HMS Active

HMS Active was the nameship of the Active class of scout cruisers. For the first half of the First World War she was the leader of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, based at Rosyth. She was absent from that flotilla in January 1915, when the Galatea filled her place, but was back by 22 February.

HMS Active from the right
HMS Active from the right

The 2nd Flotilla was not present at the battle of Jutland, but HMS Active was. She was attached to Admiral Jellicoe’s flagship Iron Duke. During the advance to the south she formed part of the screen of cruisers in advance of the battleships, before moving behind the main fleet. At 6.30pm, as the two main fleets collided, she was safely on the port side of the Grand Fleet with the other attached light cruisers. On 2 June she was detached from the fleet to search for HMS Broke, badly damaged during the battle, but the Broke made her own way into the Tyne, and the Active returned to Rosyth on 3 June.

When the Grand Fleet went to sea again in mid-August, the Active with nine destroyers of the 4th Flotilla was based at Immingham, in the Humber, and joined the Grand Fleet from there. She was then moved south, to Portsmouth. At the start of 1917 she was based at the eastern end of the channel, and was posted at Deal on dark nights to provide some protection against German destroyer raids. She was then moved to Queenstown (now Cobh, southern Ireland), along with the Adventure, one seaplane carrier, four torpedo boats, nine minesweepers and a large force of American destroyers. During 1918 she was moved to the Mediterranean, remaining there until the end of the war (although on 11 November 1918 she was actually absent in Britain).

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – deck


 - conning tower





Ten 4in Mk VIII guns
Four 3pdr guns
Two 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement



14 March 1911


December 1911


Captain J. R. P. Hawksley
Captain Withers
Commander Diggle
Commander Kiddle

Sold for break up


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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 November 2007), HMS Active ,

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