HMS Pearl (1855)
HMS Pearl (1855)

Royal NavyVessels

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NamePearl (1855)Explanation
Launched13 September 1855   
HullWooden Length200 feet
Builders measure1469 tons   
Displacement2187 tons   
Fate1884 Last in commission1877
Class  Class (as screw)Pearl
Ships bookADM 135/349   
13 September 1855Launched at Woolwich Dockyard.
1 January 1856
- 16 June 1859
Commanded (from commissioning at Woolwich until paying off at Portsmouth) by Captain Edward Southwell Sotheby, Pacific, and in command of Pearl's Naval Brigade during the Indian Mutiny
12 August 1859
- 23 August 1859
Commanded by Captain William Edmonstone, Portsmouth
23 August 1859
- 18 June 1864
Commanded (until paying off at Portsmouth) by Captain John Borlase, East Indies and China (including British involvement in Taiping rebellion and the bombardment of Kagoshima ("Anglo-Satsuma War")
4 May 1866
- 1 December 1870
Commanded (from commissioning at Portsmouth) by Captain John Francis Ross, China (and joining the 1869 Flying squadron at Yokohama on 17 April 1870)
22 May 1873
- 20 August 1875
Commanded (from commissioning at Portsmouth) by Captain James Graham Goodenough, Australia (until killed)
(7 September 1875)
- January 1877
Commanded by Commodore Anthony Hiley Hoskins, Australia
- 5 June 1877
Commanded (until paying off at Portsmouth) by Captain Lindesay Brine, bringing the ship back from Australia
August 1884Sold to Castle for breaking up at Charlton.
Extracts from the Times newspaper
Fr 7 October 1859The paddle-wheel steamvessel Locust, 3, Lieut. Field, from Portsmouth, arrived at Plymouth on Wednesday, with 45 supernumeraries for the guardship Impregnable and the Imperieuse.
Ma 10 October 1859Yesterday (Sunday) there were in Plymouth Sound ships of war belonging to five different nations, a circumstance said to be unprecedented.- The English ships of the line Aboukir, Algiers, Donegal, Hero, and Nile; frigates Diadem, Emerald, Melpomene, Mersey, and Topaze; corvette Pearl; the Dutch frigate Admiral Koopman, and sloops Vesuvius and Rainier; the Russian sloop Razboynik; the Brazilian corvette Bahiana; and the Turkish line-of-battle ship Shadie. In all 17 pennants. The whole of the ships, with the exception of the Brazilian corvette, have steam power.
Ma 10 October 1859It is expected that the Imperieuse and Pearl will leave Plymouth to-day for China.
Th 13 October 1859The following screw steamships, forming part of the Channel fleet, in Plymouth Sound, were ordered on Tuesday to prepare for sea immediately: viz., the Donegal, 101, Capt. William F. Glanville; the Emerald, 50, Capt. Arthur Cumming; the Melpomene, 50, Capt. Charles J.F. Ewart; the Mersey, 40, Capt. Henry Caldwell, C.B.; the Algiers, 91, Capt, George W.D. O'Callaghan; the Hero, 81, Capt. George H. Seymour; and the Aboukir, 90, Capt. Charles S. Schomberg. The Nile and Melpomene will probably go to the West Indies, and the Hero to Vancouver's Island.
The screw steam corvette Pearl, 21, Capt. Borlase, C.B., left Plymouth on Monday night for China. As she passed through the Sound her crew was cheered most lustily by the crews of the Channel fleet.
Th 13 October 1859The screw steam corvette Pearl, 21, Capt. Borlase, C.B., left Plymouth on Monday night for China. As she passed through the Sound her crew was cheered most lustily by the crews of the Channel fleet.
The screw steam-frigate Imperieuse, 51, Capt. Maguire, left Plymouth on Tuesday for China.
Ma 16 April 1860The Third China War.? Preparations have commenced at Hongkong and Shanghai in good earnest. The four vessels from Shanghai which are announced as having sailed under sealed orders comprise Her Majesty?s ships Sampson, Actaeon, Dove, and gunboat Algerine; two of these vessels are well-known surveying vessels, and it is given on good authority that this small expedition is intended to reconnoitre in the Gulf of Pecheli and the mouth of the Peiho. and to take possession of some convenient slip of land which will be serviceable to our troops. A statement is also current that they were despatched to capture some trading junks which had left Shanghai for the Peiho, and supposed to be loaded with arms and ammunition. It is also stated that the Chinese Government are casting heavy guns, and using large quantities of American anthracite coal for this purpose. Guns of the largest calibre have also been imported from the United States. Her Majesty?s ship Imp?rieuse, 51 guns, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Jones, C.B., second in command, left Hongkong for Shanghai on the 22d of February; she took up six boats, each capable of landing 100 men, a large number of tents, and a bridge or pier, which could be made available for landing troops over the mud. She also had on board field-carriages for mounting her 32-pounders, and a large quantity of ammunition and war stores. The British and French naval commanders are engaged at Hongkong in chartering vessels and steamers, organizlng a Chinese coolie corps, and other necessary measures. General Montauban, the French military Commander-in-Chief, had also arrived from France, and the Quartermaster-General of the British Army. From these active operations it may be augured that it is intended to push the expedition north during the present month, in perfect readiness for the decision of Lord Elgin and his French colleague, Baron Gros. The delay in their departure will consequently be a source of great disappointment and anxiety. Nothing of a reliable nature has been heard of the action or intentions of the Court of Pekin, nor of our Ambassador, Mr. Bruce, It Is rumoured that the Taku forts have been dismantled in order to strengthen those at Tien-tin. There have been no further reinforcements from India. The detachment of the 44th Queen?s Regiment, which was announced in our last as having arrived at Singapore, has left that place for Hongkong, in Her Majesty's ship Pearl, and transport Cressy. A portion of the 99th Regiment had arrived at Singapore from Calcutta in the Octavia, towed by the Reynard. The Simoom, with the troops as originally embarked at Portsmouth, had also arrived, and proceeded on to Hongkong with the transports Mars, Octavia, and Jessamine. The Ringdove, Magicienne, Hooghly, and Fury were engaged in towing vessels from the Straits of Malacca up to Singapore. ? London and China Telegraph.
(various)this gets replaced
Sa 12 November 1864The following is the list of the vessels of the Royal navy which will be armed, and are now being armed, with the new description of 300-pounder and other guns in course of issue. The figures after each vessel specify the number of guns of the description mentioned she will carry. To mount the 12-ton 300-pounders:- Bellerophon, 10; Royal Sovereign, 5; Minotaur, 4; Scorpion, 4; Wiveren, 4; Prince Albert, 4; Agincourt, 4; and Northumberland, 4. To be armed with the 6½-ton guns:- The Achilles, 20; Black Prince, 20; Warrior, 20; Lord Warden, 20; Lord Clyde, 20; Royal Oak, 20; Prince Consort, 20; Royal Alfred, 20; Caledonia, 20; Ocean, 20; Minotaur, 18 ; Agincourt, 18; Valiant, 16; Zealous, 16; Hector, 16; Defence, 10; Resistance, 10; Endymion, 6; Mersey, 4; Orlando, 4, Pallas, 4; Favourite, 4; Research, 4; Enterprise, 4; Amazon, 2; Viper, 2; and Vixen, 2. To mount the 64-pounder muzzle-loader:- The Bristol, 12; Melpomene, 12; Liverpool, 12; Severn, 12; Arethusa, 12; Phoebe, 12;. Shannon, 12; Octavia, 12; Constance, 12; Sutlej, 12; Undaunted, 12; Impérieuse, 12; Aurora, 12; Leander, 12; Bacchante, 12; Emerald, 12; Phaeton, 12: Narcissus, 12; Forte, 12; Euryalus, 12; Topaz, 12; Newcastle, 12; Liffey, 12; Immortalité, 12; Glasgow, 12; Clio, 8, North Star, 8 [laid down 1860, cancelled 1865]; Racoon, 8; Challenge[r], 8; and Menai, 8 [laid down 1860, cancelled 1864]. The following will be supplied with the 64-pounder breech-loaders:- The Scout, 8; Rattlesnake, 8; Cadmus, 8; Scylla, 8; Barossa, 8; Jason, 8; Charybdis, 8; Wolverine, 8; Pylades, 8; Orestes, 8; Pearl, 8; Pelorus, 8; Satellite, 8; Acheron, 4 [laid down 1861, cancelled 1863]; Shearwater, 4; Valorous, 4; Furious, 4; Bittern, 4 [laid down 1861, cancelled 1863]; Magicienne, 4; and Columbine, 4. A supply of the 6½-ton smooth-bore 100-pounder wrought iron guns has already been received at Chatham, and it is understood that the first supply of the 300-pounder rifled 12-ton Armstrong gun may shortly be expected at the Ordnance wharf.
(various)this gets replaced
Th 30 April 1874Owing to the difficulties and dangers of navigation among the islands in the South Pacific, the following steam schooners [actually sailing schooners] belonging to the Royal Navy have been added to the fleet on the Australian station as tenders to the Pearl, Commodore J.G. Goodenough, the flagship on that station, for special service in those waters: - The Alacrity, Lieut-Commanding F.W. Saunders; the Beagle, Lieut.-Commanding F.S. Rendell; the Conflict, Lieut.-Commanding A.R. Mansell; the Renard, Lieut.-Commanding T. Suckling; and the Sandfly, Lieut.-Commanding W.B. Nowell. They are constructed of a light draught of water to allow of their cruising in and out among the 200 islands in the South Pacific which form a large portion of the Australian command.
We 25 August 1875


The following are copies of two telegrams received at the Colonial Office from the Governor of New South Wales:—

"August 23.

"I regret to have to announce the death, on 20th inst., of Commodore Goodenough, from wounds received at Santa CruzExternal link. Have only just received the sad intelligence by telegraph from Nelson's Bay, on the coast. Her Majesty’s ship Pearl, with body on board, now coming into Sydney Harbour. Further particulars later."

"August 23, 2 p.m.

"No. 2. — Pearl just anchored; have learnt following particulars from Captain Hastings. On 12th August Commodore and party landed at Carlisle Bay, Santa Crus Island, to open friendly intercourse with natives; this being place where "Sandfly" was attached last year. After being nearly an hour on shore, and satisfied with conciliatory progress made, the party were preparing to leave for ship, when a native standing about four yards off fired a poisoned arrow at Commodore Goodenough, which struck him on the left side. The boats at once shoved off, receiving at the same time several flights of arrows. Seven were wounded altogether, including Commodore and Sub-lieutenant Hawker. The Commodore and two of the boat's crew have since died; the remainder are doing well, but cannot be pronounced out of danger from tetanus for 20 days from the date of wound. Before leaving Carlisle Bay, village was burnt by boats from Pearl. Commodore's funeral takes place to-morrow afternoon."
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".

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