HMS Thames (1885)
HMS Thames just after launching
|Class and type:||Mersey-class second class cruiser|
|Launched:||3 December 1885|
|Reclassified:||Submarine depot ship, 1903|
|Career (South Africa)|
|Name:||SATS General Botha|
|Christened:||1 April 1922|
|Reclassified:||Training ship, 1922
Accommodation ship, 1942
|Fate:||Scuttled on 13 May 1947|
|Length:||315 ft (96 m)|
|Beam:||46 ft (14 m)|
|Draught:||19 ft (6 m)|
|Propulsion:||Coal-fired boilers, reciprocating steam engines, twin shaft|
|Speed:||17 knots (31 km/h)|
|Range:||6,500nm at 12.00 knots|
|Complement:||10 officers and 290 ratings|
The ship did not see any action as a cruiser. On 21 March 1902 she was temporarily commissioned by Captain H. L. Fleet, with crew from HMS Empress of India, to serve as a port guard ship at Queenstown, while the latter ship was undergoing alterations. In 1903, was converted to a submarine depot ship.
She was sold to the Jersey-born South African entrepreneur TB Davis, who purchased the ship in November 1920 as a memory to his son who died during World War I. He donated it to a trust, with the stipulation that it be used exclusively for the nautical training of British and South African boys, so that they could subsequently serve in ships of the British Empire.
From 1942, she served as an accommodation ship, once again under the name Thames, before finally being scuttled on 13 May 1947 in False Bay. There exists an alumni association for those who served aboard the General Botha, which has the Duke of Edinburgh as her patron.
The South African Naval Museum in Simonstown has an exhibition dedicated to the ship.
- Grutter, Wilhelm. A Name Among Seafaring Men: A history of the training ship General Botha. T. B. F. Davis Memorial Sailing Trust. ISBN 0-620-01151-3.
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.