Pathfinder class scout cruisers

The two Pathfinder class scout cruisers were Cammell Laird’s contribution to the eight scout cruisers built in 1903-1905. These were built in pairs by four different dockyards, to a standard specification, and were sometimes known as “sentinel class” cruisers, after the first of them to be completed (see Sentinel class article for more details).

Each of the pairs was slightly different. The two Pathfinder ships featured a belt of side armour to protect the engines and a protected deck along the rest of the ship.

HMS Pathfinder was the only one of these eight scout cruisers to be lost. After a early war career with the Atlantic Fleet, Channel Fleet (1906) and then Home Fleet (1907), at the start of the First World War she was part of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla, in the Firth of Forth. On 5 September 1914, while sailing off St. Abbs Head (just to the south of the Forth) she was torpedoed by U 21, sinking with the loss of 259 lives. 

HMS Patrol began the war as part of the 9th Destroyer Flotilla, in the Firth of Forth and the Tyne. In December 1914 she was present in Hartlepool during the German raid, suffering heavy damage. In 1915 she joined the 7th Destroyer Flotilla in the Humber, and remained there until 1918, when she briefly served in the Irish Sea. By the end of the war she was back with the 9th Destroyer Flotilla, by then based at the Nore, at the entrance to the Thames.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – deck

1.5 to 5/8 inch

 - conning tower


 - belt




Armaments – as built

Ten 12pdr quick firing guns
Eight 3pdr quick firing guns
Two 18in torpedo tubes above the water

Armaments – as modified 1911/12

Nine 4in guns
Six 6pdr guns
Two 18 torpedo tubes

Crew complement






Ships in class

HMS Pathfinder
HMS Patrol

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 September 2007), Pathfinder class scout cruisers ,

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