HMS Halcyon (1894)

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HMS Halcyon
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Halcyon
Builder: Devonport Dockyard
Laid down: 2 January 1893[1]
Launched: 6 April 1894
Commissioned: 16 May 1895[1]
Fate: Sold for breaking on 6 November 1919
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Dryad-class torpedo gunboat
Displacement: 1,070 tons
Length: 262 ft 6 in (80.0 m)
Beam: 30 ft 6 in (9.3 m)
Draught: 13 ft (4.0 m)
Installed power: 6,000 ihp (4,500 kW)
  • 2 × 3-cylinder vertical triple-expansion steam engines
  • Locomotive boilers
  • Twin screws
Speed: 19 kn (35 km/h)
Complement: 120

The third HMS Halcyon was a Dryad-class torpedo gunboat[1] of the Royal Navy. Once described as "perhaps the smallest and least formidable vessel that ever crept into the 'Navy List,' ",[2] she was launched in 1894 and was put up for sale before World War I. She was recommissioned in 1913, was converted to a minesweeper and served under the orders of the Admiral Commanding Coast Guard and Reserves. She was sold for breaking in 1919.


Ordered under the Naval Defence Act of 1889, which established the "Two-Power Standard", the class was contemporary with the first torpedo boat destroyers. With a length overall of 262 ft 6 in (80.01 m),[1] a beam of 30 ft 6 in (9.30 m)[1] and a displacement of 1,070 tons,[1] these torpedo gunboats were not small ships by the standard of the time; they were larger than the majority of World War I destroyers. Halcyon was engined by Hawthorn Leslie and Company[1] with two sets of vertical triple-expansion steam engines, two locomotive-type boilers, and twin screws. Halcyon produced 6,000 indicated horsepower (4,500 kW),[1] nearly twice the power of the rest of her class. She was capable of 19[3] or 20 knots (37 km/h).[1] She carried between 100 and 160 tons of coal and was manned by 120 sailors and officers.[1]


The armament when built comprised two QF 4.7-inch (12 cm) guns, four 6-pounder guns and a single 5-barrelled Nordenfelt machine gun. Her primary weapon was five 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes,[Note 1] with two reloads.[1] On conversion to a minesweeper in 1914 two of the five torpedoes were removed.[1]


Halcyon was laid down at Devonport Dockyard on 2 January 1893[1] and launched on 6 April 1894.[4]

Operational history[edit]

Naval review of 1897[edit]

On 26 June 1897 Halcyon was present at the Fleet Review at Spithead in celebration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.[3]

Mediterranean station[edit]

HMS Halcyon was commissioned to serve at the Mediterranean Station by Commander Scott W. A. Hamilton Gray in March 1898. She was stationed at Souda Bay in early March 1900,[5] but later the same month left for Port Said to temporary relieve HMS Rupert as coast defence ship.[6] In May 1901 she left the Mediterranean and paid off at Devonport, to be placed in the Fleet Reserve for refitting.[7]

Pre-war service[edit]

Although being offered for sale,[3] she was recommissioned at Sheerness on 5 July 1913.[3]

World War I service[edit]

In August 1914 she became the ship of the Senior Naval Officer North Sea Fisheries, serving under the orders of the Admiral Commanding Coast Guard and Reserves.[3] Located at Yarmouth, she was involved in the Raid on Yarmouth.

On 29 July 1917, Halcyon spotted a periscope near the Smiths Knoll buoy east of Yarmouth, and carried out a ramming attack, followed by dropping two depth charges. Halcyon was credited with sinking the submarine, UB-27.[8]


She was sold to J H Lee of Dover for breaking on 6 November 1919.[1]


  1. ^ British "18 inch" torpedoes were 17.72 inches (45.0 cm) in diameter


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Winfield (2004), p.306
  2. ^ "The Navy in Battle" (1918), Arthur Hungerford Pollen, p.250
  3. ^ a b c d e "HMS Halcyon at". Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  4. ^ The Times (London), Saturday, 7 April 1894, p.12
  5. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36078). London. 1 March 1900. p. 6.
  6. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36089). London. 14 March 1900. p. 7.
  7. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36449). London. 8 May 1901. p. 9.
  8. ^ Grant 1964, p. 62.