HMS Zebra (1895)

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Name: HMS Zebra
Ordered: 7 February 1894
Builder: Thames Iron Works, Bow Creek
Laid down: 1 July 1894
Launched: 13 December 1895
Commissioned: January 1900
Fate: Sold for scrap, 30 July 1914
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: none
  • 310 long tons (310 t) light
  • 365 long tons (371 t) full load
  • 204 ft 6 in (62.33 m) oa
  • 200 ft (61 m) pp
Beam: 20 ft (6.1 m)
Draught: 7 ft (2.133600 m)
Installed power: 4,800 ihp (3,600 kW)
Speed: 27 kn (31 mph; 50 km/h) (trials)
Complement: 50[2]
  • [3]
  • 1 × 12pdr gun
  • 5 × 6 pdr guns
  • 2 × torpedo tubes

HMS Zebra was a "Twenty-seven Knotter" destroyer of the Royal Navy, later classified as part of the A Class. Zebra was built by Thames Iron Works and launched in 1895 as the fifth Royal Navy ship to be named Zebra. Entering service in 1900, Zebra was sold for scrap in 1914.


HMS Zebra was ordered on 7 February 1894 from Thames Iron Works, Blackwall, London as part of the British Admiralty's 1893–1894 shipbuilding programme, one of 36 "Twenty-seven Knotter" destroyers ordered from 14 different shipbuilders for this programme.[4][1]

These destroyers were not of a standard design, with the Admiralty laying down broad requirements, including a trial speed of 27 knots (31 mph; 50 km/h), a "turtleback" forecastle and a standard armament of 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.[5][6][7] Thames Iron Work's design had three funnels, with the forward funnel widely separated from the other two, with one of the two torpedo tubes positioned in this gap. Three White water-tube boilers fed four-cylinder reciprocating steam engines rated at 4,800 ihp (3,600 kW) and driving two shafts.[1][8]

Zebra was laid down on 1 July 1894 and launched on 13 December 1895. Thames Iron Works was relatively inexperienced in building torpedo craft (it had previously built the hull of a single torpedo boat as a subcontractor for Maudslay, Sons and Field (who supplied the engines for Zebra) and it took a long time for the ship to be completed and to complete trials (where she eventually reached the contract speed of 27 knots[2]), not being accepted by the Navy until January 1900.[1]

Zebra was not particularly successful in service and no further orders for destroyers were placed with Thames Iron Works for many years.[1]

Operational history[edit]

HMS Zebra served in British home waters for the whole of her career.[1] In January 1900 she was employed as tender to the Wildfire, special service vessel, for training duties in connextion with Sheerness Naval School of Gunnery.[9] The following year she participated in the 1901 British Naval Manoeuvres.[10] In March 1902 Lieutenant James W. G. Innes was appointed in command,[11] but the appointment was cancelled and Lieutenant Wyndham L. Bamber was appointed in command the following month.[12] She served in the Portsmouth Instructional flotilla in May 1902.[13]

Zebra formed part of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla in 1910, and in 1912.[14] On 14 June 1911 the destroyer Zephyr collided with Zebra during night exercises off the mouth of the River Thames. One of Zebra's six-pounder guns and two of her boats were knocked into the sea, but no crew were injured.[15] After repair, Zebra was attached to the submarine flotilla based at Dundee, relieving the destroyer Teazer.[16]

On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyers were to be grouped into classes designated by letters based on contract speed and appearance. Like all the surviving Twenty-six and Twenty-seven Knotters, Zebra was assigned to the A Class.[17][18] The class letters were painted on the hull below the bridge area and on a funnel.[19]

Zebra was sold for scrapping on 30 July 1914.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Lyon 2001, p. 91.
  2. ^ a b Brassey 1902, p. 274.
  3. ^ Chesneau and Kolesnik 1979, p. 91
  4. ^ Lyon 2001, p. 19.
  5. ^ Lyon 2001, p. 20.
  6. ^ Lyon 2001, pp. 98–99.
  7. ^ Friedman 2009, p. 40.
  8. ^ Friedman 2009, pp. 44–45.
  9. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36052). London. 30 January 1900. p. 11. 
  10. ^ Brassey 1902, p. 91.
  11. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36707). London. 5 March 1902. p. 5. 
  12. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36740). London. 12 April 1902. p. 12. 
  13. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36777). London. 26 May 1902. p. 7. 
  14. ^ "NMM, vessel ID 379125" (PDF). Warship Histories, vol xi. National Maritime Museum. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  15. ^ "Naval Matters—Past and Prospective: Sheerness Dockyard". The Marine Engineer and Naval Architect. Vol. 33. July 1911. p. 439. 
  16. ^ "Naval Matters—Past and Prospective: Sheerness Dockyard". The Marine Engineer and Naval Architect. Vol. 34. September 1911. p. 38. 
  17. ^ Gardiner and Gray 1985, p. 18.
  18. ^ Manning 1961, pp. 17–18.
  19. ^ Manning 1961, p. 34.