HMS Torrid (1917)

HMS Torrid was an R-class destroyer which served with the Royal Navy during World War I. Subsequently, Torrid was used in the 1930s as a trials ship for new anti-submarine warfare weapons, particularly playing a role in the development of ASDIC. The vessel was launched on 10 February 1917 and wrecked off the Falmouth coast en route to being broken up on 16 March 1937.

HMS Torrid
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Torrid
Builder: Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend
Yard number: 1025
Laid down: 19 July 1916
Launched: 10 February 1917
Commissioned: 5 May 1917
Decommissioned: 27 January 1937
Motto: For him dark days do not exist the brazen faced old optimist
Fate: Wrecked 16 March 1937
General characteristics
Class and type: R-class destroyer
Displacement: 975 long tons (991 t)
Length: 265 ft (80.8 m) p.p.
Beam: 26 ft 9 in (8.15 m)
Draught: 9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)
  • 3 Brown-Curtis boilers
  • 2 geared Parsons steam turbines, 27,000 shp (20,000 kW)
Speed: 36 knots (41.4 mph; 66.7 km/h)
Range: 3,440 nmi (6,370 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
Complement: 82


Torrid was one of ten R-class destroyers ordered by the British Admiralty in March 1916 as part of the Eighth War Construction Programme. The ship was laid down by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson at Wallsend on the River Tyne and launched in February 1917.[1]

Torrid was 265 feet (80.77 m) long between perpendiculars, with a beam of 26 feet 9 inches (8.15 m) and a draught of 9 feet 10 inches (3.00 m).[2] Displacement was 975 long tons (991 t) normal and 1,065 long tons (1,082 t) deep load. Power was provided by three Yarrow boilers feeding two Brown-Curtis geared steam turbines rated at 27,000 shaft horsepower (20,000 kW) and driving two shafts, to give a design speed of 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph).[3] Three funnels were fitted. 296 long tons (301 t) of oil were carried, giving a design range of 3,450 nautical miles (6,390 km; 3,970 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph).[1]

Armament consisted of three 4 in (100 mm) Mk IV QF guns on the ship's centreline, with one on the forecastle, one aft on a raised platform and one between the second and third funnels. A single 2-pounder (40 mm) pom-pom anti-aircraft gun was carried, while torpedo armament consisted of two twin mounts for 21 in (533 mm) torpedoes.[3] Fire control included a single Dumaresq and a Vickers range clock.[4] The ship had a complement of 82 officers and men.[3]


On commissioning, Torrid joined the 10th Destroyer Flotilla of the Harwich Force.[5] Torrid remained part of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla at the end of the war,[6] but was reduced to the Crew on 20 October 1919.[7]

During the 1930s, Torrid was used as a trial ship for new anti-submarine weapons.[8] The ship was equipped with ASDIC in 1930, and successfully demonstrated that the system worked. Torrid subsequently used ASDIC to successfully find the sunken aircraft-carrying submarine M2 on 3 February 1932. ASDIC went on to prove invaluable in the Battle of the Atlantic.[9] The vessel was also used to trial a forward-firing anti-submarine mortar with less success.[10] During this time, between 18 December 1930 and 10 July 1931, the destroyer was commanded by Charles Pizey, later the first Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy.[11][12]

Torrid was considered as part of the planned Royal Navy deployment in defence of traffic between Port Said and Alexandria on 19 October 1935 after the start of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War but was retired before the outbreak of hostilities between Italy and the British Empire.[13] The destroyer was handed over to Thos W Ward of Sheffield in 27 January 1937 in exchange for RMS Majestic. However, while being towed to the breakers on 16 March 1937, the ship ran aground onto rocks at Trefusis, Falmouth.[14] The wreck was broken up and scrapped in situ, but remains of interest to divers.[15]

The ship's plaque, bearing the motto, is held by the Imperial War Museum.[16]

Pennant numbers

Pennant Number Date


  1. Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the First World War. Barnsley: Seaforth Publishing. p. 310. ISBN 978-1-84832-049-9.
  2. Parkes, Oscar; Prendegast, Maurice (1918). Jane’s Fighting Ships. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. p. 107.
  3. Gardiner, Robert; Gray, Randal, eds. (1985). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. London: Conway Maritime Press. p. 81. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.
  4. "Fire Control in H.M. Ships". The Technical History and Index: Alteration in Armaments of H.M. Ships during the War. 3 (23): 31. 1919.
  5. "Supplement to the Navy List Showing Organisation of the Fleet, Flag Officers' Commands &c.: II — Harwich Force". The Navy List: 13. July 1917. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  6. "Supplement to the Navy List Showing Organisation of the Fleet, Flag Officers' Commands &c.: II.–Harwich Force". The Navy List: 13. December 1918. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  7. "Torrid". The Navy List: 873. August 1920. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  8. Hackmann, Willem (1984). Seek & Strike: Sonar, Anti-Submarine Warfare and the Royal Navy 1914-54. London: HMSO. p. 175. ISBN 0112904238.
  9. Friedman, Norman (2012). British Destroyers & Frigates: The Second World War & After. Barnsley: Seaforth Publishing. p. 60. ISBN 1526702827.
  10. Franklin, George (2014). Britain's Anti-submarine Capability 1919-1939. London: Routledge. p. 74. ISBN 1135774293.
  11. "Alphabetical List of Officers on the Active List, Honorary Officers, and Retired Officers Serving". The Navy List: 275. July 1931.
  12. "Alphabetical List of Officers on the Active List, Honorary Officers, and Retired Officers Serving". The Navy List: 217. January 1933.
  13. "ADM 116/3038 British position in the event of war". The National Archives. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  14. Colledge, J.J. (1987). Ships of the Royal Navy : The Complete Record of All Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. p. 331.
  15. Milburn, Mark (2012). Falmouth Bay Wrecks. Falmouth: Atlantic Scuba. p. 5.
  16. "Plaque, HMS Torrid". IWM. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  17. Dittmar, F.J.; Colledge, J.J. (1972). British Warships 1914–1919. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 70. ISBN 0-7110-0380-7.
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