HMS Royalist (1883)

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HMS Royalist (1883) AWM 302264.jpeg
HMS Royalist anchored at Sydney c. 1890.
Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Royalist
Builder: Devonport Dockyard
  • £52,134 (hull)
  • £16,039 (machinery)[1]
Laid down: 27 April 1881
Launched: 7 March 1883
Commissioned: 14 April 1886
Renamed: Colleen on 1 December 1913
Flag of Ireland.svgIrish Free State
Name: Colleen
Fate: Broken up in 1950
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Satellite-class sloop (corvette from 1884)
Displacement: 1,420 tons
Length: 200 ft (61 m) pp
Beam: 38 ft (12 m)
Draught: 15 ft 9 in (4.80 m)
Installed power: 1,470 ihp (1,096 kW)
  • Single horizontal compound-expansion steam engine
  • Single screw
Sail plan: Barque-rigged
Speed: 13 kn (24 km/h)
Range: Approximately 6,000 nmi (11,000 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h)
Complement: 170–200
Armour: Internal steel deck over machinery and magazines

HMS Royalist was an Satellite-class composite screw sloop of the Royal Navy, built in 1883 and hulked as a depot ship in 1900. She was renamed Colleen in 1913, transferred to the Irish Free State in 1923 and broken up in 1950.


Royalist was ordered from Devonport Dockyard and laid down on 27 April 1881.[1] She was launched on 7 March 1883[2] and reclassified as a corvette in 1884 before being commissioned for the first time on 14 April 1886.[1]

She was built of an iron frame with wooden planking (hence "composite") and her class was unique in being the only wooden or composite ships of the Royal Navy to be fitted with an armoured deck. She was fitted with a horizontal compound-expansion steam engine by Maudslay, Sons and Field. This engine produced 1,470 indicated horsepower (1,096 kW) and drove a single screw. Masts and spars were provided for a barque rig.[1]

Although four of her sister ships were armed with two 6-inch and ten 5-inch breech-loading guns, Royalist, in common with Heroine and Hyacinth, received a homogenous outfit of eight BL 6-inch/100-pounder (81cwt) Mk II guns, complemented with a light gun and 4 machine guns.[3]

Royal Navy service[edit]

Initially on service with the Cape of Good Hope Station, she commenced service on the Australia Station in May 1888.[2] Ships on the Australia Station were active in the Pacific in the management of the British Western Pacific Territories. H.M.S. Royalist, under the command of Captain Davis, was sent to the Gilbert Islands and on 27 May 1892 the islands were proclaimed to be a British Protectorate. On that voyage H.M.S. Royalist also visited each of the islands in the Ellice Group (now Tuvalu).[4]

During the Samoan civil unrest in 1899, she took part in operations with HMS Porpoise and HMS Tauranga.[2] She left the Australia Station in June 1899.[2] In February 1900 she was hulked and used for harbour service, she was renamed Colleen on 1 December 1913. The Antarctic explorer Tom Crean, who had been part of both Captain Scott's and Ernest Shackleton's expeditions, served in Colleen as a boatswain during the later years of World War I.

Irish service[edit]

Colleen was transferred to the Irish Free State on 19 February 1923[2] and broken up in 1950.


  1. ^ a b c d e Winfield (2004) p.293
  2. ^ a b c d e Bastock 1988, p. 110.
  3. ^ "Satellite-class sloops at Battleships-Cruisers website". Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Resture, Jane. "TUVALU HISTORY – 'The Davis Diaries' (H.M.S. Royalist, 1892 visit to Ellice Islands under Captain Davis)". Retrieved 20 September 2011. 


External links[edit]