HMS Desperate (1849)
HMS Desperate (1849)

Royal NavyVessels

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NameDesperate (1849)Explanation
Launched23 April 1849   
HullWooden Length192 feet
PropulsionScrew Men170
Builders measure1038 tons   
Displacement1663 tons   
Fate1865 Last in commission1863
Class  Class (as screw)Conflict
Ships bookADM 135/129   
23 April 1849Launched at Pembroke Dockyard (or 1849.05.23?)
12 April 1852Commanded by Lieutenant Frederick Hildebrand Stevens, accompanying (as far as the ice) Edward Belcher's expedition in search of Sir John Franklin's ill-fated 1845 North-West Passage expedition
18 December 1852
- 29 March 1854
Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth) by Captain William Wylly Chambers, accompanying (as far as Cape Farewell) Edward Augustus Inglefield (Phoenix), bringing supplies to Sir Edward Belcher's expedition at Beechey Island, Barrow Strait, then (October 1853) Lisbon
10 April 1854
- 8 January 1855
Commanded by Captain Edwin Clayton Tennyson D'Eyncourt, the Baltic during the Russian War
6 January 1855
- 10 May 1856
Commanded by Commander Richard Dunning White, the Baltic during the Russian War
10 May 1856
- 11 November 1857
Commanded by Commander George Melville Jackson, Mediterranean
11 November 1857
- 1 January 1859
Commanded (until paying off at Plymouth) by Commander Robert George Craigie, Mediterranean
19 October 1860
- 24 November 1862
Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth) by Commander John Francis Ross, Devonport, then off Mexico, occupying Vera Cruz, the Mexicans having postponed the payment of indemnities to persons who had suffered in recent revolutions.
31 July 1862
- 7 November 1863
Commanded by Commander Arthur Thomas Thrupp, North America and West Indies
August 1865Broken up at Devonport.
Extracts from the Times newspaper
(various)this gets replaced
We 14 April 1852

PLYMOUTH, Tuesday.

Her Majesty‘s steam-ship Desperate sailed yesterday with all despatch for Woolwich, where she will take in tow the vessels about to proceed in search of Sir John Franklin.
Fr 16 April 1852

SHEERNESS, Thursday Morning, April 15.

Her Majesty’s screw steam frigate Horatio, 22, Captain the Hon. S.T. Carnegie, completed, the adjustment of her compasses yesterday, and was towed to the Little Nore by the Myrtle, where she will this day take in her powder. She is, we are informed, nearly 50 hands short of her complement, which deficiency is for the present to be supplied by the seamen riggers of the dockyard. Her crew are to be paid to-day three months' wages in advance. She is to start forthwith on an experimental cruise to the Scilly Islands, and will not return for 10 days. Her present armament consists of 18 eight-inch guns on her main deck, which throw 56lb. solid, or 68lb. hollow shot, and four ten-inch 84-pounders on her upper deck. Although 381 tons less than the Amphion, 32, she can discharge a heavier broadside. She stows 116 tons of coal, which, when steaming expansively, will suffice for seven days' consumption. On a trial cruise some time since, when light, her average speed per hour by screw propulsion was 8 1/3 knots. The Highflyer is reported to accompany the Horatio on her present trial cruise.
Her Majesty's paddlewheel steam-sloop Basilisk, 6, Captain Gardiner, from Portsmouth, brought to off the Little Nore yesterday afternoon, and soon afterwards came into harbour and let go her anchor.
Her Majesty's screw steam-sloop Desperate, 8, arrived here shortly after the Basilisk.
Her Majesty's ship Nymph was towed yesterday by the Myrtle from her anchorage on the west shore to moorings off the Lapwell.
Her Majesty's paddlewheel steam-frigate Cyclops, 6, has been warped to the north side of the fitting basin, to take on board her stores, &c.
Sa 17 April 1852

WOOLWICH, April 16.

Lieutenant Richard V. Hamilton, of the Resolute, proceeded to Greenwich yesterday to receive the chronometers for Captain Sir Edward Belcher's Arctic expedition, and take charge of them to Greenhithe...
Several lighters will proceed down the river to the Nore to-morrow with extra stores to be put on board the Basilisk and Desperate steamers, which these vessels will convey to the edge of the ice, and then put them on board of the vessels of the Expedition.
The North Star, Commander Pullen, was taken to the middle of the stream to-day to be in readiness to be towed down to Greenhithe to-morrow by the Adder and Monkey steam vessels. The North Star is very deeply loaded, and her decks piled with split logs, to be used for firewood.
Ma 19 April 1852

SHEERNESS, April 18.

Her Majesty's screw steam frigate Horatio, 22, Captain the Hon. S.T. Carnegie, took in her powder on Thursday, and her crew received three months' wages in advance. She was inspected the following morning by Captain the Hon. Montagu Stopford, flag captain to Vice-Admiral the Hon. Josceline Percy, Commander-in-Chief at the Nore, who was accompanied by the flag lieutenant, the Hon. O.W.M. Lambart, and will sail most probably this day on a trial cruise to the Land's-end. The Horatio was built at BursledonExternal link, in 1807, on the lines of the Lively; she is of 1,000 tons burden, and has an auxiliary screw propeller of 350-horse power, fitted on a plan suggested by the late Rear-Admiral Lord John Hay.
Her Majesty's paddle-wheel steam vessel Lizard, Mr. Brockman, master commanding, conveyed Captain the Hon. Montagu Stopford and other officers to the Horatio on Friday forenoon. She at the same time towed the boats belonging to that ship. The Lizard remained alongside during the inspection, and afterwards returned with the flag captain, who mustered the officers and crews of the ships in harbour.
Her Majesty's screw steam sloop Desperate, 8, having completed coaling, came to moorings abreast of the dockyard, and adjusted her compasses. It is stated she will proceed to Chatham for the purpose of towing the Herald, Captain H. Denham, as far as the channel.
Her Majesty's paddle wheel steam sloop Basilisk, 6, Mr. G.H. Gardiner, commander pro tem., will shortly proceed to Woolwich, to assist in towing the vessels destined for the Arctic regions, under the command of Sir E. Belcher, as far as the ice.
We 21 April 1852

SHEERNESS, April 20.

Her Majesty's screw steamer Desperate, 8, and paddlewheel steamer Basilisk, 6, Commander G.H. Gardner, remain in harbour, waiting to receive on board stores and provisions for the use of Sir E. Belcher's expedition, which they will convey to the icy regions.
We 21 April 1852

SHEERNESS, April 20.

Her Majesty's screw steamer Desperate, 8, and paddlewheel steamer Basilisk, 6, Commander G.H. Gardner, remain in harbour, waiting to receive on board stores and provisions for the use of Sir E. Belcher's expedition, which they will convey to the icy regions.
Fr 23 April 1852

SHEERNESS, Thursday Morning.

Her Majesty's paddle-wheel steamsloop Basilisk, 6, Commander G.H. Gardner, and screw steamvessel Desperate, 8, Lieutenant Stevens, left port on Tuesday, at 5 p.m., and anchored at the Nore, waiting the arrival of the vessels forming the Arctic Expedition...
Her Majesty's ships Assistance, 2, Captain Sir E. Belcher, C.B.; Resolute, 2. Captain H. Kellett, C.B.; North Star, 2, Commander William J.S. Pullen; Intrepid, 2, screw steamship, tender to the Resolute; and Pioneer, 2, screw steamvessel, tender to the Assistance, arrived at the Great Nore, from Greenhithe, at 7.30 a.m. yesterday, the first three in tow of the Lightning, the Monkey, and the African steamers respectively. At 9 a.m. Her Majesty’s steamvessel Myrtle, Mr. W.S. Bourchier master commanding, conveyed Captain C. Hope, Superintendent of the Dockyard, and senior port naval officer (pro. tem.), on a visit to Sir E. Belcher, returning at noon with the captains of the several ships, who were entertained at luncheon by Captain C. Hope. A dockyard cutter was kindly placed at the disposal of the officers belonging to the ships in port, for the purpose of affording them an opportunity of visiting the Arctic exploring squadron, of which many availed themselves. At 1 p.m. the Myrtle, with the broad pendant flying of Captain C. Hope, returned to the Nore with the officers, who came into port. Between 1 and 2 p.m. signal was made to the Basilisk, Desperate, and the other steamers to get up their steam, and at 3 o’clock the squadron weighed anchor and started on their voyage, the sailing-vessels being each in tow of a tug-vessel, and carrying with them the hearty wishes of every one for success in the enterprise in which they are engaged. The Basilisk and Desperate will accompany them to the edge of the ice, in order to render any assistance they may require.
Ma 26 April 1852

SHEERNESS, Sunday Morning, April 25.

Her Majesty’s steam-tugvessel African returned to port on Friday morning, having, when near Yarmouth on Thursday, parted company with the ships of the Arctic Expedition, under the command of Sir E. Belcher. When the African left them the North Star was under canvas, the Resolute and Assistance in tow of the Lightning and Desperate steamers.
Ma 24 May 1852

PLYMOUTH, Saturday.

Her Majesty’s screw steam-blockship Sanspareil, 81, in charge of Mr. Biddlecombe and a party of seamen riggers, having been towed out of harbour yesterday at 6 a.m. by the steam-vessels Pike and Confiance, went into the Channel to try her engines, under the superintendence of Captain W. Ramsey, of the Magicienne, and in company with the steam-sloop Desperate, Lieutenant Stevens. The Sanspareil returned at 7 in the evening, and went up Hamoaze; her average speed under steam was 7¼ knots, the engines working well. She is now ordered to take on board all her guns and stores, when her engines will be again tried.
Sa 14 May 1853Phoenix left Woolwich about half-past 5 o'clock a.m. today, having Mr. Taplin, second-assistant to the chief engineer, on board, to report on her speed and working of the engines when tried with all her stores on board and complete in every respect for her intended voyage. On arriving at the measured mile at Sea Reach the time was taken, and on the average of four runs, two down and two up, her speed was found to be 7 2-10 knots per hour, the engines working very satisfactorily. The Phoenix returned to Greenhithe, and was brought up at moorings at that station to have her compasses adjusted.
The Diligence storeship left Woolwich shortly after 4 o'clock a.m. to-day, towed by the Monkey, and will be brought up and remain at the Nore until the whole of the vessels of the Arctic squadron leave the river on their enterprising expedition.
The Desperate screw steam-sloop, Captain William W. Chambers, left Woolwich this afternoon for Greenhithe, where she will remain until the Phoenix has had her compasses adjusted, and some experiments made in taking distances; and when these are completed the Desperate will take the Phoenix in tow as far as the Orkney Islands, in order that the latter vessel may husband her coals, and enter the Arctic regions under the most favourable circumstances.
Th 19 May 1853

18 May 1853

The Phoenix had her compasses adjusted yesterday, and, having completed her magnetical and astronomical observations at Greenhithe, left that station at half-past 4 o'clock a.m. to-day.
The Diligence store ship, Lieutenant-Commander Elliott, with stores for the Arctic expedition, left Greenhithe in about an hour after the Phoenix, and was towed by the Desperate steam sloop, Captain Chambers.
The Breadalbane will join the other vessels of the squadron at the Nore, and she will be towed by the Barracouta steam sloop to Stromness.
Tu 28 June 1853The Desperate, 8 guns, screw steamsloop, Captain William W. Chambers, made her number on demand at 8.30 p.m., yesterday, at 9 p.m. anchored at the Great Nore, and at 8 a.m. this day came into Sheerness harbour from the Arctic expedition. The Desperate left the Phoenix, 8 guns, screw steamsloop, Commander Edward A. Inglefield, and the Diligence transport, within about 15 miles of Cape Farewell, on the 19th inst. It being a dead calm at the time, the Desperate communicated with the Phoenix and Diligence through the day, receiving all letters and official despatches from them. She brings home three sick seamen from the Phoenix. On parting company, the Phoenix took the Diligence in tow, and loud and many were the hearty cheers given by each, until sound was distanced. About seven days previous to their parting company with the Phoenix and Diligence, the squadron fell in with a very heavy gale of wind, when the paddlewheel steamsloop Barracouta, Commander George Parker, with the Breadalbane in tow, parted company from the Phoenix, Desperate, and Diligence, and was not seen again either on the outward or homeward passage of the Desperate. The squadron fall in with a great number of icebergs of considerable altitude, and were for several days previous making their head way through immense masses of floating field-ice. With the exception of the three seamen sent home by the Desperate, the health of the officers and seamen on board the Phoenix and Diligence was excellent, and the parting company proved them in high spirits. There were a number of whales seen, all of which were old fish, and extremely large. The Desperate came home under canvas, in consequence of having exhausted her fuel within about 12 hours' consumption.
Th 13 September 1860The following ships and gunboats in the first-class steam reserve could be got ready for the pendant at a short notice:- The Windsor Castle, 100; the Revenge, 91; the Orlando, 60; the Forth, 12; the Seahorse, 12; the Merlin, 6; and the Hyena, the Gleaner, the Nightingale, the Steady, the Spider, the Delight, the Goldfinch, the Charon, and the Lark. The following, in Keyham steam yard, are in a forward state:- The Howe, 121; the Gibraltar, 101; the Brunswick, 80; the Phoebe, 51; the Narcissus, 51; the Jason, 21; and the Desperate, 8.
We 9 January 1861The Edgar, 91, screw, Capt. James Katon, flagship of Rear-Admiral J.E. Erskine, left Portsmouth harbour yesterday morning, and took up a berth to the eastward of the ships at Spithead. The ships now anchored at Spithead, in addition to the Edgar, comprise the Algiers, 91, screw, Capt. G.D. O'Callaghan; the Trafalgar, 91, screw, Capt. Fanshawe; the Immortalité, 51, screw, Capt. G. Hancock; the Diadem, 32, screw, Capt. G. Cockburn; the Cossack, 20, screw, Capt. R. Moorman; the Desperate, 7, screw, Commander Ross; and the Triton, 3, paddle, Lieut-Commander R. Burton; the whole representing a force of 477 guns, and 4,410-horse power, nominal.
The screw steamship Centurion, 80, Capt. H.D. Rogers, C.B., which left Lisbon on the 30th of December, arrived in Plymouth Sound yesterday morning. She started from the Tagus under steam, with a southerly wind, which continued until the 4th inst., when she was taken aback with east and south-east winds. On Sunday it changed to southwest, and so continued until 8.30 a.m. on Monday, when baffling winds were experienced, and at 2 30 p.m. steam was got up and continued until she reached the Sound. The weather was moderate and fine all the passage home. The Centurion brings only 10 invalids, who were taken from Lisbon hospital, where they were left by the Channel Fleet; she was ordered to go up Hamoaze yesterday afternoon to make good defects; her crew will be paid down and granted leave of absence. The screw steamship St. Jean d'Acre, 101, Capt. the Hon. C. Elliott, which arrived December 29, was left in the Tagus. The Centurion spoke January 4, at 4 p.m. the ship Phoenix, homeward bound.
Ma 14 January 1861Rear-Admiral J.E. Erskine's division of the Channel fleet, consisting of the Edgar, 91, screw, Capt. James Katon; Algiers, 91, screw, Capt. G.D. O'Callaghan; Trafalgar, 90, screw, Capt. E.G. Fanshawe; and the Diadem, 32, screw, Capt. E.G. Fanshawe [should be J.H. Cockburn], left Spithead at 2.30 p.m. on Saturday, under steam, and, passing out by the Bembridge lightvessel, proceeded down Channel, their ultimate destination, being stated to be Lisbon.
The Immortalité, 51, screw, Capt G. Hancock, and the Desperate, 7, screw, Commander Ross, remain at Spithead.
The St. George, 90, screw, Capt. the Hon. F. Egerton, left Spithead at 10 a.m. yesterday for Plymouth, where his Royal Highness Prince Alfred will embark prior to the ship sailing for North, America and the West Indies. Prior to the ship leaving Spithead Col. the Hon. H. Byng embarked onboard, and proceeded round to Plymouth in her.

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