HMS Greyhound (1900)

HMS Greyhound (1900) was a C class destroyer that served with the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla at Dover from 1914-1918 and the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla on the Humber in 1918.

The Greyhound was ordered as part of the July 1898 supplement to the 1898-99 naval construction programme.

Hawthorn Leslie built three destroyers in the 1898-9 programme. They had four Yarrow boilers in two stokeholds, with the second and third boilers sharing the central funnel. They were considered to be amongst the best of the 30-knotters. In 1900 John de Robeck, command of the Mediterranean destroyer force, recommended that all future destroyers follow the Palmer or Hawthorn Leslie pattern for accomdation.

Pre-war service

On Saturday 7 September 1901 she carried out a successful three hour coal consumption trial off the Nore. Over six runs on the measured mile she averaged 30.424 knots and over the entire run she averaged 30.157 knots.

Brassey’s Naval Annual of 1902 published two trial results from 1901. On a three hour full power coal consumption trial she averaged 30.157knots at 6,368ihp at 2.345lb of coal per ihp per hour. On a three hour full speed trial she averaged 30.337 knots at 6,151ihp, suggesting that the second test took place in rather better weather.

From 1902-1905 the Greyhound was part of the Nore Flotilla, one of three that contained all of the home based destroyers.

Launch party for HMS Greyhound
Launch party for
HMS Greyhound

In mid-April 1902 she had to be detached from the Medway Flotilla due to leaky condensers.

In early December 1903 the Greyhound was commissioned into the Medway Flotilla, replacing the Opossum.

In April 1904 the Greyhound was used to escort the King and Queen as they sailed from Flushing at the end of a visit to the Continent.

In June 1904 the Greyhound was part of a destroyer flotilla that spent most of the month cruising off the east coast of Scotland.

By 21 June she was back at Sheerness, where she was given a new topmast to improve her signalling abilities. She then formed part of the fleet that escorted the King on a Royal Visit to Kiel.

In late August 1904 she was paid off and her crew transferred to the Welland, which replaced her in the Felixstowe Flotilla.

On 9 November 1904 the Greyhound left Sheerness after a refit.

In May 1905 the Greyhound returned to Sheerness for another refit.

At the start of August 1905 the Greyhound was part of the sizable British fleet that gathered to greet the French fleet when it visited Portsmouth. This was part of the Entente Cordiale, the general improvement in Anglo-French relations that began with a treaty of the same name in April 1904.

HMS Greyhound in Dry Dock
HMS Greyhound in Dry Dock

In the summer of 1905 the Greyhound took part in a Channel Fleet visit to the Baltic. On 23 August the Greyhound ran aground while attempting to leave Esbjerg, on the west coast of Jutland, in a gale. She managed to get herself afloat by using full power, but in the process rammed the Greyhound. After local repairs the Greyhound returned to Sheerness for repairs and a refit. She reached the Nore on Saturday 26 August, and the repairs were completed by 21 September 1905.

She was then allocated to the Second Destroyer Division, part of the Channel Fleet, which contained the most modern battleships in home waters, from 1905-1906.

In 1907-1909 she was part of the Devonport Flotilla, which had just become a local defence force.  

In 1909-1911 she was part of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla at the Nore, part of the 3rd Division of the Home Fleet. This was built around the older battleships, and the destroyers were partly manned.

In 1911-1912 she was part of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth, also part of the 3rd Division of the Home Fleet.

From May 1912 she was part of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth, one of the new patrol flotillas.

In July 1914 she was part of the Sixth Patrol Flotilla at Portsmouth, part of the Second Fleet of the Home Fleet.

First World War

In August 1914 she was one of fifteen destroyers from the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla that had moved to their new war base at Dover.

In November 1914 she was at Portsmouth after suffering damage that was estimated to need 3-4 weeks to repair. 

In January 1915 she was part of the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla, one of the Patrol Flotillas.

On 9 March 1915 the Greyhound was one of six destroyers allocated to escort HMS Venerable as she carried out a bombardment of Nieuport in support of the army. The bombardment was carried out in 11-13 March, but with limited impact.

On Friday 16 April 1915 a local fireman was tried at Dover Police Court for coming onboard the Greyhound to sell alcohol to the crew. At the time he had two quart bottles of bear on his person and his defence was that he’d often seen beer on board the ship.

In June 1915 the Greyhound was one of twenty four destroyers in the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla based at Dover.

In January 1916 she was one of fifteen destroyers in the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla at Dover.

On 24 March 1916, soon after Germans had begun a period of ‘intensified’ U-boat warfare, UB-29 torpedoed the cross-channel ferry SS Sussex. A large number of ships were involved in the rescue effort, including the Greyhound, which picked up nine crew members who had reached the Colbart light vessel. On the following morning a torpedo was seen passing within six feet of her bows. The sinking of the Sussex caused outrage in the United States, and in May the Germans officially abandoned the ‘intensified’ campaign.

In October 1916 she was one of twenty five destroyers in the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla at Dover.

When the Germans raided into the Dover Straits on 26 October 1916 the Greyhound was part of the general reserve of the Dover Force.

In January 1917 she was one of twenty destroyers in the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla at Dover.

On 14 January 1917 the Greyhound accidently rammed and sank the French trawler Sainte Pierre III from Gravelines while operating in the Straits of Dover.

On 25 April 1917 four German torpedo boats bombarded Dunkirk. The Greyhound and the monitor Lord Clive attempted to catch them, but without success. The Lord Clive did briefly spot two of the Germans ships and opened fire with her 6in guns, but without success.

In June 1917 she was one of twenty nine destroyers in the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla at Dover. However she spend at least some of the month under the command of the Commodore in command at Dunkirk, and was there on 19 June when low water meant she couldn’t leave port to salvage three seaplanes that had come down after a battle off the Belgian coast. Instead two Coastal Motor Boats were sent out, one of which was lost.

In January 1918 she was one of forty three destroyers in the Sixth Flotilla, and was undergoing repairs at Portsmouth. 

The Greyhound was awarded a battle honour for operations off the Belgian coast in 1915-1918.

In June 1918 she was part of the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla on the East Coast of England, based in the Humber.

In November 1918 she was one of twenty seven destroyers in the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla.

The Greyhound was sold in June 1919.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

30 knots




90 tons coal capacity (Brassey)


214.5ft oa
210ft 11in


21ft 1in


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

Crew complement

60 (Brassey)

Laid down

18 July 1899


6 October 1900


January 1902

Broken Up


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 (12 June 2019), HMS Greyhound (1900),

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