£ 200 REWARD
It having come to the knowledge of Messrs Yarrow & Co that COPIES of DETAIL DRAWINGS of the MACHINERY in H. M. Torpedo-Boat Destroyer Havock are being offered for sale, the above reward will be paid to anyone giving
such INFORMATION as will lead to the discovery of the person so offering them for sale.
” Newspaper advertisement by Yarrow & Co after discovering that all of their competitors had copies of Yarrow plans submitted to the Admiralty. (Hard
, by Peter Smith, Naval Institute Press 1971, at page 29.)

The Admiralty are glad to recognize that Messrs Yarrow have been the contractors who had first constructed and completed with rapidity for the British Navy vessels of the high speed of the Havock and Hornet. On behalf of the
Admiralty, I am to express our satisfaction with the manner in which the contract has been carried out. We also acknowledge the value which we attach to the designs of Messrs Yarrow for the machinery of these vessels. Practical
proof has been given of this favourable opinion by our use of certain parts of these designs as a guide to contractors for some of the other torpedo-boat destroyers since ordered.
” Secretary of the Navy in an Address to the House of
Commons on August 15, 1894. (
Hard Lying, by Peter Smith, Naval Institute Press 1971, at page 30

In 1892 Alfred Yarrow went to the young 3rd Sea Lord (Controller), Rear Admiral John “
Jacky” Fisher to report on what the French were developing torpedo boats of up to 26-knots, while the German yards were achieving 27-knots. The threat was
real. France had 220 torpedo boats, while Russia had 152 boats and Germany 143. Yarrow said he had the answer to the torpedo boat, unlike the failed Catcher type. Fisher asked the DNC to develop a design for a ship of powerful armament and
capable of 27 knots. In May 1892 the DNC had a plan for such a ship. Armament and speed were mandated with monetary penalties for failure to reach them but details were to be left to the builders discretion. Six torpedo-boat builders submitted bids
but only the three most experienced builders, Yarrow, Thornycroft and Laird were selected for the initial construction of this new type. In June 1892 the Admiralty contracted with Yarrow for two boats of the new type. They were much smaller but
much faster than the Catchers, so what should be called? “
Fisher asked Yarrow what they should be called. ‘That’s your job,’ replied Yarrow. ‘Well,’ said Fisher, ‘we’ll call them Destroyers as they’re meant to destroy the French boats’, and their
original name of Torpedo-Boat Destroyer’- TBD - was in due course abbreviated to ‘Destroyer’ and has so remained.
” (Hard Lying, by Peter Smith, Naval Institute Press 1971 at page 21).
There were six prototype destroyers ordered, two each from three specialized firms. The Admiralty wanted boats able to achieve 27-knots but initially 26-knots was acceptable without a penalty and armament able to destroy foreign torpedo boats.
They didn’t even try to build to these specifications from Royal dockyards, as it was considered that they couldn’t even come close to meeting the requirements. Yarrow of London was first off the mark with the
Havock and Hornet, which became
the world’s first destroyers.
Havock was laid down in July 1892, launched August 12, 1893 and underwent trials on October 28, 1893 with commissioning in July 1894. With a displacement of 240-tons with length of 180-feet, beam of 18.5 feet and
draft of 11 feet.
Havock was one fourth the displacement of the later Catchers. Yarrow gave her a turtle-back forecastle and armament was one 12-pdr and two 6-pdr guns and three torpedo tubes. Her mean speed on trials was 26.7-knots with two
locomotive boilers. The
Hornet used eight water tube boilers and had four funnels because of the additional boilers and on March 19. 1894 averaged 27.6-knots over three hours to become the fastest ship in the world. Thorneycroft of Chiswick on the
Thames built the
Daring and Decoy, which were slightly larger than the Yarrow boats and were launched in August 1894. As with Hornet, this pair used water tube boilers. Daring hit a mean speed of 28.65-knots, while Decoy hit 27.64-knots without
forcing the engines. The two Laird Brothers boats were built at Birkenhead and at 195-feet in length and 280-tons displacement were the largest of the six prototypes.
Ferret was launched in December 1893 and Lynx followed in January 1894. Their
machinery spaces were arranged differently with engine rooms between two boiler rooms. Normand boilers were used to compare them with the Yarrow and Thorneycroft boilers. Ferret hit 28.25-knots and Lynx 27-knots. All of the prototypes were
fine tuned for the trials and ran light, without armament. They did not achieve 27-knots in active service. These six were called the
Havock Class or the 26 Knot Class. All six of the first destroyers could be termed prototypes. They all had one feature
in common that the following destroyers did not have, a fixed bow mounted torpedo tube. This mounting proved to be an abject failure. At high speeds these prototype destroyers were liable to overrun any torpedo launched from the bow tube. The
bow tube further cast a permanent spray over the bridge and would be very vulnerable to enemy fire. It further greatly restricted available space in the bow and these first destroyers had little space to begin with.

In addition six torpedo-boat destroyers of new type have been ordered with a guaranteed speed of 27 knots per hour. The orders have been placed with three private firms of high reputation, and it is anticipated that in speed, armament, and sea-
going capability these vessels will be superior to any yet built. It is proposed to complete and try the first examples of the new type next summer, and subsequently to order fourteen other vessels of the class from private firms during 1893-94.

Lord Spencer, Statement of the First Lord of the Admiralty explanatory of Navy Estimates 1893-94, February 21, 1893 ((
The Naval Annual 1893 by Lord Brassey, at page 368, J.Griffin & Co. Portsmouth 1893). So what did Lord Brassey think of
this new type of warship? In the same
1894 Naval Annual in which he bashed the lamentable history of the torpedo-boat catcher, he wrote: “During the early part of last year there was a considerable agitation in the newspapers with regard to the
deficiencies of the British Navy in torpedo-boats. France was making great strides in torpedo-boat construction. Speeds of 23, 24, and 25 knots were being obtained; even the latter has since been exceeded, and Mr. Normand hopes shortly to
obtain a speed of 30 knots. The Admiralty refused to yield to the outcry for laying down torpedo-boats for the British Navy. The torpedo-boat is the weapon of the weaker naval power; and it was determined to meet the torpedo-boat construction
in other countries by building vessels fast enough to catch, and powerful enough to destroy, foreign torpedo-boats, which yet should not be too large or too costly to admit of providing them in sufficient numbers for the task which they were
intended to perform. To this policy we owe the so-called torpedo-boat destroyer, twenty of which appeared in the naval programme of last year. This valuable class of 220 tons displacement, and with 2400 indicated horse-power, are estimated to
steam 27 knots.
The Naval Annual 1894, by Lord Brassey, J.Griffin & Co. Portsmouth 1894, at page 9.         
The Admiralty was so pleased with the prototype torpedo-boat destroyers that had been laid down that they didnt’t wait for them to reach trials before they ordered larger vessels. On July 27, 1893 the Admiralty sent letters to the established torpedo
vessels builders of Yarrow and Thorneycroft, inviting them to tender offers to build three each of a larger ship than the prototypes building, as six further destroyers were allowed under the 1893-1894 Estimates. Fortunately the Admiralty found a bag of
money at its feet. The Naval Defence Act of 1889 had been replaced by the Naval Defence Act of 1893. Although Prime Minister Gladstone didn’t want to spend money on the navy, a strong press campaign in favor of the act forced Gladstone  to cave
in, in March 1893. On July 1 members of the Admiralty had decided to involve more firms than Yarrow and Thorneycroft in building destroyers. The Admiralty wanted as many firms as possible to build the torpedo-boat destroyer, so they planned to use
the fruit of the two established firms to help the inexperienced firms get a good start. Thorneycroft built the
Ardent, Boxer and Bruiser, while Yarrow built the Charger, Dasher, and Hasty. The Admiralty sent the Yarrow and Thorneycroft designs to the
builders not used to building small, fast warships, so they would get a boost from the start of their efforts at designing destroyers. When the management at Yarrows discovered that their competitors had the Yarrow plans for these initial
27-Knotters, they
practically screamed in umbrage and made an intensive search for the malefactor who had stolen their plans and sold them to their competitors. The Admiralty made it known to Yarrows that they were the malefactor who had committed the heinous deed
but didn’t pay Yarrow anything. After the three
27-Knotters that Yarrow built, the firm did not build another destroyer for the Royal Navy for almost a decade. In the end 36 27-Knotters, built by 14 different firms were built. The offer for tenders letter
expressed generally the characteristics required. It called for a larger and longer warship than the prototypes with two torpedo tubes, a turtle-back bow, and a guaranteed speed of 27-knots, although there would be a light penalty if any came in at a
maximum less than 27-knots. For every quarter knot below 27-knot the penalty was 250 pounds and the penalty increased to 500 pounds for every quarter knot below 26-knots. The ship could be rejected if the top speed was below 25-knots at trials.
Speed was determined at trials and the practice of the builders at the trials was to run the warship light without all of its equipment fitted. They also used more than the operational number of stokers and hand picked coal of the highest quality. In service
none of the 27-Knotters could reach 27-knots in service. The Admiralty was so fired up with TBD construction that they postponed the construction of the 10,000-ton First Class Cruisers,
Powerful and Terrible to free funds to build even more TBDs.
With the construction of the cruisers shoved to January 1895, the Admiralty could order 25, instead of 14 TBDs for the current estimates, which would allow the Royal Navy to have 31 one of these new wonder ships by 1894-1895 (six prototypes of the
26-Knot Class and these twenty-five 27-Knotters). There was no standard design. Each contractor was free to design the ship as they wished as long as it met the Admiralty requirements. As a result, the ships of the 27-Knot Class were very different
from each other in appearance, machinery and other details. Some contractors built very good ships, while others built ships that were indifferent. By November 7, 1893 the tenders of five of the fourteen firms that were to build
27-Knotters were
accepted for, while other firms were actively helped by the Admiralty to improve their designs, by including copies of the Yarrow and Thorneycroft designs. This initial expansion contracted 17 more destroyers beyond the original three each from Yarrow
and Thorneycroft. All of these designs shared the characteristics of a turtle-back forecastle, flush deck, and no flare. Delivery dates ranged from nine to eighteen months. In a second expansion of the destroyer program, more
27-Knotters were ordered in
December 1893 and January 1894.

The Thorneycroft design was also sent to the other construction firms but Thorneycroft didn’t go into a conniptions fit like Yarrow. Before the Admiralty letter of July 27, 1893 Thorneycroft had already been active to drum up business beyond the two
prototypes that they were building. On February 27, 1893 Thorneycroft sent a letter to the Admiralty affirming conversations between one of the Thorneycroft partners with Admiral Sir Anthony Hopkins that Thorneycroft was ready, willing and able to
build more of these ships beyond the two prototypes that it was currently building, the
Daring and Decoy. After receiving the Admiralty’s letter of July 27, Thorneycroft sent a letter to the Admiralty on August 18 acknowledging the Admiralty letter and
asking that Thorneycroft receive preference in light of the costly pioneering efforts that went into the prototypes. On September 5, 1893 Thorneycroft send their tender offer of 36,840 pounds for one TBD or 110,550 pounds for three TBDs. Along with
the letter two sheets of drawings, as well as the full specifications were sent. After a little negotiation on October 12, 1893, the Admiralty accepted an offer for Thorneycroft to build three of the dew design for 105,795 pounds.
All of the 27-Knotters shared the characteristics of very cramped quarters with red hot cinders raining down on the deck from the funnels. Conditions were so primitive that the crew were paid an additional “Hard Lying” money. There was no head,
instead a canvas was secured around a frame over an “
earth closet” usually in the vicinity of the funnels, as the, “Controller does not approve a permanent structure.” The crew had to wash in buckets. Food had to be carried up a ladder from the
inferno of a galley to the messes forward and aft. The bridge was the round open platform shared by the 12-pdr gun with a chart table secured to the railing. The ships wheel was in a small conning tower underneath this platform. To weigh anchor a
hand turned capstan was used to lift the stocked anchor to a cathead, which would lowered to a wash board and secured by chains.
One of the firms that benefited from the expanded program was Doxford in Sunderland. Doxford invented the turtle-decked bulk carrier, so it was unusual for a firm specializing in slow bulk carriers should be offered to build a fast destroyer for the
Royal Navy. On June 2, 1893 the Admiralty sent Doxford an offer to tender a design for a
27-Knotter. When Doxford complied, their design was accepted for construction of two destroyers on November 3, 1893, the HMS Hardy and HMS Haughty,
sometimes called the
Hardy Class of the 27-Knotters. In order to encourage Doxford and other new builders, only a top speed of 26-knots was required. Apparently the Admiralty liked the Doxford product because they continued to contract with
Doxford for further destroyers. Five firms including Armstrong’s, who built other
27-Knotters were not offered further contracts for destroyers. HMS Hardy was Doxford Yard Number 226. She was laid down on June 4, 1894, launched on December
16, 1895 and completed in August 1896. In the contract
Hardy was it have been delivered in December 1894 but this was greatly over optimistic. The Admiralty was very patient with the delays encountered by Doxford, as they really wanted other firms
other than Yarrow, Thorneycroft and Laird to be able to build destroyers.
Hardy was 200-feet 3-inches overall OA 196-feet between perpendicular bulkheads (PP) in length, with a beam of 19-feet and draught of 7-feet 9-inches. Displacement was 260-
tons light and 325-tons full load. Endurance was 1,155 at 11-knots. Initially armament consisted of one 12-pdr, three 6-pdr and two single 18-inch torpedo tubes but two waist 6-pdrs were soon added.
Doxford used eight Yarrow water tube boilers developing 185 lb/sq in. and produced 4,200 horsepower.
Hardy’s paint scheme was overall black with a light gray turtleback forecastle. The ship’s boats included a 25-foot whaler and two 20-foot
collapsible Berthon boats. The Berthons were a poor design and liable to collapse at an critical moment. This happened to one of the
HMS Buiser’s Berthon at Samos in February 1899 with the loss of nine men. One penny pincher from the House of
Commons suggested that it would be far more economical to replace the Berthon’s with 18-foot boats made from reindeer hides. The Berthons may have been poor but the reindeer boats were worse. In a Maneuvers Report in 1895 it was stated,
Reindeer boats are not a success, the officers would be glad to exchange them for Berthons.
The service life of HMS Hardy was confined to home waters with a brief interlude in the Mediterranean in 1900, although according to .Hard Lying, by Peter Smith, the Hardy was at the China Station in 1906. The 27-Knotters wore out quickly. The first
to go was
HMS Skate ordered to be sold in November 1905. Clearly time had passed the HMS Hardy by. A December 1909 report stated that most of the 27-Knotters were good for only 20 to 23-knots. With only one 12-pdr gun, five 6-pdrs and two
torpedo tubes, like most of the
27-Knotters she was obsolete and no longer needed. Hardy was sold on July 11, 1911 to Garnham Shipbreaking. In 1912 the surviving members of the 27-Knotters were classified as the A Class. Only eleven of the class were
in service in August 1914 and served in World War One for inshore patrol work. (Bulk of History from:
British Destroyers by Edgar J. March, Seely Service & Co. 1966; British Destroyers, From Earliest Days to the Second World War by Norman
Freeman, Naval Institute Press 2009;
The British Destroyer, by Captain T.D. Manning, Putnam & Co, London 1961; The First Destroyers by David Lyon, Caxton Editions 1996; Hard Lying, by Peter Smith, Naval Institute Press 1971; The Naval
Annual 1893
, by Lord Brassey,  J.Griffin &0 Co. Portsmouth 1893; The Naval Annual 1894, by Lord Brassey, J.Griffin & Co. Portsmouth 1894)

Combrig 1:700 Scale HMS Hardy, Doxford Design 27 Knot Destroyer - This another small kit from Combrig of an early Doxford built destroyer. At $15 from Free Time Hobbies, it is certainly economical, plus it has the added benefit of being able to
be painted in the black and gray Home Fleet paint scheme. It does not come with photo-etch, so for railing, inclined ladders and anchor chain you’ll need 3rd party brass. The hull is cast on a very thin resin wafer. It is a simple matter to break of the wafer
and then gently sand the waterline to clean it up. Resin casting is sharp and clean with no resin errors. Since it is a small ship, there historically would not be that much detail on the sides. However, with the turtle back bow and the splinter shielding around
the small conning tower, there is certainly enough side detail for interest. The hull itself has a row of portholes at the bow and the stern. A small wale runs the length of the hull at the juncture of the hull side with the deck. The deck detail is plentiful. At the
top of the cutwater is a bracket that has the anchor hawse. The anchor chain ran above deck and out through the above deck hawse, instead of coming out through hull anchor hawse. The anchor sits on the rear of the turtleback. The two centerline
windlasses are the largest features on the turtleback with additional detail in the form of chain locker entrance fittings, circular deck access coamings and short ventilators. The only built-up area is around the conning tower with curving splinter shields
running from the conning tower to the deck edge. In the space behind the conning tower has a couple of lockers, presumably ammunition lockers and locater holes for the side 6pdr guns and cowl ventilators. There is even more detail in the midships
section. This includes low funnel bases for the three funnels and round tables for the two torpedo mounts, one midship and one at the stern. There is also more ammunition lockers and oval coal scuttle detail. Locater holes are present for 6pdr guns,
ventilator cowls, pylorus and searchlight. At the stern the detail includes the pedestal for the aft 6pdr, twin bollards, deck access coamings, and locater holes for navigation equipment for the aft navigation station and a ventilator cowl. Fitting and equipment
locations are significantly different from the
Combrig kit of HMS Ardent, a Thorneycroft 27-Knotter.

There are four resin runners for the smaller parts. One runner has the two gun platforms, one for the 12pdr on top of the conning tower and the other for the aft 6pdr. They both have what appears to be splinter shielding with openings for entrance ladders.
This shielding would represent canvas dodgers, called
Weather Clothes, covering railing since the platforms had railing around them not splinter shields. I believe that I would remove them from the platforms and add photo-etch railing. Another runner has
the three funnels with hollow top, two ships boats, two collapsible boats and three medium size ventilator cowlings. The boats have thwart detail. The armament is located on a runner. The five 6pdr guns are one piece with a conical pedestal and gun
shields. The 12pdr, which doesn’t have a gun shield that it actually had, appears to have too short of a barrel. I believe the end of the barrel was damaged, as the instructions show a longer barrel, however the
Combrig HMS Ardent had they same problem.
The two single tube torpedo mounts are nice with a nice shape and reinforcing bands. Also present on this fret are two propeller guards. The last runner has various types of fittings and equipment. A lot of it is navigation equipment, which is located at the
forward and aft control stations. Also included is the aft navigation screen with vision slits, midship searchlight tower, detailed searchlight, boat davits, anchors, hull entrance fitting, and eleven small sized ventilator cowls. There is just one page of
instructions, which has two drawings, a parts laydown and a template showing the length of plastic rods necessary for the masts, yard, boom and steam pipes.
If you are interested in recreating the history of the British destroyer, the Combrig 1:700 scale HMS Hardy, Doxford built 27-Knotter is for you. With three funnels and a very different midship to stern deck layout from the Combrig 1:700 scale HMS
, Thorneycroft built 27-Knotter with two funnels, the Hardy shows what happens when builders did not build to a standard Admiralty design.

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama