Hello again and Merry Christmas everybody
Lightfoot- and Parker-class leaders
As the RN much expanded its destroyer fleet early in WWI, there no longer were enough third class cruisers to lead all the flotillas; those that were available also were to slow to keep up with the newest generation of destroyers (the M-class was ten knots faster than the Boadiceas and the Actives). The answer was a specialized large destroyer of 1.440 tons with the necessary accomodation for the flotilla leader's staff. Four were laid down in 1914, eight in 1915 and one (for the RAN) in 1916. Although the last six (HMS Parker, HMS Saumarez, HMS Hoste, HMS Grenville, HMS Seymour and HMS Anzac) differed considerably from the first seven HMS Kempenfelt, HMS Lightfoot, HMS Marksman, HMS Nimrod, HMS Abdiel, HMS Gabriel and HMS Ithuriel) externally, displaced 200 tons more and were generally rated a different class, they had very similar hulls of identical length and the same armament (four 102mm guns, two 40mm Pompoms and four 533mm TTs); only the layout of the guns had been improved, the second group being the first British destroyers with superfiring guns forward.
HMS Kempenfelt displaying the look of the first group as completed:
HMS Abdiel was converted to a fast minelayer before completion, having her bridge and forefunnel cut down, guns No.2 and 4 (sources say 3 and 4, but photographic evidence clearly shows No.3 still present after the refit) and both torpedo tubes landed and rails for 80 mines added:
HMS Lightfoot swapped one of her 40mm Pompoms for a 76mm HA gun in 1917; she also received two additional 457mm torpedo tubes abreast the bridge firing forward for close range work:
HMS Nimrod apparently was converted to a private destroyer; she had her flag bridge cut down and received the same 457mm TTs forward as Lightfoot, but no 76mm Flak.
In 1918, the class was fitted with improved fire control and full-sized gunshields; HMS Marksman and HMS Kempenfelt also swapped one Pompom for a 76mm gun and had their upper bridge extended aft, looking roughly identical:
HMS Ithuriel in 1918 retained both Pompoms and the shorter upper bridge:
HMS Gabriel was similar to Ithuriel throughout the war, but was rebuilt to a fast minelayer similar to Abdiel in late 1918 or early 1919:
HMS Parker looked like this on completion; to my layman's eyes, there were no discernible differences among the class (except HMS Anzac, see below):
In 1917, the fire control system was improved and the gunshields enlargened in all (although one can't be sure, because period photographs tend to be labeled rather arbitrarily):
HMS Anzac could be easily discerned by her higher freeboard and different bow and stern shape; she also had flat-sided rather than cylindrical funnels and never received the larger gunshields:
Like Abdiel and Gabriel, HMS Seymour was rebuld to a fast minelayer in 1918:
Only HMS Hoste of the Parker-Group was a war loss (accidental); of the others, Parker and all of the Lightfoot-group (except Abdiel) were scrapped in 1921. Grenville, Seymour and Saumarez were scrapped in the early 1930s, Anzac in 1935 and Abdiel in 1936.