HMS Ribble (1904)

HMS Ribble (1904) was a River class destroyer that was on the China station at the outbreak of war, but moved to the Mediterranean late in 1914, taking part in the Gallipoli campaign. She remained in the Mediterranean for the rest of the war as part of the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla.

The Ribble was built to the original design, with her forward 6-pdr guns on sponsons on either side of the forecastle. This made them rather wet in some seas, and they were lifted to a higher position on ships from the 1902/3 batch and later.

The Ribble was one of three River class destroyers ordered from Yarrow in the 1901-1902 batch. They all had four funnels, in two pairs.

Brassey’s Naval Annual of 1905 printed the results of her trials. She averaged 25.81 knots at 7,417ihp during her four hour speed trial and 25.33 knots at 7,668ihp using 1.57lbs of coal per ihp per hour.

The Ribble was launched at Yarrow on Saturday 19 March 1904.

Pre-War

In August 1904 the Ribble and four torpedo boats moved from Sheerness to Chatham to pay off, presumably to prepare her for the upcoming exercises.

In late September 1904 the Ribble was taking part in exercises off the east coast of Scotland when one of her propeller shafts bent, damaging some of the machinery. The main engines weren’t affected and she was able to make her way slowly into Dundee, where repairs were carried out.

In 1904-1905 the Ribble was one of six River class destroyers that were part of the Nore Flotilla, one of three that contained all of the home based destroyers. The River class boats were all based at Felixstowe.

HMS Ribble from the left
HMS Ribble from the left

On Saturday 15 October 1904 she was used to help train the Dundee Naval Volunteers. Fifty of the volunteers were taken onboard, and took part in gunnery drill in St. Andrews Bay.

In May 1905 the Ribble moved from Portsmouth to Sheerness to join the Reserve Division.

In 1905-1906 the Ribble was one of four River class destroyers in the 2nd Division of the Channel Fleet.

In 1906-1907 the Ribble was one of six River class destroyers in the 1st Destroyer Flotilla, part of the Channel Fleet, at that time the main battleship force of the Royal Navy.

In June 1906 the Ribble was used by Captain Jackson, Controller of the Navy, when he visited the battleship HMS Montague, which had run aground off Lundy. This was part of the effort to save the battleship, which was only five years old, but the efforts failed and she was broken up in place.

In 1907-1909 the Ribble was part of either the 2nd or 4th Destroyer Flotillas, part of the Home Fleet, which was becoming the main battleship force.

On the night of 27-28 April 1908 the Ribble was caught up in the same incident that saw the Gala sunk. During night exercises the Gala was hit by the cruiser Attentive and cut in two. Her stern sank, but her bow remained afloat long enough for most of the crew to be rescued. The Attentive also hit the Ribble, but she stayed afloat and was able to return to base under her own power.

In 1909-1911 the Ribble was one of six River class destroyers (although the Gala was lost in 1909) in the 1st Destroyer Flotilla, which supported the 1st Division of the Home Fleet. All of these destroyers were fully manned.

On Monday 23 August 1909 one of her crew, Able-Seaman George Morgan, saved a young woman from drowning after she fell into the sea from Southend Pier. Morgan dived into the sea and held her above water until a boat came to pick them both up.

In 1911 the Ribble and the Welland moved to the China Station.

In July 1914 the Ribble  was one of eight destroyers on the China Station.

First World War

In August 1914 the Ribble was one of five River Class destroyers on the China Station, all of which reported to be ‘at sea’ at the outbreak of war. The British fleet in Chinese waters was at Wei-hai-wei when the preliminary warning telegram reached them, having just completed a cruise.

On 9 October 1914 the Ribble joined a blockading force that was watching for any German ships entering or leaving Manila, operating just outside territorial waters. This task lasted throughout October, but by November the Ribble was back at Hong Kong undergoing repairs.

In November 1914 she was one of eight destroyers on the China Station based at Hong Kong. On 17 November Admiral Jerram, commander on the China Station, was ordered to send all of his river class destroyers to Egypt, but because of the repairs she wasn’t able to leave Singapore heading west until 17 December. She and the Usk reached Port Said on 11 January 1915.

By January 1915 the Ribble had moved to the Mediterranean, where she was part of the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla. She would spent the rest of the war in the Mediterranean theatre.

The Ribble took part in the Gallipoli campaign, and was awarded the Dardanelles battle honour.

On 24 April 1915 one of her officers, Sub Lieutenant Geoffrey Stopford-Sackville, was wounded. He died of his wounds on 20 May.

On 25 April 1915 the Ribble took part in the landings at Anzac Cove, one of eight destroyers involved in the action. Six of the destroyers carried troops and used their ship’s lifeboats to land them on the beach. Most of the ships involved in the action came under heavy machine gun fire.

Early on 5 May 1915 the Ribble was one of four destroyers (Colne, Chelmer, Usk and Ribble) were used to support a landing party that attempted to raid an observation station at Gaba Tepe, but surprise was lost and the party ended up being pinned down close to the beach, from where they had to be rescued under cover of the destroyer’s guns.

On 25 May 1915 the battleship HMS Triumph was sunk by a U-boat. At the time the Ribble was protecting the elderly battleship Canopus, which wasn’t attacked.

In June 1915 she was one of three River Class destroyers that were at Malta.

In January 1916 she was one of eight River Class destroyers in the sizable destroyer forces in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In October 1916 she was one of seven River Class destroyers in the large Fifth Destroyer Flotilla of the Mediterranean Fleet.

In January 1917 she was one of eight River Class destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean, but still part of the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla.

In June 1917 she was one of eight River Class destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In January 1918 she was one of eight River Class destroyers in the Mediterranean, serving with the Aegean Squadron.

When the two German ships in Ottoman service made their final sortie in January 1918 the Ribble was at Mudros, raising steam to head to Malta.

In June 1918 she was one of eight River Class destroyers in the large Fifth Destroyer Flotilla based at Brindisi.

In the July 1918 and December 1918 Navy List she was placed at Malta.

In November 1918 she was one of eight River Class destroyers in the large Firth Destroyer Flotilla based at Mudros.

Commanders
Lt & Commander Edmond J.G. Mackinnon: 7 September 1911-April 1913-
Lt & Commander Ralph W. Wilkinson: December 1913-January 1915-
Lt in Command Henry J. Clarke: 11 September 1918-December 1918-

Displacement (standard)

590t

Displacement (loaded)

660t

Top Speed

25.5kts

Engine

7,500ihp
Yarrow boilers

Range

 

Length

231.25ft oa
225ft pp

Width

23.5ft

Armaments

One 12-pounder gun
Five 6-pounder guns
Two 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement

70

Laid down

4 July 1902

Launched

19 March 1904

Completed

June 1904

Broken Up

1920

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 January 2020), HMS Ribble (1904) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Ribble_1904.html

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