|The Mid-Victorian Royal Navy William Loney R.N. Fun||Search this site|
HMS Rattlesnake (1861)
|► The Royal Navy||Browse mid-Victorian RN vessels: A; B; C; D; E - F; G - H; I - L; M; N - P; Q - R; S; T - U; V - Z; ??|
|Launched||9 July 1861|
|Builders measure||1705 tons|
|Fate||1882||Last in commission||1874|
|9 July 1861||Launched at Chatham Dockyard.|
|20 August 1862|
- 6 February 1866
|Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth until paying off at Plymouth) by Commodore Arthur Parry Eardley-Wilmot, west coast of Africa|
|6 September 1867|
- 16 February 1871
|Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth) by Commodore William Montagu Dowell, Commander-in-chief, Cape of Good Hope and west coast of Africa|
|16 February 1871|
- 2 October 1873
|Commanded (until paying off at Plymouth) by Commodore John Edmund Commerell, flagship of Commodore John Edmund Commerell, Commander-in-chief, Cape of Good Hope and west coast of Africa (until invalided by a wound received in the Second Anglo-Ashantee War)|
|Extracts from the Times newspaper|
|Sa 16 March 1861||Admiralty orders have been received at Chatham dockyard for a squadron of five steam frigates and other vessels of war to be built at that establishment, in addition to the several line-of-battle and other screw steamers which are now in progress. The following are the names, number of guns, and horse-power of the new vessels: -The Boadicea, 51, 600-horse power [cancelled 1863]; the Pactolus, 22, 200-horse power [cancelled]; the Diligence, 17, 200-horse power [cancelled 1863]; the Salamis, 4, 250-horse power; and the Albatross, 4, 200-horse power [cancelled 1863]. The above ships of war will be commenced immediately the vessels now on the stocks, several of which are in a very forward state, are completed. The ships building at Chatham are the Bulwark, 91 [laid down in 1859, suspended in 1861 and finally cancelled in 1873]; the Royal Oak, 91; the Belvidera, 51 [laid down in 1860 and cancelled in 1864]; the Rattlesnake, 21; the Menai, 21 [laid down in 1861 and cancelled in 1864]; the Reindeer, 17; and the Myrmidon, 4.|
The Lords of the Admiralty have decided on naming the large iron mail-clad steamer about to be commenced at Chatham dockyard the Achilles. The new vessel will be an improvement on those of the same description recently built, and her dimensions will be somewhat larger. Her engines will be nominally of 1,250 horse-power, but they will be capable of being worked up to considerably over 2,000 horse-power. She will be pierced for 40 guns, all of which will be the long-range Armstrong guns.
|Tu 4 February 1862||Yesterday a party of 60 additional shipwrights, including a portion of the hands removed from the Rattlesnake, 21, screw corvette, completed, and the Pylades, 21, screw, under repair in the fourth dock at Chatham, were placed on the iron-cased steam frigate Royal Oak, 51, building under No. 7 shed, in order to expedite the construction of that vessel, which it is intended shall be completed and ready for launching by the first spring tide in the month of September next. A number of the shipwrights now employed on the iron frigate Defence, 18, will he attached to the Royal Oak on their leaving that ship during the present week. The number of hands now employed on the Royal Oak is nearly 400, including apprentices and labourers. By direction of the Admiralty a powerful travelling crane is in course of erection at the side shed adjoining that under which the frigate is building, in order to facilitate the removal of the heavy beams and timbers used in her construction. The erection of the traveller has been placed in the hands of a London firm, the iron tramways on which the crane will work having been already fixed. Considering the great weights which the traveller will be required to lift, it is to be hoped that care will be taken to have the supports thoroughly tested before the work is completed and handed ever to the Admiralty, the opinion of practical men being that greater strength ought to have been secured.|
Although the construction of the iron ship Achilles, 50, 6,079 tons, 1,250-hose power, building at Chatham, has been seriously retarded owing to the difficulty experienced by the Admiralty in procuring iron of the quality required, considerable progress has been made in the work, and already about one-half of her massive ribs, answering to the timbers in an ordinary vessel, have been forged and successfully fixed in their place without accident. The difficulty experienced by the Admiralty in obtaining adequate supplies of iron is still felt in as great force as ever, and, instead of the Achilles being completed within two years from the time in which she was commenced, as was originally expected, at least treble that period will elapse before she will even be afloat, if she continues to progress only at her present rate. There are not more than about 100 workmen engaged on her, including those in the factory department, and yet it was estimated that at least 1,000 hands would be constantly required to complete her in the prescribed period of two years. The chief difficulty appears to be in obtaining adequate supplies of plate iron, the establishment being overstocked with angle iron. Negotiations are, however, now pending with several eminent firms, and it is believed that in a very short time sufficient supplies of first-class iron will be sent in to the dockyard. During yesterday and Saturday a number of the massive armour-plates were landed at the dockyard, although these will not be required to be used for several months to come. Each plate weighs slightly over four tons, is about 15 feet in length by about 3 feet in width, and of an uniform thickness of 4½ inches. The whole are manufactured of rolled iron, at the Parkgate Ironworks, Yorkshire, where powerful machinery has been erected for the purpose.
Yesterday a party of shipwrights were despatched from Chatham dockyard to Shoeburyness, to be employed in erecting a target faced with iron armour-plates fastened together without bolting, on the principle recommended by Mr. Scott Russell. The armour-plates, which are of the same thickness as those for the Achilles and Royal Oak, have been prepared at Chatham dockyard, where the target has been put together, the plates being of different sizes, with the edges prepared according to Mr. Russell's directions. The experiments with the elongated Armstrong shot upon this target, and their effect on the iron plates, are looked forward to with some interest, as, should the Admiralty decide on adopting the plan recommended by Mr. Scott Russell, the whole of the armour-plates for the iron ships building will require to be altered.