HMS Vulture (1843)

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The Vulture at Bocca Tigris.jpg
Vulture passing the Bogue on the way to Hong Kong after the Expedition to Canton, 9 April 1847
United Kingdom
Name: Vulture
Ordered: 18 March 1841
Builder: Pembroke Dockyard
Laid down: September 1841
Launched: 21 September 1843
Decommissioned: 1866
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,960 tonne
Complement: 175
Armament: 6 × guns

HMS Vulture was a steam-powered wooden-hulled second-class paddle frigate of the Royal Navy. Vulture carried six guns - two 8-inch guns of 95 cwt mounted on pivots at bow and stern, and four 8-inch guns of 65 cwt on broadside trucks, and had a displacement of 1,960 tons. She was launched on 21 September 1843 and was then fitted with Fairbairn engines in East India Docks until 23 January 1844. She had cost £24,323 to build and £22,395 to fit out (including £21,429 for the 476 nhp engines). The compact engines were the subject of an illustrated article in July 1844,[1] and had two vertical cylinders of 80-inch (200 cm) diameter with 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) stroke, with steam provided by four boilers. The paddle wheels were 26 ft 6 in (8.08 m) diameter to the extremity of the floats, which were 8 ft 9 in (2.67 m) wide.

Vulture was first commissioned in February 1845 under Captain J. McDougall, for the West Indies, and completed fitting for sea (for a further £9,173) at Sheerness Dockyard until 7 June 1845.

She was involved in the Expedition to Canton of 1847. She paid off on return from the East Indies that same year, and then underwent a small repair at Sheerness and Woolwich in 1848–49 (for £17,334). She was recommissioned in November 1852 under the command of Captain Frederick Henry Hastings Glasse, and was used in the Baltic theatre of the Crimean War in 1854. She was in action with the Russians on 7 June 1854, in the action at Gamla Carleby, Finland.[2] On 27 August 1855, she ran aground off Hanko Head, Grand Duchy of Finland whilst towing a vessel from Nargen to Farosund. She was severely damaged and was sent back to England for repairs.[3] She was recommissioned again in December 1859 under Captain C. Packer, for service in the Mediterranean. The ship was finally decommissioned in 1860, and laid up at Portsmouth. She was sold in 1866 to Castle & Son, Charlton to be broken up.

Vulture, with the 18th Royal Irish on board, at the Bogue forts or First Pass of the Canton River, 2 April 1847.
English sailors and French soldiers, dancing on board Vulture in the Baltic, 7 August 1854


  1. ^ "Engines of Her Majesty's steam frigate, the Vulture", The Practical Mechanic and Engineer's Magazine, July 1844, p. 314
  2. ^ Lambert, Andrew (2004). "Looking for gunboats: British Naval operations in the Gulf of Bothnia, 1854–55". Journal for Maritime Research 6:1, 69, DOI: 10.1080/21533369.2004.9668337
  3. ^ "The Attack on Sweaborg". Daily News (2900). London. 4 September 1855.
  • David Lyon and Rif Winfield, The Sail and Steam Navy List 1815-1889. Chatham Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-86176-032-9.

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