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HMS Sparrowhawk (1856)
HMS Surprise (1856).jpg
Sparrowhawk's sister-ship, Surprise
Career (United Kingdom) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Sparrowhawk
Ordered: 26 July 1855
Builder: Young, Magnay & Co., Limehouse
Engines by Humphrys, Tennant & Dykes
Laid down: 6 August 1855
Launched: 9 February 1856
Completed: By 7 April 1856
Fate: Sold in 1872
General characteristics
Class & type: Vigilant-class second-class despatch/gunvessel
Displacement: 860 tons
Tons burthen: 669 79/94 bm
Length: 180 ft (54.9 m) (gundeck)
160 ft 7.5 in (49.0 m) (keel)
Beam: 28 ft 4 in (8.6 m)
Draught: 8 ft (2.4 m) (designed)[1]
Depth of hold: 14 ft (4.27 m)
Installed power: 200 nominal horsepower
726 ihp (541 kW)
  • 2-cylinder horizontal single-expansion steam engine
  • Single screw
Sail plan: Barque-rigged
Speed: 11 kn (20 km/h) under steam
Complement: 80

As designed:

As completed:

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.

Design[edit | edit source]

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.[2]

Propulsion[edit | edit source]

A two-cylinder horizontal single expansion steam engine by Humphries, Tennant & Dyke provided 726 indicated horsepower (541 kW) through a single screw,[2] and gave a top speed of about 11 knots.[1]

Sail plan[edit | edit source]

All Vigilant-class gunvessels were barque-rigged.[2]

Armament[edit | edit source]

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.[2]

Service history[edit | edit source]

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.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Preston (2007) p.150
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Winfield (2004) p.220

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