Destroyer HMS Kennet

The destroyer HMS Kennet belonged to the River class, which consisted of a total of 36 torpedo boat destroyers and were built in the early 20th century for the Royal Navy.


Launching and design:

The demand for new destroyers went back to John de Robeck, who in late 1900 had the command of the destroyer of the Mediterranean Fleet. The new ships should not only have a longer range but also get a higher speed.

Robeck received support from Admiralty Officer John Fischer. So it came that in July 1901, the collected improvement requests and suggestions were collected by the chief designer of the Royal Navy, Sir William Henry White and put together to a draft. Accordingly, the design was designed so that the new destroyers were clearly seaworthy, should receive a raised foredeck and a further backward bridge. In addition, a stronger drive system should be installed, which should reach a speed of around 25.5 knots.

Since the tender for the construction of the destroyer was issued to private shipyards, they had enough freedom to design the ships except for the basic requirements. So it came that the 36 destroyers of the class differed partly from the optics as well as the interior clearly. Especially with the manufacturers of the drive system these differences were noticeable. So kettles of the company Reed, Normand, Thornycroft, White-Foster and Yarrow were used.

The launch of the HMS Kennet took place on 4 December 1903, the commissioning on 1 January 1905.



HMS Kennet




History of HMS Kennet:

After commissioning and testing, all River class ships, with the exception of four, were assigned to the East Coast Destroyer Flotilla in Harwich.

With this squadron several exercises and maneuvers were performed several times a year. In one of these exercises, there were several accidents on April 27, 1908, when the HMS Attentive rammed the HMS Gala and the HMS Ribble. The gala was cut in half, which sank in no time. One crew member died in the accident, the rest were picked up, also by HMS Kennet.

Together with the ships HMS Jed, HMS Chelmer, HMS Colne, HMS Ribble, HMS Usk and HMS Welland took place 1909 the transfer to the British China station.

On August 30, 1912, the British Admiralty ordered the renaming of the ship's classes from name to letter. As a result, the River class ships have now been classified as E-Class ships.




Use in the war:

As diplomatic tensions in Europe worsened and a war broke out, the ships of the British China Station in Hong Kong were pulled together.

When the war finally broke out, the ships left the harbor and began the blockade of the German overseas base Tsingtau, in which even smaller ships of the East Asia squadron had been. It came on 22 August to a replacement with the German torpedo boat S-90. The S-90 was able to lure the Kennet closer to the coast, from where the ship could be shot at by a coastal gun. The resulting hits cost 3 crew members the life. When then the SMS Jaguar expired, the Kennet had to pull back.

Since Japan had also declared war on the German Empire, they began from 2 September 1914 with the attack on the German base from the land. After the Germans had to surrender with their allies on November 7, 1914, the British ships were able to pull back to Hong Kong on 24 November.

At this time, was already planned at a landing company in the Dardanelles to conquer the peninsula of the Ottoman Empire. For this landing company, the ships of the E-class were withdrawn from the China Station and summed up in the Mediterranean to the 5th Destroyer Flotilla.

In the middle of April 1915, the ships arrived in the Mediterranean, while on 16 April the Ottoman torpedo boat Demir Hissar was sighted and sunk at Chios. In the further course of the landing company support the HMS Kennet on April 25, 1915 on Gallipoli the landing of the 3rd Division and the end of November the bridgeheads at Suvla by artillery fire.

In the meantime and until the end of the war, the ship oversaw the coasts of the Ottoman Empire and the shipping traffic.





In 1919, the HMS Kennet was withdrawn from the Mediterranean and returned to Britain.

There, the ship was decommissioned, sold and scrapped in December 1919 in Dover.




Ship data:


HMS Kennet


Great Britain

Ship Type:  





John I. Thornycroft & Co, Chiswick




December 4, 1903


January 1, 1905


Sold and scrapped on December 11, 1919 in Dover


68,8 meters


7,3 meters


2,4 meters


Max. 550 tons


70 men


4 Thornycroft water tube boilers

Two triple expansion engines


7000 ihp (PSi)

Maximum speed:  

25,5 kn




1 x 76 mm L/40 Mk. I Cannon

3 x 76 mm L/29 Cannon

2 x 45 cm torpedo tubes








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The British Battleship: 1906-1946

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Norman Friedman brings a new perspective to an ever-popular subject in The British Battleship: 1906-1946. With a unique ability to frame technologies within the context of politics, economics, and strategy, he offers unique insight into the development of the Royal Navy capital ships. With plans of the important classes commissioned from John Roberts and A D Baker III and a color section featuring the original Admiralty draughts, this book offers something to even the most knowledgeable enthusiast.

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British Battlecruisers 1905-1920 Hardcover – December 15, 2016

The brainchild of Admiral Sir John Fisher, battlecruisers combined heavy guns and high speed in the largest hulls of their era. Conceived as "super-cruisers" whose job it was to hunt down and destroy commerce raiders, their size and gun-power led to their inclusion in the battlefleet as a fast squadron of capital ships. This book traces in detail the development of Fisher's original idea into the first battlecruiser Invincible of 1908, through to the "Splendid Cats" of the Lion class, and culminating in HMS Hood in 1920, the largest warship in the world for the next twenty years. The origins of the unusual "light battlecruisers" of the Courageous type are also covered.

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British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser: 1914–16 (Duel)

British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser: 1914–16 (Duel) Paperback – November 19, 2013

Battles at Dogger Bank and Jutland revealed critical firepower, armor, and speed differences in Royal Navy and Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) Battlecruiser designs.

Fast-moving and formidably armed, the battlecruisers of the British and German navies first encountered one another in 1915 at Dogger Bank and in the following year clashed near Jutland in the biggest battleship action of all time. In the decade before World War I Britain and Germany were locked in a naval arms race that saw the advent of first the revolutionary dreadnought, the powerful, fast-moving battleship that rendered earlier designs obsolete, and then an entirely new kind of vessel - the battlecruiser. The brainchild of the visionary British admiral John 'Jacky' Fisher, the battlecruiser was designed to operate at long range in 'flying squadrons', using its superior speed and powerful armament to hunt, outmanoeuvre and destroy any opponent. The penalty paid to reach higher speeds was a relative lack of armour, but Fisher believed that 'speed equals protection'. By 1914 the British had ten battlecruisers in service and they proved their worth when two battlecruisers, Invincible and Inflexible, sank the German armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau off the Falklands in December 1914.

Based on a divergent design philosophy that emphasised protection over firepower, the Germans' battlecruisers numbered six by January 1915, when the rival battlecruisers first clashed at Dogger Bank in the North Sea. By this time the British battlecruisers had been given a new role - to locate the enemy fleet. Five British battlecruisers accompanied by other vessels intercepted and pursued a German force including three battlecruisers; although the battle was a British tactical victory with neither side losing any of its battlecruisers, the differences in the designs of the British and German ships were already apparent. The two sides responded very differently to this first clash; while the Germans improved their ammunition-handling procedures to lessen the risk of disabling explosions, the British drew the opposite lesson and stockpiled ammunition in an effort to improve their rate of fire, rendering their battlecruisers more vulnerable. The British also failed to improve the quality of their ammunition, which had often failed to penetrate the German ships' armour.

These differences were highlighted more starkly during the battle of Jutland in May 1916. Of the nine British battlecruisers committed, three were destroyed, all by their German counterparts. Five German battlecruisers were present, and of these, only one was sunk and the remainder damaged. The limitations of some of the British battlecruisers' fire-control systems, range-finders and ammunition quality were made clear; the Germans not only found the range more quickly, but spread their fire more effectively, and the German battlecruisers' superior protection meant that despite being severely mauled, all but one were able to evade the British fleet at the close of the battle. British communication was poor, with British crews relying on ship-to-ship flag and lamp signals even though wireless communication was available. Even so, both sides claimed victory and the controversy continues to this day.

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