HMS Handy (1895)

HMS Handy was an A class destroyer that served in the Far East, and that was withdraw from service in 1913 and sold at Hong Kong in 1916.

The Handy was the only one of three destroyers ordered from Fairfield during the 1893-4 programme to still be intact at the start of the First World War.

The Fairfield 27-knot destroyers had three Thornycroft boilers in two stokeholds. Two were placed in the forward stokehold, with their uptakes trunked into a single funnel, giving them two funnels.

The Handy was laid down on 7 June 1894. She was originally going to be launched in February 1895, but this had to be postponed after the Clyde was blocked by ice! She was eventually launched on 9 March 1895.

She carried out her preliminary trials on the Clyde on 12 July 1895, where she made 27.25 knots during her trials on the measured mile at Skelmorlie, despite poor weather.

She ran her official trials in Stokes Bay on Wednesday 25 September 1895. She averaged 27.8 knots during her six runs over the measured mile, with the fastest run being completed at 29.8 knots. On the three hour continuous steaming trial she averaged 27.04 knots.

The Handy was accepted into the Royal Navy in October 1895.

In March 1896 she suffered minor damage to one of her water tube boilers when one of the tubes sprung a leak, allowing the boiler to empty. This was noticed just in time to avert a disaster, but all 1,300 tubes in the boiler had to be inspected for damage.

In May 1896 she was one of fifteen ships from the Channel Fleet that visited Scotland.

The Handy took part in the 1896 naval manoeuvres, which were meant to simulate the unexpected outbreak of war. She was part of Fleet A based at Berehaven, one of two fleets available to Admiral Kerr’s Channel Fleet.

The Handy was one of the first group of destroyers that was sent to the China Station in 1897.

In October 1900 the Handy was reported to have shelled Boxer rebels near Sham-chun while taking the frontier guard from Hong Kong to the danger area in southern China.

In March 1913 she was one of ten destroyers serving with the Destroyer Force of the China Squadron with Lt. Francis G. Brickenden in command.

From April 1913 she was on the sale list, and she was sold at Hong Kong in 1916.

--: Lt Blackeett
August 1912-March 1913-: Lt Francis G. Brickenden

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

27 knots (contract)


Triple expansion engines
Three Thornycroft boilers


65 tons of coal (Brassey)
1,270 miles at 11 knots


197.25ft oa
194ft pp


19ft 5in


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

Crew complement

50 (Brassey)

Laid down

7 June 1894


9 March 1895


October 1895

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 (19 December 2018), HMS Handy (1895) ,

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