Category Archives: Pembroke Dock

Going Dutch: Wales and the Royal Netherlands Navy during World War II

First, apologies for the long delay in getting a new post onto this site – this was due to both other commitments and a shortage of suitable, or, at least, sufficiently substantial, material.

However, I was recently browsing the excellent Dutch maritime collections website, Maritiem Digitaal, looking primarily for suitable material for my new non-fiction book, Kings of the Sea: Charles II, James II and the Royal Navy. Having done so, I then entered a number of Welsh search terms, and came across some excellent links. During the Second World War, for example, units of the exiled Dutch Navy were based in both Holyhead and Milford Haven, and I referred to these sojourns in Britannia’s Dragon. A search of Maritiem Digitaal under the names of both those ports, as well as for related ones (such as ‘Pembroke’), turns up some fascinating supplementary information.

‘Holyhead’, for example, produces photographs of the Dutch warships Hydrograaf and Medusa alongside Pelham Quay in 1943,  as well as a number of images, such as this one, of Dutch Marines training in the Anglesey countryside. There are also a number of photos, including this one, of the funeral at Holyhead in 1941 of M J R Matthias of HNLMS Noordsvarder, of the Stanley Sailors’ Hospital, and of the memorial in St Cybi’s church donated by the Protestant churches of the Netherlands, giving thanks for the area’s hospitality to the Dutch forces during the war. Perhaps we’ll forgive the captions that refer to ‘Holyhead, Engeland’!

A search for ‘Milford’ brings up photos of the Dutch armed trawler Vikingbank in the Haven in 1942, the communications vessel Traversa, and the captain and crew of the minesweeping trawler Gerberdina Johanna in the Haven in 1941. Changing the search to ‘Pembroke’ brings up quite a number of photos of the Dutch forces celebrating Queen Wilhelmina’s birthday at the Pembroke Dock flying boat base in August 1940, such as this one and this one, as well as other photos of her son-in-law, Prince Bernhard, visiting the base.

It’s worth trying several other Welsh search terms, too. Entering ‘Swansea’ brings up, among other things, a passport stamped both there and at Holyhead for Lubbert Kramer, boatswain of the tug Amsterdam, which escaped from the Den Helder naval base in May 1940; and two photos of the SS Texelstroomsunk by a German mine in 1915 when en route from Amsterdam to Swansea (despite being neutral in that war). A search for ‘Cardiff’ reveals several photos, including this one, of Dutch Marines disembarking from HNLMS Poolster in Cardiff docks in 1967, in order to take part in joint exercises with the Royal Marines, as well as a large number of photos of the exercises themselves. Most surprising, perhaps, are a couple of fascinating oil paintings of Dutch naval personnel in Pwllheli during the period 1943-5.

All in all, yet more proof that one can find important material for Wales’ naval and maritime history in all sorts of unlikely places!

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The Milford Haven Lazarette Ships

Anyone who looks at early 19th century charts of Milford Haven will notice a curious feature – a warship, or sometimes a small group of warships, at anchor off Angle Bay. These were in use as lazarette (or lazaretto) hulks, principally for the airing of cargoes of cotton coming into Britain from the Levant, particularly Egypt, and they were a feature of the Haven for over half a century. Strangely, though, their history seems to have been almost completely forgotten: the local museums have no mention of them, and even those well versed in the history of the area seem not to have encountered their story. This is surprising, as the history of the Milford Haven quarantine station and its lazarettes gives the area a direct connection with some of the most famous and interesting ships of ‘Nelson’s Navy’.

The Milford Haven lazarettes on an early 19th century chart (Pembrokeshire Archives)

The Milford Haven lazarettes on an early 19th century chart (Pembrokeshire Archives)

Preventing the entry of plague and other contagions into the British Isles was an important priority for governments in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Ships sailed from the Mediterranean with ‘clean bills’ or ‘foul bills’; if the latter, they had to perform quarantine on arrival. The principal lazarette station was Stangate Creek at the mouth of the Medway, which had been established in 1709; another was sited at the Motherbank off Ryde, with smaller ones in other parts of the British Isles. In 1805, a decision was taken to establish a new quarantine station at Milford Haven. This was formally established by an Order in Council of 5 April 1805, under the terms of the new Quarantine Act; initially, it was to be the station for ships heading for North Devon or Cornwall, or the Welsh coast from Llanelli to Aberystwyth, and was to be an option for ships bound further north, even as far as the Isle of Man and Carlisle, but it swiftly became a port of call for ships bound for Liverpool. The station was to have a superintendent earning  £100 per annum, paid quarterly, plus £1 for each ship on which he performed quarantine, with the balance made up if necessary so he would receive a minimum of £200. The master of each lazarette ship earned £100, plus 10 shillings per ship, a mate £60 plus 7s 6d per ship, and so on. The establishment of the station reflected the fact that the incoming cargo most likely to be infected, Levantine cotton, was now more likely to head for Liverpool as London. In July 1813 Milford was made an alternative foul bill station to Stangate Creek for ships from Mediterranean and Western Barbary, but was not to be used by ships which actually had plague on board; these were to continue to proceed to Stangate, as in the past.

Angle Bay

Angle Bay

The first warship to take up station in Angle Bay was the old Fifth Rate frigate Syren; a plan of her as she was at Milford survives in the collections of the National Maritime Museum. The station was expanded in 1813 by the addition of the old 74-gun Triumph, and by 1816 five ships were stationed there. In 1824, an intense debate took place about the utility of the Milford Haven quarantine station, given the difficulty of moving cleared goods onward from there to Liverpool. By then the station had only one ship, the Triumph, with the Santa Margerita having been moved to Bromborough Pool near Liverpool; ship masters preferred to sail directly there, rather than perform quarantine at the inconvenient and remote anchorage in Milford Haven. Between 1821 and 1823, only 25 ships performed quarantine at Milford – a tiny number compared to the 888 at Stangate Creek, or the 410 at Liverpool. Despite this, it was the second largest facility, possessing two lazarette hulks (before the Santa Margerita‘s move), a hospital ship and a pursuit cutter, with a total of 45 men employed. An outbreak of contagion in the Mediterranean, and the despatch of a very large number of cotton cargoes from Alexandria, led to a huge expansion of the station. Three ships of the line were said to be needed for Milford, but initially only the Dreadnought and Saturn were provided. Even then, their orlop and lower decks were useless due to a lack of venting, while the upper decks were completely exposed to the Welsh weather. Consequently, the nearby royal dockyard at Pembroke Dock was asked to provide the ships with low roofs; the yard also regularly carried out repairs on the lazarettes in later years, and broke them up at the end of their lives. By October 1825, the station had no fewer than nine lazarettes, including the enormous Ville de Paris, together with a hospital ship, the Otter. The staffing and victualling of the station were reformed at much the same time, and in April 1826 Captain John Marshall was appointed superintendent of quarantine at Milford at £350 per annum. Under him were two lieutenants at 10 shillings a day, while another three lieutenants were appointed masters of the lazarettes then in use, the Akbar, Santa Margerita, and Hannibal. The crews of the lazarettes evidently became closely involved with the local community: in July 1826, for example, Robert Salusbury, master of the Hannibal, married a Miss Thomas of Milford. Marshall himself, though, did not stay for very long, being transferred to the command of Stangate Creek in 1827.

The Triumph as she appeared as a lazaretto at Milford; National Maritime Museum via Creative Commons

The Triumph as she appeared as a lazaretto at Milford; National Maritime Museum via Creative Commons

Thereafter, Milford’s fortunes fluctuated. In July 1827, the Akbar and Newcastle were transferred to Liverpool, and the Otter and the Nepean guardship were declared superfluous; the station’s manpower was significantly reduced in April 1828. A cholera epidemic in northern Europe in 1831 led to a sudden flurry of renewed activity, as well as an emergency closer to home – the fumigating apparatus from the ships was sent ashore to deal with an outbreak of fever in Haverfordwest gaol. Only 45 ships cleared quarantine at Milford in 1832, so the establishment lost the Hannibal and  Dragon (although the latter only moved a little way up the haven, to become a floating barracks for the Royal Marines contingent guarding Pembroke dockyard). Further cuts were made in 1844, when one lazarette ship was removed and one mate, one purser, three mariners and two boys lost their jobs; by January 1845, only the Ville de Paris, Milford and Triumph were left at the moorings in Angle Bay, and the first two of these did not survive much longer. The venerable Triumph lasted until she was broken up at Pembroke Dock in 1850, having performed a final service as a floating cholera hospital for the town during the epidemic of the previous year. The last ship on the station seems to have been the Hope cutter, which was taken out of service in 1865.

Warships Employed as Lazarettes at Milford Haven, in Approximate Chronological Order of Arrival

Name Year built Guns Claim to fame Dates at Milford and Eventual Fate
Syren 1782 32 To Milford Nov. 1805; broken up Sept. 1822
Perlen 1804 38 Danish; captured by RN 1807 Fitted for lazarette at Milford, Feb-Mar 1813; transferred to Liverpool January 1821. Broken up 1846.
Triumph 1764 74 Took part in Batle of Camperdown and Calder’s action; commanded by ‘Nelson’s Hardy’, Philip Affleck, Sir Erasmus Gower, etc To Milford October 1813; broken up at Pembroke Dock, June 1850. A huge amount of mercury was said to have been discovered aboard her when she was broken up.
Santa Margerita 1774 36 Spanish; captured by RN, 1779 To Milford 1814; moved to Liverpool 1825; broken up 1836.
Otter 1805 16 Took part in Indian Ocean campaigns, 1810-11 To Milford as hospital ship for quarantine station, 1814; broken up 1828
Gibraltar 1749 80 Spanish Fenix, captured 1780; took part in Battles of the Glorious First of June and Basque Roads Fitted as lazarette for Milford summer 1824, broken up at Pembroke Dock, November 1836
Dreadnought 1801 98 Flagship of Cornwallis and Collingwood; fought at Trafalgar Arrived Milford 29 Sept 1825; transferred to Seamen’s Hospital in Thames, August 1830, lying at Greenwich 1831-57 when broken up
Saturn 1786 74 At Battle of Copenhagen Arrived Milford 29 Sept 1825; became Pembroke Dock guardship and harbour flagship, 1849; broken up at Pembroke Dock, February 1868
Akbar 1801 54 Built in Bombay for East India Company; commanded at one point by Christopher Cole, later MP for Glamorgan Fitted as a lazarette August 1824; transferred to Liverpool, Sept. 1827; sold in 1860s
Milford 1809 74 Built at Milford dockyard*; Fremantle’s flagship in Mediterranean, including at capture of Trieste To Milford June 1825; broken up at Pembroke Dock, July 1846.
Newcastle 1813 60 Commanded at one point by Lord George Stuart, son of 1st Marquess of Bute, and chased USS Constitution in War of 1812 To Milford June 1824; transferred to Liverpool Sept. 1827; broken up 1850.
Tortoise 1805 38 Built for East India Company To Milford November 1824 as coal depot for the lazarettes (until 1838); returned to service 1840s, made several transportation voyages to Australia (http://leyshanfamilytree.com/leyshon/tortoise.html); broken up 1863
Nepean Cutter To Milford November 1825, withdrawn summer 1827
Ville de Paris 1795 110 Flagship of Jervis, Cornwallis, Gambier, Collingwood, Keith, etc To Milford August 1825; broken up at Pembroke Dock June 1845
Hannibal 1810 74 To Milford August 1825; to Pembroke Dock Feb 1833, broken up there in December
Dragon 1798 74 First commissioned by Captain George Campbell, brother of Lord Cawdor of Fishguard fame. In Calder’s action, 1805; helped destroy USS Adams in War of 1812 Fitted as lazarette summer 1824; Marine barracks at Pembroke Dock, 1829-42; renamed Fame 1842 when hauled ashore; broken up at Pembroke Dock August 1850
Mulgrave 1812 74 To Milford as lazarette July 1836, replacing Gibraltar; converted to powder ship at Pembroke Dock, 1844; broken up there December 1854
Additionally the 74 Renown of 1798 was ordered to be fitted as a lazarette for Milford in 1825, but never seems to have gone there; and the Hope cutter was briefly on the station in the early 1860s.

* I will be giving a paper on the curious history and ‘afterlife’ of the short-lived royal dockyard at Milford Haven (not to be confused with its much better known successor at Pembroke Dock) to the annual conference of the Naval Dockyards Society at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, 25 April 2015. This paper will be published in a future volume of the Society’s Transactions.

Sources

  • J Booker, Maritime Quarantine: the British Experience (2007)
  • The Navy List, various editions, 1805-70.
  • Rif Winfield, British Warships in the Age of Sail 1714-92 (2007) and 1793-1817 (2008 edn)
  • Charts and maps in private collections and at Pembrokeshire Archives and The National Archives, Kew
  • National Maritime Museum, plan of the Triumph
  • Nineteenth century newspapers accessed via the British Newspaper Archive, Welsh Newspapers Online, and Swansea Council’s online index to the Cambrian newspaper.

Welsh Naval History on Film, Part 2

Some more discoveries from the archive of Pathe newsreels on Youtube. First, schoolchildren from the Midlands and elsewhere visit the fleet at Aberystwyth in 1919, an incident that I mention in Britannia’s Dragon.

Next, German Panzers arrive at Pembroke Dock in 1961 prior to training on the Castlemartin range.

Another one relating to Pembroke Dock – a Sunderland flying boat based there tracks RMS Queen Mary in 1949.

And now some from sources other than Pathe. Here’s HMS Tenby being broken up at Briton Ferry in 1977.

An air display at the then HMS Goldcrest, Royal Naval Air Station Brawdy, in the late 1960s.

The former RN mine depot at Newton Noyes, Milford Haven.

And finally for this post, the school ship HMS Conway, built as HMS Nile in 1839, aground in the Menai Straits in 1953.

Many thanks to all the cameramen and uploaders!

Welsh Naval History on Film, Part 1

The recent release onto Youtube of all 85,000 or so Pathe newsreels is proving to be an absolute goldmine. I’m slowly working my through the huge amount of naval material, and am coming across quite a few items filmed in Wales, or which have a Welsh naval connection. Here’s a preliminary selection; I’ll post more on this site in due course.

First of all, HM Submarine Universal limps into Pembroke Dock after encountering a storm in Cardigan Bay in 1946:

Another submarine in trouble in the same seas. Can anyone identify it?

Next, some rare film footage from inside Pembroke dockyard before many of the buildings were cleared: the breaking of the cruiser HMS Birmingham in the dry dock in 1931 –

Another scrapping, this time of one of the most famous ships built at Pembroke Dock, the royal yacht Victoria and Albert:

The Reserve Fleet landing craft at Llanelli being mobilised for the Suez operation in 1956:

Next, a 1967 film of ‘HMS Glamorgan, Computer Ship of the Future’ (!!)

…and the final one for this post – Glamorgan again, firing her Sea Slug missiles (location not given, but quite possibly the Aberporth range in Cardigan Bay):

 

The Birth, Death and Rebirth of a Royal Dockyard

(Cross-posted on my other blog, gentlemenandtarpaulins.com)

I spent the weekend in Pembroke Dock, attending the launch events for the bicentenary of the foundation of the Royal Dockyard in 1814. The yard was established to take advantage of the tremendous deep water harbour of Milford Haven, and was intended to be exclusively a building yard. During its history, it built over 200 ships for the Royal Navy, many of which had long or remarkable careers: they included the Erebus, which took part in the ill-fated Franklin expedition; huge ‘wooden walls’ like the Duke of Wellington; ironclads like Dreadnought (1875) and Thunderer; the armoured cruisers Warrior and Defence, which were sunk at Jutland; and no fewer than five royal yachts, including the great Victoria and Albert of 1899. (A full list of the ships built at Pembroke Dock can be found here.) The yard closed in 1926 – I’m currently working on an article about the closure – and later became a flying boat base, playing a prominent part in the Battle of the Atlantic.

HMS Duke of Wellington, launched at Pembroke Dock in 1852 as the Windsor Castle; the Duke died on the day of the launch, so she was renamed after him
HMS Duke of Wellington, launched at Pembroke Dock in 1852 as the Windsor Castle; the Duke died on the day of the launch, so she was renamed after him

The dockyard site was neglected for many years, and many of the buildings were cleared and built over, primarily when much of the site was converted to an Irish ferry terminal in 1979. But two of the original thirteen slipways remain, albeit without the iron covers that were the first ever to be installed in a dockyard, as do the dry dock and caisson, the mast pond, and a number of the dockyard buildings, including the fine row of officers’ houses and the dockyard chapel. The latter, which was restored a few years ago, was the venue for the weekend’s events, which centred on the premiere of a remarkable digital reconstruction of the dockyard as it was in about 1860. This was produced by the Digital Building Heritage group at De Mentfort University, Leicester, and it certainly generated a great deal of interest from both the invited audience on Friday and the general public on Saturday.

The other really positive thing about the weekend’s events, and about the bicentenary commemorations as a whole, is the extent to which the local community has become involved with them. A dynamic team has encouraged people to come forward with their own memories and materials – producing, for example, the diary of the last established workman to be employed in the royal dockyard – and to undertake their own research, for example into the history of their own houses. (The entire town was built from scratch from 1814 onwards to accommodate the dockyard workforce.) It struck me that this is a terrific example of how to involve local people in their heritage, and the numbers present on Saturday certainly suggest that it’s proving to be a tremendous success. I hope to be able to go down to Pembroke Dock for some more of the bicentenary events, and will report back both here and on Twitter!

Interior of the restored dockyard chapel
Interior of the restored dockyard chapel

The Last Voyages to Wales of HMS Colossus [1908] and Cornwall [2013]

HMS Cornwall laid up at Portsmouth, 5 September 2013

HMS Cornwall laid up at Portsmouth, 5 September 2013

With the imminent arrival of the Type 22 frigate HMS Cornwall in Swansea, where she will be broken up, naval shipbreaking resumes in Wales after a gap of some thirty years. This newspaper account, from the Cardiff Times of 28 November 1908, recounts the fate of one of the earliest warships to be scrapped in the Principality, namely HMS Colossus, which had served as the port guardship at Holyhead from 1893 to 1901. A second-class battleship, rather than a cruiser as stated in the report, her design was innovative in some ways but seriously flawed in others. She was the sister ship of HMS Edinburgh, launched at Pembroke Dock in 1882 by the Duchess of Edinburgh, daughter-in-law of Queen Victoria and sister of Tsar Alexander III of Russia.

HMS Edinburgh completing at Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock [photo credit – Tenby Museum]

LAST VOYAGE OF COLOSSUS

The cruiser Colossus, built over 20 years ago, and sold by the Admiralty recently to Mr Ward, of Briton Ferry, to be broken up, has been towed to Barry, where she arrived yesterday. The vessel was stationed off Holyhead for many years, guarding the Welsh port and cruising about the Irish Sea. Twice previously the Colossus formed one of the Metiterranean squadron, and was considered of good fighting strength before the days of the Dreadnoughts. A turret cruiser with a single funnel and guns fore and aft, the vessel looked well in Barry Roads on Sunday, where she rode for some time waiting a favourable wind to dock, a strong westerly gale blowing throughout the morning. The two tugs towing the vessel experienced great difficulty in manoeuvring her. It was impossible for the cruiser to have entered any other port in the Bristol Channel, owing to the fact that she has a draught of 25ft. 6in, In charge of Mr S. Davies, one of the leading Barry pilots, the warship was brought in at the height of the tide in a manner that was highly creditable, considering that almost a gale was blowing and that the cruiser had awkward projections above the deck level. With a beam of 70ft. she could not enter the Lady Windsor lock, and was taken in through the gates leading to the basin. The Colossus has a displacement of 10,000 tons, and after being lightened to the draught of 20ft, by the removal of guns and other materials, she will be towed to Briton Ferry. About 60 men will be employed in the task of breaking up the vessel.

HMS Colossus [1882]

HMS Colossus [1882]

The Launch of HMS Renown at Pembroke Dock, 8 May 1895

The following newspaper account of the launch of a warship at Pembroke Dock is one of several that will be featured on this site. As is clear from this article, until the end of the nineteenth century the Welsh dockyard was building some of the largest warships in the world, while as I have argued in Britannia’s Dragon, ship launches there were some of the largest, if not the largestpublic events in Victorian Wales. As this account of the launch of HMS Renown demonstrates, special excursion trains were laid on from other parts of South Wales; in earlier years, steamers brought in crowds from all along the shores of the Bristol Channel.

Despite the journalistic hyperbole of the article, the Renown was swiftly rendered obsolete by developments in warship design. She was converted into a ‘royal yacht’ for the Duke and Duchess of Connaught’s tour to India, but was sold for scrap in 1914, less than twenty years after being launched at Pembroke Dock. Contrary to the statement at the end of the article, she was the sixth British warship to bear the name, discounting the two renamings mentioned here.

From the Evening Express, 9 May 1895

LAUNCH OF A WARSHIP AT PEMBROKE.

Great Concourse of People Witness the Floating of the Heaviest and Largest Ship in the World.

20120528220857!HMS_Renown_(1895)

HMS Renown

On Wednesday afternoon, at 5.30, the magnificent first-class battleship Renown was successfully launched from Pembroke Dockyard, in the presence of some thousands of spectators, and will, when completed for sea, be a grand addition to her Majesty’s Royal Navy. Excursion trains were run from all parts of South Wales, and, as the weather was fine, a considerable influx of visitors to the town was the consequence. There has not been a launch from this dockyard since February 17, 1894, when the Hazard, of six guns, was sent afloat. The Renown is a fine specimen of advanced marine combative architecture, and from the details that we append it may readily be perceived that she is within herself a veritable fortress of enormous powers of offence and defence, and displaying a very marked contrast of improvement collectively as to weight, armament, and speed to her predecessors launched from this yard and from other establishments, public and private, in the kingdom. The Renown was laid down on January 30, 1892, and is Ship No. 230 of all classes that have been built and launched from Pembroke Dock, the first ships built at Pater Dockyard being the “single-banked” sailing frigates Valorous and Ariadne, of 28 guns each, sent both afloat the same day—February 10, 1816.

The gates of the dockyard were thrown open to the public during the afternoon, when a vast concourse of people commenced wending their way to the scene of the launch at the north-west portion of the yard. The huge ship almost completely filled the dock and shed, her upper structure nearly reaching the high and spacious roof. At her head the Union Jack was flying all day. Her bow was decorated with a shield bearing the Royal arms, encircled by the words, ‘Success to the Renown’, the whole being surmounted by a crown and set off on either side by bannerettes. This appeared to be a new feature, introduced by Mr. Cock, the chief constructor. The platforms erected for the accommodation of visitors, particularly that set apart for the more distinguished ones, were gaily draped with flags, etc. As the stem of the ship and on the port and starboard bows to a distance of some 70 feet towards the stern spacious enclosures had been formed and galleries erected, forming almost an amphitheatre, a raised dais fronting the stem, where the christening function was carried out. and from all these ‘coigns of ‘vantage’ the proceedings could be witnessed. There were several entrances to the enclosure, by tickets, A, B, &c., not necessarily indicative of class, but to prevent accidents by overcrowding and to facilitate ingress and egress to the respective galleries, the arrangements to this end being satisfactorily carried out by the Metropolitan Police, under Superintendent Smith and Inspector Young. The enclosure and galleries were thronged with ladies and gentlemen, including naval and military officers of all branches’ of the service, presenting a most festive and brilliant spectacle, whilst the dock sides, jetty heads, and all other available spaces were filled with the general public. The famous band of the 41st (Welsh) Regiment, under Mr. Monk, played ever and anon until the time for the launching, considerably en- livening the occasion.

The preliminaries of the launch having been arranged, the religious service observable on such occasions was read by the naval chaplain, the Rev. A. Nicholls, M.A. The ceremony of christening was then gracefully performed by Mrs. Balfour, wife of Captain Charles J. Balfour, R.N., the new superintendent of the dockyard. Mrs. Balfour’s first public appearance at Pembroke could hardly have taken place under more auspicious circumstances, and among others in the enclosure with her were Captain Balfour. Lady Catherine Allen, Sir Charles and Lady Philipps, Sir Owen Scourfield, Air. A. P. Saunders Davies, Mr. Wilneld. Mr. A. P. Saunders Davies, Mr. Williamson (director of the dockyard), Colonel Goodeve (commandant of the Pembroke Garrison), Colonel Saurin, Mr. Seymour Allen, and Mr. Cock (chief constructor at the dockyard). A pedestal of carved wood had been erected by the stem of the ship, over the top of which a cord had been drawn, that had been ingeniously fixed and continued round the basement, and from thence leading to the grooves on either bow in connection with the weights suspended over the ‘dog shores’. A very elaborately carved box, lined with blue plush velvet, having within the lid a drawing of the ship, &c., covered with glass, and which contained an exquisitely-formed mallet and burnished steel chisel, was then presented to Mrs. Balfour by the Chief Constructor (Mr. Henry Cock), under whose instructions the lady dexterously severed the cord on the apex of the pedestal, when the suspended weights fell, and the huge fabric glided out into the waters of the haven most majestically, with the Royal Standard of England flying, amidst great cheering, and the band playing ‘Rule, Britannia’. As the huge vessel was leaving the ways a bottle of champagne was smashed on her bows, and Mrs. Balfour, amid the cheers of the spectators, said, ‘I name this ship the Renown; success to her’. The powerful Government steam-tugs Meteor, from Chatham, Perseverance from Devonport, and Stormcock were in attendance, and the Renown (the biggest ship now afloat) was safely moored off the yard. Mr. Williamson, director of dockyards, was present at the launch. The launch was held later in the day than usual on account of the serving of the tide.

Pembroke Dock in c.1896. No. 1 slip, where Renown was launched, is the furthest of the covered slipways. HMS Hannibal, referred to in the article, lies at Hobbs Point; port guardship HMS Thunderer at anchor beyond her. (Tenby Museum)

Pembroke Dock in c.1896. No. 1 slip, where Renown was launched, is the furthest of the covered slipways. HMS Hannibal, referred to in the article, lies at Hobbs Point; port guardship HMS Thunderer at anchor beyond her. (Tenby Museum)

The Hannibal, a considerably bigger battleship than the Renown, will be launched from this yard in May 1896. It is anticipated that a huge first-class cruiser, to be called the Andromeda, of 435ft. in length, to steam 20 knots, with a coaling capacity to run 2.000 miles, will be laid down in the slip the Renown occupied, orders for building which were received at Pembroke Dockyard a day or two ago. The Renown, one of the earliest of the battleships built outside the scope of the Naval Defence Act, is a sheathed armour-clad of light draught, designed to pass through the Suez Canal and to keep the sea for long periods of time in foreign waters. The ship will have a complement of 674 officers and men, and is intended to be fitted as a flagship. Her principal dimensions are—Length between perpendiculars 380ft., breadth extreme 72ft. 4in., mean, draught of water 26ft .9in., with a load displacement of 12,350 tons. Her indicated horse- power is specified at 10,000 with natural draught and 12,000 with forced draught, the estimated speeds to be produced being respectively seventeen and eighteen knots per hour. The Renown is built of steel, with the exception of her stem, sternpost, and shaft brackets, which are of phosphor bronze, the lower part of the stem being so shaped and constructed as to constitute a formidable ram. She is of the central citadel type; the sides of the citadel are constructed of two strakes of ‘Harveyised’ armour, the lower stroke 8in. and the upper one 6in. thick. The ends of the citadel are similarly formed, the thicknesses of the strakes being 10in. and 6in. respectively. Within the citadel the space occupied by the engines, boilers, &c., is protected by a steel deck worked level to within a few feet of the ship’s side, whence it slopes to a point some distance below the water-line. This protective deck consists of two thicknesses of 1in. steel plating on its level part and of 1in. steel plating on its slope. The magazines, torpedo-rooms, &c., are in like manner protected by a steel underwater deck, composed of two thicknesses of 1in. plating, and extending from the ends of the citadel to the stem and sternpost. At the fore and after ends of the citadel redoubts, plated with 10in. armour, are constructed for carrying and protecting the 10in. breech-loading guns, their centres by this means being raised to a height of 27ft. above the water-line. These guns command an all- round fire over the stem and stern, and are revolved and worked by machinery supplied by Sir J. Whitworth and Co. In the event of damage to the steam machinery, provision is made for working them by hand. The armament of the ship, in addition to the four 10in. 29-ton guns situated in the redoubts, includes ten 6in. quick-firing 100-pounder guns located in casements on the upper and main decks. The auxiliary armament is made up of eight 12-pounder 12cwt. quick-firing guns; two 12. pounder 8cwt, quick-firing guns; twelve 3- pounder quick-firing guns, and seven 0.45 Maxims, distributed between the several decks and the military tops. The ship is fitted with five torpedo tubes, four of which are submerged, and provision is made for carrying 22 torpedoes. The complement of boats, armed and otherwise, is similar to that usually allowed to first-class battleships, and is fully competent to perform any service that may be required of them. In action the ship will be fought from either of two conning towers, the forward one being protected with 12in. and the after one. with 3in. armour. The engines are of the vertical triple-expansion type, and are to be supplied and fitted on board by Messrs. Maudsley, Sons, and Field, under their representative, Mr. John Vernon. The ship is fitted with the usual auxiliary machinery, steering, windlass, electric light, fire, &c., is well supplied with all fittings, and commodious quarters for officers and men effectively ventilated. The Renown has been built from the designs of Sir W. H. White, director of naval construction to the Admiralty, and Mr. James Owen, assistant constructor at Pembroke Dockyard, has been in charge of the building operations. The ship, since her stem and keelson were laid, was under the immediate supervision of the then chief constructor of the yard, Mr. J. C. Froyne, who retired from the service on February 5 last, since which time his successor, Mr. Henry Cock, C.C., has carried out the duties most efficiently. The Renown, although a massive structure, is built on fine lines, and is comparatively light in appearance, which is much enhanced by the provision, from quarter to quarter, of a stern balcony, or ‘pleasaunce’, for the use of the admiral or the officer in command, and is enclosed by metal network artistically designed, having a most graceful and picturesque appearance.

The Renown was launched from No. 1 Slip. and from the same spot the following heavy fighting ships were launched:—Edinburgh, March 18, 1882; Howe, April 28, 1885; Aurora, October 28, 1887, and Repulse, February 27, 1892. The only serious accident during the building of the Renown, we believe, was to a shipwright, William Smith, who fell from the ship into the dock (30ft.), on February 26, 1894, and died two days after from his injuries.

The Renown is the third vessel originally possessing that name. The first Renown was launched on the Tyne by Armstrong, Mitchell, and Co., Elswick, for the Royal Navy, in 1887. She was christened Victoria, in honour of the Queen, it being Jubilee Year. The Admiralty transferred the name afterwards to a ship building at Pembroke, which was launched on May 7, 1891, by their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, but ‘My Lords’ again changed the name, and the second Renown became the Empress of India. The present Renown will be taken to Hobb’s Point to have her boilers and machinery placed on board and fitted. In a few weeks she will proceed to Devonport to be fitted for the pennant. The total cost of her armament alone will be £102,458.