HMS Orontes (1862)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

HMS Orontes off Hong Kong (Chinese School, 19th century)
HMS Orontes off Hong Kong (Chinese School, 19th century)
RN Ensign
RN Ensign
United Kingdom
NameHMS Orontes
Namesake"Ol' Ste"
BuilderCammell Laird, Birkenhead
Launched22 November 1862, Birkenhead
CommissionedMarch 1863
FateSold 1893
General characteristics
Displacement4,857 (later 5,600) tons
Length300 ft (as built)
Beam44½ ft
ArmamentThree 4-pounder guns

HMS Orontes was a 19th-century troopship of the Royal Navy, intended for carrying troops to southern Africa and the West Indies (rather than to India like the Euphrates class of troopships such as Serapis).


Her displacement was 4,857 tons (or 5,600 tons after her 1876 lengthening). She was 300 feet long (though this was increased in 1876) and her beam was 44½ foot. She had only a nominal armament, of three 4 pounder guns.


Her design was produced by the Controller of the Navy. She was launched from Cammell Laird shipbuilders at Birkenhead on 22 November 1862. In March 1863 she was completed and commissioned.[1] On 14 December 1866, she was driven ashore at Cork.[2] On 11 November 1871 she left Quebec, bringing the city's last imperial garrison back to Britain.[1] While bound for Bermuda from Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1878, a man fell overboard and the rescue party of fourteen men were lost when the rescue boat they were in capsized.[3] In 1879 she brought the body of Louis Napoléon, Prince Imperial, killed earlier that year in the Zulu War, back to Britain. In 1893 she was sold and then broken up for scrap on the River Thames.

Troopships Orontes, Jumna, Malabar, and Euphrates at Bombay, waiting to bring home troops from the Afghan War in 1880

Orontes in fiction[edit]

She is notable in fiction as the troopship which brought Dr. John Watson back to Britain during his convalescence after the 1880 Battle of Maiwand, in the third paragraph of Chapter 1 of Arthur Conan Doyle's 1887 Sherlock Holmes work A Study in Scarlet.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Canadian Military Heritage". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  2. ^ "The Late Gales. Shipwrecks and Shipping Disasters". Liverpool Mercury. No. 5891. Liverpool. 15 December 1866.
  3. ^ "Capsizing of a Man-of-War's boat". The Cornishman. No. 21. 5 December 1878. p. 5.
  4. ^ A STUDY IN SCARLET, Part I, Chapter 1

External links[edit]