HMS Galatea (1859)
HMS Galatea (1859)

Royal NavyVessels

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NameGalatea (1859)Explanation
Launched14 September 1859   
HullWooden Length245 feet
PropulsionScrew Men450
Builders measure3227 tons   
Displacement4686 tons   
Fate1883 Last in commission1871
Ships bookADM 135/190   
14 September 1859Launched at Woolwich Dockyard
19 May 1862
- 23 January 1866
Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth until paying off at Plymouth) by Captain Rochfort Maguire, Channel sqadron, then West Indies
22 January 1867
- 2 June 1871
Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth until paying off at Plymouth) by Captain Duke of Edinburgh, undertaking an extensive world tour to South America, the Cape, Australia, China, India and Japan (interrupted on 12 March 1868, by a Fenian assassination attempt at Sydney, when the ship returned to England to allow him to recover)
June 1883Broken up by Castle at Charlton.
Extracts from the Times newspaper
Fr 13 June 1862The gale which commenced from the southward and westward on Tuesday at Plymouth continued more or less up to yesterday morning, when the wind was blowing strongly from the south-east. All the ships of war in the Sound had taken in their light spars, lowered topgallant masts, and made all snug. It was reported there that the Revenge, Trafalgar, Emerald, Galatea, and Chanticleer were ordered to Milford, where they would be joined by the St. George, in order that Prince Alfred might be enabled to christen the iron-cased ship Prince Consort, 50, to be launched on the 26th inst.
Tu 15 July 1862The Channel Fleet have received orders for sea, and, according to arrangements existing yesterday, will sail from Spithead to-day for the Baltic, calling in at the Downs for pilots. The present intentions are for the fleet to proceed in the first instance to Stockholm, and afterwards to Riga, calling at Copenhagen on their return from the Baltic, sometime in the beginning of September. The Channel Fleet now anchored at Spithead comprises the Revenge, 89, screw, Capt, Charles Fellowes, flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, Rear-Admiral of the Red, Robert Smart, K.H.; St. George, 86, screw, Capt. Hon. Francis Egerton; Trafalgar, 86, screw, Capt. J.B. Dickson; Defence, 18, screw, iron frigate, Capt. R. Ashmore Powell, C.B.; Emerald, 40, screw, Capt. A. Cumming; Galatea, 28, screw, Capt. Rochfort Maguire; Chanticleer, 17, screw, Commander Charles Stirling; and Trinculo, 2, screw gunboat, of 60-horse power, tender to the Revenge, flagship. The Warrior, 40, screw iron frigate, Capt. Hon. A.A. Cochrane, in dock at Portsmouth, is detached from the Channel fleet, and consequently will not accompany the ships on their Baltic cruise. The Warrior will be undocked at Portsmouth to-day, and is expected to proceed round to the Mersey, beyond which she has no orders to extend her cruising at present.
We 16 July 1862The Channel Fleet sailed from Spithead yesterday for the Baltic. At 4 p.m. all the ships, with the exception of the Chanticleer, had weighed and stowed their anchors. The Emerald frigate led the way out of the anchorage under her three topsails, jib, spanker, and foretopmast staysail, before a strong westerly breeze, followed by the Revenge, carrying Rear-Admiral Smart's flag, under her three topsails, jib, and foresail. The St. George came next, under three topsails, jib, and foretopmast-staysail, succeeded by the Trafalgar, under the same sail, with the addition of her fore and main courses; the Galatea, with three topsails, jib, and staysail followed, and the Defence, under her double topsails, jib, and staysail, slowly moved up astern. South of the Warner light vessel the Emerald hove to, and the Admiral's ship passing took the lead of the line. The Trafalgar at the same time passed the St. George and took second place, with the St. George third. As soon as the line-of-battle ships had assumed their proper positions, the Emerald's sails were filled and she fell into her place astern of the St. George. The Galatea came next, followed by the Defence, which now let fall her fore and main courses to enable her to keep in her assigned position. As the Admiral's ship reared the Nab light vessel the Chanticleer had got her anchor at Spithead, and making sail brought up the rear of the line, about six miles astern of the leading ship. From the Nab light vessel a course was shaped to clear the Owers light ship, en route for the Downs, and soon after 5 p.m. the whole of the ships were out of sight from Portsmouth.
We 24 September 1862The St. George screw line-of-battle ship, Capt. the Hon. Francis Egerton, with his Royal Highness Prince Alfred on board; and the Chanticleer, 17, screw, Commander C. Stirling, arrived at Spithead yesterday morning from Kiel, as announced in our yesterday's second edition, and await orders at Spithead. The ships now at Spithead, in addition to the St. George and Chanticleer, are the Emerald, screw frigate, Capt. A. Cumming; the Galatea, screw frigate, Capt. R. Maguire; and the Resistance, screw iron frigate, Capt. Chamberlain. The last-named vessel was undocked yesterday at Portsmouth, and anchored at Spithead in readiness for her official trial of speed at the measured mile in Stokes Bay, ordered to take place this morning.
The Revenge, screw line-of-battle-ship, Capt. C. Fellowes (flag of Rear-Admiral Smart), moved her berth from alongside Portsmouth dockyard yesterday to alongside her hulk, to transfer her crew preparatory to going into dock.
Tu 21 October 1862The Revenge, screw line-of-battle ship, Capt. Charles Fellowes, flagship of the Commander-in-Chief of the Channel fleet, Rear-Admiral of the Red R. Smart, K.H., bent sails in Portsmouth harbour yesterday, on the completion of her repairs and refit, and will rejoin the fleet at Spithead anchorage to-day. The ships now at Spithead comprise the St. George, 86, screw, Capt. Hon. F. Egerton; Emerald, 36, screw, Capt. A. Cumming; Galatea, 26, screw, Capt. R. Maguire; Resistance, 16, screw, iron ram, Capt. Chamberlain; Defence, 16, screw, iron ram, Capt. Augustus Phillimore; Oberon, 3, paddle, Lieut.-Commander Morice; and Virago, 6, paddle, Commander Johnstone.
Fr 23 August 1867



On the evening of Sunday, the 14th inst., a telegram from Capo Frio announced to the port authorities of Rio Janeiro that Her Britannic Majesty's ship Galatea had passed that Cape. Next morning a frigate was seen off the bar of the mouth of the harbour of the Brazilian capital, but until about 2 o'clock p.m. there she lay motionless, and those who were anxiously watching her movements were left to conjecture that the delay in her progress was caused by the natural desire on the part of her Royal commander to wait the setting in of the afternoon breeze from the sea in order that the Galatea might enter the magnificent harbour of Rio under full sail. But if this was the object of the sailor Prince it was not destined to be realized, for the breeze of that afternoon was so slight as not to admit of the frigate carrying sail. So soon as this became apparent steam was got up on board of the vessel, which then slowly passed the renowned rock called the "Sugar-loaf," and, with the Royal Standard of England flying from the mainmast, proceeded to take up her post in the portion of the harbour assigned to the English squadron.

No sooner had the Galatea dropped her anchor than she became the mark for a flight of boats, which were immediately directed towards her; and while a Royal salute was being fired from the shore batteries and from the English, French, Spanish, and American flagships, Prince Alfred was waited upon by Mr. Thornton, Her Britannic Majesty's Minister, accompanied by his secretaries, Mr. Watson and the Hon. Mr. Le Poer Trench; by the English Admiral commanding on the South Atlantic station, Rear Admiral Ramsay, C.B., and his staff, as well as by the several officers commanding Her Majesty's ships now here — Captains Ingram, Mayne, C.B., Lefroy, &c., by the English Consul, and by the Admirals in command of the American, French, and Spanish squadrons, accompanied by their respective Staff officers. Later in the afternoon the Prince was visited by his Royal Highness the Cormte d'Eu, son of the Duke of Nemours, and husband to the heiress apparent of Brazil.

The Emperor had placed his town Palace at the disposal of his Royal Highness, but he elected to remain on board during his stay in preference to going there or to the English Legation. That evening the Prince proceeded first to the English Legation and then returned the visit that had been paid to him by the Comte d'Eu.

On the following morning his Royal Highness landed in state for the purpose of proceeding to the Imperial Palace of Saô Cristovaô. Nothing can be imagined that would exceed in beauty the appearance which the harbour of Rio Janeiro presented on that morning. The atmosphere was sufficiently clear to reveal on the opposite side of the bay the peaks of the Organ Mountains, and it was like a scene in fairy land as the Prince's barge swept across the water, followed in its course by the barges of all the vessels of the English squadron, which at present consist of six vessels besides the Galatea — the Narcissus, the Egmont, the Nassau, the Chanticleer, the Virago, and the Spiteful. All the men-of-war of the various squadrons in the harbour had their yards manned and were "dressed," and each flagship saluted with 21 guns as the Royal standard passed.

The Prince, attended by his equerries and by the members of the British Legation, then proceeded to the Palace of Saô Cristovaô, where he had a lengthened interview with the Emperor and Empress, after his return from which he received a deputation from the British residents of Rio Janeiro.

The visit of the Galatea to Brazil has also its sombre side. On the evening of the 16th occurred the death, from typhus fever, of one of the midshipmen of that vessel, the Hon. Mr. Willoughby, whose remains were the next afternoon followed to the English cemetery by his commanding officer, the Duke of Edinburgh. On the 18th the Emperor of Brazil dined on board the Galatea, and remained till a late hour, and on the following evening the Emperor and Empress, the Princess Imperial, the Comte d'Eu, and the Duke of Edinburgh honoured with their presence a ball given at the English Legation. The grounds had been beautifully illuminated for the occasion, and as the Duke of Edinburgh attended by Lord Newry and Mr. Watson, drove up the avenue in an open carriage belonging to the English Minister, his Royal Highness was recognized by the crowds of on-lookers, whose enthusiasm could scarcely be kept within bounds by the cavalry with which the road was lined. Seven hundred persons had been invited to the ball, and, to judge by the appearance of the rooms, that number at least were present. Their Imperial Majesties opened the ball respectively with Mr. and Mrs. Thornton, and remained at the Legation until nearly 3 o'clock in the morning. No better proof could be adduced of the sincere regard they bear to our estimable Minister, and of the complete success with which his management of affairs has been attended in obliterating every vestige of the general ill-feeling which undoubtedly existed in Brazil towards England, and which for so long a period caused a suspension of diplomatic relations between the two countries. It may be mentioned that, before this, only on one occasion has the Brazilian Emperor during his 40 years' reign honoured with his presence the house of an English representative, and that 30 years ago, when he visited Mr. Hamilton Hamilton. It may be mentioned, also, that His Imperial Majesty presented to the Duke of Edinburgh the insignia of the highest Brazilian order of knighthood — the "Southern Cross."

On the day following that of the ball at the English Legation, Prince Alfred dined at the palace of Saô Cristovaô, those invited to meet him being the Brazilian Admiral Tamandaré, Mr. Thornton and his secretaries, and the foreign Admirals on the station, as well as Captains Ingram, Mayne, and Wilson, R.N.

On the next day the Prince was the guest of the Comte and the Comtesse d'Eu, to whose Palace there were also invited on the occasion the British Minister and Mrs. Thornton and Admiral Ramsay, C.B., which latter gentleman's table the Duke of Edinburgh honoured by his presence on the day following. On the same evening the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as the Emperor and Empress of Brazil, was present at a ball given to his Royal Highness by the English merchants of Rio Janeiro. This fête, for which the sum of 1,500l, sterling was in a few hours subscribed, was well worthy the distinguished personages whose presence graced it. The ball-room of the Casino of the Brazilian capital yields in size and beauty to perhaps no public ball-room in the world, with the exception of that of the Hôtel de Ville, in Paris, and it may, I think, be asserted that until yesterday the walls of that ball-room never re-echoed the stirring sounds of the Scotch bagpipes. Farquharson, the piper of the Duke of Edinburgh, was permitted to attend, and at the request of the northern portion of the English residents and his Royal Highness, took an enthusiastic share in the performance of two Highland reels.

None of those who this morning witnessed the Duke of Edinburgh's departure from Rio Janeiro could fail to see the difference between those observances prescribed for the sailing of persons of rank and the most hearty leave-taking which preceded the departure of the Duke of Edinburgh from Rio Janeiro. At an early hour Mr. Thornton and his secretaries, and Admiral Ramsay and his staff were on board the Galatea for breakfast, and when, previously to her weighing anchor, their boats had left the ship, the stillness which till then had that morning reigned in the harbour was first broken by the sound of music from the Galatea, the band of which vessel played "The Garb of Old Gaul. " This was the signal for which the flagships waited to pour forth their sonorous thunders, the smoke hiding for the moment the Frenchmen, English, Brazilians. Americans, and Spaniards, who manned the yards of the "dressed" vessels belonging to the fleets of their respective nations.

So far the courtesy due to Royalty was observed. What followed was a personal tribute to Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. By signal or by previous arrangements the strains of the English National Anthem, coming simultaneously from the various flagships, suddenly ceased to reverberate; there was a moment's pause, when, loud through the air, awakening the echoes of the hills surrounding this land-locked bay, there arose a deafening, prolonged, and repeated cheer from the concurrent throats of Brazilians, Frenchmen. Americans, Spaniards, and Englishmen. It was a cheer the thorough heartiness of which could not he misunderstood — a cheer which, from thousands of tongues, said to its Royal object, "May all good attend you!"

After this interruption the playing of God Save the Queen was renewed, and when it had ceased the Galatea signalled the word "Farewell" as she slowly steamed onwards on her way towards the Cape of Good Hope.

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