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HMS Loyal (1913) IWM SP 001136.jpg
HMS Loyal, October 1914
Class overview
Name: Laforey or L
Operators:  Royal Navy
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
Displacement: 965-1,003 tons
Length: 269 ft (82 m)
Beam: 26 ft 9 in (8.15 m)
Draught: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)
Propulsion: Water-tube boilers, Parsons steam turbines (Brown-Curtis in Lochinvar, Lark, Landrail, Laverock, Linnet, 2 shafts, 24,500 shp
Speed: 29 knots
Complement: 77

3 x QF 4-inch (101.6 mm) Mk IV guns, mounting P Mk. IX
1 x QF 2 pdr pom-pom Mk. II

2 x twin tubes for 21 in torpedoes

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 after. 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. They 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, becoming the first destroyers to be so equipped. 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.


  • Laertes (ex-Sarpedon) — built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend, launched 5 June 1913, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Laforey (ex-Florizel) — built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan, launched 28 March 1913, mined and sunk in English Channel off Shoreham-by-Sea 23 March 1917
  • Lance (ex-Daring) — built by John I. Thornycroft & Company Limited, Woolston, launched 25 February 1914, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Landrail (ex-Hotspur) — built by Yarrow & Company, Scotstoun, launched 7 February 1914, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Lark (ex-Haughty) — built by Yarrow, launched 26 May 1913, sold for scrapping 1923
  • Lassoo (ex-Magic) — built by William Beardmore & Company, Dalmuir, launched 24 August 1915, torpedoed or mined and sunk off Maas Light Ship by German U-boat 13 August 1916
  • Laurel (ex-Redgauntlet) — built by J. Samuel White & Company, Cowes, launched 6 May 1913, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Laverock (ex-Hereward) — built by Yarrow, launched 19 November 1913, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Lawford (ex-Ivanhoe) — built by Fairfield, launched 30 October 1913, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Legion (ex-Viola) — built by William Denny & Brothers Limited, Dumbarton, launched 3 February 1914, sold for scrapping 1921,
  • Lennox (ex-Portia) — built by Beardmore, launched 17 March 1914, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Leonidas (ex-Rob Roy) — built by Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company, Wallsend (hull sub-contracted to Hawthorn Leslie & Company, Hebburn), launched 30 October 1913, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Liberty (ex-Rosalind) — built by White, launched 15 September 1913, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Linnet (ex-Havock) — built by Yarrow, launched 16 August 1913, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Llewellyn (ex-Picton) — built by Beardmore, launched 30 October 1913, sold for scrapping 1922
  • Lochinvar (ex-Malice) — built by Beardmore, launched 9 October 1915, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Lookout (ex-Dragon) — built by Thornycroft, launched 27 April 1914, sold for scrapping 1922
  • Louis (ex-Talisman) — built by Fairfield, launched 30 December 1913, wrecked in Suvla Bay 31 October 1915 and destroyed by Turkish coastal artillery
  • Loyal (ex-Orlando) — built by Denny, launched 11 November 1913, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Lucifer (ex-Rocket) — built by Parsons (hull sub-contracted to Hawthorn Leslie), launched 29 December 1913, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Lydiard (ex-Waverley) — built by Hawthorn Leslie, launched 26 February 1914, sold for scrapping 1921
  • Lysander (ex-Ulysses) — built by Swan Hunter, launched 18 August 1913, sold for scrapping 1922

See also


  • 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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