HMS Sunfish (1895)

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History
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Sunfish
Ordered: 7 February 1894
Builder: Hawthorn Leslie, Hebburn
Laid down: 17 September 1894
Launched: 28 May 1895
Commissioned: 1896
General characteristics
Class and type: Hawthorn Leslie "Twenty-seven knotter"
Displacement:
  • 310 long tons (310 t) light
  • 340 long tons (350 t) full load
Length: 204 ft 0 in (62.18 m) oa
Beam: 19 ft 0 in (5.79 m)
Draught: 8 ft 7 in (2.62 m)
Installed power: 4,000 ihp (3,000 kW)
Propulsion:
Speed: 27 kn (50 km/h; 31 mph) (contract speed)
Range: 1,175 nmi (2,176 km; 1,352 mi) at 11 kn (20 km/h; 13 mph)
Complement: 53
Armament:
  • 1 × 12pdr gun
  • 3 × 6 pdr guns
  • 2 × 18 inch torpedo tubes

HMS Sunfish was a "twenty-seven knotter" torpedo boat destroyer of the British Royal Navy. Built by the Tyneside shipbuilder Hawthorn Leslie, Sunfish was one of three destroyers built by Hawthorns that year. She was sold for scrap in 1920.

Design and construction[edit]

HMS Sunfish, along with sister ships Opossum and Ranger, was one of three destroyers ordered for the Royal Navy from Hawthorn Leslie on 7 February 1894 as part of the 1893–1894 Naval Estimates. A total of 36 destroyers were ordered from 14 shipbuilders as part of the 1893–1894 Naval Estimates, all of which were required to reach a contract speed of 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph).[1][2] The Admiralty laid down broad requirements for the destroyers, including speed, the use of an arched turtleback[a] forecastle and armament, with the detailed design left to the builders, resulting in each of the builders producing different designs.[4][5]

Sunfish was 204 feet 0 inches (62.18 m) long overall and 200 feet 0 inches (60.96 m) between perpendiculars, with a beam of 19 feet 0 inches (5.79 m) and a draught of 8 feet 7 inches (2.62 m). Displacement was 310 long tons (310 t) light and 340 long tons (350 t) full load.[1] Eight Yarrow boilers, with their uptakes trunked together to three funnels, fed steam at 185 pounds per square inch (1,280 kPa) to two triple-expansion steam engines, rated at 4,000 indicated horsepower (3,000 kW).[1][6][7] Armament consisted of a single QF 12 pounder 12 cwt[b] gun and three 6-pounder guns, with two 18 inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes.[7] One of the torpedo tubes could be removed to accommodate a further two six-pounders.[8] The ship's crew was 53 officers and men.[7][9]

On 17 September 1895 Sunfish was laid down as Yard Number 325 at Hawthorn Leslie's Hebburn, Tyneside shipyard,[1] and was launched on 28 May 1895.[10][11] The ship reached a speed of 27.62 knots (51.15 km/h; 31.78 mph) during sea trials,[12] and was completed in February 1896.[10][11]

Service[edit]

Sunfish took part in the 1896 British Naval Manoeuvres, attached to the Channel Fleet operation from Berehaven in southern Ireland.[13] She was part of the Mediterranean Fleet, but boiler problems caused her to be laid up at Malta from August 1900 to May 1902 while the boilers were re-tubed and the bottom reservoirs repaired.[14][15][16] In June 1902 she left for Gibraltar, and early the following month she arrived at Plymouth, and proceeded to Chatham to pay off.[17] Lieutenant John M. D. E. Warren was appointed in command on 2 August 1902,[18] when she joined the Medway instructional flotilla. A month later, her stem was damaged during docking at Dundee in a gale.[19] In 1905, Sunfish was one of a number of old destroyers which the Rear Admiral (Destroyers) condemned as being "..all worn out", with "every shilling spent on these old 27-knotters is a waste of money".[20]

Sunfish formed part of the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla at Devonport in 1910, and remained a part of that flotilla in 1912.[14] On 5 June 1911 Sunfish hit the bow of the destroyer Havock when clearing her moorings at Waterford Harbour, and then when trying to get clear of Havock, collided with the Torpedo boat Torpedo Boat 045. Sunfish was slightly damaged and returned to Devonport for repair.[21] On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyers were to be grouped into classes designated by letters based on contract speed and appearance. After 30 September 1913, as a 27-knotter, Sunfish was assigned to the A class.[22][23][24]

By February 1913, Sunfish was not part of an active flotilla, but was attached as a tender to the shore establishment Vivid at Devonport, with a nucleus crew[25] and was still attached to Vivid in July 1914, on the eve of the outbreak of the First World War.[26]

By January 1915, Sunfish was allocated to the Devonport Local Defence Flotilla.[27] On 23 July 1917, Sunfish, still part of the Devonport Local Defence Flotilla, was involved in operations to hunt a submarine that had been spotted in Lyme Bay. Despite the submarine being spotted on the surface by a Motor Launch, the hunt was unsuccessful, with the submarine escaping.[28] Sunfish remained at Devonport until the end of the war.[29]

Sunfish was sold for scrap on 7 June 1920.[24]

Pennant numbers[edit]

Pennant number[24][30] From To
D47 6 Dec 1914 1 Sep 1915
D2A 1 Sep 1915 1 January 1918
D81 1 January 1918 -

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A turtleback is an arched structure over the deck of a ship, normally at the ship's bow, to protect against reach seas.[3]
  2. ^ "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 12cwt referring to the weight of the gun.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Lyon 2001, p. 92.
  2. ^ Lyon 2001, pp. 19–20.
  3. ^ "turtleback". The American Heritage Dictionary. 
  4. ^ Chesneau and Kolesnik 1979, p. 87.
  5. ^ Manning 1961, p. 39.
  6. ^ Friedman 2009, p. 44.
  7. ^ a b c Friedman 2009, p. 291.
  8. ^ Lyon 2001, pp. 98–99.
  9. ^ Manning 1961, p. 38.
  10. ^ a b Friedman 2009, p. 302.
  11. ^ a b Chesneau and Kolesnik 1979, p. 63.
  12. ^ Brassey 1897, p. 321.
  13. ^ Brassey 1897, pp. 141–143, 149.
  14. ^ a b "NMM, vessel ID 376819" (PDF). Warship Histories, vol iv. National Maritime Museum. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  15. ^ H. O. Arnold-Forster, Secretary to the Admiralty (3 March 1902). "H.M.S. "Sunfish."". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. col. 169. 
  16. ^ "Navy—Defects in Water-tube Boilers". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 12 May 1902. col. 1332. 
  17. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36813). London. 7 July 1900. p. 6. 
  18. ^ "Naval appointments". The Times (36842). London. 9 August 1902. p. 10. 
  19. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36865). London. 5 September 1902. p. 4. 
  20. ^ Lyon 2001, p. 116.
  21. ^ "Naval Matters—Past and Prospective: Devonport Dockyard". The Marine Engineer and Naval Architect. Vol. 34. August 1911. p. 14. 
  22. ^ Gardiner and Gray 1985, p. 18.
  23. ^ Manning 1961, pp. 17–18.
  24. ^ a b c Dittmar and Colledge 1972, p. 56.
  25. ^ "Fleets and Squadrons in Commission at Home and Abroad: Torpedo Craft and Submarine Flotillas at Home Ports". The Navy List: 270b. March 1913. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "Fleets and Squadrons in Commission at Home and Abroad: Torpedo Craft and Submarine Flotillas at Home Ports". The Navy List: 270c. August 1914. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  27. ^ "Supplement to the Monthly Navy List Showing Organisation of the Fleet, Flag Officers' Commands &c: Local Defence Flotillas". The Navy List: 13. January 1915. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  28. ^ Newbolt, Henry (2013) [Originally published by Longmans, Green, London, 1931]. "History of the Great War - Naval Operations, Volume 5, April 1917 to November 1918 (Part 1 of 4)". Naval-History.net. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  29. ^ "Supplement to the Monthly Navy List Showing Organisation of the Fleet, Flag Officers' Commands &c: Local Defence Flotillas". The Navy List: 17. December 1918. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  30. ^ Arrowsmith, John (27 January 1997). ""Arrowsmith" List – Part 1 Destroyer Prototypes through "River" Class". The World War I Primary Documents Archive. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Brassey, T.A. (1897). The Naval Annual 1897. Portsmouth, UK: J. Griffin and Co. 
  • Chesneau, Roger; Kolesnik, Eugene M, eds. (1979). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-133-5. 
  • Dittmar, F.J.; Colledge, J.J. (1972). British Warships 1914–1919. Shepperton, UK: Ian Allen. ISBN 0-7110-0380-7. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-049-9. 
  • Gardiner, Robert; Gray, Randal (1985). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5. 
  • Lyon, David (2001). The First Destroyers. London: Caxton Editions. ISBN 1-84067-3648. 
  • Manning, T.D. (1961). The British Destroyer. London: Putnam and Co.