Wednesday, August 24, 2011

HMS Trafalgar

This is HMS Trafalgar, as pictured in the 1896 edition of The Army and Navy Illustrated. She was an 11,940 ton steel armoured battleship, launched in 1887 and completed in 1890, and spent most of her career in the Mediterranean squadron where her low freeboard was less of a handicap than in stormier seas. Armed with four 67 ton guns in two turrets, she's decked in the red boot-topping, black hull, white upperworks and buff funnels of Queen Victoria's navy. During this period admirals were said to be reluctant to indulge in gunnery practice, fearful of the mess a broadside might make to their immaculately turned-out vessels.
Serving as an officer in the Mediterranean Squadron must have been a fairly cushy number. This is the quartedeck of HMS Trafalgar decked out under awnings on 21st. October to celebrate the anniversary of the famous battle with a 'smoking concert'. Notice the rose-arrangement of cutlasses, upper left, and the highly polished guns.
HMS Trafalgar must have done enough gunnery practice to put some wear-and tear on her guns - here they are being hoisted out while the ship lies in Malta harbour, using the largest available crane.
Another picture of a gun being hoisted out. These barrels needed relining after only 120 rounds with a full charge, although in peacetime practice only half-charges were used, extending a gun's life to 400 rounds.
Coaling ship must have been a doubly-wearisome task for the sailors involved, lugging coal across from the attendant collier (in this case the Westbook, lying alongside) then cleaning up all those white upperworks and decks afterwords. Here HMS Trafalgar is taking in coal while lying off Alexandretta, on the Syrian coast, while cruising the eastern Mediterranean.
No much doubt about who was giving the orders and who was lugging coal here, but their still did it with a great deal of pride. When this photograph was taken in 1898 they just broken the fleet record - 141.6 tons of coal transferred per hour.

HMS Trafalgar went to the breakers in 1911.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Shipping on the River Tyne 20th. August 2011

Ardea, a chemical and oil products tanker, inbound.

 The 83,000 g.r.t. P&O cruise ship Arcadia.
 Ro-Ro vehicle carrier City of Lutece leaving the Tyne, with the pilot boat Collingwood going alongside....
... to pick up the pilot.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pipe-laying Vessel

The Seven Navica, a pipe-laying vessel, alongside Corporation Quay at Sunderland, August 7th. 2011.

Monday, August 8, 2011


In modern parlance, the launching of Turbinia in 1894 was a 'game-changing' development in naval history. As the first ship to be powered by steam turbines, invented by Charles Parsons, she was comfortably the fastest ship afloat, thanks to her powerplant and the fine lines of her hull. She enjoyed a chequered career, during which she survived a serious collision (see also this link) on the Tyne and was at one time cut in half for display in the Science Museum in London (after section with engines) and Newcastle's Exhibition Park. The turbine is still in the Science Museum but happily the two haves of the ship have been rejoined, refurbished and reside in Newcastle's Discovery Museum, in a specially built gallery.
(Image from Wikipedia:

No other ship ever merited the epithet 'Greyhound of the Sea' more than Turbinia and her famous dash through the assembled fleet of ponderous battleships at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Fleet Review at Spithead in 1897 helped to demonstrate the potential of the new propulsion system for naval vessels. The Lords of the Admiralty might not have been amused but all RN ships after 1905 used this form of propulsion.

No less than nine propellers drove Turbinia through the water at over 34 knots.

Sunday, August 7, 2011