fighting ships of the world



LIGHTFOOT destroyer leaders (1915-1916)

Abdiel 1916

Gabriel 1919

Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Nimrod H5A, H90   Denny, Dumbarton 10/1914 12/4/1915 8/1915 BU 11/1926
Marksman H96, G35, F85, G23, F66   Hawthorn Leslie, Hebburn 7/1914 28/4/1915 11/1915 BU 11/1921
Kempenfelt HA1, G10, F87, G12   Cammell Laird, Birkenhead 10/1914 1/5/1915 8/1915 BU 5/1921
Lightfoot H76, H53, G22, F78   White, Cowes 6/1914 28/5/1915 5/1915 BU 5/1921
Abdiel (ex-Ithuriel) G07, F43, F49   Cammell Laird, Birkenhead 5/1915 12/10/1915 3/1916 BU 7/1936
Gabriel (ex-Abdiel) G21, F00, F91   Cammell Laird, Birkenhead 1/1915 23/12/1915 7/1916 BU 5/1921
Ithuriel (ex-Gabriel) G32, G50, F83   Cammell Laird, Birkenhead 1/1915 8/3/1916 8/1916 BU 11/1921


Displacement normal, t


Displacement full, t


Length, m


Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



Kempenfelt, Abdiel, Gabriel, Ithuriel: 3 Parsons steam turbines, 4 Yarrow boilers

Lightfoot: 3 Parsons steam turbines, 4 White-Forster boilers

Marksman, Nimrod: 3 Brown-Curtis steam turbines, 4 Yarrow boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t

oil 515

Endurance, nm(kts) 2500(15)


4 x 1 - 102/40 QF Mk IV, 2 x 1 - 40/39 2pdr QF Mk II, 2 x 2 - 533 TT (4)



Ship project history: Experience with the Swift and the comparatively low speed of the scout cruisers confirmed the need for a new type of flotilla leader, based on the destroyer. A conference of the War Staff in October 1913 proposed that a 'Tribal' class (Crusader, Maori or Zulu, or Swift herself) should be given PouIsen long-range wireless (150nm range) and have the bridge enlarged to accommodate the additional Captain (D)'s staff. However the Controller instructed the DNC to prepare a legend for a leader not exceeding 1800t, a speed of 33-34kts, 4 102mm guns and 4 'anti-airship pom-poms' etc. Accommodation would include Captain (D), an extra Lieutenat, a WO for signal duties and 8 extra staff. The design had machinery similar to the 'M' class. Although three were proposed, only two were approved; one each for the 1st and 3rd DF, a scout cruiser for the slower Acorn class in the 2nd DF, and Swift to lead 4th DF, all forming part of 1st Fleet. The design was approved in December 1913 and it was suggested that their names should conform to the new initial letter of the flotilla which they would lead, hence the names Lightfoot and Marksman. In April 1914 tenders were put our for two more, Kempenfelt and Nimrod, to be built under the 1914-15 Estimates. In August 1914 the 12 1pdr out of the total ordered for the 13 'M' class and the first two leaders were transferred to the Army for use in France, so the design was altered to 11/2-pdr guns instead, but in February 1915 Vickers 2pdr pom-poms were substituted.
    The four leaders were successful, providing sufficient extra space for the administrative and signal staff essential to the running of a large flotilla. In November 1914 three more were ordered, but this time they were given the names of angels in Milton's Paradise Lost. One of them, Gabriel, was selected in August 1915 for conversion to a minelayer but later the same month Abdiel took her place. She was given stowage for 80 mines, and when loaded sacrificed both sets of TT and Nos 3 and 4 guns.
Modernizations: 9/1915, Abdiel: - 2 x 1 - 102/40, 2 x 2 - 533 TT; + rails for 80 mines

1917, Lightfoot, Nimrod: + 2 x 1 - 450 TT

1917-1918, Kempenfelt, Lightfoot, Marksman: + 1 x 1 - 76/45 20cwt QF Mk II

mid-1918, Gabriel: - 2 x 1 - 102/40, 2 x 2 - 533 TT; + rails for 60 mines

Naval service: No significant events.



Ivan Gogin, 2008-14