HMS Lively (1900)

HMS Lively (1900) was a B class destroyer that served in the Mediterranean in 1904-6, but spend the rest of her career in home waters. At the start of the First World War she was part of the Seventh Flotilla on the East Coast, but late in 1914 she was moved to Scapa, where she was based until 1918, when she joined the Irish Sea Hunting Flotilla.

The Lively was laid down on spec, and was purchased by the Admiralty in October 1901 to replace the two prototype turbine destroyers, which were both lost earlier in the year. She and her sister ship HMS Sprightly had very similar careers, and served with the same units throughout the First World War

By April 1918 she had the approved depth charge armament of two throwers and eighteen charges, with the aft gun and the torpedo tubes removed to compensate for the extra weight.

Pre War Service

In November 1901 a navigating crew was raised at the Royal Naval Barracks, Keyham, to sail the Lively from Birkenhead to Plymouth to carry out gun, torpedo and circling trials. Once commissioned she was to join the Devonport command. She was to leave Birkenhead on 12 December. The navigating crew, under LT Commander Loder-Symons, left Devonport on Tuesday 10 December.

HMS Lively from the left
HMS Lively from the left

From 1902-1905 she was part of the Devonport Flotilla, one of three flotillas that contained all of the home based destroyers.

In August-September 1902 the Lively was part of the naval escort for the King and Queen as they toured in the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert, along with the cruiser Crescent. In late August the King took part in the hunt on Arran, and the Lively was used to transport the head of the stag he shot to Colonsay. At the start of September the Royal Party was at Thurso, Stornoway, Dunrobin and Oban.

In 1904 she joined the Mediterranean Fleet, joining the flotilla with eight River class destroyers and three other 30-knotters (Angler, Quail and Sprightly).

In December 1904 one of her officers, sub-lieutenant A. Coke was court martialed for getting drunk in private clothes while at Gibraltar, creating a disturbance and assaulting the police. He was found guilt on all but the charge of drunkenness, reprimanded and dismissed from the ship.

The Lively remained with the Mediterranean Fleet until 1906, when she returned to home waters.

From March 1907 she was part of the 2nd or 4th Destroyer Flotilla, both attached to the Home Fleet, with full crew complements.

In May 1907 she was part of a flotilla of destroyers that paid a formal visit to Bridlington, where the crew was entertained onshore. 

In August 1908 some of her crew took part in the annual Invergordon Regatta.

In 1909-1911 she was part of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, attached to the 2nd Division of the Home Fleet, again with a full crew complement.

In 1912 she joined the 7th Destroyer Flotilla, one of the Patrol Flotillas. This marked a reduction in status, as newer destroyers became available for service with the main battle fleets. In her new role the Lively was only partly manned.

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

First World War

In August 1914 she was one of twelve destroyers from the Seventh Flotilla that had moved to its wartime base on the Humber. The rest of the flotilla was scattered along the east coast.

In November 1914 the Lively had joined them, and was one of six destroyers from the flotilla based at No.5 Patrol Base, Yarmouth.

In November 1914, when the Germans raided Yarmouth, the Lively was one of six patrol destroyers based there. Their task was to patrol the area from Cromer Knoll to Yarmouth. On the morning of 3 November the Lively was the lead of three destroyers that had put to sea from Yarmouth to check the swept mine-free channel along the coast. At 7.05am her commander spotted the German raiding force, and turned towards them. The Germans were already firing on the minesweeper HMS Halcyon, and the Lively came to her rescue, making smoke to hide the Halcyon. She also came under fire herself, after her smoke screen hid the minesweeper. The Germans didn’t managed to hit her, and after laying their planned minefield withdrew. The British destroyers couldn’t really expect to harm the German force of cruisers and battlecruisers, but they do appear to have convinced Admiral Hipper to cut the raid short, probably saving Yarmouth from a serious bombardment.

On 7 November 1914 she was one of twelve destroyers that the Admiralty ordered to move from the patrol flotillas to Scapa Flow, and she departed for her new base on 8 November.

In January 1915 she was attached to the Grand Fleet.

In June 1915 she was part of the Scapa Patrol.

In January 1916 she was one of ten destroyers attacked to the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet, Admiral Jellicoe.

In October 1916 she was one of fifteen destroyers attached to the Grand Fleet but not part of any particular formation.

In January 1917 she was one of ten destroyers in the Scapa Local Defence Flotilla.

In June 1917 she was one of eleven destroyers in the Scapa Local Defence Flotilla

In January 1918 she was one of ten destroyers in the Scapa Local Defence Flotilla, although four were undergoing repairs.

From 9 May 1918 she was commanded by Lt. Frederick G. Brookes.

In June 1918 she was one of six destroyers from the Irish Sea Hunting Flotilla that were based at Holyhead.

In November 1918 she was one of six destroyers from the Irish Sea Hunting Flotilla that were based at Holyhead

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

In November 1919

The Lively was sold for break up in July 1920.

December 1902-: Lt Commander Loder-Symons
-November 1914-: Lt Baillie-Grohman
9 May 1918-February 1919-: Lt Frederick G. Brookes

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

30 knots






219ft oa
215ft pp




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

Crew complement


Laid down

20 June 1899


14 July 1900


April 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 (21 February 2019), HMS Lively (1900) ,

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy