HMAS Torrens (D67)

HMAS Torrens, named for the River Torrens, was a River-class torpedo-boat destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The destroyer was built at Cockatoo Island Dockyard and entered service with the RAN in 1916. The destroyer was first deployed to East Asia, then the Mediterranean, where she remained for the rest of World War I. After returning to Australia, the destroyer was decommissioned, but saw use in several ports for reservist training before the decision to sell her for scrap was made. After being stripped, the destroyer was towed outside Sydney Heads, used for gunnery practice, and scuttled.

HMAS Torrens
Namesake: The River Torrens
Builder: Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Company
Laid down: 25 January 1913
Launched: 28 August 1915
Commissioned: 3 July 1916
Decommissioned: 19 July 1920 (to reserve)
Reclassified: Training ship (1920–1925)
Honours and
Fate: Sunk as target 24 November 1930
General characteristics
Class and type: River-class torpedo-boat destroyer
Displacement: 750 tons
Beam: 24 ft 3.625 in (7.40728 m)
Propulsion: 3 × Yarrow boilers, Parsons turbines, 10,000 shp (7,500 kW), 3 shafts
Speed: 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph)
Range: 2,690 nautical miles (4,980 km; 3,100 mi) at 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph)
Complement: 5 officers, 67 sailors

Design and construction

Torrens was one of six River-class torpedo-boat destroyers built for the RAN.[1] The destroyer had a displacement of 750 tons, was 250 feet 9 inches (76.43 m) long overall and 245 feet (75 m) long between perpendiculars, and had a beam of 24 feet 3.625 inches (7.40728 m).[1] Propulsion machinery consisted of three Yarrow boilers feeding Parsons turbines, which supplied 10,000 shaft horsepower (7,500 kW) to the ship's three propeller shafts.[2] Its maximum speed was 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph), and maximum range was 2,690 nautical miles (4,980 km; 3,100 mi) at 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph).[3] The ship's company consisted of 5 officers and 68 sailors.[2]

The destroyer's main armament consisted of a BL 4-inch Mark VIII gun, and three QF 12-pounder 12 cwt guns.[1] This was supplemented by three single 18-inch torpedo tubes and three .303-inch machine guns.[1] Later in the ship's career, two depth charge throwers and four depth charge chutes were installed.[1]

Torrens was laid down by Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Company at Cockatoo Island, New South Wales on 25 January 1913.[1][4] She was launched on 28 August 1915 by the wife of Lord Munro Ferguson, the Governor-General of Australia.[2] The destroyer was commissioned into the RAN on 3 July 1916, twelve days before construction completed.[2] The ship's name comes from the River Torrens in South Australia.[1]

Operational history

Torrens and sister ship Swan were first assigned to the British Far East Patrol.[2] From September 1916 to May 1917, Torrens operated throughout Maritime Southeast Asia.[2] In June, the destroyer docked at Singapore for a refit.[2] after which Torrens and the other five River class vessels sailed for the Mediterranean.[2] After escorting a convoy from Port Said to Malta, and refits at the island, Torrens was assigned to Brindisi as part of the anti-submarine patrol force.[2] The heavy but monotonous workload forced the destroyer to visit Malta in December for another refit.[2]

On the night of 22–23 April 1919, Torrens was one of six Allied ships patrolling the Adriatic.[2] A force of five Austrian destroyers attacked, seriously damaging the British destroyers Hornet and Jackal before retreating faster than the Allied ships could pursue.[5] Apart from a brief refit at Messina in September–October, Torrens remained in the region until the end of World War I.[6] Her wartime service was later recognised with the battle honour "Adriatic 1917–18".[7][8] After returning to Australia in May 1919, Torrens was involved in routine duties.[6]

Decommissioning and fate

Torrens was paid off into reserve on 19 July 1920.[6] The destroyer was relocated to Flinders Naval Depot in July 1924, and although not recommissioned, was used for the training of naval reservists.[6] Torrens was later transferred to Port Adelaide, where she was again used for training until March 1925.[6] The ship returned to Sydney on 11 May, with occasional use for reservist training.[6]

During the general reduction in naval activity imposed by lack of finance during the Great Depression, it was decided to scrap Torrens and her five sister ships.[6] On 24 November 1930, after being stripped of useful materials, Torrens was towed outside Sydney Heads by the tug Heroic, and was used for gunnery target practice.[6] The destroyer withstood considerable shelling before being scuttled by a charge of gelignite.[6]. The wreck lies off Sydney in position 33°53′54″S 151°39′54″E.[9]


  1. Cassells, The Destroyers, p. 138
  2. Cassells, The Destroyers, p. 139
  3. Cassells, The Destroyers, pp. 138–9
  4. "HMAS Torrens (I)". Ship Histories. Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  5. Cassells, The Destroyers, pp. 139–40
  6. Cassells, The Destroyers, p. 140
  7. "Navy Marks 109th Birthday With Historic Changes To Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  8. "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours" (PDF). Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012.


  • Briggs, Mark (2019). "Australia's First Destroyers". In Jordan, John (ed.). Warship 2019. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. pp. 153–167. ISBN 978-1-4728-3595-6.
  • Cassells, Vic (2000). The Destroyers: Their Battles and Their Badges. East Roseville, NSW: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7318-0893-2. OCLC 46829686.

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