HMS Dido (1869)
HMS Dido (1869)

Royal NavyVessels

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NameDido (1869)Explanation
TypeSloop (1876: Corvette)   
Launched23 October 1869   
HullWooden Length212 feet
PropulsionScrew Men180
Builders measure1277 tons   
Displacement1755 tons   
Fate1922 Last in commission1886
Ships bookADM 135/132   
23 October 1869Launched at Portsmouth Dockyard
20 April 1871
- 17 June 1876
Commanded (from commissioning at Portsmouth until paying off at Portsmouth) by Captain William Cox Chapman, west coast of Africa, then (May 1872) Australia
27 May 1879
- 19 August 1879
Commanded (from commissioning at Portsmouth) by Captain Arthur Richard Wright, West coast of Africa (until he died)
30 September 1879
- 11 October 1882
Commanded (until paying off at , Barbados) by Captain Compton Edward Domvile, west coast of Africa, then (October 1881), North America and West Indies
5 October 1882
- 4 May 1883
Commanded by Captain Compton Edward Domvile, North America and West Indies
(16 February 1883)
- 25 September 1886
Commanded (from commissioning at Barbados until paying off at Portsmouth) by Captain Frederick Samuel Vander-Meulen, North America and West Indies
(1890)Lent to the War Department as Submarine Mining Hulk in the Forth.
1906renamed Actaeon II
(1914)Sheerness, Harbour Service
17 July 1922Sold to J.B. Garnham for breaking up
Extracts from the Times newspaper
Th 8 June 1876The following is a brief account of the cruise of Her Majesty's ship Dido, 8, Capt, W.C Chapman, late Commodore of the Australian station. The Dido arrived at Spithead on the 6th instant after a prolonged absence of more than five years. Of this period, 12 months were spent on the West Coast of Africa station, the remainder in the Australian Colonies and among the South Sea Islands:-"The Dido was commissioned at Portsmouth on the 20th of April, 1871, for service on the West Coast of Africa. Leaving England on the 6th of May, having called at Madeira en route, she arrived at Sierra Leone on the 9th of June, and relieved Her Majesty's ship Sirius at Fernando Po on the 16th of July. Three months later, war having broken out afresh between the kingdoms of New Calabar, Bonny, and Ekrika, thereby bringing all European trade in the rivers to a standstill, Capt, Chapman, acting under instructions from the Admiralty, proceeded with the squadron under his orders up the Bonny river - one of the mouths of the Niger - to settle the native disputes, using force, if necessary, to open up the rivers for trade. This he accomplished most satisfactorily in conjunction with the British Consul, Capt. Hopkins, by prevailing on the contending parties to meet on board the Dido, where their mutual grievances were adjusted and peace re-established at a palaver which lasted four days. The result proved a lasting benefit to the European merchants as well as to the native Kings and Chiefs, the oil trade soon reaching the large proportions of nearly half a million per annum. In December the Dido arrived at Simon's Bay, Cape of Good Hope, where Capt. Chapman was to act as Senior Officer during the absence of the Commodore on the West Coast. Five months later, on the 16th of May, 1872, the ship left the Cape for Sydney, having been ordered to join the Australian, squadron. On her way she touched at St. Paul's, where the remains of the ill-fated Megaera were still to be seen. Arriving at Sydney on the 3d of July, she remained there a month to refit, and was then, employed for nine months in New Zealand, after which the ship proceeded to Fiji in February, 1873, the islands being in a very disturbed state, and a collision between the Government and settlers daily expected. Shortly before her arrival at Levuka the massacre of the Burns family by the mountaineers of Viti Levu had occurred. This brought to a crisis the disturbances between the de facto Government of King Cakabau and the European settlers of the Ba district, who declared their independence of a Government which they thought unable to protect them from the attacks of these cannibals, and on the arrival of the Fijian troops to avenge the massacre, the planters armed, and with their foreign labourers prepared to resist them. Bloodshed would have ensued had not Capt. Chapman, at considerable risk, taken the Dido through an intricate passage for 80 miles among the coral reefs to the Ba river, and, having invited a large number of the disaffected settlers on board, prevailed upon them to lay down their arms, the Government granting a general amnesty to all concerned, with the exception of the two ringleaders, who were detained on board for a short time in order to prevent the authorities from taking any steps against them. After a stay of six months in the Fiji group, including a visit to the Friendly Islands, in August she left Levuka with 102 South Sea Islanders on board, who had been kidnapped by the notorious brig Carl. These natives were all successfully returned to their respective homes in the Now Hebrides, Solomon, New Ireland, and Caroline groups, although great difficulties were experienced both in finding their proper villages and in navigating among the islands and reefs, more especially on account of the breakage of a cylinder soon after leaving Fiji. In November the Dido arrived at Brisbane, and, after a short stay, proceeded to Sydney, having on board the Governor of Queensland, the Marquis of Normanby. After a stay of six months in Sydney, where a new cylinder was made, in July, 1874, the ship was again at anchor in the arbour of Levuko, having called at Norfolk Island on her way. On the 17th of that month, news arriving at Fiji of the wreck of the French war vessel L'Hermite at Wallace Island, the Dido at once went to her assistance, and was able to do a good deal for the comfort of the distressed Frenchmen. In September, Sir Hercules Robinson, the Governor of New South Wales, arrived in Her majesty's ship Pearl to reopen negotiations for the cession of the islands. The interview with Cakabau was held on board the Dido, where he offered the islands to Her Majesty; and afterwards, when the Governor visited the Windward Islands to see Maafu and other leading Chiefs, the Dido accompanied him, flying the Royal Standard of Fiji at the main, having on board the King, his suite, and one of his sons. The ship also took a prominent part in the ceremony which marked the final cession of Fiji to Great Britain on October 10, 1874, and the ex-King presented the Fijian flag to Capt. Chapman, when it was hauled down for the last time to make room for the Union Jack. Soon afterwards the 'Tito,' as Cakabau called her, at his express wish convoyed him and his suite to Sydney on the occasion of his visit to the Governor of New South Wales, returning with them to Fiji a month later. On the 7th of February, 1875, she again left Levuka to return 100 native labourers to their homes in the New Hebrides, and after calling at Noumea, New Caledonia, she proceeded to Auckland, where she remained four months, during which time some of the northern ports were visited. She then left for Wellington, encountering very heavy gales on the passage. After a month's stay the Dido returned to Sydney, where on her arrival the melancholy fate of the late Commodore Goodenough was first heard. The command of the station now devolved on Capt. Chapman, who received his appointment as Commodore by telegram from the Admiralty. At the end of October the Dido visited Tasmania, where she remained a fortnight, returning to Sydney, which port she finally left on December 2 for Melbourne, there to meet Capt. Hoskins, who arrived by the mail on the 15th to relieve Commodore Chapman in the command of the station; and after waiting a month for her relief - the Sapphire - the Dido at last started on her homeward voyage. A good passage was made to within 200 miles of Cape Pillar. Here, on February 20, was encountered one of the most furious gales over experienced by any one on board. Although the ship was put under storm canvas, consisting of a close-reefed maintopsail and storm forestaysail, both were blown away, and soon followed by the fall of the fore and main topmasts and jibboom; the barometer fell to 28.15, the wind increased to a hurricane, and rapidly raised a tremendous sea. Fortunately the gale did not remain at its height f or more .than four hours, and, soon abating, the ship was enabled, to proceed on her voyage, and entered the Straits of Magellan, where she refitted; but, being unable to obtain spars at Sandy Point, she called at Montevideo for that purpose, as well as for provisions. The Dido left the River Plate on the 1st of April, crossed the line on the 27th, touched at Fayal (Azores) on the 21st of May, experienced successive calms and light winds until the 2d of June, and arrived at Spithead on the 6th. During the commission she has run upwards of 60,000 miles in 616 sea days. It is seldom a ship, after so long an absence, returns with so many of the officers and men still on board who commissioned in her. The Captain, the three Lieutenants, paymaster, surgeon, warrant officers, and the majority of the ship's company left England in the vessel more than five years ago. The Dido brings home a portion of the crews of the schooners Renard, Sandfly, and Beagle. The ship will probably be paid off about the 16th instant, when the crew will be granted the well-earned two months to which they are entitled".
Ma 15 November 1880The following information respecting the movements of Her Majesty's ships is supplied by the Admiralty: — From Malta letters have been received from the Rear-Admiral Superintendent up to the 8th inst.; the Téméraire will be ready for sea the 27th inst.; and the Cygnet on the 20th inst.; the Invincible and Hecla are in port. Her Majesty's troopship Orontes left Port Said for England on the 12th inst. From the West Coast of Africa letters hive been received from the Senior Officer in the Dido, at Fernando Po, up to the 2d of October; had arrived from Bonny on the 1st of October, with the Firebrand in company, and would proceed to Ambas Bay, Batanga, and Cape Lopez, returning to Quitta via St Thomas. The Firebrand would relieve the Firefly at St. Paul de Loando. From the Cape of Good Hope intelligence has been received that the Commodore, in the Boadicea, was at Simon's Bay on the 14th inst. From the East Indies, letters have been received from the Commander-in-Chief, Rear-Admiral Gore Jones, C.B., in the Euryalus, was at Trincomalee up to the 12th of October. Was about to sail for Rangoon, and would be met there by the Eclipse and the Dryad. The Beacon was at Bussorah, the Ready was at Muscat, the Woodlark was at Karachi on the 6th October. The Ruby, the Dragon, and the Wild Swan, were on East Coast of Africa. The Seagull was at Aden, and would visit Jeddah shortly. The Philomel, coming to Aden from Seychelles, arrived there on the 20th October. Her Majesty's Indian troopship Serapis left Bombay for England on Saturday, the 13th inst.

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