HMS Locust (1896)

HMS Locust (1896) was a B class destroyer that served in the Mediterranean from 1902-6, and with the Seventh Patrol Flotilla on the East Coast at the start of the First World War, before moving to the Scapa local defence forces late in 1914. She remained there until 1918, when she returned to the Seventh Flotilla on the East Coast.

The Locust was ordered as part of the second batch of Laird-built 30-knot destroyers. Like the first batch, the second batch of Laird 30-knotters were enlarged versions of their 27-knotters (HMS Banshee, HMS Contest and HMS Dragon), which were in turn enlarged version of their first generation destroyer prototypes (HMS Ferret and HMS Lynx). They had four Normand boilers in two stokeholds, with the uptakes at each end, the boilers next to them and the working space in the middle. The engine room was placed between the fore and aft stokeholds. The 30-knotters used four cylinder triple expansion engines, with two low pressure cylinders. They were criticized in service for their large turning circles, but were considered to be strongly built. All six served throughout the First World War.

One torpedo tube was carried between the second and third funnels, and the second between the rear funnel and the aft 6-pounder gun. They were built with a chart table and compass platform between the first and second funnels and a chart table on the 12-pounder platform.

Pre-War Service

The Locust was laid down on 20 April 1896 and launched on 5 December 1896. Brassey’s Naval Annual of 1898 published results of an official trial in which she averaged 30.15 knots on her three hour trial. The Locust was accepted into the Royal Navy in July 1898.

The Locust took part in the 1900 naval manoeuvres, when she formed part of the Devonport division of Fleet B, the defensive fleet. Fleet A was smaller, but was expecting reinforcements from the Mediterranean, suggesting that the potential enemy at this stage was France. During the manoeuvre the Locust, Seal and Wolf were judged to have captured the torpedo gunboat Speedwell

In April 1901 she was one of eight destroyers from the Devonport command that paid a visit to Manchester, travelling to the city up the Ship Canal. As would be expected, there was a great deal of public interest in the visit, and crowds came to watch the ships as the moved up the canal, and as they were moored in Manchester.

In May 1901 she was one of three destroyers that visited Douglas, on their way from the Clyde to Kingstown, Ireland.

In the summer of 1901 she was one of eight destroyers from Devonport that formed part of Fleet X, one of the two sides in the 1901 naval manoeuvres. Fleet X had the task of disrupting trade in the Channel, while the opposing fleet had to try and protect it.

From 1902 to 1906 she was served with the Mediterranean Destroyer Flotilla.

The Locust took part in the combined Mediterranean, Channel and Cruiser Squadron Manoeuvres which took part in the Mediterranean in the autumn of 1902, which were intended to test out the problems of conducting a close blockage of an enemy fleet in port.

From 1906-1907 she was part of the Nore Flotilla, part of the Home Fleet, and with a reduced crew.

From 1907-1909 she was part of the Home Fleet, serving with either the 2nd or 4th Destroyer Flotillas, with a full complement.

From 1909-1911 she was part of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla at Devonport, a reserve formation within the Home Fleet, with a reduced crew. This marked the end of her time with the main battle fleet.

In July 1914 she was part of the Seventh Patrol Flotilla at Devonport, part of the Second Fleet of the Home Fleet.

Wartime Service

In July 1914 the Locust was part of the large Seventh Patrol Flotilla, based at Devonport.

In August 1914 the Locust was still at Devonport, although most of the Flotilla had moved to the Humber.

In November 1914 she was one of six destroyers from the Seventh at No.6 Patrol Base, Harwich, with the task of patrolling the coast north from Harwich to Yarmouth.

On 7 November 1914 she was one of twelve destroyers that the Admiralty ordered to move from the patrol flotillas to Scapa Flow, and she departed for her new base on 8 November.

In January 1915 she was attached to the Grand Fleet.

In June 1915 the Locust was one of ten destroyers in the Scapa Patrol, one of the Grand Fleet Destroyer Flotillas. 

In January 1916 she was one of ten destroyers attacked to Admiral Jellicoe’s command and based at Scapa.

In October 1916 she was one of fifteen destroyers attached to the Grand Fleet.

In January 1917 she was one of ten destroyers in the Scapa Local Defence Flotilla.

In June 1917 she was one of eleven destroyers in the Scapa Local Defence Flotilla.

In January 1918 she was one of six active destroyers in the Scapa Local Defence Flotilla. Another four were under repair at various locations.

Three men from the Locust (all stokers), were drowned on 21 January 1918.

From 30 March 1918 she was commanded by Lt. Horace L. Vicary.

In June 1918 she was part of the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla on the East Coast of England, based in the Humber, having moved back to her original unit.

In November 1918 she was part of the large Seventh Destroyer Flotilla on the Humber.

By February 1919 she was one of nineteen destroyers listed as part of the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla in the Humber.

The Locust was sold for break up in June 1919.

Commanders
-April-June 1901-: Lt and Commander H.S. Alton
30 March 1918-February 1919-: Lt Horace L. Vicary

Displacement (standard)

355t

Displacement (loaded)

415t

Top Speed

30 knots

Length

218ft oa
213ft pp

Width

21.5ft

Armaments

One 12-pounder gun
Five 6-pounder guns
Two 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement

 

Laid down

 20 April 1896

Launched

5 December 1896

Completed

July 1898

Broken up

1919

British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War, Norman Friedman. A very detailed look at the design of British destroyers from their earliest roots as torpedo boat destroyers, though the First World War and up to the start of the Second World War, supported by vast numbers of plans and well chosen photographs [read full review]
cover cover cover

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 January 2019), HMS Locust (1896) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Locust_1896.html

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