Admiralty. These ships were intended to work with destroyer flotillas, leading their torpedo attacks and backing them up when attacked by other destroyers, although they quickly became less useful as destroyer speeds increased before the First World War. Foresight had a length between perpendiculars of 365 feet (111.3 m), a beam of 39 feet 2 inches (11.9 m) and a draught of 14 feet 3 inches (4.3 m). She displaced 2,850 long tons (2,896 t) at normal load and 3,100 long tons (3,150 t) at deep load. Her crew consisted of 289 officers and other ranks.[1]

The ship was powered by a pair of three-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, each driving one shaft, using steam provided by a dozen Thornycroft boilers. The engines were designed to produce a total of 16,500 indicated horsepower (12,300 kW) which was intended to give a maximum speed of 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph).[2]

The main armament of the Forward class consisted of ten quick-firing (QF) 12-pounder 18-cwt guns.[3] Three guns were mounted abreast on the forecastle and the quarterdeck, with the remaining four guns positioned port and starboard amidships. They also carried eight 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns and two submerged 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes.[2] The ships' protective deck armour ranged in thickness from .75 to 1.125 inches (19 to 29 mm) and the conning tower had armour 3 inches (76 mm) inches thick. They had a waterline belt 2 inches (51 mm) thick.[2]

Construction and career[edit]

HMS Foresight was laid down by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company at their Govan shipyard on 24 October 1903, launched on 8 October 1904 and completed on 8 September 1905.[4] Not long after completion, two additional 12-pounder guns were added and the 3-pounder guns were replaced with six QF 6-pounder Hotchkiss guns.[5] The ship was in the reserve of the Portsmouth Division of the Home Fleet from completion until 1909, when she joined the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla as its leader. In 1910 she joined the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, then in 1911 the 6th Flotilla at Dover.[6] About 1911–12, her main guns were replaced by nine 4-inch (102 mm) guns.[5] In November 1913, she accidentally collided with the destroyer Falcon.[6]

At the start of the First World War she was assigned to the Dover Patrol, then the 8th Destroyer Flotilla, still at Dover. She took part in the operations off the Flanders coast during October 1914 that helped to protect the Allied flank during the battle of the Yser. In May 1915 she was temporarily transferred to the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron on the Humber, guarding against Zeppelin raids on the east coast. In 1915 she served in the Mediterranean and in July 1916 in the Aegean with her sister ship HMS Forward until the end of the war. In November 1916, she assisted the wounded survivors of HMHS Britannic and was paid off in June 1919. The ship was sold for scrap on 3 March 1920.[7]


  1. ^ "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 18 cwt referring to the weight of the gun.


  1. ^ Friedman 2009, pp. 100, 294, 301
  2. ^ a b c Chesneau & Kolesnik, pp. 84–85
  3. ^ Friedman 2011, p. 112
  4. ^ Friedman, p. 301
  5. ^ a b Chesneau & Kolesnik, p. 85
  6. ^ a b Gardiner & Gray, p. 17
  7. ^ Gardiner & Gray, pp. 14, 17


  • Chesneau, Roger & Kolesnik, Eugene M., eds. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. Greenwich: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4. 
  • Corbett, Julian. Naval Operations to the Battle of the Falklands. History of the Great War: Based on Official Documents. I (2nd, reprint of the 1938 ed.). London and Nashville, Tennessee: Imperial War Museum and Battery Press. ISBN 0-89839-256-X. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-081-8. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2011). Naval Weapons of World War One. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-84832-100-7. 
  • Gardiner, Robert & Gray, Randal, eds. (1984). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5. 

External links[edit]