HMS Recruit (1855)
HMS Recruit (1855)

Royal NavyVessels

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NameRecruit (1855)Explanation
AcquiredJanuary 1855
Builders measure540 tons
Displacement468 tons
Ships book
Noteex-Prussian Nix, launched 1851
Snippets concerning this vessels career
February 1855Commanded by Lieutenant George Fiott Day, Black Sea during the Russian War
15 December 1855
- 25 February 1859
Commanded by Commander Henry Frederick McKillop, Mediterranean
26 February 1859Commanded by Commander David Spain, Mediterranean
24 July 1863
- 7 September 1863
Commanded by Commander George Frederic Cottam, fitting for the west coast of Africa (but apparently not dispatched)
Extracts from the Times newspaper
Th 1 January 1863The Prometheus, 5, 200-horse power, which was undocked at Chatham Dockyard a few days since to allow of the iron paddlewheel steamer Recruit, 6, 160-horse power, being placed in the same dock to undergo some very extensive repairs, is ordered to be thoroughly surveyed by several of the master-shipwrights connected with the various dockyards, with the view to ascertain whether the defects in that vessel are of such a nature as to allow of her repair. During the time the Prometheus was in dock she underwent a survey at the hands of the dockyard officials, the result of which was the discovery that most of her timbers were exceedingly rotten and her planking very defective. Her engines and machinery have been taken out and placed in the dockyard, and should the special report to the Admiralty be unfavourable she will either he broken up or sold out of the service. The Prometheus is not an old vessel, and nearly the whole time since she was built she has been employed on the coast of Africa.
Tu 6 January 1863The iron paddlewheel steamer Recruit, in dock at Chatham, is to have her boilers taken out in order that a thorough examination of her hull may be made, to ascertain whether she will require a new bottom. She will be accordingly undocked and placed under the floating shears in the harbour, and as soon as she has unshipped her boilers will be redocked. The repairs to this ship already in hand will occupy some time, and will detain her in dock some two or three months.
Sa 17 January 1863A numerous party of shipwrights and other mechanics are employed on the iron paddlewheel steamer Recruit, 6, 160-horse power, in No. 4 dock at Chatham, where that vessel is undergoing some extensive repairs preparatory to being commissioned. At present she has her decks ripped up and her paddleboxes removed, in order to he supplied with new ones. She is also being furnished with new bulwarks. Her engines, boilers, and machinery have undergone a thorough overhaul at the hands of the dockyard officials, and a report of their condition forwarded to the Admiralty. In the internal fittings of the Recruit provision is to he made on board for the following quantity of shot and shell:- 240 filled 32-pounder shells; 15 filled and 20 empty of the common, and 10 filled and 30 empty of the segment 20-pounder shells; and five boxes of the 12-pounder diaphragm shells. Her solid shot will include 480 32-pounders and 60 20-pounders. In the powder magazines she will take 73 cases of pentagon whole, and five cases of metal-lined half.
We 4 February 1863Instructions have been given to Messrs. Allen and Co. to fit their engine-room telegraphs on board the Royal Oak at Chatham, similar to those fitted on board the Warrior. The Recruit iron paddlewheel steamer, at Chatham, is also to be fitted with an engine-room telegraph, with one deck dial only.
Fr 19 June 1863The iron frigate Recruit, 6, 150-horse power, has nearly completed her heavy repairs at Chatham dockyard, which have been in hand several months, and will be ready for floating out of dock during the ensuing spring tides. The starboard side of her hull has been coated with one of the numerous new anti-corrosive substance, for the prevention of fouling in the bottoms of our iron ships, which are constantly being brought under the notice of the Admiralty. The composition applied to the bottom of the Recruit is the invention of Mr. Crispin, but instead of being placed on the iron in its original state, the ship’s bottom was previously covered with red lead, which is stated to be detrimental to the efficacy of the new composition. It has long been matter of surprise that none of our eminent chymists have directed their attention to the preparation of a substance which will effectually prevent fouling, the compositions brought under the notice of the Admiralty up to the present time being more or less failures. Both fortune and fame are to be made in the discovery of an effecfual anti-fouling composition for iron ships’ bottoms.
Tu 8 September 1863The Recruit, 6, 160-horse power, Commander George F. Cottam, iron paddlewheel steamer, was put out of commmision yesterday in Chatham harbour, and her officers and crew turned over to the Speedwell, 5, 80-horse power. The paddlewheel steamer Medusa, 4, 312-horse power, Master-Commander J. Loanc, steamed into the harbour at an early hour yesterday morning and received on board the officers and crew of the Recruit for conveyance to the Speedwell, at Woolwich. Commander Cottam hauled down his pennant yesterday afternoon. Upward of 12,000l. have been spent in repairing the Recruit and fitting her for sea. She goes into the first-class steam-reserve until final orders respecting her have been received from the Admiralty. Her Internal fittings, bulkheads, &c., are undisturbed.
We 9 September 1863The Speedwell gunboat, 428 tons and 80-horse power now fitting for service in the inner basin at Woolwich, was yesterday commissioned by Mr. George Metter for Commander George Cottam, late of the Recruit, the officers and crew of the latter vessel having been transferred to the Speedwell. The crews are berthed for the preseut on board the receiving ship Salsette, as the Speedwell is not expected to be ready for sea before the end of October. Her armament will consist of one 68-pounder, 95cwt. pivot gun, two 24-pounder howitzers, and two 20-pounder Armstrong guns. Commander Cottam has borne the brunt of much hard and dangerous service. His appointment to the gunboat Speedwell is therefore a matter of surpvise, and is accounted for on the supposition that the Speedwell is the only vessel of that class now to be commissioned, and that the gallant Commander’s services will be requited shortly by his removal to a more honourable command.
We 16 September 1863The Duncan, 74, old sailing ship, which is being broken up in No. 3 dock at Chatham,will be out of the shipwright’s hands by the end of the first week in October, when the dock will be entirely cleared in readiness for the reception of the iron paddlewheel steam frigate Recruit, 6, 150-horse power, which is once more to be docked, in order to discover the locality of a leak, and for a few slight repairs. Since she has been lying in the harbour her bottom has become very foul, and is largely encrusted with weeds and animalculae.
Tu 6 October 1863By direction of the Admiralty the apparatus invented by Captain H.F. M'Killop for cleansing the bottom of iron ships from seaweed and other marine incrustations, is to be tried at Chatham dockyard. Their Lordships have directed the first trial to be made on the bottom of the iron paddlewheel steamer Recruit, which is to be placed at the disposal of Captain M'Killop. The chief merit of the invention lies in there being no necessity for placing iron ships in dock every time their bottoms require cleansing. If the trials ordered to be made should prove satisfactory the invention will prove of the greatest possible benefit, as the only drawback to the use of iron ships for lengthened voyages undoubtedly is to be found in the necessity which periodically exists for placing them in dock to undergo the cleansing process. An examination was yesterday made of the bottom of the iron steamer Recruit by some of the staff connected with the master shipwright's department, when it was found to be exceedingly foul, many of the weeds which thickly cover her bottom being from one to three feet in length, while the other marine incrustations were likewise found to be very thick. The bottom of the Recruit had been payed over with one of the anti-fouling compositions, none of which have proved better than the Admiralty mixture of coal-tar and naphtha. After the Recruit has been treated according to Captain M'Killop's method she will be placed in dock in order to ascertain the extent to which her bottom has been cleansed.
Tu 13 October 1863The iron frigate Achilles, under construction at Chatham, is to have her bottom covered with Hayes's composition to prevent fouling before being undocked. At the request of the Admiralty, Mr. Hayes and Mr. Crispin are to inspect the bottom of the iron steamer Recruit, to which both their compositions were applied before the incrustations and accumulations on the bottom of that vessel are removed.
We 14 October 1863An official inspection was yesterday made by the authorities at Chatham dockyard, on the part of the Admiralty, of the iron paddlewheel steamer Recruit, 6, 150-horse power, which was placed in No. 3 dock on the previous afternoon to enable a survey to be made to ascertain the results of the trials with the invention by Capt. H.F. M'Killop for cleansing the bottoms of iron ships afloat, These, by direction of the Admiralty, were ordered to be tried on the Recruit, which was placed in the hands of the inventor for that purpose. During the time the Recruit was in dock at Chatham, fitting for commission, her port side was paid over with the anti-corrosive composition by Mr. Hay, the Admiralty chymist, and on her starboard side was applied a new auti-fouling mixture, which had been submitted to the Admiralty by the inventor, Mr. Crispin. Both compositions - as, indeed, has been the case, more or less, with every invention of the kind hitherto brought under the notice of the Admiralty - have turned out to be complete failures, as, on the water being pumped out of the dock in which the Recruit had been placed every square inch of the surface of her hull below the water-line was found thickly coated with weeds, sea grass, barnacles, and various kinds of animalcule. The appearances of the two sides of the vessel were, however, very different. On the starboard side, to which Mr. Crispin's invention had been applied, the entire surface was covered with grass, about a foot in length, with which were mixed thousands of sea worms and barnacles. A minute examination led to the discovery that every portion of the composition had been eaten away from the iron-plates, leaving nothing but the coating of red lead applied by the dockyard workmen. On the port side Mr. Hay's composition was found to be still adhering to the iron-plates, which were coated over the length of the vessel with a kind of fibrous seaweed, from one to two or three inches in length, and swarming with small shell fish. In some parts of this portion of the vessel's bottom the weeds were longer and more matted than on the starboard side, while the barnacles here were also very large, the composition being completely penetrated, and the iron-plating exposed. Altogether the bottom of the Recruit, which had only been 12 weeks out of dock, was more thickly covered with marine formations than many iron vessels which had been 12 months afloat. Only a portion of the vessel's hull was selected by Capt. M'Killop to be experimented upon, extending about 12ft. on the aft side of each of the sponsons. The plan adopted in removing the fouling from iron ships is to sink a kind of large tarpaulin, of about 20 feet in width, and of sufficient length to be passed completely under the vessel's keel, and brought up on the opposite side. The four sides or edges of the apparatus are made air-tight, and on being filled with air acquire a buoyancy which makes it cling to the vessel with great force. A mixture of creosote, lime, and some other substances being spread over the centre of the tarpaulin, the whole remains under water, and in the course of some three or four hours the mixture being acted upon by the water destroys every portion of the growth on the ship's bottom. Although Capt. M'Killop's invention had succeeded in removing a considerable part of the incrustations on the sides of the Recruit, yet the cleansing process was only partial, the keel, especially, showing a vast accumulation of seaweed and barnacles altogether untouched. The opinion pronounced by the dock-yard officials was unfavourable to the invention, but provided the apparatus can be easily applied there appears to be no reason why it should not, in a measure, answer in the case of iron ships taking a long sea voyage, and, therefore, unable to be docked, excepting at distant intervals. On the other hand, it would be necessary to ascertain whether the powerful composition of creosote and lime has any, and, if so, what effect upon the plates of iron ships. It should be stated that Captain M'Killop considers his invention to be more successful in realizing the object sought when tried at sea than in harbour, as the passage of the vessel through water would more effectually wash off the accumulations removed than can be effected in the case of a ship moored in a river or harbour.
Ma 19 October 1863An official report has been made to the Lords of the Admiralty of the result of the recent experiments made at Chatham by Captain M'Killop, R.N., with his canvas machine for cleansing ship's bottoms afloat. The results quite justifies the recommendations. The simplicity and portability of the machine, as well as the moderate cost, are further recommendations in its favour.

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