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HMS Leven (1898)

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Name  HMS Leven
Commissioned  July 1899
Construction started  24 January 1898
Draft  2.49 m
Laid down  24 January 1898
Out of service  Paid off, 1919
Launched  28 June 1898
Ordered  1897 – 1898 Naval Estimates
Fate  Sold for breaking, 14 September 1920
Builder  Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company

HMS Leven was a Fairfield "30-knotter" destroyer of the Royal Navy, later classified as part of the C class. It was built in 1898–1899, and served with the Royal Navy through to the First World War, sinking a German U-boat in 1918. Leven was sold for scrapping in 1920.

Contents

Construction

HMS Leven was ordered from the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan, Glasgow, as part of the British Admiralty's 1897–1898 shipbuilding programme, one of six "Thirty-Knotter" destroyers ordered in that programme, at a contract cost of £52,407. As with other early Royal Navy destroyers, the design of Leven was left to the builder, with the Admiralty laying down only broad requirements.

Leven's design was a near repeat of the three Thirty-Knotters (Fairey, Falcon and Gipsy) ordered as part of the previous 1896–1897 construction programme, with four Thornycroft boilers feeding a triple-expansion steam engine, and three funnels being fitted. The ship had the standard armament of the Thirty-Knotters, i.e. 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.

Leven was laid down as Yard No 405 on 24 January 1898 and launched on 28 June 1898. During her builder's trials the ship made its contracted speed requirement. She was completed and accepted by the Royal Navy in July 1898, and was the third ship to carry this name since it was introduced in 1813 for a 20-gun sixth rate in service until 1848.

Pre-war

Leven served in British home waters for the whole of her career, participating in the 1901 British Naval Manoeuvres. She served in the Devonport instructional flotilla, until replaced in March 1902. Later that year, she underwent repairs to re-tube her boilers.

On 30 August 1912 the Admiralty directed all destroyers were to be grouped into classes designated by letters based on contract speed and appearance. As a three-funneled destroyer with a contract speed of 30 knots, Leven was assigned to the C class. The class letters were painted on the hull below the bridge area and on a funnel.

World War I

From August 1914 to November 1918 Leven was deployed in the 6th Destroyer Flotilla based at Dover. While employed with the 6th Flotilla she conducted counter-mining patrols escorted merchant ships, defended the Dover Barrage and took part in operations off the Belgian Coast.

On 8 September 1915, Leven was involved in a collision with a transport in the English Channel, suffering a badly damaged bow. She was towed stern first back to Dover. On 26 May 1917 Leven was escorting the Monitors General Wolfe, M24 and M27 when they encountered four German torpedo boats. One of the German ships fired a torpedo at M24, which missed, and after they were engaged by Leven, the Germans broke contact.

On 26 January 1918, Leven, carrying out a courier service between Dover and Dunkirk, spotted the periscope of the German submarine UB35, when UB35 was attempting to pass through the Dover Barrage, a series of anti-submarine minefields and anti-submarine patrols. Leven sank UB35 with depth charges about 6 miles north-west of Calais, rescuing a single survivor, who identified that the sunken submarine was UB35 before he died.

Disposal

In 1919 Leven was paid off and laid-up in reserve awaiting disposal. The ship was sold on 14 September 1920 to Hayes of Porthcawl for scrapping. Leven was awarded the battle honour "Belgian Coast 1914–16" for her service.

References

HMS Leven (1898) Wikipedia


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