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HMS Skate (1895)

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Name  HMS Skate
Out of service  Sold on 9 April 1907
Displacement  340 tons
Length  59 m
Draft  2.31 m
Builder  Vickers
Fate  Scrapped
Launched  13 March 1895
Weight  345.5 tons
Class and type  Sturgeon-class destroyer

HMS Skate was a Sturgeon-class destroyer which served with the Royal Navy. Built by Vickers, she was launched on 13 March 1895 and sold on 9 April 1907.


Construction and design

On 8 November 1893, the British Admiralty placed an order with the Naval Construction and Armament Company of Barrow-in-Furness (later to become part of Vickers) for three "Twenty-Seven Knotter" destroyers as part of the 1893–1894 construction programme for the Royal Navy, with in total, 36 destroyers being ordered from various shipbuilders for this programme.

The Admiralty only laid down a series of broad requirements for the destroyers, leaving detailed design to the ships' builders. The requirements included 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.

The Naval Construction and Armament Company produced a design with a length of 194 feet 6 inches (59.28 m) overall and 190 feet (57.91 m) between perpendiculars, with a beam of 19 feet (5.79 m) and a draught of 7 feet 7 inches (2.31 m). Displacement was 300 long tons light and 340 long tons deep load. Three funnels were fitted, with the foremast between the ship's bridge and the first funnel. Four Blechyndnen water-tube boilers fed steam at 200 pounds per square inch (1,400 kPa) to two three-cylinder triple expansion steam engines rated at 4,000 indicated horsepower (3,000 kW). 60 tons of coal were carried, giving a range of 1,370 nautical miles (2,540 km; 1,580 mi) at a speed of 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph). The ship's crew was 53 officers and men.

Skate was laid down on 20 March 1894 as Yard number 235, was launched on 13 March 1895 and completed in January 1896.

Service history

In 1897 Skate was in reserve at Devonport. In 1900 she was commissioned to serve at the Mediterranean station, and was ordered to return home in early 1902. She left Gibraltar on 9 May, convoyed by the cruiser Astraea, and arrived in Plymouth on 14 May. She paid off at Devonport on 20 May, and was placed in the A Division of the Fleet Reserve. Lieutenant James Uchtred Farie was appointed in command on 1 August 1902.

In 1906 Skate was used as a target in firing trials of the effectiveness of various guns against destroyers. 3-pounder (47 mm) guns proved ineffective, having difficulty penetrating the ship's plating in end-on engagements, and while 12-pounder (3-in (76 mm)) guns caused more damage, it was concluded that a single hit could not be guaranteed to disable a destroyer. 4-inch (102 mm) guns proved much more effective, particularly when Lyddite-filled shells were used, and this led to a change in destroyer armament to 4-inch guns. Sold in 1907 to Cox & Co. of Falmouth, Cornwall for £305, she was the first destroyer of this type to go to the breakers.


HMS Skate (1895) Wikipedia