|Preceded by:||Ariel class|
|Succeeded by:||Banterer class|
|Cost:||Hull £14,150, machinery £6,550 (Foxhound)|
|General characteristics |
|Class and type:||Composite gunboat|
|Length:||125 ft 0 in (38.1 m) pp|
|Beam:||23 ft 6 in (7.2 m)|
|Draught:||8 1⁄2–10 1⁄2 ft (2.6–3.2 m)|
|Sail plan:||Three-masted barquentine rig|
|Speed:||10 kn (19 km/h)|
The Forester-class gunboat was a class of 4-gun composite gunboats built for the Royal Navy between 1874 and 1877. Although half had been sold by 1890, the rest survived into the 20th century as coal hulks, base vessels and other secondary uses. Foxhound survived as a hulk on the Blackwall Reach of the Thames until 1975, when she was broken up. They were built of composite construction, that is, with iron keel, stem and stern posts, and iron framing, but planked with wood.
Design and construction
Designed by Nathaniel Barnaby, Chief Constructor of the Royal Navy, the Forester-class gunboats were similar in every respect to the preceding Ariel-class gunboats. They were fitted with a 2-cylinder horizontal compound-expansion steam engine, although Moorhen and Sheldrake received a single-expansion direct-acting steam engine. These engines were rated for 60 nominal horsepower and generated between 387 ihp (289 kW) and 515 ihp (384 kW)). They were armed with two 6-inch (150 mm) 64-pounder (56cwt) muzzle-loading rifles and two 4-inch (100 mm) 20-pounder Armstrong breech loaders. All 4 guns were mounted on traversing carriages. All the ships of the class carried a three-masted barquentine rig.
|Cygnet||William Doxford, Sunderland||30 May 1874||Broken up in 1889|
|Express||William Doxford, Sunderland||16 July 1874||Sold in August 1889|
|Contest||William Doxford, Sunderland||29 August 1874||Broken up at Devonport in 1889|
|Sheldrake||Robert Napier & Sons, Govan||3 July 1875||Drill ship, renamed Drake on 13 March 1888. Coastguard watch vessel, renamed WV29 in 1893. Renamed Drake in 1906. Sold to Meyer Isaacs on 3 April 1906|
|Mallard||Earle’s Shipbuilding, Hull||4 August 1875||Sold in August 1889|
|Moorhen||Robert Napier & Sons, Govan||13 September 1875||Sold in November 1888|
|Foxhound||Barrow Iron Shipbuilding||29 January 1877||Coastguard in 1886. Coal tug in 1897, renamed YC20. Sold as hulk Arabel in 1920, and remained in Blackwall Reach on the River Thames for 55 years. Broken up in 1975|
|Forward||Barrow Iron Shipbuilding||29 January 1877||Coal hulk in 1892. Sold in 1904|
|Firm||Earle’s Shipbuilding, Hull||14 February 1877||Sold to Cox for breaking up at Falmouth on 14 May 1907|
|Forester||Earle’s Shipbuilding, Hull||26 February 1877||Coal hulk in 1894. Sold in 1904|
|Firebrand||J & G Thomson, Govan||30 April 1877||Sold in 1905, became mercantile Hoi Sin|
|Firefly||J & G Thomson, Govan||28 June 1877||Boom defence in 1904. Base ship on 3 April 1914, renamed Egmont. Renamed Firefly 1 in March 1923. Sold in May 1931|
- With the exception of Moorhen and Sheldrake, which received similarly rated single-expansion direct-acting steam engines
- Winfield (2004), p.297
- Preston (2007) p.171
- 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.
- Preston, Anthony; Major, John (2007). Send a Gunboat: The Victorian Navy and Supremacy at Sea, 1854–1904 (2nd ed.). London: Conway. ISBN 978-0-85177-923-2.