Brief History of HMS Tigers prior to Our C20 version.
Our Tigers date back to 1546.
The first recorded Tiger was built in 1546 and refitted in 1570. She was the Flagship of an expedition to colonise North America in 1586 lead by Sir Walter Raleigh. She ended her life as a floating battery and was condemned in 1605.
Short gap then until 1613 when HMS Tiger was recorded as being a discovery ship spending time discovering the Arctic area.
Our next Tiger spelt with a “Y” HMS Tyger. Had a long career. Built in 1647, refitted in 1681,1701,1705 and finally 1n 1742. She carried 32 guns and seemed to give better value for money than our beloved Tiger.
The Next Tiger was ordered but never went to sea as a Tiger, she was renamed HMS Harwich prior to launch in 1760.
In 1747 HMS Tiger was now a larger ship carrying 60 guns. She was stripped of sea going capabilities in Bombay and sold there in 1784.
Our next version of HMS Tiger was a renamed vessel captured from the Spanish in 1762 previously names Tigre by the Spanish. A 74 gun ship. She was sold in 1784.
Swashbuckling time now! Our next tiger was renamed HMS Tiger following its recapture from the French, who borrowed it from us in 1764 when it was known as HMS Ardent. We sold her 20 years later.
The next Tiger was again never at sea with that name. Don’t know why but it was renamed HMS Grampus prior to her launch in 1802 (Should that have really been Grandpuss)!
In 1794 HMS Tiger appeared and served as a small customs and convoy escort for trading vessels off the English Channel. She was sold in 1798.
Strangely our next Tiger was captured from the French in 1795, and renamed HMS Tiger, did we have two HMS Tigers at the same time? She was scrapped by 1817.
In 1808 HMS Tiger manifested again as a small but fast Brig ship. Only 12 guns. It was decommissioned in 1812 possibly due to the difficulty in sailing this type of ship.
Our next Tiger was a wooden paddle sloop, launched in 1849 later being redesigned as a frigate in 1852 and was sunk in action the Russians in the Black Sea in 1854 (Only 100 years before I was born)!
To bring our Tigers History into the 20th century please see the following articles contributed by Mick Bagan,
HMS Tiger 1900 - 1908
On 31st March 1900 as part of the 1899-1900 construction programme for the Royal Navy the British Admiralty purchased 3 destroyers from the John Brown shipyard one of which was later to become HMS Tiger.
She was initially a speculative build and was constructed in yard 335. She was required to meet a speed of 30 knots during her sea trials which she achieved with ease. She was completed and accepted into the Royal Navy in June 1901.
She was commissioned at Devonport on August 21st 1901 and assigned to the Portsmouth Flotilla of the Home Fleet. She spent her entire operational career in home waters. On 4th January 1902 Tiger was paid off and all her crew joined HMS Ostrich which took her place in the flotilla.
On the night of 25th September 1907 Tiger ran aground on the breakwater off Portland harbour taking off a large length of the ships keel and holing the ship.
On the night of 2nd April 1908 while taking part in a Home Fleet exercise to test the fleet defence against a torpedo boat night attack in the English Channel disaster struck and she was in collision with HMS Berwick a much bigger and heavier armoured cruiser. The Tiger was cut in two the forward section sinking almost at once with the loss of all hands including the skipper while the stern remained afloat long enough for 63 members of her crew to be rescued. 35 men were lost that night including her captain Lt. W.E. Middleton. Link to Memorial. Photos of This HMS Tiger.
HMS Tiger 1913 – 1932
HMS Tiger was built by John Brown and Company of Clydebank Scotland. She was laid down on 6th June 1912 and launched on 15th December1913. At a cost of £2,593,100
She was completed in 1914 at the start of World War One. She was commissioned and assigned to the First Battlecruiser Squadron on 3rd October 1914. Described at the time as not being complete ant totally unfit for service. At the time she was the most heavily armed battlecruiser in the Royal Navy. She was in the process of working up when she was ordered to stop her firing trials off Berehaven. Admiral Beatty described her as “Not yet fit to fight and was quite unprepared and inefficient”. When she took part in the Battle of Dogger Bank on 23rd January 1915 she was hit 6 times and had 10 men killed with 11 wounded. Her firing was rapid but both erratic and inaccurate having fired 355 shells from her 13.5 inch guns had scored only 2 hits. This was “duly noted” by their lordships in the Admiralty. She had been badly damaged and had to undergo major repairs which were completed on 8th February 1915. She then completed sea patrols in the North Sea before undergoing a refit in December 1915.
The second sea battle that she was involved in was The Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. She was hit 18 times and had 24 men killed with 46 wounded. She fired 303 shells from her main guns scoring 3 hits. She also fired 136 rounds from her 6 inch guns with no recorded hits. On 2nd June 1916 she entered Rosyth Dockyard for repairs which took until 1st July 1916. She then became the temporary Flagship of the 1st Battlecruiser squadron while HMS Lion was under repair. She was involved in several uneventful sorties and patrols in the North Sea before receiving a long refit from 10th November 1916- 29th January 1917 in Rosyth. She then patrolled the North Sea and was involved in the 2nd Battle of Heligoland Bight on 17th November 1917 although never coming within range of any German Forces instead providing support for other British Forces.
Following the. War she remained in service and survived the scrapyard following the Washington Naval Treaty on 6th February 1922. Prior to this she had been placed in the reserve on 22nd August 1921 and was refitted in March 1922.
On 14th February 1924 she was recommissioned and became a seagoing training ship.
In 1929 when HMS Hood went into the dockyard for a long refit HMS Tiger returned to active service to replace her. Following The London Naval Conference in 1930 it was decided to scrap her and when HMS Hood came out of refit in early 1931 she was taken out of commission.
She took the cheers of the Atlantic Fleet on 31st March 1931 at Devonport and finally paid off on 15th May 1931 at Rosyth before being sold for scrap in February 1932.
HMS Tiger C20