HMS Scorpion (1863)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Scorpion.
HMS Scorpion (1863).jpg
Career (UK)
Name: HMS Scorpion
Ordered: 1862
Builder: John Laird Sons & Company, Birkenhead
Laid down: April 1862
Launched: 4 July 1863
Completed: 10 October 1865
Fate: Foundered, 17 June 1903
Notes: Ship-rig; had tripod masts
General characteristics
Type: Ironclad turret ship
Displacement: 2,751 long tons (2,795 t)
Length: 224 ft 6 in (68.43 m)
Beam: 42 ft 4 in (12.90 m)
Draught: 15 ft 6 in (4.72 m) (light load), 17 ft (5.2 m) (deep load)
Installed power: 1,450 ihp (1,080 kW)
Propulsion: Lairds horizontal direct action steam engine
Speed: 10.5 kn (12.1 mph; 19.4 km/h)
Armament: 4 × 9 in (230 mm) muzzle-loading rifles
  • Belt: 4.5 in (11 cm), 3 in (7.6 cm) (bow), 2 in (5.1 cm) (stern)
  • Turrets: 10 in (25 cm) (face), 5 in (13 cm) (sides)

HMS Scorpion was an ironclad turret ship of the Royal Navy, built by John Laird Sons & Company, at Birkenhead. She was one of two sister ships secretly ordered from the Laird shipyard in 1862 by the Confederate States of America. To conceal her true ownership, all concerned endorsed the fiction that she was being constructed as the Egyptian warship El Tousson. She was to have been named North Carolina upon delivery to the Confederates. The British government seized the pair of ironclads in October 1863, a few months after their launch and before they could be completed.

British service[edit]

In early 1864, the Admiralty purchased both for the Royal Navy and named them Scorpion and Wivern. Commissioned in July 1865, Scorpion was assigned to the Channel Fleet until 1869, with time out for a refit that reduced her sailing rig from a bark to a schooner. In late 1869, she moved to Bermuda for coast and harbour defence service. Scorpion remained there for over three decades before being removed from the effective list.


Scorpion was sunk as a target in 1901 but raised the next year and sold in February 1903. She was lost at sea while under tow to the U.S., where she was to be scrapped.[1]


  1. ^ "HMS Scorpion". Navy Historical Center (United States Navy). Retrieved 2008-08-19.