HMS Topaze (1858)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

HMS Topaze.jpg
Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Topaze
Launched: 12 May 1858, Devonport
Commissioned: 11 June 1859
Decommissioned: 28 June 1878
Fate: Sold on 14 February 1884 and broken up at Charlton
General characteristics
Class and type: Liffey class frigate
Displacement: 3,915 tons
Tons burthen: 2,659 bm
Length: 235 ft
Propulsion: 600 hp steam engine
Complement: 515
  • 51 guns:
  • 30 × 8 in
  • 1 × 68 pdr
  • 20 × 32 pdr

HMS Topaze was a 51-gun Liffey class wooden screw frigate of the Royal Navy. She was launched on 12 May 1858, at Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth.

Her crew assisted in the building of the Race Rocks Lighthouse in British Columbia, Canada, and laid a bronze tablet in 1868 at the Juan Fernández Islands commemorating the stay of marooned sailor Alexander Selkirk.[1] On the same voyage, the band from HMS Topaze played for the dedication of Congregation Emanu-El, now the oldest surviving synagogue building in Canada.[2]

Selkirk tablet

The voyage to Easter Island in 1868 saw the crew remove the Moai Moai Hava and Hoa Hakananai'a and ship them to Britain, where Hoa Hakananai'a can now be seen in the British Museum.[3]

The ship is notable for an incident when Agnes Weston came on board to plead the cause of Temperance; as she recalled in her memoire:

The Captain of H.M.S. Topaze invited me on board, and the men were mustered on the main deck; they listened very attentively. When I had finished speaking I asked the Captain, "Whether any men that wished it might join the Royal Naval Temperance Society?" He gave a cordial assent, and my eyes roved round to see on what place I could put the pledge-book. I saw what I thought to be a bread tub standing not far off. "Could I have that bread tub?" I asked; "it would make a nice little table turned over." I saw the Captain smile and tug at his moustache, and the men seemed on the brink of bursting into laughter. "Yes," he answered, "anything that we have is at your command. Here, men, a couple of hands roll over that grog-tub."[4]

Topaze was sold on 14 February 1884 and broken up at Charlton.


  1. ^ Kraske (2005), p.100
  2. ^ The Synagogue of Congregation Emanu-El
  3. ^ Fragment > HMS Topaze and Easter Island, Chile (1868) , Luminous Lint. Accessed 20 July 2014
  4. ^ My Life Among the Bluejackets, Agnes Weston.


  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. 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.
  • Paul Davis. William Loney RN - Victorian naval surgeon, Mid-Victorian RN vessel HMS Topaze Includes a list of the vessel's commanders. Retrieved: 2008.01.21.
  • Van Tilburg, Jo Anne, (2006), Remote Possibilities: Hoa Hakananai'a and HMS Topaze on Rapa Nui. British Museum Research Papers. ISBN 0-86159-158-5.
  • Robert Kraske. (2005). Marooned: The Strange But True Adventures of Alexander Selkirk. Clarion Books. ISBN 0-618-56843-3.

External links[edit]