HMS Zephyr (1873)
HMS Zephyr (1873)


The Royal Navy

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NameZephyr (1873)Explanation
TypeGunboat   
Launched11 February 1873
HullComposite
PropulsionScrew
Builders measure 
Displacement438 tons
Guns4
Fate1889
ClassAriel
Ships bookADM 135/519
Note1889 sold as salvage vessel.
1929 broken up
Extracts from the Times newspaper
DateExtract
Ma 3 March 1873The ships to be in hand at Chatham Dockyard during the year 1873-4 will be — the Rupert, 3, armour-plated ram, to complete; the Superb, 12, armour-plated broadside, to advance, 37-100ths; the Téméraire, armour-plated broadside, to advance 21-100ths; the Raleigh, 22, iron frigate sheathed with wood, to complete; the New Bacchante, 22, iron corvette, covered battery, wood sheathed, to commence; the Ariel and the Zephyr, composite gun-boats, each of 4 guns, to complete; the Albatross, 4, composite sloop, to complete; and the Flying Fish, 4, composite sloop, to advance 34-100ths. The number of men to be employed on these ships is 1,865; while for repairs, manufactures, and yards and harbour services, &c., 1,109 men will be employed.
Sa 12 April 1873The new financial year opens with much work going on at Chatham Dockyard, there being no fewer than eight vessels now in hand, and more will be commenced during the year. The ships, of three classes, would form a good fleet by themselves; there are two powerful armour-plated vessels, a large iron unarmoured sloop, and several iron composite gun-vessels. Some have been just commenced, others are almost ready for service. The gun-vessel Ready is to be commissioned early next week, and the Ariel and the Zephyr, similar ships, will be shortly completed for sea; the Ariel has just tried her machinery, with satisfactory results. Messrs. Humphrey, Tennant, and Co., have supplied the engines for both these vessels. Two more gun-vessels, rather larger, have been commenced; one, the Albatross, is to be launched and completed for service this year; but the other, the Flying Fish, will only be advanced about a third. The great turret-ship Rupert is being completed in the river off the dockyard; there is mush to be done to her, but as there are many hands employed on her, it is expected that in a few months she will be ready for her trial trip. The new armoured broadside ship Superb has been recently commenced. The Raleigh, wood-sheathed iron ship, is completing in the repairing basin of the Dockyard Extension. In addition to all the work involved in building or completing these ships, a number of men are now engaged in repairing the damaged turret, and making alterations on board the armour-plated ship Glatton, and in bringing forward the Beacon, a composite gun-vessel, for commission.
Tu 22 April 1873Five vessels for the Royal Navy have been completed during the past quarter, and there are 22 others in course of construction at the various Government dockyards and private firms. The vessels completed are the Encounter, screw corvette of 1,890 (1,405) tons, 2,149 (350) horse-power, which has been built at Sheerness; the iron-screw frigate Raleigh of 22 guns, of 4,653 (3,210) tons, 4,000 (800) horse-power, sheathed with wood, which has been completed at Chatham; the Seaflower, a brig for two guns of 454 (425) tons, built at Pembroke; and two four-guns composite gun-boats, the Ariel and Zephyr, of 408 (303) tons, 360 (60) horse-power, launched at Chatham. The new vessels ordered or under construction consist of the composite steam sloop Flying Fish, of four guns, 727 (879) tons, 120 (720) horse-power, building at Chatham; a 14-gun iron screw corvette of 3,451 tons, and 4,750-horse power, and to be named the Rover, building by the Thames Shipbuilding Company at Blackwall; the Superb, a double screw iron armour-plated ship, for 12 guns, of 9,400 tons, and 9,000-horse-power, under construction at Chatham; and four one-gun double screw iron gunboats, of 245 (254) tons, 28 (168) horse-power, to be named the Gadfly, Griper, Pincher, and Tickler, all building at Pembroke. The other vessels under construction are four composite screw sloops of four guns, 804 (727) tons, and 720 (120) horse-power engines — viz., the Albatross, building at Chatham; the Egeria and Fantome, building at Pembroke, and the Daring at Messrs. Money Wigram and Co.'s, Blackwall; two 14-gun screw corvettes, the Amethyst and Modeste, both building at Devonport; the Assistance, an iron steam troopship, of 2,038 tons, and 1,409-horse power, ordered of Messrs. Green, of Blackwall; two iron screw corvettes, of 14 guns each, cased with wood, 3,912 (2,679) tons, 5,250 (700) horse-power, both under construction at Portsmouth, and to he named the Bacchante and Boadicea; the Blonde, of 26 guns, an iron screw frigate, cased with wood, of 5,696 (4,039) tons, and 1,000-horse power, also building at Portsmouth; the armour-plated turret-ship Fury [renamed Dreadnought prior to launch], to carry four guns, 10,464 (5,030) tons, 7,000 (1,000) hone-power, being built at Pembroke; a composite steam sloop, of four guns, 894 (727) tons, 720 (120) horse-power, to be named the Sappho, building at Blackball by Messrs. Money Wigram and Co.; and three double screw iron gunboats, carrying one gun each, of 254 (245) tons, 168 (28) horse-power, named the Cuckoo, Hyæna, and Weasel, all being built by Messrs. Laird, of Birkenhead.
Th 18 February 1875The Sydney Empire, of the 11th. of December, gives an account of a collision between South Sea Islanders and the schooner Sandfly, 1 gun, Lieut. Howell, which returned to Port Jackson on the 10th of December:—
"The Sandfly commenced her cruise on the 2d of July, on which date she cleared Sydney Heads, and proceeded to Norfolk Island. Nothing of importance occurred till reaching Tapoua, on the 14th of September, in quest of water. A large number of canoes came off on the 17th, but brought no trade. The natives were very friendly and offered the crew inducements to go on shore. A watering party landed, being accompanied by some of the natives, and searched for water, but found none. Early in the afternoon, when most of the crew were below, the natives began firing arrows at those on deck. Orders were at once given to get ready to repel the attack. A few shots were discharged and they dispersed, many taking to the water and deserting their canoes. Twenty of these were destroyed and two villages were fired. On the 20th of September, the island of Santa Cruz was being approached, and extreme caution was exercised, as the treacherous and warlike nature of its inhabitants was known. Canoes fully manned came out to meet the vessel. The largest canoe pulled astern and made signs for a rope to tow with the schooner. They appeared annoyed at not getting one and became impatient. At half-past 10 a.m. anchored in 14 fathoms, 200 yards from the shore, and inside Carlisle reef. Natives came off in great numbers, many of them bringing pigs, cocoa-nuts, &c., which they gave in exchange for articles of trade. Several canoes, however, were well armed and they began to get very thick round the schooner. It was noticed that the boys were all swimming for the shore, and as the natives were detected uncovering their bows and arrows, it was thus surmised that they meant mischief. The marines got their rifles on the after-deck, taking care to keep them out of sight. The natives, who thronged the gunwale in great numbers, were becoming noisy and insolent. A blank shot was fired from the ship's gun, but had little effect in frightening them. At a quarter-past 11 a.m. the natives opened fire with poisoned arrows. Lieutenant Howell discharged his revolver at the leading native, and gave the order to his men to commence firing, which the crew responded to with deadly aim. In an instant the natives were panic-stricken. Those on the vessel's gunwale either fell or jumped into the sea, many of them dead, others wounded and struggling for the shore. The canoes' crews were so astonished at the effect of the rifle shots that they jumped overboard and struck out for the shore. During the short time the engagement lasted, about 30 natives were killed; the majority escaped into the bush. The Sandfly lowered her boats and the crews spent the afternoon in destroying all the abandoned canoes, some of which were very large, and set fire to two of the natives' villages. In the evening the schooner hoisted in the boats and kept a good watch, in case of another attack. On the 2lst of September a watering party proceeded on shore for water, taking a war rocket in the boat, and fired at random into the bush. They managed to get a supply under cover of the rifles of another boat. On the 22d watering the ship was continued. The bush was thick with natives, and a few shots were fired to keep them off. A shell was also thrown from the gun on deck. After the boats had left, at a quarter past 3 p.m., the crews saw the natives at the ruins of their village. One of their number came down to the beach and fired two arrows at the vessel. In return for this a shell was lodged in their midst, and they at once scampered off for the bush. They were not again visible till the 23d, when they came on to the beach, but a few rifle shots soon dispersed them. On the 24th the Sandfly left for Havannah harbour, and then went to Cherry Island. The natives of this place were friendly, and were fine, stalwart men. The schooner called at Api Island on the 20th of August. At this place a boat's crew of the Zephyr had been murdered and eaten some time since. An attempt was made to capture the perpetrators of the crime. As this failed, the village was shelled."


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