HMS Ardent (1841)
The design profile of the Chatham-built Alecto-class sloops
|Ordered:||25 February 1939|
|Laid down:||February 1840|
|Launched:||12 February 1841|
|Commissioned:||16 September 1842|
|Out of service:||1864|
|Fate:||Broken up 1865|
|General characteristics |
|Class & type:||Alecto-class sloop|
|Tons burthen:||800 bm|
|Beam:||32 ft 8 in (9.96 m)|
|Depth of hold:||18 ft 7 in (5.66 m)|
|Sail plan:||Brig rigged|
|Speed:||c. 9 kn (17 km/h)|
HMS Ardent was a wooden Alecto-class paddle sloop, and the fourth ship of the Royal Navy to use the name. She was launched on 12 February 1841 at Chatham and spent much of her career on the West Coast of Africa engaged in anti-slavery operations. One of the ship's company, Gunner John Robarts, was awarded the Victoria Cross for the destruction of Russian food stores in the Crimean War. She was scrapped in 1865.
Design and construction
Ardent was ordered on 25 February 1839 as the third of a class of 5 third-class steam vessels.[Note 1] She was laid down in February 1840, and on 15 August orders were received to hasten her building and to complete her as a packet. She was launched on 12 February 1841. She was 164 feet (50 m) long on the gundeck and displaced 878 tons. Power for her paddles came from a Seaward & Capel 2-cylinder direct-acting steam engine developing 200 nominal horsepower, which was fitted at Woolwich in February 1841. Having conducted engine trials in the River Thames in April 1841, she left Woolwich for Chatham to be fitted out. She was commissioned for the first time at Chatham on 16 September 1842.
She sailed for South America and the Cape station from Portsmouth on 1 October 1841, touching at Madeira during her passage. In 1845 she transferred from the Brazilian station to the West Coast of Africa, where she was involved in the long campaign to put down the slave trade.
On 25 March 1845 detained the Spanish slave brigantine Dos Hermanos off the Pongo River, which was condemned on 9 April 1845 by the Mixed British and Spanish Court at Sierra Leone. She returned to England in September 1845.
In 1848 she was serving in the Mediterranean, and saw active service during the Crimean War. On 29 May 1855 in the Sea of Azov, Crimea, Gunner Robarts of Ardent with two lieutenants (Cecil William Buckley of Miranda and Hugh Talbot Burgoyne of Swallow) volunteered to land on a beach where the Russian army were in strength. They were out of covering gunshot range of the ships offshore and met considerable enemy opposition, but managed to set fire to corn stores and ammunition dumps and destroy enemy equipment before embarking again. They were each awarded the Victoria Cross.
She returned to Portsmouth on 5 February 1856 and sailed for the West Coast of Africa on 28 December 1857 for anti-slavery duties. The station was notorious for sickness, and during the year 1858 she reported 238 cases of sickness during the year(from a ship's company numbering less than 150), with 10 cases serious enough to require the individuals affected to be invalided home. She returned to the United Kingdom in March 1859 and by 1860 had returned to South America.
Ardent was sold to Castle and arrived at Charlton for breaking on 2 March 1865.
- The fifth of the class, Rattler, had originally been ordered as an Driver-class second-class steam vessel, was amended to the Alecto design and then re-ordered as a screw vessel. She famously competed against her sister Alecto in a tug-of-war which proved the benefits of screw propulsion over paddles.
- 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.