HMS Urgent (1855)
HMS Urgent (1855)

Royal NavyVessels

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NameUrgent (1855)Explanation
Launched2 April 1855
Builders measure 
Displacement2801 tons
Ships bookADM 135/486
NoteLaid down as Assaye, purchased on stocks.
1876 d.s.
Snippets concerning this vessels career
25 July 1855
- 6 June 1857
Commanded (from commissioning until paying off at Portsmouth) by Commander Charles Gerrans Phillips, particular service
1 October 1857
- 31 March 1859
Commanded (from commissioning) by Commander John Wallace Douglas McDonnald, particular service
2 April 1859
- 27 November 1862
Commanded (until paying off at Portsmouth) by Commander Henry William Hire, particular service
22 July 1864
- 13 January 1871
Commanded (from commissioning until paying off) by Captain Samuel Hood Henderson, particular service
23 March 1879
- 17 June 1879
Commanded by Acting Commodore of the 2e class St George Caulfield D'Arcy-Irvine, Depôt ship, Jamaica
24 July 1886
- 9 November 1889
Commanded by Commodore of the 2nd class Henry Hand, Depôt ship, Jamaica
11 October 1892
- 31 October 1895
Commanded by Commodore of the 2nd class Thomas Sturges Jackson, Depôt ship, Jamaica
Extracts from the Times newspaper
Tu 2 October 1855The iron screw steam storeship Urgent, Commander Phillips, bound to Malta, which embarked 1,114 officers and men, under command of Lieutenant Hill, 63d Regiment, at Portsmouth on Sunday, put into Plymouth yesterday morning leaky, with four feet of water in her hold. At 3 p.m. on Sunday she had just lost sight of the Start Light, and was about 25 miles off Plymouth, head to wind, going full steam, seven and a half knots, when her bilge-pipes began to fill. She was put about immediately under canvas, her steam power being applied to the pumps. The troops were alarmed by the sounding of the "assembly" at half-past 3. They appear to have been embarked in great haste, and will probably be landed at Plymouth while the ship is repairing. The Urgent is stated to have more troops on board than her space can accommodate. The entire number of rank and file is 990. Of these 126 are stowed in the lower troop-deck forward, which is a dark, close place, with no ventilation from the sides, and very little from the maindeck. The remaining 864 are berthed on the maindeck, where there are hammocks slung for 450, the others sleeping on gratings placed on the deck, underneath the hammocks. On the ship's entrance into Plymouth the maindeck and these gratings were in a very wet condition. Under the upper deck there are gratings, intended for the reception of the men's knapsacks, but they are fitted too closely for that purpose, and the knapsacks are in consequence strewn about among the hammocks in the way of the men. It is also stated that the hospital on the starboard bow is so ill-ventilated as to be unbearable by night when the side-lights are closed. Instead of 1,114, the Urgent seems qualified to accommodate about 600 men. In addition to the leakage from the damaged bi1ge-pipes, she leaks in the cants of the cabin. One of the bilge-pipes burst on the trial trip, and was plugged and repaired at Portsmouth. Her engines are in very good order.
Sa 27 October 1855The naval and military intelligence which follows is given in letters from our Malta correspondent to the 24th inst:'
"… Her Majesty's steam transport Urgent, with troops from Plymouth regiments, and a heavy cargo of huts, winter articles for the troops at the seat of war, provisions, ammunition, &c, ran ashore in five feet water, on Fort Ricasoli point, while entering Malta harbour. Immediately on striking she fired a gun as a signal of distress. Boats from Her Majesty's steam sloop Niger, and from the receiving-ship Ceylon, were soon on the spot, as also Rear-Admiral Stopford, Lieutenant-General Sir John Pennefather, as well as His Excellency the Governor. The troops were disembarked in safety and marched into barracks, and the steamer was subsequently extricated, with very little injury. A private of the Rifle Brigade on board, who was suffering from diarrhoea, died shortly after the vessel struck".
Th 15 November 1855Her Majesty's steam transport Urgent, having repaired the trifling damages sustained from her getting ashore on entering Malta harbour on her outward passage from England with troops and stores, left on her return for England on the 7th, conveying Lieutenant Palmers, Surgeon Reynolds, Captain M'Naghten, 8th Hussars; Major Barnley, R.A.; Mr. Thomas, R.N.; two sergeants and three privates of the Royal Marine Artillery; 10 invalided seamen. Mrs. Buckley, and Mrs. Lagrave.
Th 22 November 1855Her Majesty's steam transport Urgent, Commander Philips, arrived at Spithead yesterday from the Mediterranean, with the passengers and invalids enumerated yesterday.
Sa 24 November 1855The Urgent, steam-transport, Commander Phillips, R.N., was going out of Portsmouth harbour to Spithead yesterday morning, when a small vessel got in her way, and in trying to avoid her she ran foul of the schooner Hazard, 107 tons, Michelsen, master, from Malaga, laden with fruit, oil, and wine, bound for Copenhagen, and made her a complete wreck; the tide (ebb) took her (the Urgent) on the port bow, and she ran bodily on to the Hazard, which was at moorings, with two anchors down, sweeping off her rigging and deck gear at one brush, leaving only the bare lower stump of her foremast above deck, tearing up one pump and damaging the other, staving in her bulwarks, and thrusting her mainmast through them. Water flowed into the vessel fast, and she could not make head against it, her pumps being ruined; it is much feared that her cargo will be spoilt. The Urgent carried away her jibboom in the encounter, and returned to moorings instead of going to Spithead.
Tu 27 November 1855A court-martial, comprising Captain Sir Thomas Maitland, C.B., President; Captain G.A. Eliott, of the St. Vincent; Captain. J.J. Stopford, of the Calcutta; Captain Warden, of the Ajax; Captain Harris, of the Illustrious; Captain Robb, of the Caesar; Captain Yelverton, C.B., of the Arrogant; Captain Ommanney, of the Hawke; and Mr. G.L. Greetham, Deputy-Judge-Advocate of the Fleet, assembled yesterday morning on board Her Majesty's ship Victory, in Portsmouth harbour, to try Commander Phillips and Mr. Braund, Master of Her Majesty's steam troop-ship Urgent, for allowing that vessel to get grounded on the rocks off Fort Ricasale, at the mouth of the entrance to Malta harbour on the 28th of October last. The Court were deliberating upon their finding when this report was sent off.
We 28 November 1855The court-martial which sat on board Her Majesty's ship Victory at Portsmouth on Monday, for the trial of Commander Phillips and Mr. Braund, Master of Her Majesty's steam troopship Urgent, for having got that ship ashore near Malta on the morning of the 20th ult., found as follows:- "That Her Majesty's ship Urgent got on shore on Ricasoli Point, at the entrance of Malta harbour, in attempting to enter it in the night, in consequence of the master of the said ship not having paid due attention to keep Cape St. Elmo Light in a proper bearing until he had distinctly made out the entrance of the harbour; but that when the danger was discovered every proper precaution was taken to prevent the accident, which probably would have been avoided had the ship answered her helm more readily; that, under the circumstances, no blame is imputable to Commander Phillips, and the Court do therefore adjudge him to be acquitted; but, in consequence of the want of judgment on the part of Mr. Braund, the Court do adjudge him to be admonished to be more careful for the future."
Ma 10 December 1855The naval steam transport Urgent, Commander Phillips, R.N., which, as already stated, left Portsmouth on Thursday evening with a small draught of the 17th Lancers, arrived at Plymouth on Friday, and went up Hamoaze to repair machinery. She will embark 735 men of the Land Transport Corps, and a number of officers of various regiments, for the East, and will probably leave to-morrow. She will take 8,500 medals for distribution among the army in the Crimea.
Tu 1 January 1856The following letter, dated Malta, Dec. 25, is from our correspondent:-
"…Her Majesty's troopship Urgent arrived on the 23d from Plymouth..."
Th 31 January 1856The screw steam storeship Resolute, Mr. Pentreath master, which arrived at Plymouth on Tuesday morning, left Constantinople Jan. 4th, Malta the 10th, and Gibraltar on the 22d... At Malta the Resolute took in tow Her Majesty's screw steam storeship Urgent, Commander Charles G. Phillips, her engines being out of order. Two days after, when the tow-ropes were cast off, the Urgent got up steam, and, although the Resolute fired guns, waited some time at sea, and remained two days at Gibraltar, nothing more was heard of her, and it is concluded that she went back to Malta.
Th 14 February 1856By the Peninsular and Oriental Company's steamship Madrid, which arrived at Southampton yesterday with the Peninsular mails, we receive the following items of naval and military intelligence from Gibraltar:- ...Her Majesty's steam troop ship Urgent was undergoing repairs at Gibraltar, and would be ready to leave on the 5th inst.
Fr 15 February 1856Her Majesty's steam transport Urgent, Commander Phillips, arrived at Portsmouth on Wednesday night from the Mediterranean, defective in her machinery. She has gone into harbour to have the defects repaired. She brought no passengers or invalids. She reports having been in collision on the 13th inst., at 1 30 p.m., off St. Catharine's, with the steam transport Imperial, No. 188; the latter lost her mizenmast, the Urgent merely lost her foretopmast studdingsailboom; on the 7th of January, off Cape St. Vincent, she spoke the English ship Mary and Emma.
Tu 19 February 1856Orders have been received at Portsmouth Dockyard for the authorities to expedite with all despatch the refitment of the three steam troopships Vulcan, Commander Bowyear; the Perseverance, Commander Crang; and the Urgent, Commander Phillips, as they may he wanted suddenly to embark troops for colonial service.
Th 21 February 1856The Perseverance and Urgent steam troopships, Commanders Crang and Phillips, were docked yesterday at Portsmouth, to be refitted with all despatch for the conveyance of troops.
Ma 10 March 1856The following are the latest movements at Portsmouth Her Majesty's steam blockship Hawke, 60, Captain Ommanney, returned from Plymouth on Saturday. The Lucifer steam tender, in charge of Mr. Robert C. Allen, master of the St. Vincent, 101, left, on Saturday afternoon for Pembroke, to convoy back two gunboats for commission. Her Majesty's ship Perseverance (troopship), Commander M'Donald, was undocked, after repairs, on Saturday, and the Urgent naval steam troopship, Commander Phillips, was taken in to refit, The new screw gun and despatch vessel Ringdove, 6, was docked on Saturday, to be fitted for commission. The Dee steam transport was moved into the steam basin on Saturday, to unload machinery for the ships fitting but. The Dapper and Stork steam gunboats were undocked after repairs on Saturday, and the Carnation gunboat taken in for the like attentions.
We 12 March 1856The following ships and vessels are fitting out and refitting at Portsmouth:- The Victor Emmanuel, screw, 91, will be ready for trial of her machinery at moorings on the 15th instant., and ready for the pendant by the 15th of April. The Rodney, 92, depôtship, will be ready for service on the 29th inst. The Shannon, 51, new screw frigate, will he fitted with her machinery, and ready for trial at moorings on the 15th inst., and ready for commission by about the 31st. The Perseverance steam troopship will be ready for service again by this day or to-morrow. The Vulcan steam troopship will be refitted by the 20th inst. The Centaur paddle-frigate is refitted in the shipwright department, and will be out of the hands of the chief engineer about the 28th inst. The Basilisk paddlewheel sloop will be refitted and ready for sea again by the end of the present month. The Transit steam troopship has repaired what defects she had, and is ready to embark. The Algiers, 91, will be refitted and ready for sea again by about the 25th inst. The Resistance sailing storeship will be refitted by the 22d inst. The Urgent screw troopship will be refitted in her machinery and ready for service by about the middle of next month. The new screw sloop Flying Fish, 6, will be out of hand of the artificers by the end of this week. The Pioneer, 6, will be out of hand by about the 20th inst. The Fury, 6, paddlesloop, has refitted, and is out of the shipwrights' hands.
Th 27 March 1856The Urgent, 6, steam troopship, Commander Phillips, was undocked yesterday at Portsmouth after refitting.
Th 8 May 1856The iron screw storeship Urgent, Commander C.G. Phillips, sailed from Rio on the 21st of February.
Ma 26 May 1856The following ships were in harbour at Portsmouth, and at Spithead on Saturday:- … In the steam basin:- Victor Emmanuel, 91; Shannon, 51; Fox, 42; Urgent, 6; Dasher, 2: Alban, Rhadamanthus, and two gunboats.
Th 12 June 1856Her Majesty's steam troopship Urgent, 6, Commander Phillips, having refitted her machinery, had up steam yesterday, and will be ready for service again by Saturday next.
We 25 June 1856Her Majesty's steam troopship Urgent, Commander Phillips, left Spithead on Monday night for the Crimea, to bring home troops.
Fr 15 August 1856A letter from our Malta correspondent, dated August 10, contains the following news connected with the army and navy:- ...Her Majesty's steam-transport Urgent arrived from Constantinople on the 28th.
Ma 18 August 1856Her Majesty's steam troopship Urgent, Commander C.G. Phillips arrived at Spithead, on Saturday, from Scutari, with the screw steam transport Gibraltar in tow, the latter's machinery having broken down in the Sea of Marmora.
Ma 25 August 1856Her Majesty's steam troop-ship Urgent, Commander Phillips, was taken into the steam-basin at Portsmouth on Saturday, for repairs to her machinery.
Tu 26 August 1856Yesterday (Sunday) morning the 38th Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel J.P. Sparks, 900 strong, arrived in Dublin by the steam transport Pacific from Aldershott, viâ Liverpool. The 38th proceeds immediately to the Curragh. "The very last of the Crimeans'" reached Dublin on Saturday by the Bristol steamer, and consisted of 127 men, lately attached to the Commissariat. These men have been for the most part in the Crimea for upwards of 22 months, and were under fire on three occasions - at the opening of the siege on the 18th of June, and at the fall of Sebastopol - for which services they have all been awarded the Crimean medal. Upon quitting Balaklava they embarked in the sailing [sic] transport Urgent leaving some other vessels and a portion of the 50th Regiment behind, but having been tossing about for nine days in the Black Sea, they found on arriving at Constantinople that they constituted the last remnants of the expeditionary force. The Urgent landed them at Spithead, whence they proceeded by land to Bristol, seven of the original number dropping off by the way, and the remainder, who are all Irishmen, returning to Ireland by steamer for the purpose of being paid off.
Ma 6 October 1856Her Majesty's steam troopship Urgent, Commander Phillips, embarked on Saturday afternoon at Portsmouth the depôts of the 28th and 38th Regiments, with whom she left the same day for Ireland.
Tu 14 October 1856The steam troopship Urgent, Commander Phillips, arrived at Portsmouth yesterday from Ireland, with part of the 33d and 50th Regiments, whom she landed at the dockyard.
Ma 17 November 1856The screw steam store ship Urgent, Commander Charles G. Phillips, from Portsmouth, arrived at Plymouth on Saturday morning, and, having embarked depots from the 54th and 66th Regiments, sailed in the evening for Southampton. These depots are bound to Winchester, and include all those men whose period of retirement is nearly complete, of those unfit, from the state of their health, for field duty, and of young men who require to be trained for that duty.
Sa 22 November 1856The steam troopship Urgent, Commander Phillips, left Portsmouth yesterday afternoon for Queenstown with draughts of the 15th, 30th, and other regiments for that depôt, where she will take on board draughts of the 1st, 14th, 23th, 48th, 55th, 57th, 71st, 91st, and 92d, for Gibraltar and Malta.
Tu 23 December 1856Our Malta correspondent, whose letter is dated the 10th of December, reports the following movements at that port:- ...
"Her Majesty's screw steam transport Urgent arrived from Gibraltar and England on the 8th.
Fr 2 January 1857The letter of our Malta correspondent, dated December 27, notices the following movements at that port:-
"Her Majesty's steam corvette Stromboli left for England on the 9th, having in tow Her Majesty's screw steam gun-boat Clinker, disabled in her machinery. The former gave passage to 34 invalids.
"Her Majesty's screw steam transport Urgent left for England on the 16th, conveying Captain Sir George Otway, R.N., and Lady Otway, Lieutenant Gordon, Lieutenant Humphreys, Ensign Seaton, 31 invalids, &c.
Th 8 January 1857The iron screw steam storeship Urgent, Commander Phillips, arrived at Plymouth on Tuesday morning. She left Malta on the 16th December, and having experienced heavy weather had to put into Cagliari, Sardinia, to stop a leak. Arrived on the 25th at Gibraltar, and sailed therefrom on the 30th. She brings passengers, Sir George Otway and Lady Otway, and 41 invalid soldiers, in charge of Assistant-Surgeon Hubbard. The Urgent has on board 1,011 casks of condemned provisions and 10 tons spare machinery for the paddlewheel steam vessel Banshee, with which she is bound to Spithead, The screw steam-sloop Curlew, 9, Commander William Horton, was the only ship of war at Gibraltar. On the 24th December, off Malaga, the Urgent spoke the merchant ship Amanda, 21 days from Trieste, for Glasgow.
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