Active class scout cruisers

The Active class were the final Scout cruisers built for the Royal Navy. They were very similar to the previous Blonde class scout cruisers, carrying the same armament of ten 4in guns, and with a similar speed and level of armour protection. By the time they were completed their role could be better performed by the light cruisers, generally armed with 6in guns, better armoured, but still capable of reaching 25kts. Despite this, all three members of the class began the war as destroyer flotilla leaders, Active with the Grand Fleet, Amphion and Fearless further south. Both surviving members of the class were present at the battle of Jutland.

HMS Fearless from the right
HMS Fearless from the right

HMS Active was the leader of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet from 1914 until 1916. At the battle of Jutland she was attached to Jellicoe’s flagship Iron Duke. After Jutland she served on the south coast, at Queenstown in Ireland and in the Mediterranean.

HMS Amphion became the first British warship to be lost during the First World War. On 6 August, while returning from a sweep of the Heligoland Bight, she hit two mines laid by the Königin Luise, and sank with the loss of 148 of her crew and a number of prisoners taken from the German minelayer.

HMS Fearless led the 1st Destroyer Flotilla from 1914 to 1916. At the start of the war this flotilla was based at Harwich, and the Fearless was one of the ships used to raid the Heligoland Bight on 28 August 1914. She also took part in the Cuxhaven Raid of 25 December 1914, before her flotilla was transferred to the Grand Fleet. The Fearless fought at Jutland, escorting the badly damaged battleship Marlborough back to port. She was then transferred to lead the 12th Submarine Flotilla of the Grand Fleet, remaining in that post until the end of the war.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – deck


 - conning tower





Ten 4in Mk VIII guns
Four 3pdr guns
Two 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement






Ships in class

HMS Active
HMS Amphion
HMS Fearless

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 November 2007), Active class scout cruisers ,

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