HMS Flying Fish (1855)
HMS Flying Fish (1855)

Royal NavyVessels

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NameFlying Fish (1855)Explanation
Launched10 December 1855
Builders measure871 tons
Ships bookADM 135/181
Snippets concerning this vessels career
16 January 1856
- 23 March 1857
Commanded by Commander Roderick Dew, Portsmouth
4 May 1859
- 15 May 1861
Commanded by Commander Charles Webley Hope, Channel squadron
26 May 1861
- 29 November 1862
Commanded by Commander Warren Hastings Anderson, Channel squadron, then west coast of Africa (the vessel going aground on the Newtown Gravel bank in the Solent on 5 November 1862)
Extracts from the Times newspaper
Sa 22 November 1862A naval court-martial assembled on Wednesday on board the Formidable, 84, Capt. Luard, flagship of Vice-Admiral W.J. Hope Johnstone, Commander-in-Chief at the Nore, and was occupied during the whole of that day and Thursday in the trial of Commander Warren H. Anderson and the officers and crew of Her Majesty’s screw sloop Flying Fish, 6, 350-horse power, on a charge of having run that vessel aground on the New-town Gravel-bank on the night of the 5th of November last. The court was composed of the Capt. Thompson, of the Cumberland, 70, was president. Mr. Knight, solicitor, Rochester, officiated as Deputy-Judge Advocate. After hearing the evidence of the officers of the Flying Fish, and other witnesses examined, the Court was of opinion that the following facts were established:— The Flying Fish passed Hurst Lights at 7 45 p.m. on the 5th of November. The weather was then clear, but it soon became misty. The course steered after passing Hurst Lights appears to have been east, the speed about six and a-half knots, the tide flood, and running about 2½ knots an hour. After passing Hurst lights, when the Flying Fish could only have gone over the ground about 4½ knots, and was therefore abreast Hampsted ledge, the loom of a point of land was seen on the starboard bow, and the course was altered to south-east, half-east, under the impression the point seen was Egypt point, which was really five miles further on. Saturday, 8 20 p.m., the vessel grounded. The Court was of opinion that Commander Anderson showed great want of judgment in not diminishing the speed of the ship to less than 6½ knots after losing sight of Hurst lights, the weather not being sufficiently clear to distinguish more than the “loom of the land” the ship was then passing, and that he also showed great want of judgment in not anchoring the ship after passing Yarmouth roads, when the weather became too thick to see the lights or distinguish the points of land, as it does not appear from his sailing orders that there was any necessity for running the least risk. The Court was further of opinion that Lieut. Eaton, having professed an intimate knowledge of both sides of the Solent, did incautiously volunteer an opinion that the land seen on the starboard bow, previous to the course being altered, was Egypt Point, and that this opinion materially assisted in forming an erroneous judgment on the part of the master; the Court was also of opinion that the master, Mr. Percy V. James, showed great want of judgment in not asking to have the speed of the ship reduced, or the ship herself anchored when the weather became thick; and that he showed culpable negligence and want of ordinary precaution in not testing the distance run from Hurst Lights before altering the coarse to round the land supposed to be Egypt Point. It was held that no blame whatever attached to the officer of the watch, or to the other officers and crew of the Flying Fish, and they were therefore acquitted. Mr. James, Commander Anderson, and Lieut. Eaton were admonished to be much more careful in future, and Mr. James was sentenced to forfeit one year of his seniority as a master. Before separating the Court expressed the opinion that Commander Anderson is in error in considering it unnecessary for the captain to consult the master previous to a pilot being engaged, and that he has been in error in not enforcing their Lordships’ directions regarding the lieutenant’s working the reckonings and taking observations.

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