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PATHFINDER scout cruisers (2, 1905)


Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Pathfinder (ex-Fastnet)   655 Cammell Laird, Birkenhead 15.8.1903 16.7.1904 18.7.1905 sunk 5.9.1914
Patrol N24, N80 658 Cammell Laird, Birkenhead 31.10.1903 13.10.1904 26.9.1905 sold 4.1920

Technical data

Displacement normal, t


Displacement full, t 
Length, m

112.8 pp 115.5 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 4-cyl VTE, 12 Laird-Normand boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t

coal 600

Endurance, nm(kts)


Armour, mmbelt: 51, deck: 38 - 16, CT: 76

10 x 1 - 76/50 12pdr 18cwt QF Mk I, 8 x 1 - 47/40 3pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 2 x 1 - 450 TT



Standard scale images

<i>Patrol </i>1906
Patrol 1906

Project history

Eight cruisers were intended to work in company with destroyers as scouts, to lead torpedo attacks and to back up their flotillas when attacked by enemy destroyers. The Admiralty provided a broad specification for the ships and left the detailed design to the builders, a common practice when ordering torpedo craft but unusual with cruisers. The Admiralty requirement was for a 25kt ship, with a 38mm protective deck or equivalent side armour, shallow draught for operating in inshore waters, and an armament of 10 76mm, 8 47mm and 2 TT. They were ordered in four pairs which, as might be expected, resulted in four sub-classes that varied substantially in form, machinery and structure. Only one builder, Fairfield, followed traditional small cruiser style in providing a poop as well as a forecastle, but all abandoned the bulwarks amidships which had become a common feature of Victorian cruisers. The Armstrong pair differed from all the others in having four instead of three funnels and a clipper bow, while the Vickers ships had shorter funnels than the other ships. The Fairfield pair employed side armour abreast the machinery compartments with a protective deck at the ends, while Cammell provided side armour abreast the engine rooms only with a protective deck over the remainder of the ship, an expedient intended to protect the engine cylinders. The remaining ships were fitted in the usual manner with a full length protective deck. The 12pdr QF guns were mounted 3 abreast on the forecastle and aft and two on each side amidships, but this armament was heavily criticised for being too light.

Ship protection

51mm belt protected only machinery, main deck with 16mm flat was connected with its lower edge by 38mm slopes.


1905-1906, both: - 8 x 1 - 47/40; + 2 x 1 - 76/50 12pdr 18cwt QF Mk I, 6 x 1 - 57/40 6pdr Hotchkiss Mk I

1912, both: - 12 x 1 - 76/50, 6 x 1 - 57/40; + 9 x 1 - 102/40 QF Mk IV

by 1918, Patrol: + 1 x 1 - 76/45 20cwt QF Mk I

Naval service

Pathfinder was torpedoed and sunk 5.9.1914 by German submarine U21 off St. Abbs Head, 259 lives lost.

Many thanks to Wolfgang Stöhr for additional information on this page.