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Laforey-class destroyer (1913)
HMS Loyal (1913) IWM SP 001136
HMS Loyal, October 1914
Class overview
Name: Laforey- or L-class destroyer
Operators: Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Preceded by: Acasta-class destroyer
Succeeded by: M-class destroyer (1913)
Completed: 22
Lost: 3
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
Displacement: 965–1,003 long tons (980–1,019 t)
Length: 269 ft (82.0 m)
Beam: 26 ft 9 in (8.15 m)
Draught: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)
Installed power: 24,500 shp (18 MW)
Propulsion: Water-tube boilers
Parsons steam turbines (Brown-Curtis in Lochinvar, Lark, Landrail, Laverock, Linnet)
2 shafts
Speed: 29 knots (53.7 km/h; 33.4 mph)
Complement: 77
Armament: • 3 × QF 4-inch (102 mm) Mk IV guns, mounting P Mk. IX
• 1 × QF 2 pdr pom-pom Mk. II
• 2 × twin 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes

The Laforey class (redesignated in October 1913 as the L class) was a class of 22 torpedo boat destroyers of the Royal Navy, twenty of which were built under the Naval Programme of 1912 - 1913 and a further two under the War Emergency Programme of 1914. As such they were the last pre-war British destroyer design. All served during World War I during which three were lost. As was previous Royal Navy practice, these ships were originally allocated names with no particular systematic theme. However, whilst still building in 1913 they were allocated to the L class and were given new names beginning with the class letter, the first ships to follow this new convention (see naming conventions for destroyers of the Royal Navy).



The Laforeys were based on the modified Acasta-class destroyer Fortune that trialled a new hull form that was slightly longer and narrower than that of the Acastas and incorporated a clipper bow. Except Laurel, Liberty, Lark, Landrail, Laverock and Linnet which had two funnels, all the ships had three funnels of equal height, the middle being thicker than the fore and aft.


Armament was increased over the Acastas, with the number of torpedo tubes doubled to two pairs - abaft the funnels - with a small searchlight platform in between. The gun armament remained as three QF 4 inch, but was more usefully distributed; with one gun each on the forecastle, between the funnels (the after pair in ships with three) and on the quarterdeck.


Laforey and Leonidas were fitted with geared (as opposed to direct drive) steam turbines for increased efficiency. Lochinvar, Llewellyn and Lennox were the first destroyers built for the Royal Navy at William Beardmore's new naval construction yard at Dalmuir.


Legion was later fitted for minelaying, for which purposes her quarterdeck gun and torpedo tubes were removed and screens were erected aft of the after funnel to provide protection for mines. The screens were painted with dummy torpedo tubes and a gun so as not to identify her as a minelayer.


At the outbreak of World War I the Laforeys formed the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla. Lance is credited as having fired the first shot of the naval war when, in company with the flotilla leader Amphion, she sank the German auxiliary minelayer Königin Luise the day after war was declared, on 5 August 1914 in the North Sea. The particular gun concerned is preserved at the Imperial War Museum in London. Two months later on 17 October 1914, off the Dutch island of Texel, Lance, Legion, Lennox and Loyal engaged German torpedo boats and sank S115, S117, S118 and S119 during the Battle off Texel. Lydiard (acting as flotilla leader), with Landrail, Laurel and Liberty were present at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May / 1 June 1916 as part of the 9th and 10th Destroyer Flotillas.


NameShip BuilderLaunchedFate
Laertes (ex-Sarpedon)Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend5 June 1913Sold for scrapping 1921
Laforey (ex-Florizel)Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan28 March 1913Mined and sunk in English Channel off Shoreham-by-Sea 23 March 1917
Lance (ex-Daring)John I. Thornycroft & Company Limited, Woolston 25 February 1914Sold for scrapping 1921
Landrail (ex-Hotspur)Yarrow & Company, Scotstoun7 February 1914Sold for scrapping 1921
Lark (ex-Haughty)Yarrow26 May 1913Sold for scrapping 1923
Lassoo (ex-Magic)William Beardmore & Company, Dalmuir24 August 1915Torpedoed or mined and sunk off Maas Light Ship by German U-boat 13 August 1916
Laurel (ex-Redgauntlet)J. Samuel White & Company, Cowes6 May 1913Sold for scrapping 1921
Laverock (ex-Hereward)Yarrow19 November 1913Sold for scrapping 1921
Lawford (ex-Ivanhoe)Fairfield30 October 1913Sold for scrapping 1921
Legion (ex-Viola) William Denny & Brothers Limited, Dumbarton3 February 1914Sold for scrapping 1921,
Lennox (ex-Portia)Beardmore17 March 1914Sold for scrapping 1921
Leonidas (ex-Rob Roy)Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company, Wallsend, hull sub-contracted to Hawthorn Leslie & Company, Hebburn)30 October 1913Sold for scrapping 1921
Liberty (ex-Rosalind)White15 September 1913Ssold for scrapping 1921
Linnet (ex-Havock)Yarrow16 August 1913Sold for scrapping 1921
Llewellyn (ex-Picton)Beardmore30 October 1913Sold for scrapping 1922
Lochinvar (ex-Malice)Beardmore9 October 1915Sold for scrapping 1921
Lookout (ex-Dragon)Thornycroft27 April 1914Sold for scrapping 1922
Louis (ex-Talisman)Fairfield30 December 1913Wrecked in Suvla Bay 31 October 1915 and destroyed by Turkish coastal artillery
Loyal (ex-Orlando)Denny11 November 1913Sold for scrapping 1921
Lucifer (ex-Rocket)Parsons (hull sub-contracted to Hawthorn Leslie) 29 December 1913Sold for scrapping 1921
Lydiard (ex-Waverley)Hawthorn Leslie26 February 1914Sold for scrapping 1921
Lysander (ex-Ulysses)Swan Hunter18 August 1913Sold for scrapping 1922

See alsoEdit


  • 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

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