HMS Rother (1904)

 

HMS Rother (1904) was a River class destroyer that served with the Ninth Flotilla on the Tyne in 1914, then with the Portsmouth Local Defence Flotilla in 1915-1917, the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla in 1917-18 and the First Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth for most of 1918.

The original River class boats carried their forward 6-pdr guns on sponsons on either side of the forecastle, but this made them too low and rather wet in some circumstances. From the 1902/3 batch onwards the forward guns were thus moved to a higher position alongside the 12-pdr gun.

The Rother was laid down on speculation by Palmers and eventually purchased by the Navy while under construction, as long as she passed a survey. She replaced one of the fourteen destroyers from the 1904-5 plans, reducing the number to thirteen.

She had four funnels, in two pairs.

Pre War Career

In May 1905 the Rother was commissioned into the Sheerness-Chatham Reserve, under the command of Lt-Commander B.J.H. Ward.

In September 1905 James Furneaux, the son of the Chief Officer of the Herne Bay Coastguards found one of the Rother’s torpedoes on the beach, clearly soon after being fired!

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

On Friday 27 July 1907 the Rother was hit by an initially unknown merchant ship, suffering damage that forced her back to Portsmouth. A few days later Lloyd’s agent at Gravesend reported that the Colstrup of Guernsey had collided with an unknown torpedo boat, presumably the other half of the same incident!

In May 1908 the Rother was placed into commission to replace the Gala in the ‘Eastern Flotilla’, after the Gala was lost.

In 1909-11 the Rother was one of thirteen River Class destroyers in the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla on the Nore, part of the 3rd Division of the Home Fleet. This contained the older battleships and its destroyers were partly manned.

In late October her machinery broke down during gunnery exercises in Scottish waters and she had to be towed south by the Swale. She reached Sheerness on 2 September and was then towed to Chatham for repairs.

In 1911-12 the Rother was part of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla on the Nore, which was made up of twenty-three River class destroyers and was part of the 3rd Division of the Home Fleet. This contained the older battleships and the destroyers were all partly manned.

In 1912-14 the Rother was one of twenty five River class destroyers that formed the 9th Destroyer Flotilla on the Nore, one of the new Patrol Flotillas.

In July 1914 she was one of sixteen River class destroyers in the Ninth Flotilla at Chatham.

First World War

In August 1914 she was part of the Ninth Patrol Flotilla, and was one of three destroyers from the flotilla based at Sheerness.

In November 1914 she was one of three destroyers in the 1st Division of the 9th Flotilla, based on the Tyne that were at sea in ‘Area 1’, part of the Flotilla’s area of responsibility.

In January 1915 she was part of the Ninth Destroyer Flotilla, a patrol flotilla. The flotilla was split into four divisions, one at Immingham for maintenance and the other three on the Tyne and Tees, covering the area between St. Abb’s Head and Flamborough.

At the end of March 1915 the Beagle class destroyers, which had been escorting troops across the Channel, were sent to the Dardanelles. The Rother was one of eight destroyers that were moved south to take over from them, forming the Portsmouth Escort Flotilla. 

In June 1915 the Rother was one of seventeen destroyers in the Portsmouth Local Defence Flotilla, which had been expanded, in part by giving it eighth River class destroyers.

In January 1916 she was one of eighteen destroyers in the Portsmouth Local Defence Flotilla.

In October 1916 she was one of nine destroyers in the Portsmouth Escort Flotilla, all River class boats.

In January 1917 she was one of thirteen destroyers in the Portsmouth Escort Flotilla, now a mix of types.

In June 1917 she was one of nine destroyers in the Portsmouth Escort Flotilla, once again all River class boats.

By October 1917 the Rother was listed as part of the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla based on the Humber.

When the Germans put to sea to attack the Scandinavian Convoy on 11-12 December 1917, the Rother and Moy were at sea escorting a convoy heading for the east coast ports from Lerwick.

In January 1918 she was one of twenty seven destroyers in the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla, based on the Humber.

In March 1918 the Navy List placed her back at Portsmouth, this time as part of the First Destroyer Flotilla.

By April 1918 she carried two depth charge throwers and twenty-two charges. One of the light 12-pounders was to be converted to high angle fire and the rear torpedo tube was to be removed.

In June 1918 she was one of eight destroyers in the First Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth, which now also included the steam powered submarine HMS Swordgish, which had been converted into a surface patrol vessel.

In November 1918 she was one of eight destroyers in the First Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth, although two of the other boats were on detached duty.

Commanders
Commander Robert A. Hornell: 28 July 1912-21 February 1913 (to HMS Bulwark as 2nd i/c)
Commander Walter L. Allen: 22 February 1913-January 1914-
Commander Quintin C.A. Craufurd: 6 April 1914-January 1915-
Lt-Commander Arthur Cocks, DSC (acting): 25 August 1917-December 1918-
Lt Edward R. Lingen Burten (acting): -February 1919-

Displacement (standard)

592t

Displacement (loaded)

662t

Top Speed

25.5knots

Engine

7,000ihp

Range

 

Length

230ft oa
225ft pp

Width

23ft 6in

Armaments

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

Armament in service

Four 12-pounder guns
Two 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement

70

Laid down

 23 March 1903

Launched

5 January 1904

Completed

May 1905

Broken Up

1919

British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War, Norman Friedman. A very detailed look at the design of British destroyers from their earliest roots as torpedo boat destroyers, though the First World War and up to the start of the Second World War, supported by vast numbers of plans and well chosen photographs [read full review]
cover cover cover

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (13 January 2020), HMS Rother (1904), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Rother_1904.html

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