Military Wiki
HMS Strongbow (1916)
Name: HMS Strongbow
Builder: Yarrow Shipbuilders, Glasgow
Launched: 30 September 1916
Fate: Sunk 17 October 1917
General characteristics
Class & type: R-class destroyer
Displacement: 930 long tons (940 t)
Length: 273 ft 6 in (83.36 m)
Beam: 25 ft 7 12 in (7.81 m)
Draught: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Propulsion: 3 boilers
2 Parsons direct drive steam turbines, 27,000 shp (20,000 kW)
Speed: 36 knots (41.4 mph; 66.7 km/h)
Complement: 82

• 3 × QF 4-inch (102 mm) Mark IV guns
• 1 × single 2-pounder (40-mm) "pom-pom" Mk. II anti-aircraft gun

• 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (2×2)

HMS Strongbow was an R-class destroyer built for the British Royal Navy during the First World War. The ship was launched in September 1916 and entered service in November that year. Stongbow was sunk on 17 October 1917 by the German minelayers SMS Bremse and Brummer when escorting a convoy of merchant ships from Norway.

Construction and design[]

HMS Strongbow was ordered from Yarrow Shipbuilders in July 1915 as part of the Sixth War Programme of shipbuilding for the Royal Navy.[1] Strongbow was built as a Yarrow "special", to Yarrow's own design rather than to the Admiralty's own design for the R-class destroyer. Yarrow's design used direct-drive steam turbines rather than the geared turbines of the Admiralty design, and had two funnels rather than three. As such, they more closely resembled Yarrow M-class Specials,[2][3] and are referred to as Yarrow M-class ships in some sources.[4][5][6]

Strongbow's hull was 273 feet 6 inches (83.36 m) long overall, with a beam of 25 feet 7 12 inches (7.81 m) and a draught of 9 feet (2.74 m). Displacement was 930 long tons (940 t).[3] Three Yarrow boilers fed Parsons turbines, driving two propeller shafts and generating 27,000 shaft horsepower (20,000 kW). This gave a speed of 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph). Armament consisted of three QF Mark IV 4 inch (102 mm) guns, with a single 2-pounder (40-mm) "pom-pom" anti-aircraft gun and four 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes. The ship had a crew of 82 officers and men.[3]

Strongbow was launched from Yarrow's Glasgow shipyard on 30 September 1916 and was completed in November that year.[1]


Following commissioning, Strongbow joined the Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla of the Grand Fleet,[7] with the pennant number G.44.[8] Strongbow was one of eight destroyers detached to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, with the duty of escorting the regular convoys from Scandinavia to the United Kingdom.[9]

On 16 October 1917, Strongbow joined a westbound convoy of 12 merchant ships from Norway. The escort consisted of Strongbow, the destroyer Mary Rose and two naval trawlers. In the morning of 17 October, the convoy was attacked by two German light cruisers, the Bremse and Brummer, about 70 miles east of Lerwick. Strongbow sighted two unknown ships at 06:00, in poor visibility, and believing them to be Royal Navy cruisers, challenged them with recognition signals. Strongbow, receiving inadequate responses, had not yet cleared for action when the two German cruisers opened fire at a range of about 3,000 yards (2,700 m). Strongbow quickly received heavy damage and was immobilised, and after ensuring that all confidential papers had been destroyed, the captain ordered the surviving crew to abandon ship. Mary Rose, which had been ahead of the convoy, and only realised that the convoy was under attack when her crew heard gunfire, was also quickly sunk, as were nine of the merchant vessels. Neither destroyer managed to make a radio report of the attack, and the two German cruisers escaped unscathed.[9][10] Forty-six of Strongbow' crew were killed in the attack.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Friedman 2009, p. 310.
  2. Friedman 2009, p. 157.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Gardiner and Gray 1985, p. 81.
  4. Dittmar and Colledge 1972, pp. 67–68.
  5. Manning 1961, pp. 69–70.
  6. Moore 1990, p. 70.
  7. "Supplement to the Monthly Naval List Showing Organisation of the Fleet, Flag Officer's Commands &c.: Destroyer Flotillas of the Grand Fleet". December 1916. p. p. 12. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  8. Dittmar and Colledge 1972, p. 68.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Newbolt, Henry (2013). "History of the Great War: Naval Operations: Volume V, April 1917 to November 1918 (Part 1 of 4)". Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  10. Massie 2007, p. 747.
  11. Kindell, Don. "1st - 31st October 1917 in date, ship/unit & name order". World War 1 - Casualty Lists of the Royal Navy and Dominion Navies. 
  • Dittmar, F.J.; Colledge, J.J. (1972). British Warships 1914–1919. Shepperton, UK: Ian Allen. ISBN 0-7110-0380-7. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-049-9. 
  • Gardiner, Robert; Gray, Randal (1985). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5. 
  • Manning, T. D. (1961). The British Destroyer. London: Putnam & Co. Ltd. 
  • Massie, Robert K. (2007). Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany and the Winning of the War at Sea. London: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0-099-52378-9. 
  • Moore, John (1990). Jane's Fighting Ships of World War I. London: Studio Editions. ISBN 1-85170-378-0. 

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