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1878 HMS Hecla was built and engined by Messrs. Harland and Wolff of Belfast for the Atlantic trade, in 1878, but was subsequently purchased and adapted by the Government as a twin-screw torpedo depot ship - i.e. a ship intended to accompany a torpedo flotilla to sea, carrying on her deck a number of torpedo boats and their equipment, together with a full complement of stores for mining and countermining.
The armament consists of four 64-pound muzzle loaders, one 40 pound and one 5in. breech-loader, eight machine guns, and four fixed torpedo tubes.
1885 During the naval manoeuvres the Hecla proved her role by repairing the various torpedo boats which came to grief.