HMS Orwell (1901)
|Builder:||Laird, Son & Co., Birkenhead|
|Laid down:||9 November 1897|
|Launched:||29 September 1898|
|Displacement:||360 long tons (366 t)|
|Length:||216.25 ft (65.91 m)|
|Beam:||21.5 ft (6.6 m)|
|Draught:||9 ft 7 in (2.9 m)|
|Speed:||30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)|
Construction and design
As part of the 1897–1898 construction programme for the Royal Navy, the British Admiralty placed an order with Laird, Son & Company of Birkenhead for a single "thirty-knotter" destroyer. Laird's design was based on the Earnest-class destroyer of six destroyers ordered under the 1895–1896 programme, which were in turn closely based on Laird's Quail-class destroyer ordered under the 1894–1895 programme.
Orwell had an overall length of 216 feet 9 inches (66.07 m), with a beam of 21 feet 6 inches (6.55 m) and a draught of 9 feet 7 inches (2.92 m). The ship was powered by two triple expansion steam engines, fed by four Normand boilers, rated at 6,300 ihp (4,700 kW) and was fitted with four funnels, giving a speed of 30 knots. Displacement was 360 long tons (366 t) light and 410 long tons (417 t) full load.
Armament was as normal for the "thirty-knotters", with 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.
HMS Orwell was laid down on 9 November 1897 and launched on 29 September 1898.
Orwell completed in January 1900, joining the Mediterranean Squadron in April that year. On 30 January 1903, Orwell collided with the cruiser HMS Pioneer during night exercises near Corfu. Orwell's bow was cut off in the collision with the loss of 15 of her crew.
Orwell returned to the United Kingdom in 1906, remaining in home waters for the rest of her Royal Navy career. In 1910, Orwell was part of the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla at Devonport, supported by the destroyer depot ship Leander, and was still a part of the same flotilla in 1912. On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyers were to be grouped into classes designated by letters based on appearance. As a four-funneled ship, Orwell was listed as a B-class destroyer on 1 October 1913. By 1913, she was part as the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla, still based at Devonport, one of four patrol flotillas equipped with older destroyers and torpedo boats.
On the outbreak of the First World War, the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla was transferred to the East coast of the United Kingdom. Late in 1914, Orwell was transferred to Scapa Flow, where she carried out local patrol and escort duties. By March 1918, Orwell was one of only three destroyers assigned to local defence of Scapa, but by June that year she had been transferred to the Irish Sea Flotilla.
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