HMS Kangaroo (1900)

HMS Kangaroo (1900) was a B class destroyer that served in the Mediterranean early in her career, then in home waters. She spent the entire First World War serving with the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla, part of the very active Dover Command.  

The first Palmer 30-knotters had four boilers with the middle two feeding a single funnel, but this changed in the 1897-8 programme, with all four boilers getting their own funnel. The middle two funnels were positioned close together, in the same area as the original merged funnel. The new layout was retained in the 1898-9 programme.

The Kangaroo was ordered from Palmers as part of the 1900-1 programme, while already under construction. She was purchased on 9 May 1900.

On Monday 17 December 1900 the Kangaroo carried out a speed trial, reaching an average speed of 30.6 knots on only her third voyage and first run at full speed.

The Kangaroo was delivered to the Navy at Portsmouth on Wednesday 20 February 1901.

On Wednesday 13 March 1901 the Kangaroo reached an average speed of just over 30 knots on her three hour steam trial.

On Tuesday 16 April 1901 the Kangaroo left Portsmouth to carry out a new ‘progressive’ type of trial, but this had to be abandoned due to bad weather.

Brassey’s Naval Annual for 1902 reported that she had achieved 30.184knts at 6,488hp on her three hour fuel consumption trial, using 2.26lb of coal per iHP per hour and 30.03 knots on her three hour full-speed trial, which was carried out in a gale.

The Kangaroo took part in the 1901 naval manoeuvres, which began in late July. These involved two fleets – Fleet B began in the North Sea, and had the task of keeping the English Channel open to trade. Fleet X began off the north coast of Ireland, and had the task of stopping trade in the Channel. The Kangaroo was part of Fleet B. This was the first time both sides in the annual exercises had been given an equal force of destroyers. The exercises ended with a victory for Fleet X. The destroyer forces didn’t live up to expectations, either in torpedo attack or as scouts.

At the start of August 1901 the Kangaroo had to put in at Plymouth after suffering problems with her steering during the naval manoeuvres. She then moved to Portsmouth for repairs.

In the second half of 1901 the Kangaroo joined the Mediterranean Fleet, where many of the key destroyer techniques were developed. In home waters the destroyers tended to be based at ports on the south coast, and weren’t directly attached to the battle fleet, but in the Mediterranean the Navy didn’t have enough bases close to their potential enemies to allow for that, and the destroyers had to learn to operate with the larger ships.

The Kangaroo took part in the combined Mediterranean, Channel and Cruiser Squadron Manoeuvres which took part in the Mediterranean in the autumn of 1902, which were intended to test out the problems of conducting a close blockage of an enemy fleet in port. She was one of seven destroyers in B Fleet, one of two blockading fleets

The Kangaroo returned from the Mediterranean in 1905, and from 1905 until February 1906 she was one of eleven destroyers allocated to the Atlantic Fleet. This fleet was then disbanded, and from February 1906 to 1907 she was part of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla of the Channel Fleet.

In 1907 the Kangaroo joined the Portsmouth Flotilla, moving away from the main battle fleets as newer destroyers became available.

In 1911-12 she was part of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth, and no longer had a full crew complement.

On 21 July 1911 a steam pipe burst during steam trials off Beachy Head. Two men (chief stoker Thomas Hutfield and stoker Earnest Fryer) were killed and five injured. An inquest found that the explosion was caused by a fault with the after fan engine.

From May 1912 she was part of the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth, which was now a patrol flotilla concentrated at that port.

On 26 February 1913 the Kangaroo hit the quay while entering the Granville Dock at Dover, twisting her stem. She then had to be towed to Portsmouth by HMS Flying Fish to undergo repairs.

The Kangaroo was awarded a battle honour for operations off the Belgian coast in 1914-1917

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 six destroyers from the Sixth Flotilla, now based at Dover, to be posted to the Downs.

At the end of August 1914 she was chosen as one of six destroyers from the 6th Flotilla that were to support a planned landings at Ostend to support the Belgians. The landings began on 27 August, but it was soon clear that the port couldn’t be defended, and British troops withdrew on 31 August.

In October 1914 she was used to escort the ships carrying British troops to Antwerp. On 6 October she reported a submarine attack on the destroyer Fawn, although this was apparently an error.

In November 1914 she was part of the Sixth Flotilla, but was away at Portsmouth undergoing repairs, having arrived on 18 October.

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

On 25 February 1915 the SS Surrey hit a mine off Calais. The Kangaroo helped in the rescue efforts, and her commander was later presented with souvenirs by the French Government as a reward for his services.

On 4 March 1915 she was at sea during the successful hunt for U-8, which had been spotted by the Syren. At 2.17pm the Kangaroo spotted a buoy moving at high speed, probably being towed by the submarine. At this point the Kangaroo wasn’t carrying a modern anti-submarine sweep, so other submarines were ordered to close with her and use their sweeps. The submarine was caught by the Ghurka, 3 miles to the south-west of this clash, damaged and forced to surrender.

On 9-13 March 1915 she was one of six destroyers that escorted the Venerable on a mission to bombard the Belgian coast around Westende Bains, in response to a request for support from the French army. The weather intervened, and the bombardment was a limited affair on 11 and 13 March. The force then withdrew on the night of 13-14 March and the destroyers returned to Dover.

In June 1915 she was part of the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla, based at Dover.

During the Dover Patrol’s bombardment of Ostend and Westened of 2-7 September 1915 the Kangaroo formed part of No.4 T.B.D. Patrol, a detached force that supported the operation

In January 1916 she was still part of the Sixth Flotilla, but she had been paid off while undergoing repairs at Portsmouth, which were expected to be completed by the end of March.

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

On 26 October 1916, at the start of the German destroyer raid that became known as the battle of the Dover Straits, the Kangaroo was at Dover, where she formed part of a general reserve of 30-knotters (Greyhound, Mermaid, Kangaroo and Gipsy).

In January 1917 she was with the Sixth Flotilla, but she was off station undergoing a long refit at Portsmouth.

In June 1917 she was one of twenty nine destroyers in the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla.

In January 1918 she was still with the Dover Destroyer Flotilla (now forty strong), but she was away being repaired on the Thames.

In June 1918 she was part of the large Sixth Destroyer Flotilla of the Dover Force.

In November 1918 she was once again away from the flotilla undergoing repairs.

From 3 November 1918 she was commanded by Lt William J. Busk-Wood.

By February 1919 she was one of a large number of destroyers temporarily based at Portsmouth.

The Kangaroo was sold for break up in March 1920.

-August 1901-: Lt Commander Davies
3 November 1918-February 1919-: Lt William J. Busk-Wood

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

30 knots






215ft pp




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

Crew complement


Laid down

 29 December 1899


8 September 1900


July 1901

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 (pending), HMS Kangaroo (1900),

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