HMS Teviot (1903)

HMS Teviot (1903) was a River class destroyer that was attached to the Grand Fleet in 1914, the Portsmouth Escort Flotilla in 1915-17 (escorting troop ships to France), the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla in the autumn and winter of 1917-18 and the First Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth for most of 1918.

The Teviot was built to the original design, with her forward 6-pdr guns on sponsons on either side of the forecastle. This made them rather wet in some seas, and they were lifted to a higher position on ships from the 1902/3 batch and later.

The Teviot was one of three River class destroyers ordered from Yarrow in the 1901-1902 batch. They all had four funnels, in two pairs.

The Teviot was delivered to Sheerness on Wednesday 13 April 1904.

Brassey’s Naval Annual of 1904 published the results of her trials (dating them to 1903). On her four hour speed trial she averaged 25.468 knots at 7,827ihp. On her four hour coal consumption trial she averaged 25.405 knots at 7,833ihp and used 1.99lb of coal per ihp per hour.

The original mix of 12-pounders and 6-pounders was soon recognised as being too light, and she was rearmed with four 12-pounders. The change had been made by 1912 when she was listed with the four guns in Brassey’s Naval Annual.


At the start of September she replaced the Racehorse in the Destroyer Instructional Flotilla (also reported as the Felixstowe Destroyer Flotilla), taking over her crew. The Teviot, commanded under Lt-Commander J. Kiddle, was then to take part in an ‘invasion’ of the Essex coast.

The Teviot took part in the 1904 torpedo craft manoeuvres, at a time when the River class boats were still somewhat controversial because of their lower official top speed. Her CO during the exercises was impressed with his boat, believed that his ship was actually almost as fast as the 30 knotters in good conditions and much quicker in bad weather, but still wanted an increase in speed. His belief was that the 25 knots trial speed was unrealistic because it used picked coal and stokers, and real speeds would be two knots slower.

The Teviot was the basis of a joint Denny and Fairfield design for four destroyers ordered by the Australian navy, although the design was greatly modified and the resulting ships of the Australian River class resembled later types.
In 1904-1905 the Teviot was one of six River class destroyers that were part of the Nore Flotilla, one of three that contained all of the home based destroyers. The River class boats were all based at Felixstowe.

In December 1904 the Teviot was part of a flotilla that visited Poole. During the visit her football team defeated a team from the Welland 10-1.

In 1905-1906 the Teviot was one of four River class destroyers in the 2nd Division of the Channel Fleet.

HMS Teviot from the right
HMS Teviot from the right

In May 1905 the Teviot escorted the battleships Albemarle and Cornwallis as they escorted the crippled destroyer Syren into Queenstown.

In August 1905 the Teviot was part of a large British fleet that gathered to greet the French fleet on its first major visit to a British port for many years.

In 1907-1909 the Teviot was part of either the 2nd or 4th Destroyer Flotillas, part of the Home Fleet, which was becoming the main battleship force.

On Wednesday 7 August 1907 the Teviot collided with the Kestrel. The Teviot suffered minor damage, but there were some injuries on the Kestrel, which suffered serious damage to her bows.

In November 1907 the Teviot was used to greet the German Imperial yacht Hohenzollern at the start of a state visit by the Kaiser and Kaiserin to Britain. The German Naval Attache was onboard.

In August 1908 a rowing team from the Teviot came second in one of the races at the Invergordon Regatta. 

On Friday 29 October 1909 the Teviot and the Pathfinder were sent to help the Saracen, which had been damaged in a collision with a steamer. In the end the Saracen was able to return to port under her own power, escorted by the Teviot.

In September 1910 the Teviot, Swale and Kale visited Hull while heading south after spending time in Scottish waters. At the time the Teviot was flagship of the flotilla. They gained a great deal of attention in Hull, as they were the first RN warships to dock in the Queen’s Dock for three years.

In 1909-1911 the Teviot was one of four River class destroyers in the 4th Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth. This was part of the 3rd Division of the Home Fleet, which contained the older battleships. The destroyers were partly manned.

In 1911-12 the Teviot was part of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla on the Nore, which was made up of twenty-three River class destroyers and was part of the 3rd Division of the Home Fleet. This contained the older battleships and the destroyers were all partly manned.

In 1912-14 the Teviot was one of twenty five River class destroyers that formed the 9th Destroyer Flotilla on the Nore, one of the new Patrol Flotillas.

In June 1913 chief stoker Albert Meager of the Teviot was commended by the Dundee Police for his role in capturing a drunk who had assaulted a policeman and then attempted to escape.

In July 1914 she was one of sixteen River class destroyers in the Ninth Flotilla at Chatham.

First World War

In August 1914 she was one of six destroyers from the Ninth Flotilla that were reported to be at sea at the outbreak of war.

In November 1914 she was one of eighteen destroyers attacked to Admiral Jellicoe in his role as C-in-C of the Grand Fleet.

In January 1915 she was attached to the Grand Fleet.

At the end of March 1915 the Beagle class destroyers, which had been escorting troops across the Channel, were sent to the Dardanelles. The Teviot was one of eight destroyers that were moved south to take over from them, forming the Portsmouth Escort Flotilla.  The move was decided earlier than that, and the Exe, Teviot, Ure, Boyne and Foyle left Scapa Flow heading for Dover and Devonport on 27 February 1915, to begin escort duties.

On 25 March the Teviot rescued the crew of the Dutch steamer Media, which had been sunk by U-28 off Beachy Head while carrying a cargo of oranges to London. The twenty four crew were taken into London.

In June 1915 the Teviot was one of seventeen destroyers in the Portsmouth Local Defence Flotilla, which had been expanded, in part by giving it eight River class destroyers.

In January 1916 she was one of eighteen destroyers in the Portsmouth Local Defence Flotilla.

In October 1916 she was one of nine destroyers in the Portsmouth Escort Flotilla, all River class boats.

In January 1917 she was one of thirteen destroyers in the Portsmouth Escort Flotilla, now a mix of types.

Early on 3 March 1917 she was returning from escort duty when she spotted UB-18 3,000 yards to her port. She turned towards the target and after five minutes spotted a periscope 150 yards away. She dropped three depth charges, two of which were seen to explode. The submarine was undamaged, and returned to her base at Zeebrugge on 5 March.

In June 1917 she was one of nine destroyers in the Portsmouth Escort Flotilla, once again all River class boats.

By October 1917 the Navy List placed her with the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla on the Humber.

In January 1918 she was one of twenty seven destroyers in the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla, based on the Humber.

By February 1918 the Navy List had her back at Portsmouth, with the First Destroyer Flotilla.

By April 1918 she carried two depth charge throwers and twenty-two charges. One of the light 12-pounders was to be converted to high angle fire and the rear torpedo tube was to be removed.

On 2 May 1918 she was part of the escort for a convoy that included the hospital ship Grantully Castle. The convoy ran into a minefield laid a few hours earlier by UC-26, and HMS Derwent struck one of the mines, breaking in half.  Part of the ship stayed afloat, and 62 of her 86 crew were saved.

In June 1918 she was one of eight destroyers in the First Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth, which now also included the steam powered submarine HMS Swordfish, which had been converted into a surface patrol vessel.

In November 1918 she was one of eight destroyers in the First Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth, although two of the other boats were on detached duty.

Lt & Commander: Alexander H. Gye: 1 March 1912-April 1913-
Lt in Command Hugh R. Troup: 16 June 1914-January 1915-
Lt George L.M. Napier: - 3 March 1917-
Lt in Command Patrick E. Fell: 19 August 1918-December 1918-
Gunner Thomas C. Harvey: -February 1919-

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



Yarrow boilers




231.25ft oa
225ft pp




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

Crew complement


Laid down

10 July 1902


7 November 1903


April 1904

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 (27 January 2020), HMS Teviot (1903),

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