Spiteful-class destroyer

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Class overview
Name: Spiteful-class
Builders: Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company Limited, Jarrow
Operators:  Royal Navy
Built: 1898–1899
In commission: 1899–1920
Completed: 2
Scrapped: 2
General characteristics
Type: Torpedo boat destroyer
Displacement: 350 long tons (356 t)
Length: 210 ft (64 m)
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Complement: 63

Two Spiteful class destroyers served with the Royal Navy. These ships were both built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company Limited at Jarrow, and were part of the group of boats known as the 'thirty knotters'.

Concern about the higher speeds of foreign boats had prompted to Admiralty to order new destroyers capable of 30 knots, rather than the 27 knot requirement which had been standard. The boats were not able to make this speed in bad weather, where they were usually wet and uncomfortable with cramped crew quarters. However, they proved their toughness while serving through the Great War, despite being twenty years old. Thanks to their watertight bulkheads, their thin plating and light structure was able to take a great deal of damage and remain afloat; although their plates were easily damaged by rough handling or heavy weather.

The ships were fitted with Reed water tube boilers that generated around 6,300 HP. Both were originally fired using coal, but in 1904 Spiteful was converted to burn fuel oil. They were armed with the standard twelve pounder and two torpedo tubes and carried a complement of 63 officers and men. Ships of this type bore four funnels and were designated B class destroyers in 1913. They were sold off after the end of hostilities.


  • Spiteful, launched 11 January 1899, sold for breaking up 14 September 1920.
  • Peterel, launched 30 March 1899, sold for breaking up 30 August 1919.


  • Manning, T.D (1979). The British Destroyer. London: Godfrey Cave Associates. ISBN 0-906223-13-X. 
  • Lyon, D. (2005) [1996]. The First Destroyers. Mercury. ISBN 1-84560-010-X.