Leander-class cruiser (1882)

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British Cruiser Leander.jpg
HMS Leander in 1897
Class overview
Name: Leander class
Operators:  Royal Navy
Preceded by: Iris class
Succeeded by: Mersey class
Built: 1880 - 1887
In commission: 1885 - 1919 (as seagoing warship)
Planned: 4
Completed: 4
Scrapped: 4
General characteristics (HMS Leander)
Class and type: Leander-class second-class partially protected cruiser
Displacement: 4,300 tons (4,400 tonnes) load.[1][2]
Tons burthen: 3,750 tons (B.O.M.).[3]
  • 300 ft (91.4 m) between perpendiculars.[1]
  • 315 ft (96.0 m) overall.[1][2]
Beam: 46 ft (14 m).[1][2]
  • 20 ft 8 in (6.30 m) aft, 19 ft 6 in (5.94 m) forward
  • with 950 tons (970 tonnes) of coal and complete with stores and provisions.[4]
Propulsion: Sails and screw. Two shafts. Two cylinder horizontal direct acting compound engines, 12 cylindrical boilers, 5,500 IHP.[1][2]
  • 16.5 kn (30.6 km/h) designed[1]
  • 17–18 kn (31–33 km/h) after funnels raised[1]
  • 11,000 nmi (20,000 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h).[1]
  • 725 tons coal normal, 1000 tons maximum = c. 6,000 nmi at economical speed.[5]
Complement: (1885): 275[4][6]
  • 1.5 in (38 mm) steel armoured deck (with sloped sides) over 165 ft (50 m).[1][5]
  • 1.5 in (40mm) gun shields.[1][5]
  • Carried 2 second class torpedo boats.[4]
  • Carried 7-pdr and 9-pdr boat guns and field guns.[4]

The Leander class was a four-ship cruiser programme ordered by the Admiralty in 1880. The class comprised HMS Leander, HMS Phaeton, HMS Amphion and HMS Arethusa.


"A new and better policy of unarmoured construction was inaugurated by the Admiralty of 1874-80. They began by building the two despatch vessels, Mercury and Iris, with a speed not approached up to that date by any in naval service. In the Mercury and the Iris the speed was obtained by an enormous development of horse-power… The cost per ton was equal to that of the most powerful ironclad, while the fighting power was inconsiderable."[7]

In 1880 the Admiralty Board were divided about next design of cruising ship to lay down. The First Naval Lord, Sir Astley Cooper Key, favoured an enlarged 15 knots (28 km/h) Comus class. Some of the other members of the board preferred an improved Iris class. The First Lord of the Admiralty, William H. Smith, backed the latter.[8] There was a change of government on 23 April 1880;[9] Lord Northbook replaced W.H. Smith as First Lord, though Astley Cooper Key continued as First Naval Lord.[10] "Lord Northbook's board were deeply impressed with the necessity for developing the construction of vessel of the Leander" type.[7] "The first four ships of a large class laid down for the protection of commerce under Lord Northbrook's board were of the Leander type. The Leanders have a displacement of 3,750 tons. Their speed is 17 knots… Their coal supply is 1016 tons. These ships were followed by the four ships of the Mersey type…"[11]

The Leanders were primarily designed for trade protection.[12] In 1881, it was argued that Britain had fallen behind in cruisers to protect Britain's mercantile marine, which at the time was at least half the world total. "Taking 14 knots as the standard of high speed, we have only 11 swift cruisers, counting the Iris and Mercury despatch vessels among them. Fine vessels they are, and no doubt the Shah and the Raleigh, when they have got on board their new armament, will give a good account—a very good account indeed—of any cruiser in the world that is not an iron-clad. But the world is a large place; and eight or ten vessels cannot be everywhere, and the safety of our commerce imperatively demands that the swift cruisers which we have ready at the outbreak of a war shall be enough to clear the seas of privateers. Much use, as a war goes on, may, no doubt, be made of the armed merchantmen on the Admiralty List; but we must have Royal [Navy] cruisers to begin with, A commencement was made last year by the late Board in the Leander and her two consorts, which, with their partially protected machinery, their great speed, and their excellent guns, will be everything that can be desired for the purpose for which they were devised. The present Board have carried this policy farther. We are pushing on the Leanders, and we have laid down a fourth Leander at Pembroke, to occupy the spare time of the 200 extra men who are working on the iron-clads…"[13]

On 2 December 1884, the Secretary to the Admiralty stated, "The present Board have been gradually developing, and, as I would venture to say, in an effective manner, our resources for the protection of commerce. The late Board of Admiralty laid down an admirable type for the purpose in the Leander class. We have followed in their footsteps by producing the Mersey type, and we now propose to go a step further in the same direction, by laying down vessels of the Mersey class, but protected by a belt in lieu of an armoured deck. The belt will, I think, be approved by my hon. Friend who sits behind me (Sir Edward J. Reed)."[14] These belted cruisers were the Orlando class.


Compared with the Iris class, the designers of the Leander "cut down top hamper and took advantage of the recent advance in gun construction to reduce the weight of, while adding to the efficiency of armaments. The models approved for the new ships were favourable to high speed."[7]


"The armament consists of ten 6-inch breech-loading guns, two Gatling guns, ten Nordenfeld guns, four Gardner guns, and four tubes for launching Whitehead torpedoes. Four of the breech-loaders are fixed on revolving turntables which project beyond the sides of the ship. They are placed on either side of the upper deck at the fore end of the poop and after end of the forecastle. These bow guns can be trained from the cross fire of 4˚ forward to 45˚ abaft the beam, and the after guns from right aft fire to 45˚ before the beam. The remaining 6-inch breech-loading guns which these vessels carry are fitted at broadside ports in the ordinary way. The Nordenfeld guns are fitted in projecting parts of the topsides, and are so arranged as to give great training and great depression, firing into boats alongside. The Whitehead torpedoes are discharged from broadside ports on the lower deck, two forward and two aft."[15]

When Leander was first commissioned in May 1885, her armament was listed as follows:

"Upper deck 10 6-in BL, 8 1-in Nordenfeld, 2 5-barrel and 2 2-barrel 0.45-in guns. 7-pdr and 9-pdr boats and field guns.
2 second class torpedo boats. 4 torpedo dischargers"[4]

Protection and watertight subdivision[edit]

The Leanders relied for protection on sub-division, coal bunkers,[12] and a one and a half inch (40mm) armoured deck over 165 feet amidships. The armoured deck was just above the normal waterline at the centre, and sloped down at the sides to protect against shells entering at the waterline.[8]

The 1886 edition of The Naval Annual described them as follows:

"The Phaeton [sic] class differs from the Iris in having a protecting deck. The vessels are built of steel. The distinctive feature of the class is that they are unarmoured cruisers, having the magazines and machinery protected by a steel deck 1½ in. thick, and sloped at the sides in order to deflect any shot striking the vessel near the water line. When the coal bunkers are filled, these too will afford some protection, as they are ranged along the sides and across the ends of what has been called the vital part of the ship... Provision has of course been made by watertight bulkheads and numerous compartments for keeping the ship afloat if struck by shot or otherwise injured in the hull. The Leander struck the Hornet Rock shortly after she was commissioned. The sea entered through numerous rivet holes where rivets had been sheared, but the compartment kept the ship afloat in a working condition."[15]


"With regard to their steaming capabilities, it may be noted that these cruisers with an authorized complement of coal of 725 tons have room in their bunkers for 1000 tons.[16] They also carry three masts, but are not expected to have much sailing power."[15]

"The Phaëton has been tried in the Solent. At the previous six hour' full power trial of the Phaëton there was a difficulty experienced in maintaining steam from want of draught in the stokeholds. (Only the Leander of this class has been fitted with fans for forced draught.) The funnels were afterwards raised from 60 ft (18 m) to 68 ft (21 m) (the same height as those of the first-class cruisers), while the space between the firebars was increased. The effect of these changes at the trial was very marked, the engines being provided with an abundance of steam without their being any necessity for resorting to the blast. The trial was intended to have been for six hours, but during the eleventh half hour, the expansion gear of the starboard engine heated and snapped, and the run was brought to a premature close. As, however the machinery worked without any hitch of any kind, and was developing power largely in excess of the Admiralty contract, it was agreed by the officers superintending the trial to accept the means of the five hours as a sufficient test of performance. These afforded the following data: Steam in the boilers, 85.35 lbs [588.5 kPa]; vacuum, 25.3 in (640 mm) starboard and 24.8 in (630 mm) port; revolutions, 100; mean pressures, starboard, 43.7 and 11 lb. [301 kPa and 76 kPa] and 43 and 11.7 lb. [300 kPa and 81 kPa] port; collective horsepower, 5,574.88 ihp (4,157.19 kW) or nearly 600 horses [450 kW] beyond the contract. The mean speed registered by runs on the measured mile was 18.684 knots (34.603 km/h), which was remarkable, notwithstanding her light draught. The coal consumption did not exceed 2.39 lbs. per unit of power per hour [1.45 kg coal per hour per kiloWatt]."[17]

Name Indicated Horse Power (IHP)[18] Weight of Engines per IHP[18] Weight of Boilers (including water) per IHP[18] Total Weight of Machinery per IHP[18]
lb/IHP kg/kW lb/IHP kg/kW lb/IHP kg/kW
Iris 7,330 ihp (5,470 kW) 136 83 173 105 309 188
Leander 5,500 ihp (4,100 kW) 139 85 196 119 335 204
Mersey 6,630 ihp (4,940 kW) 82½ 50 104 63 186½ 113

Establishment of ship's company[edit]

When the Leander first commissioned her establishment of ship's company was listed as follows in her log. (Note the way that the engine room establishment officers are not listed with the officers.)

Type Number
Officers 18
Petty officers 41
Seamen and other ratings 100
Boys 13
Marines 36
officers 4
P.O. and stokers 63
Total 275
Source: Log of HMS Leander 29 May 1885 – 22 May 1886.[4]
The order is as listed in the original.

In the 1888 British annual naval manoeuvres, "the proportion of untrained (2nd Class) stokers which were draughted to several of the ships appears to have been too large."[19] The opinion of the captain of the Arethusa was that the "engine room complement [was] insufficient by 2 engine room artificers, 2 leading stokers, and 23 stokers."[20]

The Navy List gave the following composition of officers for the Leander in December 1885 (order as in the original):[21]

  • 1 Captain
  • 5 Lieutenants
  • 1 Staff Surgeon
  • 1 Staff Paymaster
  • 1 Staff Engineer
  • 1 Sub-Lieutenant
  • 1 Assistant Paymaster
  • 1 Engineer
  • 2 Assistant Engineers
  • 2 Gunners
  • 4 Boatswains
  • 1 Carpenter

Total 21 (including 4 engineers).

Building programme[edit]

Name Builder Ordered Laid Down Launched Financial Year
of Completion
Last in commission
as seagoing warship
Leander Napier, Glasgow.[1] 1880 [22] 14 June 1880 [1] 28 October 1882 [1] 1885-86 [23] 29 May 1885 [1][21] 18 December 1919 [24] Sold for breaking up 1920.[1]
Phaëton Napier, Glasgow.[1] 1880 [22] 14 June 1880 [1] 27 February 1883 [1] 1885-86 [23] 20 April 1886 [1][25] 28 April 1903 [26] Sold 1913, repurchased 1941, sold 1947.
Amphion Pembroke Dockyard.[1] 1881 [22] 25 April 1881 [1] 13 October 1883 [1] 1885-86 [23] 5 July 1887 [27] 25 May 1904 [28] Sold 1906
Arethusa Napier, Glasgow.[1] 1880 [22] 14 June 1880 [1] 23 December 1882 [1] 1886-87 [23] 8 July 1887 [29] 3 April 1903 [30] Sold 4 April 1905.[1][31]

The financial year of completion is taken from the statement of the first cost of each effective ship of the Royal Navy under the year of completion in the Navy Estimates for 1889-90. It provides a different view of when the vessels were completed than the usually quoted reference books. Both the Amphion and Arethusa lay in ordinary reserve until commissioned for the 1887 annual manoeuvres, so the date when the vessels were first commissioned was some time after they were completed.

In March 1882, it was stated that "the Leander, the Arethusa, and the Phaeton will pass out of the hands of the contractors, and will come to our own yards to be completed and fitted with the new 6-inch breech-loader; and the Amphion, at Pembroke, will be pushed forward in the intervals of the iron-clad building."[32] It was stated on 1 August 1882, that "the Amphion is being advanced satisfactorily at Pembroke, while the Leander, Arethusa, and Phaeton are promised to be delivered within the year by the contractor, a promise which was renewed within a few days of the present time." [33] But seven months later, it was "noticed with regret" that the ships of the Leander class (and also some of the gun vessels) that were building by contract had not been completed as they ought to have been.[34] The explanation was that there had been a large increase in the expenditure for wages at the Dockyards, and this had paid for by money voted for the construction of the Leanders. Though the "Admiralty have been desirous that the money should be spent on the object for which it is voted, but that it has been prevented by a delay with the contractor."[35] In May 1883, it was "alleged that one of the reasons for the delay in the construction of the Leander is that the Admiralty have not fully decided upon the smaller arrangements which have to be carried out by the builders." However it was doubted that this was the main reason for delays.[36] By May 1884, it was being "said that the Leander should be completed first; that then a trial of the Leander should be made; and that then it should be ascertained what improvements or alterations ought to be effected in the Arethusa, and the other ships of the same class. It is said that the other two are built and are almost complete..."[37] This course of action was opposed by W.H. Smith who said "the Leander class ought to be rendered complete, according to the arrangements undertaken by the Board of Admiralty, without loss of time."[37][38] On 15 July 1884, the Secretary to the Admiralty stated that "The Leander herself, we expect, will be completed in December in the Dockyards; but the others of her class will not be completed until she has been tried. Directly we are satisfied with her capabilities the others will be completed. They can be completed in about three months."[39] As of 6 March 1885, "the Leander alone was completed."[40] The Secretary to the Admiralty stated: "In 1885–6 we shall complete... [the remaining] three protected ships of the Leander class...".[41] The veracity of Admiralty statistics on the completion of these vessels was questioned in the ensuing debate in the House of Commons by W.H. Smith.[42] When the Leander was completed in 1885, she was considered one of the three most important unarmoured vessels in the 1885 Evolutionary Squadron.[43]


Name Cost of Hull Cost of Machinery Cost of Armament Total Cost to Completion Cost after Completion
(including sea stores)
to 31 March 1888
Leander £87,843 [22] £60,610 [22] £ £191,882 [23]
£8,526 [23]
£17,325 [23]
£4,324 [23]
Phaëton £86,763 [22] £58,435 [22] £ £189,672 [23]
£8,337 [23]
£8,291 [23]
£3,139 [23]
Amphion £95,000 [22] £65,500 [22] £ £202,113 [23]
£26,351 [23]
£5,926 [23]
£1,477 [23]
Arethusa £86,763 [22] £58,435 [22] £ £191,138 [23]
£8,770 [23]
£5,259 [23]
£1,242 [23]
"Note: The figures in italics represent dockyard incidental charges apportioned to each ship."[23]

At between £189,672 and £202,113 each, the Leanders were cheaper than the Iris and Mercury, whose costs to completion were £224,052 and £234,860 respectively.[44] The Merseys, that followed them cost between £202,840 and £217,982 each.[23]

Performance as sea boats[edit]

The committee appointed to inquire into all circumstances connected with the 1888 British naval manoeuvres reported as follows:

With respect of the Arethusa, "...the Committee think it right to call special attention to certain remarks contained in the report of the captain who lately commanded this ship.
He considers the Arethusa a good sea-boat, and that she steams well against a moderate head sea and strong wind, but that she rolls heavily when the sea is abeam or abaft; she is therefore unsteady as a gun-platform under these conditions, and, on account of her quick and heavy rolling, 'accurate shooting would be an impossibility, and machine guns in the tops would be useless.'
Among the many suggestions made for improving her efficiency, the following refer especially to the reduction of top weight:-
  • Removal of square rig on foremast.
  • Removal of fighting tops.
The captain does not himself suggest that the armament should be lightened; but Admiral Baird's opinion, that all cruisers appear to be too heavily armed, applies to this vessel as well as to the Mersey class, and in this opinion the Committee concur.
Three other suggestions from the same officer are noted as specially worthy of consideration, viz.:-
  • To enlarge the rudder.
  • To extend the upper bridge out to the ship's side in order to obtain a view right aft.
  • To fit a search light on the poop, as a torpedo-boat coming up astern cannot be kept in the beam of the ones on the fore-bridge."[45]

The First Naval Lord, Admiral Sir Arthur Hood commented on this as follows:

"The proposal to remove the square rig on the foremast, and the fighting tops, in order to reduce top weight I do not concur in; the square rig on the foremast is a decided advantage to vessels of this class, and would enable them to save coal when cruising on a foreign station; the value of the guns mounted in the fighting tops would be considerable when engaged with cruisers, and therefore I would retain them."[46]

Comments on design with hindsight[edit]

"Leander and her three sisters were very successful and may be seen as the ancestors of most [Royal Navy] cruisers for the rest of the century and beyond. Their general configuration was scaled up to the big First Class cruisers and down to the torpedo cruisers, whilst traces of the protected deck scheme can even be recognised in some sloops."[8]


  • The Naval Annual, various issues.
  • Brown, David K. Warrior to Dreadnought, Warship Development 1860–1905, published Chatham Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1-86176-022-1
  • Blueprints
  • Chesneau, Roger, and Eugene M. Kolesnik, eds. All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905, published Conway Maritime Press, 1979. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4
  • Jane, Fred T All the World's Fighting Ships, 1900
  • Lyon, David and Winfield, Rif The Sail and Steam Navy List, All the Ships of the Royal Navy 1815-1889, published Chatham, 2004, ISBN 1-86176-032-9
  • Cruisers of the Royal and Commonwealth Navies by Douglas Morris. Maritime Books 1987. ISBN 0-907771-35-1.[dubious ]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905, page 75
  2. ^ a b c d www.worldnavalships.com Leander class
  3. ^ Navy List, December 1884, page 230.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Log of HMS Leander 29 May 1885 – 22 May 1886, UK National Archives file ADM 53/14282
  5. ^ a b c Jane, All the World's Fighting Ships, 1900, page 102.
  6. ^ Conway's lists her complement as 278, which appears to be an error. See Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905, page 75.
  7. ^ a b c Lord Brassey, The Naval Annual, 1886, page 68
  8. ^ a b c Brown, Warrior to Dreadnought, Warship Development 1860–1905, page 111.
  9. ^ The 1880 General Election took place from March to April 1880. Polling day was 5 April. The Liberals under William Ewart Gladstone gained a landslide victory. Gladstone took office on 23 April. The new Board of Admiralty were appointed on 12 May.
    See: Bartholomew Archive William Gladstone and the 1880 General Election
  10. ^ See List of Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty#1861 to 1882
  11. ^ Lord Brassey, The Naval Annual, 1886, page 69
  12. ^ a b Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905, page 61
  13. ^ Hansard HC Deb 18 March 1881 vol 259 cc1389-90 Statement by the Secretary to the Admiralty, Mr George Trevelyan in the House of Commons, 18 March 1881.
  14. ^ Hansard HC Deb 2 December 1884 vol 294 c455 House of Commons, the Secretary to the Admiralty, Sir Thomas Brassey.
  15. ^ a b c "Lord Brassey", The Naval Annual, 1886, page 199.
  16. ^ On page 69 of The Naval Annual, 1886, it says: "Their coal supply is 1016 tons."
  17. ^ Lord Brassey, The Naval Annual, 1886, pages 199-200.
  18. ^ a b c d Lord Brassey, The Naval Annual, 1887, pages 192. Note that Brassey quotes data in Imperial units. French "System International" equivalents have been calculated from them for Wikipedia.
  19. ^ The Naval Annual, 1888-89 – supplementary report of the committee on the naval manoeuvres, pages 439.
  20. ^ The Naval Annual, 1888-89 – supplementary report of the committee on the naval manoeuvres, pages 440.
  21. ^ a b Navy List December 1885, page 216
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Lyon & Winfield The Sail and Steam Navy List, All the Ships of the Royal Navy 1815-1889 pages 270-271
    Note that the costs quoted in Lyon & Winfield are exactly the same as quoted in Lord Brassey's The Naval Annual, 1886, pages 188, 191-2.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Navy Estimates for the Year 1889-90, page 281.
  24. ^ The Leader's final logbook covers 1 January to 18 December 1919, and is UK National Archives catalogue reference ADM 53/46416
  25. ^ The Phaëton's first logbook covers 20 April 1886 to 2 November 1887, and is UK National Archives catalogue reference ADM 53/14963
  26. ^ The Phaëton's final logbook covers 25 March 1902 to 28 April 1903, and is UK National Archives catalogue reference ADM 53/24832
  27. ^ The Amphion's first logbook covers 5 July 1887 to 31 August 1887, and is UK National Archives catalogue reference ADM 53/12451. Note that Lyon and Winfield (page 270) quote a completion date of August 1886, whilst Conways (page 75) quotes 1887.
  28. ^ The Amphion's final logbook covers 1 August 1903 to 25 May 1904, and is UK National Archives catalogue reference ADM 53/17022.
  29. ^ The Arethusa's first logbook covers 8 July 1887 to 1 September 1887, and is UK National Archives catalogue reference ADM 53/12513. Note that Lyon and Winfield (page 270) states that Arethusa was completed on 29 September 1887, whilst Conways (page 75) says 1886.
  30. ^ The Arethusa's final logbook covers 28 November 1902 to 3 April 1903, and is UK National Archives catalogue reference ADM 53/17281 B.
  31. ^ www.britainsnavy.co.uk HMS Arethusa
  32. ^ Hansard HC Deb 16 March 1882 vol 267 c1102 Statement by the Secretary to the Admiralty, Mr Trevelyan in the House of Commons, 16 March 1882.
  33. ^ Hansard HC Deb 01 August 1882 vol 273 c410. Secretary to the Admiralty, Mr. Campbell-Bannerman 1 August 1882.
  34. ^ Hansard HC Deb 15 March 1883 vol 277 c619 House of Commons, Debate on naval estimates for 1883-4, remarks by Mr. W.H. Smith, 15 March 1883.
  35. ^ Hansard HC Deb 15 March 1883 vol 277 cc620-1 House of Commons, Debate on naval estimates for 1883-4, response by the Secretary to the Admiralty, Mr. Campbell-Bannerman, to a question by Mr W.H. Smith, 15 March 1883.
  36. ^ Hansard HC Deb 07 May 1883 vol 279 c131 House of Commons debate on navy estimates, 7 May 1883, remarks by Mr W.H. Smith.
    "I cannot help thinking that if an officer was made responsible, from the first, for the complete design for a ship, and was called upon to see it carried out, without any tinkering or changes in construction, we should see our ships fitted more quickly, and at much less cost than now. It is in the knowledge of all who are acquainted with the Admiralty construction that alterations are frequently made in ships, and they are due, generally speaking, to the fact that things have been forgotten, or not properly considered in the first instance, and it is nobody's fault. I think the Board of Admiralty should make all that some one officer's duty, so that a design for a ship of war should be as thorough and complete as the design for a house, or for a first class mercantile steamer would be. I know very well the conditions with which the Admiralty have to comply are complicated, and that they must march with the times, and make such changes from time to time as may be necessary; but I think designs should be considered completely by competent persons at the first, before the ship is laid down, or the design has left the Office of the Admiralty. It has been alleged that one of the reasons for the delay in the construction of the Leander is that the Admiralty have not fully decided upon the smaller arrangements which have to be carried out by the builders. I have no doubt that is true; but anyone who walks through a Dockyard will know that what I am insisting upon is not usually complied with. A great many things are left open for consideration and decision on a future day; but consideration and alteration do seriously interfere with the efficiency and rapidity of the work."
  37. ^ a b Hansard HC Deb 08 May 1884 vol 287 cc1713 House of Commons debate of Navy Estimates, 8 May 1844, remarks by Mr. W.H. Smith.
  38. ^ See also Hansard HC Deb 15 July 1884 vol 290 cc1184-5 House of Commons debate on Navy Estimates, 15 July 1884.
    Mr. W.H. Smith said: "…I refer to the steel steam cruisers of the Leander class. In one part of the Return they are spoken of as complete so far as the contractor is concerned. In the abstract of ships building and completing in Her Majesty's Dockyards, we are told that the Amphion is to advance to 1,443 tons after her arrival at Devonport, and the Arethusa is to be completed. These, with the Leander, are, no doubt, valuable ships, and I think they could all be completed in three months, if the Admiralty gave the order for it. If they are left incomplete they will infallibly be attended with expense, because there will be a disposition to alter them, and make changes in them—probably to re-arrange their armaments in some way. It has been decided what the ships shall be by giving the orders to build them, and it is simply a waste of money to delay and make alterations after they are complete so far as their hulls, or gun-ports, or fittings generally are concerned. These ships, I venture to say, ought to be completed and made ready…"
  39. ^ Hansard HC Deb 15 July 1884 vol 290 c1192 House of Commons debate on navy Estimates, 15 July 1884, reply by the Secretary to the Admiralty, Mr. Campbell-Bannerman.
  40. ^ Hansard HL Deb 06 March 1885 vol 295 c240. House of Lords, Questions and Observations, 6 March 1885: observation by the Earl of Carnarvon.
  41. ^ Hansard, HC Deb 16 March 1885 vol 295 c1311, House of Commons, departmental statement by the Secretary to the Admiralty, T.A. Brassey.
  42. ^ Hansard, HC Deb 16 March 1885 vol 295 c1327-28, House of Commons, response by W.H. Smith to the departmental statement by the Secretary to the Admiralty.
    "There seems to be a kind of paralysis, or an extraordinary condition of things, which prevents us getting the ships when we spend the money. If we take the case of protected ships—shown on page 204 of the Estimates for last year—it will be found that the Mersey was to be advanced to 1,339 tons; the Severn, to 955; the Thames, to 662; the new Mersey, 814; another new Mersey, 61; Calypso, to 1,470; Calliope, to 1,397; the Pylades, to 772; the Amphion, to 1,443; the Arethusa, 93; the Leander, 164; the Phaeton, 92; the Mariner, to 520; the Racer, to 520; the Icarus, to 209; the Melita, 87; the Swallow, 50; and the Acorn, 80. I went through the corresponding figures also, as they are shown on page 210 of this year's Estimates, and I will give them to my hon. Friend if it is necessary. I find they show a deficiency of 1,297 tons, 10,513 tons were promised, and only 9,216 were built. In other words, of protected ships, only four-fifths of the tons promised were built. The Contract Vote shows the same thing. The Benbow was advanced to 3,451, slightly more than was promised; but the other contract ships show a deficiency of 511 tons. Taking the whole together, the programme shows that we had 20,679 tons promised, and that only 17,111 were built, a gross deficiency of 3,568 tons. I will illustrate how this is done by the case of the Arethusa, Leander, and Phaeton. It was shown in the Estimates of 1883–4, page 204, that each of these vessels required 251 tons to be built in them to complete making 753 tons in all. Of these tons the Estimates of 1883–4 provided for - Arethusa, 251; Leander, 55; Phaeton, 92; a total of 398.
    The Estimates of 1884–5 provide for- Arethusa, 93; Leander, 164; Phaeton, 92; total, 349. Now, the Estimates of 1885–6 provide for the Arethusa, 214; and for the Phaeton, 275; a total of 489. In the three years, therefore, it is provided that 1,236 tons shall be built into ships, in which only 753 tons were required. The ships have not grown bigger, and only one of them, the Leander, is now in course of completion. These facts require grave consideration, for they strike a blow at the confidence which the Committee ought to place in the Estimates of a great public Department like that of the Admiralty."
  43. ^ Hansard, HC Deb 08 June 1885 vol 298 c1399, House of Commons, response by the Secretary to the Admiralty to a question by Mr. Edward T. Gourley, 8 June 1885.
    "Mr. Gourley asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, How many and what design of Torpedo craft are to accompany the Evolutionary Squadron about to be assembled in the Channel under the command of Admiral Hornby; whether any portion of the Fleet is to be manned by officers and men of the First and Second Class Mercantile Reserves; and, further to inquire if the cruise is to be a game of war, combining manœuvring with land forces, or to be limited to the usual summer routine?
    Sir Thomas Brassey The torpedo flotilla which will accompany the Evolutionary Squadron under the command of Admiral Hornby includes the Hecla and Polyphemus, and eight first-class and eight second-class torpedo boats. Of the 13 iron-clads in the Squadron, all except the Lord Warden and Penelope are fitted with two or four torpedo tubes. Three most important unarmoured vessels in the Squadron - the Conquest, Mercury, and Leander - are similarly fitted. A few officers of the Royal Naval Reserves are being selected for service with the Squadron. The men of the Reserves have not been called out. During the cruise many experiments will be carried out with especial reference to the torpedoes.
    Mr. Gourley asked whether the fleets were engaged in what might be designated a game of war?
    Sir Thomas Brassey replied, that the trials and exercise would be carried out under the direction of one of the ablest officers in the Service, and he had been invited to give his attention to the use of the torpedo."
  44. ^ Navy Estimates for the Year 1889-90, pages 284-5.
  45. ^ The Naval Annual, 1888-89 – supplementary report of the committee on the naval manoeuvres, pages 436-7.
  46. ^ The Naval Annual, 1888-89 – observations by Admiral Sir Arthur Hood on the supplementary report of the committee on the naval manoeuvres of 1888, pages 445.