Q and R-class destroyer

The Q and R class was a class of sixteen War Emergency Programme destroyers ordered for the British Royal Navy in 1940 as the 3rd and 4th Emergency Flotilla. They served as convoy escorts during World War II. Three Q-class ships were transferred to the Royal Australian Navy upon completion, with two further ships being handed over in 1945. Roebuck had the dubious honour of being launched prematurely by an air raid at Scotts shipyard in Greenock, her partially complete hulk lying submerged in the dockyard for nine months before it was salvaged and completed.[1]

HMAS Quiberon, 1945
Class overview
Preceded by: O and P class
Succeeded by: S and T class
Subclasses: Q, R
Completed: 16
Lost: 2 (+1 expended)
Retired: 13
General characteristics Q class[1]
Type: Destroyer
  • 1,692 long tons (1,719 t)
  • 2,411 long tons (2,450 t) full load
Length: 358.25 ft (109.2 m) o/a
Beam: 35.75 ft (10.9 m)
Draught: 9.5 ft (2.9 m)
Propulsion: 2 × Admiralty three-drum boilers, Parsons geared steam turbines, 40,000 shp (30,000 kW) on 2 shafts
Speed: 36 kn (67 km/h)
Range: 4,675 nmi (8,658 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h)
Complement: 176 (225 as flotilla leader)
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Radar Type 290 air warning
  • Radar Type 285 ranging & bearing
General characteristics (R class)
  • 1,705 long tons (1,732 t)
  • 2,425 long tons (2,464 t) full load
Complement: 176 (237 in leader)
Armament: 4 × throwers & 2 × racks, 70 depth charges
Notes: Other characteristics as per Q class
For the R class of destroyers built between 1916 and 1917, see R-class destroyer (1916)


The Q and R class were repeats of the preceding O and P class, but reverted to the larger J-, K- and N-class hull to allow for the inevitable growth in topweight. As they had fewer main guns than the J, K and Ns, some magazine space was replaced by fuel bunkers,[1] allowing for some 4,675 nautical miles (8,658 km) to be made at 20 knots (37 km/h), over the 3,700 nmi (6,900 km) of their ancestors. Like the O and Ps, they were armed with what weapons were available; 4.7-inch (119 mm) guns on single mountings that allowed for only 40° elevation - therefore do not compare favourably on paper with many contemporaries. These ships used the Fuze Keeping Clock HA Fire Control Computer.[2]

In the Q class, 'Y' gun could be removed, allowing for the carriage of additional depth charges and projectors, or the carriage of minesweeps.

The R class were repeats of the Qs, except that the officers' accommodation was moved from its traditional location right aft to the more accessible location amidships.[1] This facilitated the change in watchkeepers in inclement weather; the main deck of a destroyer would often be entirely awash in heavy seas, and catwalks were not fitted to connect fore and aft until the V class ordered in 1941.

In surviving ships, the single 20 mm Oerlikon guns in the bridge wings were later replaced by hydraulically operated Mark V twin mountings. Rotherham, Raider and Rocket later had the Oerlikons and searchlight amidships replaced by four single QF 40 mm Bofors. The searchlight was later reinstated at the cost of depth charge stowage. Raider only had an additional pair of twin Mark V Oerlikon mounts added on the after shelter deck. Radar Type 290 was replaced by Type 291, and later by Type 293 in some ships. The centimetric wavelength Type 272 set was added on a platform between the torpedo tubes in Rotherham, Racehorse, Rapid, Raider and Roebuck, or at the foremast truck in other ships. Racehorse, Raider, Rapid, Redoubt and Relentless had Huff-Duff (High-frequency Direction-finder) added on a lattice mainmast.


Q class

Name Pennant
Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Fate
Queenborough G70 Swan Hunter 6 November 1940 16 January 1942 15 September 1942 To Royal Australian Navy as HMAS Queenborough 1945, later converted to Type 15 frigate, sold for scrapping 1975
Quadrant G11/G67 Hawthorn Leslie 24 September 1940 28 February 1942 26 November 1942 To Australia as HMAS Quadrant 1945, later converted to Type 15 frigate, sold for scrapping 1962
Quail G45 30 September 1940 1 June 1942 7 January 1943 Mined off Bari 15 November 1943, foundered under tow en route for Taranto 18 June 1944
Quality G62 Swan Hunter 10 October 1940 6 October 1941 7 September 1942 To Australia as HMAS Quality 1942, sold for scrapping 1958
Quentin G78 J. Samuel White 25 September 1940 5 November 1941 15 April 1942 Torpedoed and sunk by Italian aircraft off Galita Island 2 December 1942
Quiberon G81 14 October 1940 31 January 1942 6 July 1942 Later converted to Type 15 frigate, sold for scrapping 1972
Quickmatch G92 6 February 1941 11 April 1942 14 September 1942 Later converted to Type 15 frigate, sold for scrapping 1972
Quilliam * G09 Hawthorn Leslie 19 August 1940 29 November 1941 22 October 1942 To Royal Netherlands Navy as HNLMS Banckert 1945, sold for scrapping 1957

* = flotilla leader

R class

Name Pennant
Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Fate
Rotherham * H09 John Brown 10 April 1941 21 March 1942 August 1942 To Indian Navy as Rajput 1949; scrapped 1976
Racehorse H11 25 June 1941 1 June 1942 30 October 1942 Sold for scrapping 1949
Raider H15 Cammel Laird 16 April 1941 1 April 1942 16 November 1942 To India as Rana 1949
Rapid H32 16 June 1941 16 July 1942 20 February 1943 Converted to Type 15 frigate 1953, expended as target 3 September 1981
Redoubt H41 John Brown 19 June 1941 2 May 1942 1 October 1942 To India as Ranjit 1949
Relentless H85 20 June 1941 15 July 1942 30 November 1942 Converted to Type 15 frigate 1951, sold for scrapping 1971
Rocket H92 Scotts 14 March 1941 28 October 1942 4 August 1943 Converted to Type 15 frigate 1951, sold for scrapping 1967
Roebuck H95 19 June 1941 10 December 1942 10 June 1943 Converted to Type 15 frigate 1953, sold for scrapping 1968

* = flotilla leader


  1. British and Empire Warships of the Second World War, H. T. Lenton, Greenhill Books, ISBN 1-85367-277-7
  2. Destroyer Weapons of WW2, Hodges/Friedman, ISBN 0-85177-137-8


  • Destroyers of the Royal Navy, 1893–1981, Maurice Cocker, Ian Allan, ISBN 0-7110-1075-7
  • English, John (2001). Obdurate to Daring: British Fleet Destroyers 1941–45. Windsor, UK: World Ship Society. ISBN 978-0-9560769-0-8.
  • Friedman, Norman (2006). British Destroyers & Frigates: The Second World War and After. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-86176-137-6.
  • Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1922–1946, Ed. Robert Gardiner, Naval Institute Press, ISBN 0-87021-913-8
  • Warships of Australia, Ross Gillett, Illustrations Colin Graham, Rigby Limited, 1977, ISBN 0-7270-0472-7
  • Lenton, H. T. (1998). British & Empire Warships of the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-048-7.
  • Royal Navy Destroyers since 1945, Leo Marriott, Ian Allan, ISBN 0-7110-1817-0
  • Raven, Alan & Roberts, John (1978). War Built Destroyers O to Z Classes. London: Bivouac Books. ISBN 0-85680-010-4.
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2.
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1.

See also

  • Type 15 frigate – most surviving Q and R-class ships were given this conversion post-war.
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