HMS Iris (1840)
HMS Iris (1840)


The Royal Navy

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NameIrisExplanation
TypeSixth rate   
Launched14 July 1840
HullWooden
PropulsionSail
Builders measure906 tons
Displacement 
Guns26
Fate1869
ClassSpartan
Ships book
NoteSold as cable vessel
Snippets concerning this vessels career
DateEvent
3 January 1840
- 21 October 1841
Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth) by Captain Hugh Nurse, west coast of Africa (until de died)
1 November 1841
- August 1842
Commanded by Commander William Tucker, senior officer, west coast of Africa
August 1842
- January 1843
Commanded by Acting Captain Thomas Rodney Eden, west coast of Africa
4 October 1842
- 15 August 1843
Commanded (until paying off at Portsmouth) by Captain George Rodney Mundy, west coast of Africa
18 October 1843
- August 1847
Commanded (from commissioning at Portsmouth) by Captain George Rodney Mundy, India and China; in co-operation with 'Rajah' Brooke against the Borneo pirates
24 December 1856Commanded by Captain William Loring, Australia
Extracts from the Times newspaper
DateExtract
Ma 17 January 1859From Australian, letters and papers which have just been received at Chatham by the friends of officers belonging to Her Majesty's missing ship Sappho, 12, Commander Fairfax Moresby, some intelligence has been obtained relative to the supposed loss of that vessel. A few days previously to the departure of the mail for England a letter had been received at Melbourne by his Excellency the Governor, from Commodore W. Loring, C.B., of Her Majesty's ship Iris, 26, dated Sydney, Oct. 16, 1858, in which the Commodore reports that he had just learnt from a merchant at Sydney that Her Majesty's sloop Sappho, 12, was spoken on the 18th of February last, 20 miles south of Cape Nelson. Further information was promised, but had not been received at the date of the departure of the mail. Commodore Loring states that he believed the information to be correct, and that the inference was that the Sappho had either foundered at sea, or that she had been wrecked in the vicinity of King's Island, which lies immediately in her track from the Cape of Good Hope to Bass's Straits. The first supposition — that the vessel had foundered at sea — was not entertained by nautical men in Australia, as none of Her Majesty's ships are ever allowed to go to sea in a sinking state, and from the fact that the missing ship was spoken so near the Australian coast there is little doubt that she has been wrecked on one of the islands, probably the one mentioned. King's Island lies about 90 miles from Port Phillip Head, off Cape Ottway; it has no lighthouse upon it, and is not believed to be inhabited. Hopes are entertained that she might have gone ashore at the spot indicated, and that some of her officers and crew, which numbered 140, were saved. The Governor had given direction for the despatch of a sloop-of-war from Melbourne to search along the shore of King's Island and the adjacent coast for any fragments of the missing ship, and also with the hope of rescuing any of the crew who might be found alive.
We 22 August 1860Her Majesty’s sloop Elk, 12, Commander H. Campion, which was paid off at Chatham yesterday, has been in commission upwards of four years, during which period she has seen a great deal of active service both in China and in other distant parts of the world. She was commissioned at Chatham on the 6th of May, 1856, by Commander J. Hamilton, who was succeeded in August, 1858, by Commander Campion, formerly of the Vulcan, 6, [should be: Falcon] on being promoted. The Elk, on leaving England, proceeded to China, and formed one of the squadron engaged in the Chinese waters until the termination of hostilities. The whole of the crew who could be spared formed a portion of the naval brigade under Commodore Stevens [should be Stewart], of the Nankin, 50, and were present at the capture of Canton, and other places. After the discontinuance of operations in the China seas, the Elk sailed from Hongkong for Australia in the month of April, 1858, and after arriving was employed for several months in making a minute search along the coast and through every part of Bass's Straits for Her Majesty's missing ship Sappho, but without success. The Elk left Sydney on the 1st of March for Auckland, which was reached on the 12th of March, just at the time the insurrection was raging in New Zealand. A portion of the crew and several of the ship's guns were landed to form a part of the naval brigade, and the men volunteering for this service were left behind. On the 26th of April the Elk left Auckland for England, at which time the following vessels of Her Majesty were at New Zealand — viz., the Iris, 26, Commodore W. Loring, C.B.; the Pelorus, 21, screw corvette, Commodore F.B.P. Seymour; the Niger, 13, screw steamer, Capt. P. Cracroft; and the Cordelia, 11, screw steamer, Commander C.E.H. Vernon. During the voyage home, and when near the entrance to the river Plate, the ship was caught in a tremendous typhoon, which raged for 48 hours, during which the vessel suffered severely, and it was only by the very best seamanship that vessel and crew were not lost. The Elk, since she has been in commission, has been constantly employed on service, and has sailed over upwards of 132,000 miles. Upwards of 20 of her crew have died from cholera, dysentery, and other causes, exclusive of a number invalided home. The crew have been exceedingly well-behaved, and the infliction of corporal punishment has been very rare. On the crew being paid off yesterday a silver medal, together with a gratuity of 10l., was awarded by the Admiralty to John Turner, captain of the after-guard, for good conduct and long service. The Elk, which is in very good condition, is to be attached to the reserve ordinary at Chatham. Second Lieut. O'Grady and the boatswain of the ship are under arrest, awaiting their trial by court-martial.


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