HMS Sparrowhawk (1856)
Sparrowhawk's sister-ship, Surprise
|Ordered:||26 July 1855|
|Laid down:||6 August 1855|
|Launched:||9 February 1856|
|Completed:||By 7 April 1856|
|Fate:||Sold in 1872|
|Class and type:||Vigilant-class second-class despatch/gunvessel|
|Tons burthen:||669 79/94 bm|
|Beam:||28 ft 4 in (8.6 m)|
|Draught:||8 ft (2.4 m) (designed)|
|Depth of hold:||14 ft (4.27 m)|
|Speed:||11 kn (20 km/h) under steam|
HMS Sparrowhawk was a Vigilant-class second-class despatch/gunvessel launched on 9 February 1856 at Limehouse, England and served at various stations in the Far East. By the spring of 1865, her rig was a converted to that of a three-masted barque. She was sold in 1872 and was eventually lost in a typhoon.
Her class were designed as second-class despatch and gunvessels. They were intended to operate close inshore during the Crimean War and were essentially enlarged versions of the Arrow-class gunvessel, which has been designed by the Surveyor’s Department in 1854.
All Vigilant-class gunvessels were barque-rigged.
Although designed with a pair of 68-pounder Lancaster muzzle-loading rifles, the Vigilant class were finished with one 7-inch (180 mm)/110-pound (50 kg) Armstrong breech-loading gun, one 68-pound (31 kg) Lancaster muzzle-loading rifled gun and two 20-pounder breech loaders.
Porcher Island, near Prince Rupert, British Columbia, is named after Edwin Augustus Porcher (1821–1878), who served as captain of HMS Sparrowhawk at Esquimalt Naval Base, Vancouver Island, from the spring of 1865 until he returned to England in autumn 1868. While serving with the North Pacific Squadron, Commander Porcher made four summertime voyages to the North Coast of British Columbia; in 1866, 1867 and twice in 1868.
- Preston (2007) p.150
- Winfield (2004) p.220
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
- 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.
- Preston, Anthony; 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.
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