HMS Rambler (1880)
Rambler with an unidentified gunboat berthed to the right
|Builder:||John Elder & Co., Glasgow|
|Launched:||26 January 1880|
|Fate:||Sold on 23 January 1907|
|Class and type:||Algerine-class gunvessel|
|Length:||157 ft (48 m) pp|
|Beam:||29 ft 6 in (8.99 m)|
|Draught:||13 ft 7 in (4.14 m)|
|Installed power:||690 ihp (510 kW)|
|Sail plan:||Barque or full-rigged ship|
|Speed:||10.5 knots (19.4 km/h)|
|Endurance:||110t of coal|
HMS Rambler was an Algerine-class gunvessel of the Royal Navy, built by John Elder & Co., Glasgow and launched on 26 January 1880. She was commissioned as a survey vessel in 1884 and served in Chinese waters during the 1880s and 1890s. She provided men to a naval brigade during the Boer War and was sold on 23 January 1907.
Design and construction
Designed in 1879 by Nathaniel Barnaby, the Chief Constructor of the Royal Navy, the Algerine-class gunvessels were similar to the Condor-class gunvessels of 1875, but with the addition of a poop deck. It had been found that the addition of both poop and focsle made gunvessels far more comfortable in the tropics; an awning spread between the two allowed men to sleep on the upper deck during hot nights. The composite method of construction used iron for the keel, stem, stern post and framing, with wooden planking. As well as the benefits of low cost, this construction allowed repairs to be conducted easily when away from well-equipped dockyards.
The vessels of the class were barque-rigged, but some of the pictures show yards on the mizzen mast, which would have made them ship rigged. The advantage of the barque rig was the need for less manpower, but on a distant station and with an experienced crew, and infrequent coaling stops, captains sometimes preferred to gain the greater sailing benefits of the ship rig, and had the flexibility to do so.
The Algerine-class gunvessels were designed with one 7-inch (180 mm) (4½ ton) muzzle-loading rifles, two 64-pounder muzzle-loading rifles, 2 machine guns and a light gun. Rambler, as a survey vessel, was finished with four 20-pdr breech loading guns, one machine gun and one light gun.
The keel was laid at the Fairfield yard of John Elder & Co. in 1879 and she was launched on 26 January 1880. She was not commissioned until 1884, by which time she had been completed as a survey vessel.
Rambler conducted extensive surveys in the Red Sea and Far East, and from 1886 served on the China Station. For a few months between October 1889 and April 1890 she conducted a survey in Western Australian waters under the command of G. E. Richards. She recommissioned on 1 February 1889 at Hong Kong.
In May 1902 she was back at the China station, Captain M. H. Smyth in command.
She was sold on 23 January 1907.
- It was the general practice of the Royal Navy during this period to send a crew out to a distant station, recommission the ship with the new crew, and send the old crew back home. This allowed the hulls to be exploited to the maximum extent possible.
- Winfield (2008) p.296
- Preston, Antony; 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.
- Bastock 1988, p.113.
- "HMS Rambler at the Naval Database website". Retrieved 2010-12-22.
- "Friends of Hydrography". Archived from the original on 20 August 2007.
- "HMS Rambler at angloboerwar.com". Retrieved 2010-12-22.
- "Landing Parties of HMS Rambler and Doris, Simonstown. Boer War c.1899 at Sea Your History website". Retrieved 2010-12-22.
- "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36761). London. 7 May 1902. p. 10.
- Bastock, John (1988), Ships on the Australia Station, Child & Associates Publishing Pty Ltd; Frenchs Forest, Australia. ISBN 0-86777-348-0
- 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.
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