Marksman-class flotilla leader

The Marksman class (sometimes known as Lightfoot class[2]) were a class of flotilla leaders built for the Royal Navy. Two each were ordered in the naval programmes of 1913–14 and 1914–15 with a further three being ordered under the Emergency War Programme and all saw service during World War I.

Class overview
Name: Marksman-class
Operators:  Royal Navy
Preceded by: Faulknor class
Succeeded by: Parker class
Built: 1914–1916
In commission: 1915–1936
Completed: 7
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer leader
Displacement: 1,600 long tons (1,626 t)
Length: 324 ft (98.8 m)
Beam: 31 ft 9 in (9.68 m)
Draught: 12 ft (3.7 m)
Speed: 34 knots (39.1 mph; 63.0 km/h)-34.25 knots (39.4 mph; 63.4 km/h)[1]
Range: 510 tons oil, ?
Complement: 106–116

Like other British flotilla leader designs, these ships were significantly larger than the typical destroyers of the day, in order to accommodate the flotilla staff ("Captain (D)" in Royal Navy parlance) and the necessary additional signalling gear. All ships had four funnels, the foremost being taller (although it was later cut down post-war in Nimrod and Abdiel). They were armed with four QF 4 inch guns. The guns were carried one each on the forecastle, between the first three funnels and on a bandstand on the quarterdeck. Abdiel and Gabriel were later fitted as fast minelayers, for which purposes they landed the after 4 inch gun and their torpedo tubes and were screened by canvas panels from the fourth funnel to the stern to give shelter to 60 to 70 mines. Nimrod and Kempenfelt later received QF 12 pdr (3 inch / 76 mm) 18 cwt anti aircraft guns in place of one of the QF 2 pdr.

Following the war-time trend to install director firing in ever-smaller vessels as resources permitted, Lightfoot was selected to serve as a test-bed for the Royal Navy's new training-only director firing system for flotilla leaders and destroyers in March 1917. By August, results obtained were favourable enough that it was decided to equip fully 203 other leaders and destroyers of "L" class and later.[3]


Two were ordered under the 1913–14 Programme.

Two ordered under the 1914–15 Programme.

Three ordered in November 1914 under the War Emergency Programme.

  • Abdiel — built by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, laid down 6 May 1915, launched 12 October 1915, completed 26 March 1916, sold for breaking up July 1936.[4]
  • Gabriel — built by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, laid down 12 January 1915, launched 23 December 1915, completed 1 July 1916, sold for breaking up 9 May 1921.[4][5]
  • Ithuriel — built by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, laid down 14 January 1915, launched 12 March 1916, completed 2 August 1916, sold for breaking up 8 November 1921.[4][5]


  1. Gardiner, Robert (ed.). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. Greenwich: Conway Maritime Press. p. 77.
  2. Lightfoot Class Flotilla Leaders
  3. The Technical History and Index: Fire Control in HM Ships, 1919, p. 12.
  4. Friedman 2009, p. 307.
  5. Dittmar and Colledge 1972, p. 65.
  • Destroyers of the Royal Navy, 1893–1981, Maurice Cocker, 1983, Ian Allan ISBN 0-7110-1075-7
  • Jane's Fighting Ships, 1919, Jane's Publishing
  • The Technical History and Index: Fire Control in HM Ships. No. 3, Part 23. Technical History Branch, Admiralty, 1919, CB 1515 (23).
  • Dittmar, F.J.; Colledge, J.J. (1972). British Warships 1914–1919. Shepperton, UK: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0380-7.
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the First World War. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-049-9.
  • Gardiner, Robert; Gray, Randal, eds. (1985). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.
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