HMS Aurora (1861)
HMS Aurora (1861)

Royal NavyVessels

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NameAurora (1861)Explanation
Launched22 June 1861   
HullWooden Length212 feet
PropulsionScrew Men540
Builders measure2558 tons   
Displacement3498 tons   
Fate1881 Last in commission1877
Ships book   
22 June 1861Launched at Pembroke Dockyard.
18 November 1863
- 7 September 1865
Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth) by Captain Francis Leopold McClintock, Channel squadron, and - September 1864 - to escort the Royal yacht Osborne, taking the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) to Copenhagen and the Baltic, then (January 1865) North America and West Indies
1 November 1865
- 20 December 1867
Commanded (until paying off at Plymouth) by Captain Algernon Frederick Rous De Horsey, North America and West Indies, senior officer on the Canadian lakes (during the Fenian disturbances)
20 February 1872
- 21 August 1872
Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth) by Captain Benjamin Spencer Pickard, sea-going training ship for boys
21 August 1872
- 20 April 1874
Commanded (until paying off at Plymouth) by Captain Sholto Douglas, 1873 detached squadron, then temporary flagship at Queenstown
15 May 1874
- 10 August 1874
Commanded by Captain William Graham, Coast Guard, Greenock
10 August 1874
- 12 July 1875
Commanded by Captain Trevenen Penrose Coode, Coast Guard, Greenock
12 July 1875Commanded by Captain Henry Duncan Grant, Coast Guard, Greenock
19 June 1877Paid off.
December 1881Broken up at Devonport.
Extracts from the Times newspaper
Th 7 July 1864A NAVAL ENCAMPMENT.-In consequence of the epidemic of smallpox which has appeared on board Her Majesty's ship Racoon, while lying in Leith Roads, it has been resolved to encamp the crew for a time on the island of Inchcolm, near Burntisland, and a supply of tents and camp apparatus from Edinburgh Castle has been sent to the island for that purpose. One of the sailors taken ashore died on Monday in the Edinburgh Infirmary, and several others are lying ill there. Meantime the vessel, which lies off the island, is to be subjected to a thorough purification. Prince Alfred, who came ashore on Saturday, is still residing at Edinburgh, waiting the arrival of the Aurora, Captain Sir Leopold M'Clintock, which it is understood he is now to join. On Monday he visited the studios of Mr. Steell and Mr. Brodie, sculptors.
Sa 16 July 1864The encampment of the crew of Her Miajesty's ship Racoon, Count Gleichen, on the island of Inchcolm, Firth of Forth, is to be broken up to-day. The Racoon arrived in the Forth on the 29th of June to coal before going out on a cruise on the coast of Norway with Prince Alfred. On arriving there two malignant cases of smallpox were reported, and in two other cases the disease seemed to be threatened. The invalids were removed to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, where one of them died after four days' illness, and where the second still remains; the two suspected cases did not prove to be smallpox, and they have recovered. The proposal was immediately made to encamp the crew on shore and thoroughly cleanse the ship. The small island of Inchcolm was selected as the camping ground, and tents were procured from Edinburgh Castle. The Racoon selected an anchorage in the sound between the island and the Fifeshire coast, and about 30 men were left on board to purify and fumigate the ship. The crew were specially inspected by the medical officers, and those who did not show satisfactory marks of vaccination were subjected to the operation. The health of the men on shore has been excellent, and the ordinary sick list has daily been diminishing until it has been reduced not only below the average, but almost to a blank return. The steps taken have not only put a stop to what threatened to be a severe outbreak of epidemic disease, but greatly improved the general health of the crew. On the re-embarkation of the men, and after the necessary preparations have been made for sailing, the Racoon will leave the Firth of Forth and proceed to Fröyen in Norway, where Prince Alfred, who has meantime gone out in the Aurora, will rejoin his ship.
Tu 2 August 1864THE AURORA.- The steam frigate Aurora, Captain Sir Leopold F. M'Clintock, which left about a fortnight ago with Prince Alfred for Norway, returned to her anchorage in Burntisland Roads on Friday afternoon. Since landing the Prince in Norway she has been on a ten days' cruise, during which she has experienced rather stormy weather. She fell in with the Racoon at Christiansand, whither that vessel has gone to receive the Prince again on the termination of his Norwegian tour. It is not certain how long she will remain at her present anchorage.- Scotsman.
Sa 12 November 1864The following is the list of the vessels of the Royal navy which will be armed, and are now being armed, with the new description of 300-pounder and other guns in course of issue. The figures after each vessel specify the number of guns of the description mentioned she will carry. To mount the 12-ton 300-pounders:- Bellerophon, 10; Royal Sovereign, 5; Minotaur, 4; Scorpion, 4; Wiveren, 4; Prince Albert, 4; Agincourt, 4; and Northumberland, 4. To be armed with the 6½-ton guns:- The Achilles, 20; Black Prince, 20; Warrior, 20; Lord Warden, 20; Lord Clyde, 20; Royal Oak, 20; Prince Consort, 20; Royal Alfred, 20; Caledonia, 20; Ocean, 20; Minotaur, 18 ; Agincourt, 18; Valiant, 16; Zealous, 16; Hector, 16; Defence, 10; Resistance, 10; Endymion, 6; Mersey, 4; Orlando, 4, Pallas, 4; Favourite, 4; Research, 4; Enterprise, 4; Amazon, 2; Viper, 2; and Vixen, 2. To mount the 64-pounder muzzle-loader:- The Bristol, 12; Melpomene, 12; Liverpool, 12; Severn, 12; Arethusa, 12; Phoebe, 12;. Shannon, 12; Octavia, 12; Constance, 12; Sutlej, 12; Undaunted, 12; Impérieuse, 12; Aurora, 12; Leander, 12; Bacchante, 12; Emerald, 12; Phaeton, 12: Narcissus, 12; Forte, 12; Euryalus, 12; Topaz, 12; Newcastle, 12; Liffey, 12; Immortalité, 12; Glasgow, 12; Clio, 8, North Star, 8 [laid down 1860, cancelled 1865]; Racoon, 8; Challenge[r], 8; and Menai, 8 [laid down 1860, cancelled 1864]. The following will be supplied with the 64-pounder breech-loaders:- The Scout, 8; Rattlesnake, 8; Cadmus, 8; Scylla, 8; Barossa, 8; Jason, 8; Charybdis, 8; Wolverine, 8; Pylades, 8; Orestes, 8; Pearl, 8; Pelorus, 8; Satellite, 8; Acheron, 4 [laid down 1861, cancelled 1863]; Shearwater, 4; Valorous, 4; Furious, 4; Bittern, 4 [laid down 1861, cancelled 1863]; Magicienne, 4; and Columbine, 4. A supply of the 6½-ton smooth-bore 100-pounder wrought iron guns has already been received at Chatham, and it is understood that the first supply of the 300-pounder rifled 12-ton Armstrong gun may shortly be expected at the Ordnance wharf.
Th 22 December 1864The Edgar, 78, screw line of battle ship, Capt. G.P. Hornby, flagship of Rear-Admiral Sidney Colpoys Dacres, C.B.; and the Aurora, 35, screw frigate, Capt. Sir Leopold M. M'Clintock, have both hauled off from alongside Portsmouth Dockyard, and having completed their refit and painting will be ready in a few days for sea. It is not probable that either of the ships will be out of harbour until after Christmas at the earliest, as their services are not urgently required elsewhere.
Ma 9 December 1872The Aurora, 28, screw frigate, Capt. Sholto Douglas, is ordered to join the Detached Squadron, and will probably leave Plymouth Sound to-day for the rendezvous in Portland Roads
Fr 20 December 1872Shortly before 12 o'clock on Wednesday morning the Flying Squadron, which for the past fortnight have been rendezvousing inside Portland breakwater, left for a short cruise. The vessels consisted of the Narcissus, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Frederick Campbell, the Immortalité, the Doris, the Topaze, the Valorous, and the Aurora. They proceeded under steam to the westward. It is expected the fleet will return either on Sunday or Monday.
Sa 21 December 1872The detached squadron, comprising the following ships, put into Plymouth Sound yesterday for shelter from the southerly gale blowing in the Channel :- The wood-built unarmoured screw frigates Narcissus, 28, Capt. J.O. Hopkins, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral F.A. Campbell, commanding-in-chief the squadron; the Aurora, 23, Capt. Sholto Douglas; the Immortalité, 23, Capt. W. Graham; the Doris, 24, Capt. W.H. Edye, and the Topaze, 31, Capt. E. Hardinge; the Narcissus has started her cutwater and the Aurora her bowsprit, which, with other defects, will necessitate their going into the harbour at Devonport to repair.
Tu 24 December 1872The screw frigates Topaze, 31, Capt. Hardinge, and Doris, 24, Capt. W.H. Edye, proceeded from Plymouth Sound to the westward yesterday morning, to relieve homeward bound vessels.
The screw frigate Aurora, 28, Capt. Sholto Douglas, moved from the Sound into the harbour at Devonport yesterday, to have defects remedied; the two other ships of the detached squadron, the Narcissus, flagship of Rear-Admiral F.A. Campbell, and the Immortalité, remain in Plymouth Sound.
Tu 24 December 1872


Sir,- Allow me to correct the paragraph concerning the movements of the "Detached Squadron" under the command of Rear-Admiral F.A. Campbell, which appeared in The Times of the 20th inst. - viz., "the vessels consisted of the Narcissus, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral F. Campbell; the Immortalité, the Doris, the Topaze, the Valorous, and the Aurora. They proceeded under steam to the westward."
The squadron, which consisted only of the Narcissus (flag), the Immortalité, the Topaze, the Aurora, and the Doris, left Portland Roads at noon on Wednesday, the 18th. inst., under sail alone, proceeded to the westward, and put into Plymouth Sound at noon to-day through stress of weather, no steam having been used by any of the squadron during the cruise.
I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
Ma 13 January 1873The Aurora, 28, screw frigate, Capt. Sholto Douglas, steamed from the basin at Devonport Dockyard into Plymouth Sound on Saturday. Several petty officers and able seamen, in the various messes, who, from the evidence adduced at the recent Court of Inquiry, appear to have originated the disturbance on board the Aurora, are to be dismissed the ship and disrated. No change will occur among the officers, and the Aurora will remain with the Squadron.
Sa 18 January 1873The unarmoured screw frigate Endymion, Capt. Maddan, sailed from Spithead about 3p.m. yesterday, for the present anchorage of the Detached Squadron in Vigo Bay. The frigate left Spithead under all plain sail, with a light breeze from about west-north-west.
The Doris, 24 screw frigate, Capt. W.H. Edye, will sail from Plymouth Sound for Vigo on Monday morning, and will take a mail for the Narcissus, Topaze, and Aurora.
Th 23 January 1873Letters for the ships of the Detached Squadron, Narcissus, Topaze, Endymion, Doris, and Aurora, may be sent to Madeira by mail of the 25th. inst., after that date to Barbadoes until further notice.
Ma 3 February 1873The ships of the Detached Squadron having been delayed by bad weather, letters for the Narcissus, Topaze, Aurora, Doris, and Endymion should be sent by mail of the 5th. inst. to Madeira, instead of Barbadoes.
We 26 February 1873Private letters received at Woolwich from Vigo report the arrival at that port of the Flying Squadron, under the command of Rear-Admiral F.A. Campbell, consisting of the Narcissus, 28, flagship, Capt. J.O. Hopkins; the Aurora, 23, Capt. S. Douglas ; the Doris, 24, Capt. W.H. Edye; the Endymion, 22, Capt. E. Maddon; the Topaze, 31, Capt. E. Hardinge. The passage from Plymouth was very boisterous, the whole of the ships of the squadron having encountered tremendous weather in the Bay of Biscay, the hurricane lasting from the forenoon of the 18th to the 27th ult. The Aurora, the Narcissus, and the Topaze each lost a man overboard, The Aurora was battened down for three days, leaking much from her continued labouring, and the Topaze encountered such a succession of tremendous seas as rendered it doubtful whether she would be able to recover herself. The whole of the vessels sailed for Barbadoes on the 6th inst, where they will be joined by the Immortalité, 28, Capt A.M'L. Lyons.
Tu 1 April 1873The Flying Squadron, under command of Rear-Admiral F.A. Campbell, arrived at Barbadoes on the 4th of March, 10 days from Madeira and 26 days from Vigo. The squadron left Madeira with a north-east wind and had a pleasant run down the Trades, which were met with on the 25th of February. Typhoid fever has broken out on board the Narcissus and Doris, the flagship having several serious cases, besides about 50 men on the sick list suffering from boils and ulcers. The military medical authorities at Barbadoes declining to take the fever patients into their hospital, Admiral Campbell sent the Doris with her own sick and with 14 others from the Narcissus to Bermuda. The fever is attributed to the water taken on board at Vigo, although it was tested previously and pronounced perfectly good. The sailing qualities of the ships as tested during the cruise place them in the following order of merit:- Aurora, Narcissus, Topaze, Doris, and Endymion. The squadron will leave Barbadoes on the 14th. of March for Trinidad, en route for Port Royal.
We 23 May 1877The Immortalité, 28, Acting Capt. Noel, which, with the Newcastle, 31, Capt. Douglas, arrived at Portsmouth a few days ago on the termination of the cruise of the Detached Squadron, was paid off, all standing, on Monday morning.
The Immortalité was commissioned at Portsmouth on the 14th of October, 1872, by Capt. Algernon M'L. Lyons, and on the 8th of December arrived at Portland, the rendezvous of Admiral Campbell's squadron. A few days later, the squadron, which consisted of the Narcissus (flagship), Immortalité, Aurora, Endymion, and Doris, anchored at Plymouth. After a short stay, the Immortalité was despatched to the Irish Channel in search of a derelict, the Margaret Pollock, which Captain Lyons succeeded in finding. Owing, however, to a continuance of heavy gales, he was unable to keep in company with her, and as his ship had started a serious leak it was deemed advisable to return to port, and she accordingly put back to Portsmouth on the 6th of January, 1873. The necessary repairs took more than a month to complete. In the meantime Admiral Campbell left with the other ships of the squadron for Madeira and the West Indies, the Immortalité joining company with them at Barbadoes on the l1th of March. The squadron then proceeded to Trinidad, thence to Jamaica, touching at several ports in the Windward Islands and at St. Domingo, and onward to Halifax, where orders reached them to proceed to Gibraltar, which port they reached on August 8, 1873. The squadron was then employed for some months on the coast of Spain in consequence of certain difficulties arising out of the Civil War in that country, and more particularly on account of the Intransigentes, who, having possessed themselves of several Spanish men-of-war, were behaving in a somewhat novel and irregular manner. The squadron cruised about from port to port, sometimes singly and sometimes in company, the officers taking the opportunity offered by their stay at Malaga to visit Granada, Seville, and Cordova. On the 17th of November the Immortalité was detached on a cruise to the coast of Morocco, as the bearer of the usual congratulations to the new Emperor on his accession to the Throne; and having first called at Tangier to embark the Moorish Minister, Seyd Mahomed Bargash, family, and suite, she proceeded to Rabat, where the Emperor was residing with a large following of motley, but picturesque, troops. Capt. Lyons and some of his officers were presented to the Emperor. After this incident the squadron was ordered to Malta, and, after refitting, cruised on the station until June, when it returned to Gibraltar, having visited Corfu, Athens, Smyrna, Candia, Palermo, Sardinia, and other places. The Doris was then ordered to Halifax, but the remainder of the ships returned to England, where they were paid down and new captains and several officers appointed, Rear-Admiral Randolph being placed in command. On the 20th of September, l874, the squadron, which now consisted of the Narcissus, Immortalité, Topaze, Newcastle, Raleigh, and Doris, the Immortalité being commanded by Capt. Hume, again left England, and, after touching at various places, arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on the 3d of April, 1875, where they remained a mouth to refit. The vessels returned to Gibraltar by St. Helena, Ascension, and St. Vincent, and shortly afterwards received orders to repair to Bombay to await the arrival of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales; Rear-Admiral Rowley Lambert, C.B., being at the same time appointed to the command. The squadron arrived at Bombay on the 6th of September, after a tedious passage of 91 days, and one week at the Cape, which was not more than sufficient for the performance of all necessary duties. Everybody in the squadron had opportunities of visiting famous places, seeing wonderful sights, and receiving Indian hospitality. After a considerable stay at Bombay the squadron visited Colombo, Trincomalee, and Calcutta, and then returned to Bombay. The orders were out, and the ships were to have sailed in a week for the Suez Canal, when, owing to Chinese troubles, a telegram arrived in time to arrest their return and to despatch four ships - the Narcissus, Immortalité, Topaze, and Newcastle - to Singapore and Hongkong, where they arrived on the 7th of April, 1876. The squadron remained in Chinese waters during the negotiations between the two Governments, and visited Shanghai, Amoy, Japan, Chefoo, and Talien. When at Chefoo Admiral Lambert hoisted his flag on board the Immortalité, and proceeded to the Taku Forts, at the mouth, of the Peiho River. Here the Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Ryder, and Staff, accompanied by Sir Thomas Wade and Admiral Lambert and Staff, proceeded up the river in the Vigilant and Mosquito to Tientsin, and thence to Pekin. Several officers of the Immortalité also visited Pekin and the great wall of China. Affairs having by this time been satisfactorily settled by diplomatic means, the squadron returned to Hongkong in November, 1876, and, having refitted, proceeded home, via the Mauritius, Cape of Good Hope, St. Helena, Ascension, and St. Vincent, arriving at Plymouth on the 11th inst.
In the first year of her commission the Immortalité sailed over 12,309 miles, and was 109 days at sea; in the second; 10,309 miles and 106 days; in the third, 32,423 miles and 228 days; in the fourth, 14,491 miles and 134 days; and in the fifth, 16,824 miles and 120 days. During the whole commission, therefore, she had sailed over 86,356 miles, and been 897 days at sea, and 975 days in harbour, including 175 days fitting out, docking for repairs on her return from the Irish Channel, paying down and fitting out the second time at Portsmouth. In the five years she was 111 times in port, and visited 76 different ports, of which 69 were foreign and colonial. The following are the names of the officers who have served in the Immortalité the whole of her commission, from October, 1872 :- Commander Alan B. Thomas, Lieut. of Marines T.K. Byam, Chaplain, the Rev. A. Nicholls, B.A.; Paymaster, W. Warburton; Sub-Lieuts. J. W. Litle and Montgomerie; Surgeons C.G. Wodsworth and I.H. Anderson; Engineer, G.F. Greaves; boatswain, John Mahoney; acting Sub-Lieut. Haswell, and Navigating Sub-Lieut. Scott. Fleet Surg. J.C. Ingles served from the 4th of February, 1873. The Immortalité will be paid off into the 4th Division of the Steam Reserve, and, as her hull is sadly out of repair, she will not probably be again called upon for service at sea.

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