Duncan-class ship of the line (1859)

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HMS Duncan, Halifax, Nova Scotia c. 1865.png
HMS Duncan, Halifax, Nova Scotia c. 1865
Class overview
Name: Duncan class
Operators: Royal Navy
Preceded by: Conqueror class
Succeeded by: Bulwark class
Cost: Duncan: £132,697, Gibraltar: £130,235
Built: 1855–1861
In service: 1863–1870
Building: 3
Planned: 3
Completed:
  • 2 as Duncan class
  • 1 completed as Bulwark class
Active: 2
Retired: 2
General characteristics
Class and type: Duncan class
Type: 101-gun screw two-decker
Tonnage: 3,715 t
Displacement: 5,950 t
Length:
  • 252 ft 0 in (76.81 m) overall
  • 213 ft 9.25 in (65.1574 m) keel-line
Beam: 58 ft 0 in (17.68 m) extreme
Draught: Gibraltar (not masted or stores) 18 ft 0 in (5.49 m) forward, 22 ft 6 in (6.86 m) aft
Depth of hold: 25 ft 6 in (7.77 m)
Installed power:
  • Duncan (Penn) 3428 ihp
  • Gibraltar (Maudslay) 3494 ihp
Propulsion: 800 nhp
Sail plan:
  • Main mast: 67 ft 0 in (20.42 m)ft × 0 ft 40 in (1.02 m)
  • Fore mast: 61 ft 0 in (18.59 m)ft × 0 ft 37 in (0.94 m)
  • Mizzen mast: 51 ft 6 in (15.70 m)ft × 0 ft 27 in (0.69 m)
Speed:
  • Duncan 13.338 knots (24.702 km/h) trials Stokes Bay 7 August 1860
  • Gibraltar 12.48 knots (23.11 km/h) (not masted or stored) trials Plymouth 17 April 1861
Complement: 930
Armament:
Notes: Source: Lambert Battleships in Transition[1]

The Duncan class of 101-gun two-decker steam line-of-battle ships are considered by Professor Andrew Lambert to have been the "final statement of the British design progress" for steam two-deckers. The class consisted of HMS Duncan and HMS Gibraltar. The Bulwark class had identical hulls. HMS Gibraltar was the last wooden steam line-of-battleship to commission as a private ship in the Royal Navy.[2]

Design[edit]

The first British steam 101-gun two-decker was the St Jean d'Acre, which was ordered and laid down in 1851 and was "the first ship that can be directly attributed to Sir Baldwin Walker's influence. [She was] an expansion of the Agamemnon [91-guns], her superior qualities were developed in the succeeding Conqueror and Duncan classes of 101-gun ships."[3] The Duncan class were longer and broader versions of the Conqueror, which was a success as they were noticeably faster (see table below).[4]

"The early steam battleships, such as the 230-foot (70 m) Agamemnon, combined a measure of speed under sail or steam with similar manoeuvring powers to the sailing ships. This persuaded Walker to try even longer hulls, the Renown being drawn out to 244 feet 9 inches (74.60 m) and the Bulwark to 252 feet (77 m).[5] While the post-war ships, from their greater length and finer lines, reached higher speeds they did so at the expense of the facility and precision of their response to the helm. New ships such as the Donegal, 101 and Renown, 91 were considered slow in their stays. This lack of handiness was emphasised by their operating in company with older ships such the St Jean d'Acre, 101 and James Watt, 91 which lacked speed, but tacked and wore far more easily. Lord Aukland had anticipated this problem in 1847.[6]"[7]

Duncan and Gibraltar "presented a very different appearance from the Baroque splendour of the early Eighteenth Century, with their regular outline bereft of almost all embellishment beyond the elliptical stern gallery and the figurehead and painted in the severe black and white bands of the era. These were the most striking and intimidating of all wooden warships, replacing elegance with majesty. As such they were fitting precursors for the industrial architecture of the iron-clads."[8]

Agamemnon 91-guns St Jean d'Acre 101-guns Conqueror class 101-guns Duncan class 101-guns
Tonnage (B.O.M.) 3,085 t 3,200 t 3,224 t 3,715 t
Displacement 4,614 t 5,499 t 5,720 t 5,950 t
Overall length 230 ft 3 in (70.18 m) 238 ft (73 m) 240 ft (73 m) 252 ft (77 m)
Keel length 193 ft 3 in (58.90 m) 202 ft 5 in (61.70 m) 204 ft 10 in (62.43 m) 213 ft 9.25 in (65.1574 m)
Breadth (extreme) 55 ft 4 in (16.87 m) 55 ft 4 in (16.87 m) 55 ft 4 in (16.87 m) 58 ft (18 m)
Depth in hold 24 ft 6 in (7.47 m) 25 ft (7.6 m) 24 ft 5 in (7.44 m) 25 ft 6 in (7.77 m)
Engines (nhp) 600 600 800 800
Engines (ihp) 2,268 2,136 Conqueror – 2,812

Donegal – 3,103

Duncan – 3,428

Gibraltar – 3,494

Speed under steam (kts) 11.243 11.199 Conqueror – 10.806

Donegal – 11.912

Duncan – 13.338

Gibraltar** – 12.48

** Note that Gibraltar's trial speed was undertaken without masts or stores.

Source: Lambert[9]

Key dates[edit]

The following table shows key dates for the Duncan class.[10]

Ship Builder Ordered Laid Down Launched Trials Commissioned Last in Commission as Sea-Going Ship Sold
Duncan Portsmouth 29 November 1856 2 May 1857 3 December 1859 7 August 1860 6 January 1864 28 February 1870 11 October 1910
Gibraltar Devonport 3 March 1855 October 1858 16 August 1860 17 April 1861 8 September 1863 12 January 1867 16 March 1899

Career HMS Duncan[edit]

Monument to the 5 crew that died of HMS Duncan at Halifax, Royal Navy Burying Ground (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

10 February 1862: Reduction in the number of guns carried in peacetime to 89.[11]

6 January 1864: Commanded by Captain Robert Gibson, flagship of Vice-Admiral James Hope, North America and West Indies.[12]

Whilst serving on the North America and West Indies Station, Captain John Bythesea VC was carried on the books of Duncan as second captain from 1 April 1866 to Spring 1867, for special service as Naval Attaché in Washington.[13]

15 June 1867 – 10 September 1867: Commanded by Captain George Hancock, Coast Guard, Leith (Queensferry) (replacing Trafalgar).[14]

10 September 1867 – 28 February 1870: Commanded (until paying off) by Captain Charles Fellowes, Coast Guard, Leith (and flagship of Commodore of John Walker Tarleton's Coast Guard squadron comprising Duncan, Donegal, Revenge, Irresistible, Lion, Dauntless and Argus).[15] HMS Repulse replaced Duncan as Coast Guard, Queensferry by 20 August 1870.[16]

1 April 1873 – 1 January 1875: Commanded by Captain George Willes Watson, Sheerness, replacing Pembroke.[17]

1 January 1875: Commanded by Captain Charles Thomas Curme, flagship of Vice-Admiral George Fowler Hastings, Sheerness.[18]

From some time in 1878 – 1 January 1879: Commanded by Captain Thomas Bridgeman Lethbridge, Sheerness.[18]

1 January 1879 – 27 July 1881: Commanded by Captain Thomas Baker Martin Sulivan, Sheerness. Tenders: Hydra, Porcupine, Trent and Wildfire.[18]

27 July 1881 – 31 December 1881: Commanded (until paying off at Sheerness) by Captain John D'Arcy, Sheerness (replaced by the Naval Barracks at Sheerness, renamed Duncan, but retained with a small crew as "saluting ship").[18]

In 1890 she was Chatham. Machinery probably removed. That year she was listed as harbour service and renamed Pembroke.[19]

1895: Receiving ship, Chatham.[19]

September 1905: was renamed Tenedos II, and commissioned in January 1906 as part of the new "Tenedos" training establishment for boy mechanician apprentices.[20]

11 October 1910 On closure of the "Tenedos" establishment, sold for breaking up at London for £7,525.[19]

Career HMS Gibraltar[edit]

8 September 1863 – December 1864: Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth) by Captain James Charles Prevost, Mediterranean Fleet.[21]

December 1864 – 12 January 1867: Commanded (until paying off at Plymouth) by Captain Robert Coote, Mediterranean Fleet.[21]

1871 onwards: Lent to the Belfast Training Ship Committee as training ship for boys in Belfast.[22]

1889: renamed Grampian.[23]

16 March 1899: Sold to Castle for breaking up at Charlton.[21]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lambert, "Battleships in Transition", p122-4.
  2. ^ Lambert, "Battleships in Transition", p124.
  3. ^ Lambert, "Battleships in Transition" p. 33 and 35.
  4. ^ Lambert, "Battleships in Transition" p. 123–124.
  5. ^ Surveyor before the Committee on Marine Engines PP859 xv p47
  6. ^ Aukland to Napier, 25 October 1857, Napier Mss, National Maritime Museum reference NAP/1
  7. ^ Lambert, "Battleships in Transition" p63.
  8. ^ Lambert, "Battleships in Transition" p67.
  9. ^ Lambert, "Battleships in Transition" p122-4.
  10. ^ Lambert, "Battleships in Transition", p123-4. History HMS Duncan. History HMS Gibraltar.
  11. ^ The Times newspaper, 11 February 1862.
  12. ^ Lambert, "Battleships in Transition", p124. Online History HMS Duncan. Lambert says that she became flagship in 1865 and paid off in 1868.
  13. ^ Online biography John Bythesea
  14. ^ Online History HMS Duncan. Note the discrepancy with dates in Lambert.
  15. ^ Lambert, "Battleships in Transition", p124. Online History HMS Duncan. Lambert claims she became Coast Guard at Leith in 1868. Inclusion of Argus is suspect.
  16. ^ Online History HMS Repulse
  17. ^ Lambert, "Battleships in Transition", p124. Online History HMS Duncan. Lambert claims she was at Sheerness 1870–90.
  18. ^ a b c d Online History HMS Duncan.
  19. ^ a b c Lambert, "Battleships in Transition", p124. Online History HMS Duncan.
  20. ^ Warlow, "Shore Establishments of the Royal Navy", p.140.
  21. ^ a b c Lambert, "Battleships in Transition", p124. History HMS Gibraltar.
  22. ^ Lambert, "Battleships in Transition", p124. History HMS Gibraltar. Note Lambert says 1871, whereas the online history says 1872.
  23. ^ History HMS Gibraltar.

References[edit]