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HMS Handy (1895)

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Name  HMS Handy
Commissioned  October 1895
Class and type  Handy-class destroyer
Launched  9 March 1895
Laid down  7 June 1894
Fate  Sold Hong Kong, 1916
Construction started  7 June 1894
Draft  2.29 m
Displacement  275 long tons (279 t) light 310 long tons (310 t) full load
Builder  Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company

HMS Handy was a Handy-class destroyer which served with the Royal Navy. Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in 1895 she spent most of her time on the China Station, and was sold in Hong Kong during the Great War.


Design and construction

As part of the 1893–1894 Naval Estimates, the British Admiralty placed orders for 36 torpedo-boat destroyers, all to be capable of 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph), as a follow-on to the six prototype "26-knotters" ordered in the previous 1892–1893 Estimates. Of the 36 destroyers, three ships (Handy, Hart and Hunter) were ordered from Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company of Govan, the first torpedo craft to be built by that shipyard. As typical for torpedo craft at the time, the Admiralty left detailed design to the builders, laying down only broad requirements.

Fairfield's design was 197 feet (60.05 m) long overall and 194 feet (59.13 m) between perpendiculars, with a beam of 19 feet 5 inches (5.92 m) and a draught of 7 feet 6 inches (2.29 m). Displacement was 275 long tons (279 t) light and 310 long tons (310 t) full load, while the ship's complement was 53 officers and men. Three Thornycroft boilers fed steam at 215 pounds per square inch (1,480 kPa) to two 3-cylinder triple expansion steam engines rated at 4,000 indicated horsepower (3,000 kW) and driving two propeller shafts. Two funnels were fitted. Armament consisted of a single QF 12 pounder 12 cwt gun and three 6-pounder guns, with two 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes. As a gunboat, one of the torpedo tubes could be removed to accommodate a further two six-pounders.

Handy was laid down on 7 June 1894 and was launched on 9 March 1895. Handy reached a speed of 27.04 knots (50.08 km/h; 31.12 mph) during sea trials, and was commissioned in October 1895.


The Fairfield-built Twenty-seven knotters were considered good sea boats, so suitable for service on overseas stations. Handy was sent out to Hong Kong in 1897–1898, a year after her sister ship Hart, to serve on the China Station, remaining there for the rest of her career. The bow structure of Handy required strengthening, which was carried out by April 1901.

In January 1901, Handy took part in the salvaging of the dredger Canton River, which had sunk in Hong Kong harbour during a Typhoon in November 1900, with Handy being used to pump air into the hull of the stricken vessel. In November 1911, when the Xinhai Revolution caused Chang Ming-Ch'i, Governor-General of Kwangtung province to abandon his post, Handy ferried him from Canton to safety in Hong Kong.

Handy was paid up in 1912, and by March 1913 Handy was placed on the sale list. She was finally sold in Hong Kong in 1916.


HMS Handy (1895) Wikipedia

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