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HMS Porpoise (1913)
HMS Porpoise
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: Acasta-class destroyer
Name: HMS Porpoise
Builder: John I. Thornycroft & Company, Woolston
Laid down: 14 March 1912
Launched: 21 July 1913
Completed: January 1914
Fate: Sold to Brazil March 1920
Career (Brazil) Flag of Brazil
Name: Alexandrino Dealenca
Acquired: March 1920
Commissioned: 9 December 1922
Renamed: Maranhão, 1927
Fate: Discarded 13 September 1946
General characteristics
Displacement: 934 long tons (949 t)
Length: 265 ft 3 in (80.85 m) oa
Beam: 26 ft 6 in (8.08 m)
Draught: 9 ft 3 in (2.82 m)
Installed power: 22,500 shp (16,778 kW)
Propulsion: Yarrow-type water-tube boilers, 2 shaft Parson steam turbines
Speed: 31 kn (57 km/h; 36 mph)
Complement: 73

3 x QF 4-inch (102 mm) Mark IV guns 1 x QF 2 pdr pom-pom Mk. II

2 x single tubes for 21 in torpedoes
Honours & awards: Jutland[1]

HMS Porpoise was an Acasta-class destroyer of the Royal Navy, which was built by Thornycroft between 1912 and 1914. Porpoise served through the First World War, taking part at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, where she was damaged. In 1920, she was sold to the Brazilian Navy serving under the name Alexandrino Dealenca and was renamed Maranhão in 1927. Maranhão remained in service when Brazil entered the Second World War, being used for patrol and convoy duties. She was disposed of in 1945.

Construction and design[]

The British Admiralty placed orders for 20 Acasta-class destroyers as part of the 1911–1912 shipbuilding programme for the Royal Navy, with 12 ships to the standard Admiralty design, and 8 more as builder's specials, built to the detailed designs of shipyards specialising in destroyer construction. Porpoise was one of five builder's specials ordered from Thornycroft of Southampton.[2][lower-alpha 1]

Porpoise was 265 feet 3 inches (80.85 m) long overall[5] and 257 feet (78.33 m) between perpendiculars,[6] with a beam of 29 feet 6 inches (8.99 m) and a draught of 9 feet 3 inches (2.82 m).[5] Displacement was 928 long tons (943 t).[6][7] Four Yarrow boilers fed steam to Parsons steam turbines rated at 22,500 shaft horsepower (16,800 kW), giving a design speed of 31 knots (57 km/h; 36 mph).[5] The ship had a crew of 73 officers and men.[8]

The ship's main gun armament consisted of three 4-inch (102 mm) QF Mark IV guns, with 120 rounds of ammunition carried per gun. Two 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes were fitted, while two reload torpedoes could be carried. The ship was fitted with a 2-pounder "pom-pom" anti-aircraft autocannon during the First World War, while in 1918 the torpedo tubes (and possibly one of the 4-inch guns) was removed to allow a heavy depth charge armament to be carried.[9][10]

Porpoise was laid down at Thornycoft's Woolston shipyard on 14 March 1913 and launched on 21 July 1913.[11] In 1912, as part of a general reorganisation of the Royal Navy's destroyers into alphabetical classes, the Acastas became the K-class,[12] and in 1913, it was decided to switch to names beginning with the class letter, with Porpoise being allocated the name Kennington, but this plan was abandoned for the class and Porpoise completed under her original name in January 1914.[8][11]


Royal Navy[]

On commissioning, Porpoise joined her sister ships in the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, based at Portsmouth.[13][14] On the outbreak of the First World War, the 4th Flotilla, including Porpoise, became part of the Grand Fleet.[15][16] On 23 December 1915, Porpoise and the destroyer Morning Star were escorting a Russian icebreaker when forced to hove to near Fair Isle in a heavy gale. On 24 December, the 1st Cruiser Squadron, on patrol in the North Sea were ordered to search for the two destroyers, and the cruisers Hampshire and Donegal left Scapa Flow to join in the search. Porpoise reached the shelter of the Cromarty Firth on 25 December, with Morning Star following on 26 December, both destroyers having suffered extensive weather damage and flooding.[17]

Porpoise, under the command of Commander Hugh D Colville, was one of 19 ships of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla that sailed in support of the Grand Fleet during the Battle of Jutland on 31 May/1 June 1916.[18][19] During the night of 31 May/1June, the 4th Flotilla had a number of engagements with the German battlefleet. At about 22:30 hr, the flotilla encountered German cruisers and battleships. The Flotilla leader Tipperary was badly damaged by German shells (mainly from the battleship Westfalen) and later sank, while the leading ships in the British formation fired a total of nine torpedoes, none of which hit.[lower-alpha 2] In manoeuvring to avoid the torpedoes, the German cruiser Elbing was rammed by the battleship Posen, with Elbing later being scuttled, while the British destroyer Spitfire collided with the German battleship Nassau.[22] Shortly afterwards (about 23:50), the Flotilla, now led by Broke, again encountered the same group of battleships and cruisers. Broke was badly damaged by fire from the cruiser Rostock and Westfalen, and collided with the destroyer Sparrowhawk, which was also rammed by Contest and was later scuttled. Rostock was hit by a single torpedo, fired by Ambuscade or Contest, and was also later scuttled.[23] The remains of the flotilla, by now led by Fortune, with Porpoise second in line encountered the German line again at about 00:10 hr. Fortune was heavily hit and sunk by German shells, while Porpoise, partly shielded by Fortune was hit twice. One shell, striking near her bridge, damaged the ship's steering, while a second shell, striking at the base of the aft funnel, burst the air chamber of Porpoise's spare torpedo, which in turn severed her main steam main. Two men were killed and two wounded. After restoring steering, Porpoise limped away with two of her four boilers disabled by loss of feedwater, finally reaching the River Tyne in the company of Contest and Garland on 2 June.[24][25]

In order to counter German minelayers and to protect British minesweepers in the North Sea, the 4th Flotilla transferred to the Humber in July 1916.[26][27][28][29] In September 1916, Porpoise was one of four destroyers of the 4th Flotilla that were ordered to the English Channel as a result of a spurt of U-boat activity. On 12 September, Porpoise, along with Spitfire and Unity, spotted a U-boat, and attacked with depth charges with no result. The four destroyers returned to the Humber on 27 September.[30] Following the Battle of Dover Strait, where a raid by German torpedo boats on the Dover Strait resulted in the loss of the destroyer HMS Flirt, several drifters, it was decided to strengthen British naval forces in the English Channel. Porpoise was one of five destroyers of the 4th Flotilla transferred to the 6th Destroyer Flotilla, part of the Dover Patrol, joining on 21 November 1916, while the remainder of the 4th Flotilla moved to Portsmouth for anti-submarine operations.[31][32] On the night of 25/26 February 1917, German torpedo boats attempted another raid against the Dover Barrage and Allied shipping in the Dover Straits, with one flotilla attacking the Barrage and a half flotilla of torpedo boats operating off the Kent coast. Porpoise was one of a group of destroyers and cruisers protecting shipping anchored in the Downs. The German force sent against the Downs was spotted near the North entrance to the Downs, prior to shelling Margate and Westgate-on-Sea. While the Porpoise's division sortied against this force, they did not manage to find the German force. The southern German force withdrew following an exchange of gunfire with the destroyer Laverock.[33]

On 8 March 1917, Porpoise left the 6th Flotilla,[32] rejoining the 4th Flotilla, now based at Devonport and employed on convoy escort duties.[32][34][35] Porpoise remained part of the 4th Flotilla at the end of the war on 11 November 1918.[36][37]


In March 1920, Porpoise was sold to Thornycroft for refurbishing and onwards sale to Brazil as the Alexandrino Dealanca,[lower-alpha 3] commissioning in the Brazilian Navy on 9 December 1922.[38][39] The ship was fitted with modified armament for Brazilian service, with three 4-inch guns and two 47 mm guns, and four 450 mm torpedo tubes in two twin mounts, all supplied by the British company Armstrong Whitworth.[40][lower-alpha 4] She was renamed Maranhão in 1927.[38]

In 1930, Maranhão took part in attempts to stop the Revolution of 1930 that brought Getúlio Vargas to power.[40] In 1931 she was used as a training ship for stokers.[41] In 1935, the ship took part in the suppression of a Communist Rebellion.[40]

Brazil became involved in the Second World War in 1942, and while Maranhão was obsolete, she was used for convoy escort and patrol duties.[42] During the war, she was fitted with sonar and depth charge rails, and her armament was supplemented by three Oerlikon 20 mm cannon.[40] On 12 July 1943, the German submarine U-172 sunk the merchant ship African Star with torpedoes in the South Atlantic, killing one of the African Star's crew. Maranhão rescued the 86 survivors the next day, returning them to Rio de Janeiro.[39][43]

Maranhão was decommissioned on 13 September 1946.[39][40]


  1. Three of these ships (Paragon, Unity and Victor) were to the same design as Porpoise , while Hardy, intended as a testbed for diesel propulsion, was to a further modified design.[3][4]
  2. Porpoise, eleventh in line, did not fire any torpedoes.[20][21]
  3. Possibly Alexandrino de Alancar
  4. The 1931 Jane's Fighting Ships claims that Maranhão was fitted with four 21 inch torpedo tubes, and that her secondary armament consisted of a single 2-pounder gun.[41]


  1. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Battle Honours and Single-Ship Actions of the Royal Navy 1914–18". Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  2. Friedman 2009, pp. 123–127
  3. Friedman 2009, p. 127
  4. Manning 1961, p. 64
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Moore 1990, p. 73
  6. 6.0 6.1 Leyland 1915, p. 171
  7. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (May 1914). "383 Porpoise. (Po.) Torpedo Boat Destroyer". p. p. 357. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Gardiner & Gray 1985, p. 75
  9. Friedman 2009, pp. 124–126
  10. Friedman 2009, p. 295
  11. 11.0 11.1 Friedman 2009, p. 307
  12. Gardiner & Gray 1985, p. 18
  13. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (May 1914). "Fleets and Squadrons in Commission at Home and Abroad: Flotillas of the First Fleet". p. p. 269a. 
  14. Manning 1961, pp. 25, 62
  15. Manning 1961, p. 25
  16. Jellicoe 1919, pp. 7–9
  17. Jellicoe 1919, p. 261
  18. Campbell 1998, pp. 14, 23
  19. Jellicoe 1919, p. 467
  20. Campbell 1998, p. 287
  21. Official Despatches 1920, p. 308
  22. Campbell 1998, pp. 286–287, 292, 295
  23. Campbell 1998, pp. 287–288, 316–317
  24. Campbell 1998, pp. 288–289, 340, 398
  25. Official Despatches 1920, pp. 312, 556–557
  26. Newbolt 1928, pp. 24–25
  27. Manning 1961, p. 26
  28. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (July 1916). "Supplement to the Navy List Showing Organisation of the Fleet, Flag Officers' Commands &c.: I. — The Grand Fleet: Destroyer Flotillas of the Grand Fleet". p. p. 12. 
  29. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (August 1916). "Supplement to the Navy List Showing Organisation of the Fleet, Flag Officers' Commands &c.: III.—Humber Force". p. p. 13. 
  30. Newbolt 1928, pp. 336–337
  31. Newbolt 1928, pp. 52–63, 66–67
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Bacon 1919, p. 628
  33. Newbolt 1928, pp. 352–358
  34. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (April 1917). "Supplement to the Navy List Showing Organisation of the Fleet, Flag Officers' Commands &c.: IV.—Miscellaneous Ships in Home Waters or on Detached Service". p. p. 14. 
  35. Newbolt, Henry (2013). "History of the Great War: Naval Operations: Vol. V, April 1917 to November 1918 (Part 1 of 4)". Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  36. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Ships of the Royal Navy - Location/Action Date, 1914–1918: Part 2 - Admiralty "Pink Lists", 11 November 1918". Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  37. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (December 1918). "Supplement to the Navy List Showing Organisation of the Fleet, Flag Officers' Commands &c.: VII.–Local Defence and Escort Flotillas". p. p. 17. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  38. 38.0 38.1 Gardiner & Gray 1985, p. 76
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Helgason, Guðmundur. "BZ Maranhao (CT 12)". Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 40.4 Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "CT Maranhão - CT 12". Navios de Guerra Brasileros. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  41. 41.0 41.1 Parkes 1973, p. 115
  42. Whitley 2000, p. 21
  43. Helgason, Guðmundur. "African Star". Ships hit by U-boats. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 

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