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Hawthorn Leslie River-type destroyers (DERWENT) (2, 1904)






Yard No


Laid down




Derwent N25, D15   Hawthorn Leslie, Hebburn 12.6.1902 14.2.1903 7.1904 mined 2.5.1917
Eden N42, D17   Hawthorn Leslie, Hebburn 12.6.1902 13.3.1903 6.1904 collision 18.6.1916

Technical data

Displacement normal, t


Displacement full, t620
Length, m

68.7 oa 67.1 pp

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts

Derwent: 2

Eden: 3


Dervent: 2 VTE, 4 Yarrow boilers

Eden: 3 Parsons steam turbines, 4 Yarrow boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts

Derwent: 25.6

Eden: 26.2

Fuel, t

coal 130

Endurance, nm(kts)



1 x 1 - 76/40 12pdr 12cwt QF Mk I, 5 x 1 - 57/40 6pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 2 x 1 - 450 TT (4)




<i>Eden </i>in the drydock  
Eden in the drydock  

Project history

Experience with earlier types of destroyer had shown quite clearly that concentrating on high trial (= smooth water) speed was a snare and delusion. The combination of seaworthiness with the ability to maintain a less spectacular speed when it became rough was of far more real value. The early destroyers were too lightly built, too small and too delicate to be fully effective in all conditions as fighting ships. The lesson was underlined by the success of the German S90 class which had a raised forecastle and proved very seaworthy. The Admiralty decided therefore to ask for more heavily built destroyers with raised forecastles and a contract speed of only 25.5kts, The larger size and sturdiness of the new design was correctly held to allow the new destroyers to maintain this speed in most conditions when the earlier destroyers dropped well below it.     The raised forecastle proved a particularly desirable feature as it enabled speed to be kept up when steaming into waves and also allowed the forward guns to be fought in comparatively bad conditions, besides keeping the watchkeepers much drier. The latters' condition was much improved anyway by being given a bridge. The armament of this class was identical to the 30-knotters, the forward 57mm guns being sponsoned out on either side of the forefunnel in the first group. However this made their positions somewhat wet in a head sea, so in the  1902/3 group and subsequent ships they were moved up to either side of the 76mm on the forecastle. Experience in the Russo-Japanese war showed that the 57mm was too light for real effect, and so in 1906 it was decided to replace the 5 57mm with 3 76mm, thereby giving a total of 4 12pdr as well as the 2 450mm TT.     These vessels marked the real break between the torpedo boat and the true destroyer, and set the pattern for destroyer development both in Britain and in most foreign countries until the 'V & W' class of the latter part of the 1914-18 war. One, the Eden, was given turbine propulsion. The class gave good service, being used in the First World War on patrol and escort duties. They had been designated the 'E' class in 1912. They were generally considered less easy to manoeuvre than earlier destroyers, and much more visible thanks to their higher silhouette and therefore less suited to surprise torpedo attacks. Their lower smooth water speed caused them to be the target of much ill-informed public criticism, but experience showed just how ignorant this criticism was, as effective speed was so much better. All had a speed of 25.5kts (the fastest on trials being Eden and Gala with 26.2kts).     This pair belonged to 1901/2 Programme, two funnels. These two sisters were used for a series of comparative trials to test the differences in performance between turbines and reciprocating engines. The former came out of the comparison well and eventually replaced the latter as the standard type of destroyer machinery.


1907-1908, all: - 5 x 1 - 57/40; + 3 x 1 - 76/28 12pdr 8cwt QF Mk I

Naval service

Derwent was mined off Le Havre 2.5.1917. Eden ran aground off Dover in January 1910 and sank, but was salved and repaired, she was sunk in collision with s/s France in the English Channel 18.6.1916.