HMS Lively (1900)

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United Kingdom
Name: HMS Lively
Builder: Laird, Son & Co., Birkenhead
Laid down: 20 June 1899
Launched: 14 July 1900
Completed: April 1902
Commissioned: 13 May 1902
Fate: Scrapped, 1920
General characteristics
Class and type: Lively-class destroyer
Displacement: 385 long tons (391 t)
Length: 219 ft (67 m)
Beam: 21.25 ft (6.5 m)
Draught: 8 ft 7 in (2.6 m)
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)

HMS Lively was a B-class torpedo boat destroyer of the British Royal Navy. She was built speculatively by Laird, Son & Company, Birkenhead, pre-empting further orders for vessels of this type, and was bought by the navy in 1901.


On 30 March 1899, the British Admiralty placed an order for two torpedo boat destroyers, Lively and Sprightly, with the Birkenhead shipyard of Laird, Son & Co,[1] as part of a total of twelve destroyers ordered under the 1899–1900 shipbuilding programme.[2][a] These two ships were four-funneled and were similar to those ordered from Laird's under the 1894–1895 programme (the Quail class), the 1895–1896 programme (the Earnest class) and the 1897–1898 programme (Orwell).[4][5]

Lively was 219 feet 0 inches (66.75 m) long overall and 215 feet 0 inches (65.53 m) between perpendiculars, with a beam of 21 feet 9 inches (6.63 m) and a draught of 8 feet 7 inches (2.62 m). Displacement was 385 long tons (391 t) light and 435 long tons (442 t) full load.[1] Lively was propelled by two triple expansion steam engines, fed by four Normand boilers, rated at 6,250 ihp (4,660 kW) to give the contract speed of 30 knots.[6][7] Armament was the standard for the 30-knotters, i.e. a QF 12 pounder 12 cwt (3 in (76 mm) calibre) gun on a platform on the ship's conning tower (in practice the platform was also used as the ship's bridge), with a secondary armament of five 6-pounder guns, and two 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes.[8][9]

Lively was laid down as yard number 639 on 20 June 1899, launched on 14 July 1900 and completed in April 1902.[1]

Operational history[edit]

HMS Lively was commissioned at Devonport by Lieutenant James Rose Price Hawksley on 13 May 1902,[10] with the crew of HMS Ostrich, taking that ship's place in the Instructional flotilla.[11] She took part in the fleet review held at Spithead on 16 August 1902 for the coronation of King Edward VII,[12] and afterwards served as escort to the royal yacht Victoria and Albert during the King's August 1902 cruise along the British Isles.[13] She was back in the instructional flotilla the following month.[14] Lieutenant Ernest Edward Parker was appointed in command on 19 October 1902.[15]

On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyers were to be grouped into classes designated by letters based on contract speed and appearance. As a four-funneled 30-knotter destroyer, Lively was assigned to the B class.[16][17] In February 1913, Lively was part of the 7th Destroyer Flotilla, a patrol flotilla based at Devonport.[18][19] Lively remained part of the 7th Flotilla on the eve of the First World War in July 1914.[20]

At the outbreak of war, the 7th Flotilla was redeployed to the Humber River for operations off the East coast of Britain.[21][22] Duties of the Flotilla were to prevent enemy ships from carrying out minelaying or torpedo attacks in the approaches to ports on the East coast, and to prevent raids by enemy ships.[23] On 3 November 1914, Lively was taking part in a routine patrol off the Norfolk coast near the port of Yarmouth, as was the destroyer Leopard, while the torpedo gunboat Halcyon was nearby searching for mines. At about 07:00 hr Halcyon spotted several large warships emerging from the early morning mist, which opened fire on Halcyon when she challenged them. The hostile ships were a force of German battlecruisers and cruisers carrying out a raid on Yarmouth. Lively rushed up and laid a smokescreen to protect Halcyon, which despite being the target of heavy fire from the battlecruiser Seydlitz received only light damage, while Lively and Leopard were unharmed. The Germans retired after firing a few shells in the direction of Yarmouth, and while the two destroyers attempted to pursue the German force, they could not keep pace.[24][25][26]

On 8 November 1914, Lively was one of 12 destroyers that were transferred from the 7th Flotilla to reinforce the local defences of the Grand Fleet's base at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys.[27] She remained at Scapa Flow until March 1918,[28] and was one of the last three destroyers assigned to local defence of Scapa Flow,[29] but by April had transferred to the Irish Sea Flotilla,[30] which by July had acquired the more aggressive name of Irish Sea Hunting Flotilla.[31] On 10 October 1918, RMS Leinster, a steamer operating as a mailship and ferry between Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire), Ireland and Holyhead, Anglesey, was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UB-123. Lively, on patrol off the Skerries, Dublin, responded to the news of Lienster's sinking, and along with the destroyers Mallard and Seal set out to rescue survivors. Lively picked up 127 survivors, while Seal rescued 51 and Mallard 20, but as many as 529 died.[32][33][34]

Lively was sold for scrap to Castle of Plymouth on 1 July 1920.[35]

Pennant numbers[edit]

Pennant number[35] From To
D91 1914 September 1915
D83 September 1915 January 1918
D53 January 1918 Retirement


  1. ^ Some sources (e.g. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships[3]) suggest that Lively had already been ordered on speculation by the builders, but this is not mentioned in the contract documentation.[2]
  1. ^ a b c Lyon 2001, p. 63
  2. ^ a b Lyon 2001, p. 25
  3. ^ Chesneau & Kolesnik 1979, p. 97
  4. ^ Lyon 2001, pp. 61–63
  5. ^ Chesneau & Kolesnik 1979, pp. 94, 96–97
  6. ^ Lyon 2001, pp. 61, 63
  7. ^ Chesneau & Kolesnik 1979, p. 94
  8. ^ Lyon 2001, pp. 98–99
  9. ^ Friedman 2009, p. 40
  10. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36773). London. 21 May 1902. p. 10.
  11. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36764). London. 10 May 1902. p. 8.
  12. ^ "Naval Review at Spithead". The Times (36847). London. 15 August 1902. p. 5.
  13. ^ "The King at Cowes". The Times (36852). London. 21 August 1902. p. 4.
  14. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36883). London. 26 September 1902. p. 8.
  15. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36889). London. 3 October 1902. p. 8.
  16. ^ Gardiner & Gray 1985, p. 18
  17. ^ Manning 1961, pp. 17–18
  18. ^ "Fleets and Squadrons in Commission at Home and Abroad: Patrol Flotillas". The Navy List. March 1913. p. 269d.
  19. ^ Manning 1961, p. 25
  20. ^ "Fleets and Squadrons in Commission at Home and Abroad: Patrol Flotillas". The Navy List. August 1914. p. 269c.
  21. ^ Manning 1961, p. 26
  22. ^ Corbett 1920, pp. 15–16
  23. ^ Naval Staff Monograph No. 7 1921, pp. 75–76
  24. ^ Massie 2007, pp. 310–312
  25. ^ Corbett 1920, pp. 250–251
  26. ^ Naval Staff Monograph No. 7 1921, pp. 92–93
  27. ^ Naval Staff Monograph No. 7 1921, pp. 94–95, 105–106
  28. ^ "Supplement to the Monthly Naval List Showing Organisation of the Fleet, Flag Officer's Commands, &c.: Other Ships Attached to Grand Fleet". The Navy List. March 1918. p. 12.
  29. ^ Manning 1961, p. 27
  30. ^ "Supplement to the Monthly Naval List Showing Organisation of the Fleet, Flag Officer's Commands, &c.: XI–Irish Sea Flotilla". The Navy List. April 1918. p. 19.
  31. ^ "Supplement to the Monthly Naval List Showing Organisation of the Fleet, Flag Officer's Commands, &c.: XI.–Irish Sea Hunting Flotilla". The Navy List. July 1918. p. 19.
  32. ^ Lecane 2005, pp. 69–77
  33. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Leinster". Ships hit during WWI. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  34. ^ "The Sinking". The Sinking of R.M.S. Leinster. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  35. ^ a b Dittmar & Colledge 1972, p. 57