HMS Iron Duke (1870)
HMS Iron Duke
|Name:||HMS Iron Duke|
|Laid down:||23 August 1868|
|Launched:||1 March 1870|
|Commissioned:||1 April 1871|
|Reclassified:||Converted to coal hulk 1900|
|Fate:||Sold for scrap 15 May 1906|
|Class and type:||Audacious class battleship|
|Length:||342 ft 3 in (104.32 m)|
|Beam:||54 ft (16 m)|
|Draught:||23 ft 3 in (7.09 m)|
|Propulsion:||Coal fired reciprocating steam engines by Ravenhill
4,830 hp (3.3 MW) total
|Sail plan:||Full rigged ship|
|Speed:||13 knots (24 km/h)|
|Armament:||10 × 12 ton 9-inch (229 mm) RML guns
4 × 6 in (152 mm), 64 pounder (29 kg) RML 'chaser' guns (two at bows and two at stern)
|Armour:||Iron plating with teak backing
Belt: 6 to 8 in (152 to 203 mm)
Battery: 4 to 6 in (102 to 152 mm)
Bulkheads: 4 to 5 in (102 to 127 mm)
|Part of:||China Squadron 1871-1875, 1877-1883 (flagship)
First Reserve Squadron 1875-1877
Channel Fleet 1885-1890
She was originally to have been called HMS Duke but she was nicknamed Iron Duke during construction as she was armoured unlike many other vessels under construction. The phrase was already in circulation as it was a nickname given to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The name was adopted when she was launched at Pembroke shipyard.
She became the flagship of the China Station on 31 August 1871, one of the first large ships to use the Suez canal to reach there. In an age of inefficient engines, her full sailing rig made her particularly suitable for operations in the Pacific Ocean. She returned to the UK in 1875 and joined the First Reserve Squadron.
On 1 September 1875 during the squadron's summer cruise she was en route with several other ships between Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire) and Queenstown (now Cobh). She accidentally rammed her sister ship, another member of the squadron, HMS Vanguard off Kish Bank, Dublin Bay in thick fog. Although Iron Duke sustained minor damage, a large hole was torn in Vanguard. Vanguard's engine room was flooded which prevented her from using her pumps and she sunk in a little over an hour. All the crew were rescued.
Following the loss, Iron Duke replaced Vanguard as guard ship at Kingstown, a role in which she remained until July 1877.
She then returned to the China station again as flagship, returning in January 1883. After refitting, on 16 April 1885 she became a member of Admiral Hornby's Particular Service Squadron until August, when she joined the Channel Squadron.
She entered the reserve in May 1890 and was finally paid off on 2 May 1893. She was converted to a coal hulk in 1900, was transferred from Fleet Reserve to Dockyard Reserve at Portsmouth in April 1902, and eventually sold for £15,000 as scrap on 15 May 1906.
- "Naval & Military intelligence" The Times (London). Friday, 25 April 1902. (36751), p. 8.
- Roger Chesneau and Eugene M. Kolesnik, ed., Conway's All The Worlds Fighting Ships, 1860-1905, (Conway Maritime Press, London, 1979), ISBN 0-85177-133-5
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