Defender-class torpedo boat
|Builders:||John I. Thornycroft & Company at Chiswick|
|Preceded by:||Acheron-class torpedo boat|
|Succeeded by:||HMVS Childers|
|Length:||62 ft 10 in (19.15 m)|
|Beam:||7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)|
|Installed power:||173 hp (129 kW)|
|Speed:||17.5 kn (32.4 km/h)|
The colonial service Defender-class torpedo boats were designed by Thornycroft & Company for the defence of New Zealand, built at Chiswick in 1883 and shipped to New Zealand. They were quickly obsolete and were left to deteriorate in situ. The remains of Defender are preserved at the Lyttelton Torpedo Boat Museum.
Acquired for the external defence of New Zealand, at a cost of about £3,200 each, all four boats were built and engined by John I. Thornycroft & Company at Church Wharf, Chiswick on the River Thames.
As built the class was armed with a single McEvoy spar torpedo, which was designed to be rammed into a vessel and explode beneath the waterline. A single 2-barrelled Nordenfelt gun comprised the total gun armament. The last pair had 18-inch Whitehead torpedoes fitted at build, and these were later retrofitted to Defender and Taiaroa.
Transport to New Zealand
Torpedo Corps units of the Permanent Militia were formed to operate the boats at the four main ports of Lyttelton (Defender), Port Chalmers (Taiaroa), Devonport (Waitemata) and Wellington (Poneke), each with its boatshed and slipway. The boats quickly became obsolete and by 1900 had largely been left to rot.
|Defender||Thornycroft & Company, Chiswick||30 July 1883||Abandoned at Purau Bay, Lyttelton Harbour and later preserved at the Lyttelton Torpedo Boat Museum|
|Taiaroa||Thornycroft & Company, Chiswick||10 August 1883|
|Waitemata||Thornycroft & Company, Chiswick||30 August 1883|
|Poneke||Thornycroft & Company, Chiswick||31 August 1883|
- Winfield (2004) p.316
- "Torpedo Bay Time-Line at the RNZN Museum website". Retrieved 2010-10-20.
- The New Zealand Maritime Index
- Winfield, Rif & Lyon, David (2004). The Sail and Steam Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy 1815–1889. London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-032-6. OCLC 52620555.
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