HMS Fantome (1901)

From SpottingWorld, the Hub for the SpottingWorld network...
HMS Fantome in pre-war paint
HMS Fantome in pre-war paint
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Fantome
Builder: Sheerness Dockyard, Kent
Launched: 23 March 1901[1]
Fate: Transferred to RAN
Career (Australia)
Name: HMAS Fantome
Acquired: 27 November 1914
Recommissioned: 27 July 1915
Decommissioned: 14 January 1919
Fate: Transferred to RN
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Fantome
Acquired: April 1920
Fate: Sold at Sydney on 30 January 1925[1]
General characteristics
Class and type: Cadmus-class Screw Steel Sloop
Displacement: 1,070 tons[1]
Length: 210 ft (64 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10 m)
Draught: 11.5 ft (3.5 m)
Installed power: 1,400 horsepower (1,044 kW)[2]
Propulsion: Two Niclausse boilers
Two Babcock boilers[2]
Three-cylinder vertical triple expansion steam engine;
Twin screws[1]
Sail plan: Barquentine-rigged, later removed
Endurance: 4,000 nmi (7,400 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h)[1]
Complement: 130[3]
Armament: As built:For survey:
  • One 3-pounder QF gun
For WW 1 patrol duties:[4]
Armour: Protective deck of 1 to 1.5 in (2.5 to 3.8 cm) steel over machinery and boilers[1]

HMS Fantome was an Cadmus-class sloop launched in 1901, transferred to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 1914, returned to the Royal Navy (RN) in 1920, and sold in 1924. She was the fourth ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name, which is from the French fantôme, meaning "ghost".


Fantome was constructed of steel to a design by William White, the Royal Navy Director of Naval Construction.[1] Propulsion was provided by a three-cylinder vertical triple expansion steam engine developing 1,400 horsepower and driving twin screws.[1] The Cadmus class was an evolution of the Condor-class sloop, carrying more coal, which in turn gave a greater length and displacement. This class comprised the very last screw sloops built for the RN.

Sail Plan

File:HMS Fantome (AWM 300645).jpg
HMS Fantome with sails removed and gantry erected c.1909

As designed and built the class was fitted with a barquentine-rigged sailplan. After HMS Condor was lost in a gale in 1901, the Admiralty abandoned sails entirely.[5] Fantome had a gantry erected over her fore-mast sometime prior to 1909, which would have prevented use of her sails.


The class was armed with six 4in/25pdr (1 ton) Quick Firing Mk III Breech loaders and four 3-pounder Quick Firing Breach Loaders, as well as several machine guns.[1] Fantome had her armament reduced to two QF 3-pounders for survey work,[6] and later increased again for patrol work during World War I.


Fantome was launched on 23 March 1901 at Sheerness Royal Dockyard in Kent.

Operational history

Venezuelan Affair

Fantome served on the North America and West Indies Station, including a period in late 1902 and early 1903 when, under Commodore Montgomerie in HMS Charybdis, she enforced a blockade of the Venezuelan coast.

Survey Ship

From 1906 Fantome was operated by the RN Survey Service and conducted survey operations in Australian waters until the outbreak of war in 1914.

Transfer to the RAN

HMS Fantome was transferred to the RAN on 27 November 1914, but was paid off in February 1915. She was recommissioned on 27 July 1915 as a patrol vessel armed with two 4-inch and four 12-pounder guns. From September 1915 to September 1917 she operated in the Bay of Bengal and South China Sea as part of the Far East Patrol. From late 1917, HMAS Fantome was based at Suva, Fiji and operated in the South Pacific performing police duties. She conducted a punitive raid on Malekula in the New Hebrides in October 1918.[4]

Return to the RN

Fantome paid off on 14 January 1919 and was returned to the RN in April 1920 for service as a survey ship. Fantome operated in Australian waters until she was paid off for disposal on 17 April 1924.[4]


She was sold for scrap at Sydney on 30 January 1925. Her hull was stripped to a bare hulk and used as a barge, mainly in Tasmania. She was finally sold for demolition in 1956.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Winfield, Rif; Lyon, David (2003). The Sail and Steam Navy List, 1815-1889. Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1861760326.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "RW" defined multiple times with different content
  2. 2.0 2.1 "HMS Espiegle at Naval Database website". Retrieved 7 September 2008. 
  3. "Cadmus class at". Retrieved 7 September 2008. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "HMAS Fantome". Sea Power Centre - Australia. Retrieved 8 September 2008. 
  5. Fifty Years in the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir Percy Scott, Bt., John Murray, London, 1919, p. 37
  6. "HMS Fantome at Naval Database website". Retrieved 7 September 2008.