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HMS Cruiser (launched as Cruizer, 1852)

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NameCruiser (launched as Cruizer)Explanation
Launched19 June 1852   
HullWooden Length160 feet
PropulsionScrew Men 
Builders measure747 tons   
Displacement1045 tons   
Fate1912 Last in commission1883
Class  Class (as screw)Cruizer
Ships bookADM 135/272   
19 June 1852Launched at Deptford Dockyard
18 December 1852
- 21 May 1856
Commanded (from commissioning at Woolwich until paying off at Portsmouth) by Commander George Henry Douglas, Woolwich, then the Baltic during the Russian War
1856Renamed Cruiser
2 August 1856
- 4 March 1858
Commanded (from commissioning at Portsmouth) by Commander Charles Fellowes, East Indies and China, taking the gunboats Haughty, Staunch and Forester out for the 2nd Anglo-Chinese War
4 March 1858
- 1 May 1861
Commanded (until paying off at Portsmouth) by Commander John Bythesea, East Indies and China (including 2nd Anglo-Chinese War)
23 July 1866
- 10 August 1866
Commanded (from commissioning at Portsmouth) by Commander Edward Field, Portsmouth
10 August 1866
- 2 June 1869
Commanded by Commander Morgan Singer, Mediterranean
2 June 1869
- 28 September 1869
Commanded by Commander Thomas Anthony Swinburne, Mediterranean
28 September 1869
- 13 December 1870
Commanded (until paying off at Portsmouth) by Commander George Graham Duff, Mediterranean
15 November 1872
- 27 July 1875
Commanded (from commissioning at Portsmouth) by Commander Alfred Taylor Dale, training vessel, Mediterranean
27 July 1875
- 17 August 1878
Commanded by Commander John Hext, training vessel, Mediterranean
17 August 1878Commanded by Commander Frederic Augustus Wetherall, training vessel, Mediterranean
1 January 1890Commanded by Commander John Rolleston Prickett, training vessel, Mediterranean
1893Renamed Lark, sail training ship
1912Sold at Malta
Extracts from the Times newspaper
Ma 19 January 1857Letters received at Plymouth from Rio Janeiro, in reference to the collision with the screw steam sloop Cruiser, 17, Commander Charles Fellowes, state that the Swedish bark Therese tore away one of the sloop's guns, and damaged her lower rigging, bulwarks, and some spars. The officer in charge was a midshipman, and it is understood that the court of inquiry held on board have, in their communication to the Lords of the Admiralty, censured the captain for giving this duty to a junior officer on such an important occasion as when nearing so frequented a port as Rio Janeiro. Had the bark struck the sloop in front both would probably have gone down. The Cruiser and her companions, the gunboats, sailed for China on the 13th of December.
Tu 27 January 1857In The Times or the 19th inst. It was stated, on the authority of letters from Rio Janeiro, that the steam sloop Cruiser, Commander Charles Fellowes, had been in collision with the Swedish bark Therese, which tore away one of the guns of the sloop and did other damage. It was added that the officer in charge was a midshipman, and that the court of inquiry held on board the Cruiser had, in their communication with the Lords of the Admiralty, censured the captain for giving this duty to a junior officer on such an important occasion as that of nearing so frequented a port as Rio Janeiro. A relative of Captain Fellowes requests us to insert the following account of the occurrence from the Plymouth Mail. That paper, after denying the assertion that Captain Fellowes had received the condemnation of the court of inquiry for leaving his ship in charge of a midshipman, says :-
"As soon as the accident was reported to Rear-Admiral Hope Johnstone, Commander-in-Chief on the South American station, a court of inquiry was ordered to assemble to inquire into the circumstances. The Court comprised the following officers:- Captain Hope (Indefatigable), Captain Otway (Siren), and Commander W. G. Luard (Indefatigable). The evidence adduced before this Court completely exculpated Commander Fellowes. Not only were there lights in the steamer, but they had been visited and reported on by a midshipman only 10 minutes before the collision. The officer in charge of the deck at the time was Lord Kilcoursie, a midshipman, who it was proved had done everything under the circumstances the oldest and most experienced, seaman could have done. The master of the Cruiser was in bed, and the first lieutenant on the sick list, which accounts for an officer of the rank of midshipman being in charge at the time of the collision. Immediately after the accident Commander Fellowes sent a boat, in charge of lieutenant the Hon. John B. Vivian, to the Swedish vessel to offer assistance and obtain information. On the boat reaching, the Swedish captain came to the gangway and exclaimed in English, 'My God, we were all asleep.' The force of the collision may be imagined from the fact that the bulwarks of the Cruiser were completely smashed, her shrouds and jibboom carried away, and her foremast gun knocked over. The Swede had her foretopmast carried. Away, and was otherwise so severely damaged as to be obliged to return to Rio. She was deeply laden with coffee".
Th 2 May 1861The Cruiser, 17, screw, Commander Bythesea, V.C., was paid off yesterday morning alongside Portsmouth Dockyard in a very quiet and speedy manner. The report of the inspecting officers on the state and cleanliness of the ship and the condition of her machinery will be of a highly favourable nature. Her engines and boilers, although, requiring very extensive repairs, are in a state reflecting the greatest credit on the engineers who have had them in charge. The Cruiser was commissioned by Commander Fellowes, the present Flag Captain to the Commander-in-Chief of the Channel fleet, in July, 1858, and convoyed three gunboats out to China. On arrival out in China she went up the Canton River, and shared in the affair at Fatshan and the bombardment and capture of Canton. She was afterwards despatched to the north of China, where she was employed during the first attack on the Peiho Forts. Capt. Fellowes, being posted out of the ship about this time, was succeeded in the command by Commander Bythesea, V.C., under whom she accompanied Lord Elgin up the Yang-tze-kiang to Hangkow, and afterwards to Japan. She afterwards returned to the north of China, where her boats were actively employed in completing the survey of the Gulf of Leao-tong. She was also engaged in surveying the Gulf of Pecheli from the Great Wall of China down to 20 deg. South. But one officer has returned to England in the Cruiser out of her original complement, and barely half her crew, many having invalided on the station or been appointed to other vessels. Only three deaths have occurred from sickness during the whole period of the ship's commission.
Sa 7 July 1866Of the useless work turned out by the yard let us take as a specimen the last vessel completed, and now lying alongside the yard, rigged, stored, armed, and waiting to have her pennaut of commi'ssion hoisted. This is the Cruiser, a modera unarmed sloop, of 752 tons and 60-horse power, and engines nominal. This vessel, on being paid out of commission at Portsmouth some considerable time back, was, as is customary, placed along with other ships in a similar condition in one of the creeks in the upper waters of Portsmouth harbour. In course of time she was again brought down the harbour, surveyed, and ordered to be thoroughly repaired. Portsmouth dockyard could not repair a vessel of 752 tons, and so the job was consigned to a private yard, the ship duly repaired, and, of course, the bill of costs duly honoured. Without following the Cruiser through her after stages of outfit at Portsmouth yard, it will be sufficient to say that this 60-horse powered wooden sloop, fully rigged as a ship, carries five guns - four of the useless steel-tubed 64-ponnders and one 100 pounder; that she requires but the appointment to her of a commander to place her actually in commission, and when commissioned, if she is intended for a fighting ship, which it must be presumed she is by the presence of the five guns on the deck she will be the greatest burlesque as a man-of-war afloat in the world.
We 18 July 1866The screw unarmoured sloop Cruiser, 5, 752 tons, 60-horse power, nominal and collective, of engines (a vessel of six knot measured mile speed, and absurdly allowed to carry guns and figure on the official Admiralty Navy List as a fighting ship) yesterday steamed out of Portsmouth harbour and made a trial of her machinery, under the supervision of the officers of the steam factory and reserve, on the completion of her outfit for commission.
Tu 24 July 1866The Cruiser, 5, unarmoured screw sloop, was commissioned yesterday at Portsmouth by Commander E. Field for service on the Australian station. It is to be hoped that England may remain at peace with all the world during the period of the Cruiser's commission!
Fr 24 August 1866The Cruiser, 4, unarmoured screw sloop of 60-horse power of engines, Commander Morgan Singer, want out of Portsmouth harbour yesterday to Spithead, preparatory to sailing on foreign service. The Cruiser was originally commissioned for service in the West Indies, but the new Board of Admiralty during their recent visit to Portsmouth, taking into consideration the fact that the Cruiser can neither steam, sail, or fight against any other known vessel of war in the world, changed her destination to the Mediterranean, where she may be usefully employed in showing the British flag in small ports in the absence of a better ship, and where Commander Singer, a, gunnery officer of more than ordinary experience and talent, will be available for more important duties than so insignificant a command should his services be required.
Th 15 December 1870The unarmoured screw sloop Cruiser, 752 tons, 60-horse power, has been paid out of commission at Portsmouth, and placed in the Steam Reserve. As she has neither gun-carrying nor steam nor sail propelling power,and as her hull must be defective, the Cruiser's next appearance in public will most probably be in the sale-room at Lloyd's. [This prediction turned out to be quite wrong!].

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