HMS Decoy (1894)

HMS Decoy was a Daring-class torpedo boat destroyer which served with the Royal Navy in home waters. She was launched in 1895 and sunk in a collision with the destroyer HMS Arun in 1903.

HMS Decoy
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Decoy
Cost: c.£36,000
Yard number: 288
Laid down: July 1892
Launched: 7 February 1894
Completed: June 1895
Fate: Sunk in collision, 13 August 1904
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Daring-class torpedo boat destroyer
  • 260 long tons (264 t) light
  • 287.8 long tons (292 t) full load
Length: 185 ft (56 m) oa
Beam: 19 ft (5.8 m)
Draught: 7 ft (2.1 m)
Installed power: 4,200 hp (3,100 kW)
Speed: 27 kn (31 mph; 50 km/h)
Crew: 46-53


She was built by John I. Thornycroft & Company at Chiswick and was launched on 7 February 1894.[2]

Although fitted with multiple torpedo tubes, her bow tube proved useless in practice as — while running at high attack speeds — the ship was prone to overtake its own torpedo. The clumsy tube also reduced living quarters and made the bridge very prone to flooding.


Decoy took part in the 1896 British Naval Manoeuvres, attached to the Channel Fleet operation from Berehaven in southern Ireland.[3] She served as instructional tender to Cambridge, a gunnery school ship, until August 1901.[4] Lieutenant Cyril Asser was appointed in command in February 1902, when she was based at Plymouth as part of the Devonport instructional flotilla,[5] and was succeeded by Lieutenant Henry Ralph Heathcote on 1 July the same year.[6] Heathcote transferred to Contest the following month, and was succeeded in command by Lieutenant L. J. I. Hammond on 8 August 1902.[7] She took part in the fleet review held at Spithead on 16 August 1902 for the coronation of King Edward VII.[8] She acted temporary as tender to Cambridge again from late August, when her crew transferred to HMS Ostrich, which took her place in the flotilla.[9] The following month she was reported to be back in the instructional flotilla.[10]


Decoy was lost in a collision with the destroyer Arun off the Scilly Islands on 13 August 1904.[11] while taking part in night exercises.[12] One man was killed while the remaining 40 members of the crew were rescued by Arun and Sturgeon.[12]

Courts martial regarding the sinking were subsequently assembled aboard the battleship Conqueror. The first, on 22 August,[13] attributed blame on the commander of Arun, Reginald Tyrwhitt. The second, an appeal, was held on 30 August,[14] and dismissed the charge of neglect but confirmed the charge of hazarding both vessels.


  1. British "18-inch torpedoes" were 450mm (17.72 inches) in diameter.


  1. Lyon (1996), pp.40-41.
  2. The Times (London), Thursday, 8 February 1894, p.4
  3. Brassey (1897), pp. 141–143, 149.
  4. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36535). London. 16 August 1901. p. 6.
  5. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36696). London. 20 February 1902. p. 10.
  6. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36790). London. 10 June 1902. p. 12.
  7. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36839). London. 6 August 1902. p. 8.
  8. "Naval Review at Spithead". The Times (36847). London. 15 August 1902. p. 5.
  9. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36845). London. 13 August 1902. p. 8.
  10. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36883). London. 26 September 1902. p. 8.
  11. The Times (London), Wednesday, 15 August 1904, p.5
  12. Kemp (1999), p. 1.
  13. The Times (London), Thursday, 23 August 1904, p.9
  14. The Times (London), Friday, 31 August 1904, p.4


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