HMS Pearl (1855)

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HMS Pearl c.1856
HMS Pearl c.1856
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Pearl
Builder: Woolwich Dockyard
Launched: 13 September 1855
Fate: Sold for break up to Castle, August 1884
General characteristics
Class and type: Pearl-class corvette
Displacement: 2,115 long tons (2,149 t)[1]
Tons burthen: 1469 bm[1]
  • 225 ft 3 in (68.66 m) oa
  • 200 ft (61 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 40 ft 4 in (12.29 m)
  • 16 ft 2 in (4.93 m) (forward)
  • 19 ft 9 in (6.02 m) (aft)
Depth of hold: 23 ft 11 in (7.29 m)
Installed power:
  • 2-cylinder trunk engine[1]
  • Single screw
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Speed: 11.3 knots (20.9 km/h) (under steam)
  • 20 × 8-inch (42cwt) muzzle-loading smoothbore cannons on broadside trucks
  • 1 × 10-inch/68pdr (95cwt) muzzle-loading smoothbore cannons pivot-mounted at bow

HMS Pearl was a Pearl-class 21-gun screw corvette of the Royal Navy launched in 1855, displacing 2,187 tons.

In September 1857, during the Indian Rebellion, 175 of the ship's crew were formed into Pearl's Naval Brigade. The small force, armed largely with rifles, took part in several actions. It was accompanied in many of these by a similar force formed from the crew of Shannon.

The ship was captained by Edward Southwell Sotheby from its commission in 1855. John Borlase replaced Sotheby, on the ships return from India in 1859, from 23 August 1859 to 18 June 1864 when the ship was paid off in Portsmouth. Pearl sailed around the East Indies and China and played a part in the Taiping Rebellion and the bombardment of Kagoshima during the Anglo-Satsuma War.

North Star Affair[edit]

In May 1861 the Pearl was involved in an incident involving a British merchant ship named North Star and Chinese pirates. On 13 May, pirates in a junk attacked the North Star off the coast of Hong Kong Island. They killed or mortally wounded at least five members of the crew and stole over 4,000 dollars worth of gold before abandoning the ship. Only two survivors remained on the ship and they hid from the pirates until they left the North Star and then they set sail for the port of Hong Kong. HMS Pearl was anchored off Green Island at the time and she eventually recovered both the merchantman and the survivors.[2]

Pearl at Tasuke Bay, Hirado, Japan in 1868


  1. ^ a b c d Winfield (2004) p.209
  2. ^ A Sydney Man (23 July 1861). "News and Notes CLXIV". The Courier. Brisbane. p. 3. Retrieved 3 January 2012.

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