HMS Chamois (1896)

HMS Chamois was a Palmer three-funnel, 30-knot destroyer ordered by the Royal Navy under the 1895–1896 Naval Estimates. She was the first ship of the Royal Navy to carry this name.[3][4] She was commissioned in 1897 and served in both the Channel and the Mediterranean. She foundered in 1904 after her own propeller pierced her hull.

HMS Chamois
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Chamois
Ordered: 9 January 1896
Builder: Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company
Cost: £52,410[1]
Yard number: 713
Laid down: 28 May 1896
Launched: 9 November 1896
Commissioned: November 1897
Fate: Foundered in the Gulf of Patras, 26 September 1904
General characteristics [2][3]
Class and type: Palmer three-funnel, 30-knot destroyer
  • 390 t (384 long tons) standard
  • 420 t (413 long tons) full load
Length: 219 ft 9 in (66.98 m) o/a
Beam: 20 ft 9 in (6.32 m)
Draught: 8 ft 11 in (2.72 m)
Installed power: 6,000 shp (4,500 kW)
Speed: 30 kn (56 km/h)
  • 80 tons coal
  • 1,490 nmi (2,760 km) at 11 kn (20 km/h; 13 mph)
Complement: 60 officers and men


She was laid down on 28 May 1896 as yard number 713 at the Palmer shipyard at Jarrow-on-Tyne and launched on 9 November 1896. During her builder's trials she met her contracted speed requirement. Chamois was completed and accepted by the Royal Navy in November 1897.[3][4]


Chamois was commissioned by Lieutenant William Bowden-Smith on 15 March 1900.[5] After commissioning she was assigned to the Channel Fleet. She was re-commissioned at Portsmouth on 5 September 1901 by Lieutenant Walter Egerton Woodward, with the crew of Albatross, to replace that vessel on the Mediterranean Station.[6] Woodward was replaced by Lieutenant Percy William Pontifex later the same year. She was later deployed as a tender to the destroyer depot ship HMS Leander at Malta.[7] In September 1902 she visited Nauplia and Souda Bay with other ships of the fleet.[8]


On 26 September 1904, while under the command of Lieutenant and Commander Sydney Harold Tennyson, she was the victim of a bizarre accident. While conducting a full power trial[9] in the Gulf of Patras off the Greek coast she lost a propeller blade. The loss of the blade unbalanced the shaft, which was spinning at high speed. The resulting vibration broke the shaft bracket and tore a large hole in the hull. She sank by the stern[10][11] in 30 fathoms (55 m) of water[9] about 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) from the coast north of the modern village of Araxos.[12] All hands were saved,[7] but one engineer was wounded and another scalded.[13]


  1. David Lyon (1996). The First Destroyers. Chatham Publishing. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-86176-005-0. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  2. Jane, Fred T. (1969) [1905]. Jane’s Fighting Ships 1905. New York: first published by Sampson Low Marston, London 1905, reprinted ARCO Publishing Company. p. 77.
  3. Jane, Fred T. (1990) [1919, reprinted]. Jane’s Fighting Ships of World War I. Jane’s Publishing © 1919. p. 76. ISBN 1 85170 378 0.
  4. Jane, Fred T. (1969) [1898]. Jane's All the World's Fighting Ships 1898. New York: first published by Sampson Low Marston, London 1898, reprinted ARCO Publishing Company. pp. 84 to 85.
  5. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36087). London. 12 March 1900. p. 7.
  6. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36553). London. 6 September 1901. p. 8.
  7. "Torpedo Destroyer Lost. H.M S. Chamois Founders During a Speed Trial. The Crew Saved". The Bendingo Advertiser (Victoria (Australia)). 29 September 1904. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  8. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36883). London. 26 September 1902. p. 8.
  9. "A Naval Disaster - The Chamois Sinks". The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia). 29 September 1904. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  10. ""Arrowsmith" List – Part 1 Destroyer Prototypes through "River" Class". Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  11. "HMS Chamois at the Naval Database website".
  12. "HMS Chamois [+1904]". Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  13. "The Loss of the Chamois" (PDF). The Engineer: 326. 30 September 1904. ISSN 0013-7758. Retrieved 21 June 2013.

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