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HMS Termagant (1847)

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Wooden hulled steam screw frigate, 2403 tons displacement, 24 guns.

Launched at Deptford Dockyard 25 September 1847.

1863 Out of commission.

1867 Broken up.

Source of information here.

The engines, built by Seaward, were unusual. There were two pairs of opposed cylinders. The pair on each side had a common crankshaft driving a large gear wheel. The two large gears meshed with a central pinion to drive the propeller shaft.[1].

1848, August: 'The Termagant, steam frigate, 24 guns and 620 horse power, which was recently launched at Deptford, having been built at that dockyard from a design of Mr. White, of Cowes, and which was subsequently taken to the City Canal to have her engines put on board by Messrs. Seaward, was brought yesterday to Woolwich, and left again to-day for Sheerness, where she is to be completed for sea. Mr. White, Messrs. Seaward, and a numerous party were on board yesterday, and the working of the engines, and speed acquired by her screw propeller gave satisfaction. She is a powerful looking vessel, and with 300 tons of coals and 300 tons of iron ballast on board, draws 18 feet water aft. Her armament will consist of eighteen 32 pounder guns, 56 cwt. each, and 9 feet 6 inches long; two 68-pounder guns, 95 cwt. each, and 10 feet long, on pivot slides and carriages; and four 10-inch guns, 85 cwt. each, and 9 feet 4 inches long, on slides and carriages. She will have a crew of 250 men.'[2]

1849, December: 'The Termagant steam frigate, by White, of Cowes, 1556 tons, 24 guns, 620-horse power, by Seaward, went out on Wednesday under Commander Stevens, of the Blenheim, navigated by Mr. Robert C. Allen, Master of that ship, to the measured mile in Stokes Bay, to make a further trial of her steaming powers — a better result than heretofore achieved being desired by the Admiralty in return for the immense cost of the ship - about £70,000! Captain Ellice, Controller of Steam Machinery, on behalf of the Admiralty, came down expressly to witness and report upon this result. Two members of Messrs. Seawards firm also came down to attend the trial. Mr. Murray, Chief Engineer of the dockyard, went out in the ship, and numerous other officers. She was trimmed as if in commission, and drew — forward, 16 feet 2 inches ; aft, 17 feet 10 inches ; making her 20 inches by the stern. She made six runs at the measured mile, with the following result:—
[Speeds bewteen 6.452 and 10.112 knots]
Mean of means - 8.400 knots per hour. The engines performed all their functions in the most perfect and eminently satisfactory manner, and elicited marked praise and attention from the Admiralty Controller. The trial was under favourable auspices ; the wind was E. with a strong topgallant breeze and smooth water, in which she made the half-circle in 34 minutes. With the tide the wind was on the quarter ; running against the tide, the wind was three points on the bow. The result was considered more favourable than that obtained on her last trial on the 20th ult. She will be docked in a few days, and have divers means tried to improve her, after which she will be tried again with a new screw.'[3]

1849, December: 'PORTSMOUTH: The new screw for the Termagant steam frigate has arrived here, and the ship has been hauled under the sheers in the basin, to have the old one unshipped, and the new one substituted; the latter is 15 feet 6 inches in diameter, with a pitch of 17 feet 3 inches. She will be taken into dock early next week.'[4]

1850 'The Termagant steam frigate, 24, 1,556 tons, and 620-horee power (screw), was tried again to-day on the measured mile, in Stoke’s Bay, when she realised an average speed of nearly 9 1/2 knots per hour. Mr. Grant's distilling snd cooking galley was in work during the trial, and in 12 hours, with the ordinary amount of fire used for cooking the ordinary meal, distilled 500 gallons of pure water from sea water.'[5]

1850 'The Termagant, steam frigate, was removed from it [Angle Dock] yesterday, the beams having been placed over her engine for stopping her mainmast seven feet further forward. The Termagant will be masted and prepared again as an advanced steamer.'[6]

1852 'A very simple but useful invention for steering steam vessels at night is about to be tried on board the Termagant steam frigate, Captain O'Callaghan. It consists of a small lantern, the glass facing the man at the helm, and is placed the bridge of the steam vessel. It exhibits, at the discretion of the pilot the bridge, five coloured glasses, denoting helm amidships, a turn-a-port, a turn-a-starboard, hard-a-starboard, and hard-a-port. The glasses are moved by a small tiller corresponding with the tiller of the vessel, and, being in full view the man at the helm, is immediately seen, and corresponding motion made in the helm of the steamer. It is well known that in stormy weather, from the noise of the wind and engine, the great difficulty there is in conveying orders to the man at the wheel, which has to be repeated and passed to the helmsman, sometimes by one or two persons placed on purpose, whereby time is lost or mistakes may be made. Now, the different coloured lights being seen by the seaman at the helm the confusion and noise of passing the word will avoided. The expense also will trifling. It is the invention of Captain Douglas, R.N., who is now at this port, superintending the fitting of the steering lantern to the Termagant.' [7]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 'Before the Ironclad' by David K. Brown, Seaforth Publishing, 2015: Illustration on p.130
  2. Morning Chronicle, 2 August 1848
  3. Hampshire Advertiser, 15 December 1849
  4. Morning Post - Monday 24 December 1849
  5. Shipping and Mercantile Gazette - Friday 18 January 1850
  6. Sun (London) - Wednesday 14 August 1850
  7. Hampshire Chronicle, 25 September 1852