HMS Hazard (1894)

The sixth HMS Hazard was a Dryad-class torpedo gunboat. She was launched in 1894 and was converted into the world's first submarine depot ship in 1901. She collided with the submarine A3 on 2 February 1912, killing 14 men, and was herself sunk in collision with SS Western Australia on 28 January 1918.

HMS Hazard
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Hazard
Builder: Pembroke Dockyard, Deptford
Laid down: 1 December 1892[1]
Launched: 14 February 1894
Commissioned: 24 July 1895[1]
Fate: Sunk in collision on 28 January 1918
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Dryad-class torpedo gunboat
Tons burthen: 1070 tons
Length: 262 ft 6 in (80.0 m)
Beam: 30 ft 6 in (9.3 m)
Draught: 13 ft (4.0 m)
Installed power: 3,500 ihp (2,600 kW)
  • 2 × 3-cylinder vertical triple-expansion steam engines
  • Locomotive boilers
  • Twin screws
Speed: 18.2 kn (33.7 km/h)
Complement: 120


Ordered under the Naval Defence Act of 1889, which established the "Two-Power Standard", the class was contemporary with the first torpedo boat destroyers. With a length overall of 262 ft 6 in (80.01 m),[1] a beam of 30 ft 6 in (9.30 m)[1] and a displacement of 1,070 tons,[1] these torpedo gunboats were not small ships by the standard of the time; they were larger than the majority of World War I destroyers. Hazard was engined by Fairfield with two sets of vertical triple-expansion steam engines, two locomotive-type boilers, and twin screws. This layout produced 3,500 indicated horsepower (2,600 kW),[1] giving her a speed of 18.2 knots (33.7 km/h).[1] She carried between 100 and 160 tons of coal and was manned by 120 sailors and officers.[1]


The armament when built comprised two QF 4.7-inch (12 cm) guns, four 6-pounder guns and a single 5-barrelled Nordenfelt machine gun. Her primary weapon was five 18-inch (450-mm) torpedo tubes,[Note 1] with two reloads.[1] On conversion to a minesweeper in 1914 two of the five torpedoes were removed.[1]


On 26 June 1897 Hazard was present at the Fleet Review at Spithead in celebration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.[2]

International Squadron

Hazard deployed to Crete in 1897 and 1898 to operate as part of the International Squadron, a multinational force made up of ships of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, French Navy, Imperial German Navy, Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina), Imperial Russian Navy, and Royal Navy that intervened in the February 1897-December 1898 Greek Christian uprising against the Ottoman Empire′s rule on the island. The squadron′s senior admirals formed an international "Admirals Council" to govern Crete during the intervention, and in early September 1898 they ordered that the customs house at Candia (now Heraklion) be turned over to the British in order to initiate a system of export duties to fund administration of the island. On 6 September 1898, a well-armed Cretan Turkish mob attacked the small force of British soldiers and sailors at the customs house and at the British camp and hospital to the west at the other end of the town. The mob also massacred hundreds of Cretan Christian residents of the town. The only ship of the International Squadron on the scene, Hazard put reinforcements ashore and opened fire on the town with her 4.7-inch (119-mm) guns when Ottoman Army troops charged with keeping order did little to assist the British or Cretan Christian civilians or to restore order.[3][4][5][6] Hazard lost four seamen killed and several wounded; Lieutenant Lewes, the commanding officer of Hazard, was promoted to commander as a result of the action, and Surgeon William Job Maillard was awarded the Victoria Cross. A monument to the seamen killed was erected in the Upper Barracca at Malta.[7]

Submarine depot ship

In 1901[1] Hazard was converted into the world's first submarine depot ship,[8] the only ship of her class to be so converted. She was commissioned 20 August 1901 with a complement of 94 officers and men,[9] her first captain in the new role was Captain Reginald Bacon, who held the post of "Inspecting Captain of submarine boats". She was despatched to Barrow-in-Furness to take up her new task. In the summer of 1902 Hazard led a group consisting of HM Submarines No.2 and No.3, and Torpedo Boat No.42 to Portsmouth, where, together with submarines No.1, No.4 and No.5, they formed the First Submarine Flotilla.[8] She took part in the fleet review held at Spithead on 16 August 1902 for the coronation of King Edward VII.[10]

Collision with submarine A3

On 2 February 1912 Hazard, under the command of Lieutenant Charles J C Little, collided with the submerged submarine A3. The submarine was in the process of surfacing during exercises when she was struck;[8] the stricken submarine sank with the loss of all 14 personnel on board.[7]

World War I

In August 1914 Hazard was serving as the depot for the Fourth Submarine Flotilla.[2]


On 28 January 1918 Hazard was cut in two by the hospital ship[2] SS Western Australia in thick fog in the eastern Solent about half a mile east of the Warner buoy, and sank with the loss of four crew.[11][1] [2][7] The wreck sits upside down in two parts in 30 m of water; various parts are missing having been salvaged.[12] The wreck's location in a busy shipping channel, together with poor visibility, makes it an unpopular target for divers.[12]


  1. British "18 inch" torpedoes were 17.72 inches (45.0 cm) in diameter



  1. Winfield (2004), p.307.
  2. "HMS Hazard at the Index of 19th Century Naval Vessels". Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  3. McTiernan, p. 34.
  4. Clowes, pp. 447-448.
  5. The British in Crete, 1896 to 1913: British Justice
  6. The British in Crete, 1896 to 1913: Iraklion, 25th August Street…then and now
  7. "HMS Hazard at". Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  8. Compton-Hall, Richard (1983). First Submarines. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 978-1-904381-19-8. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  9. "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36534). London. 15 August 1901. p. 8.
  10. "Naval Review at Spithead". The Times (36847). London. 15 August 1902. p. 5.
  11. Maritime Archaeology Trust. Forgotten Wrecks of World War 1
  12. Pritchard, Martin; McDonald, Kendall (1987). Dive Wight and Hampshire. Underwater World Publications. p. 87. ISBN 0-946020-15-9.


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