HMS Cornwallis (1813)
HMS Cornwallis (1813)

Royal NavyVessels

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NameCornwallis (1813)Explanation
TypeThird rate TypeBlockship
Launched (Sail)12 May 1813 Converted to screw8 February 1855
HullWooden Length177 feet
PropulsionSail Men600
Builders measure1809 tons Builders measure (as screw)1809 tons
Displacement  Displacement (as screw)2678 tons
Guns74 Guns (as screw)60
Fate1957 Last in commission1864
ClassArmada Class (as screw)Cornwallis
Ships bookADM 135/106   
Snippets concerning career prior to conversion
12 May 1813Launched as 3rd rate sailing ship at Bombay Dockyard of East India Co
- 1816
In commission
18 March 1836Commissioned at Plymouth
15 February 1837
- 2 June 1839
Commanded (until paying off at Plymouth) by Captain Richard Grant, flagship of Vice-Admiral Charles Paget, North America and West Indies
5 April 1841
- 22 November 1844
Commanded by Captain Peter Richards, flagship of Rear-Admiral William Parker, East Indies (including the first Anglo-Chinese war)
Career as unarmoured wooden screw vessel
8 February 1855Undocked as screw at Devonport Dockyard
9 February 1855
- 13 August 1856
Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth until paying off at Plymouth) by Captain George Greville Wellesley, the Baltic during the Russian War, then North America and West Indies
2 December 1856
- 20 April 1857
Commanded (from commissioning at Plymouth) by Captain Richard Ashmore Powell, Coast Guard, the Humber (first ship so commissioned after CG was reorganised under the Admiralty)
20 April 1857
- 29 April 1861
Commanded by Captain George Granville Randolph, Coast Guard, the Humber
30 April 1861
- 14 April 1863
Commanded by Captain Sidney Grenfell, Coast Guard, the Humber
14 April 1863
- 31 March 1864
Commanded by Captain James Newburgh Strange, Coast Guard, the Humber (replaced by Dauntless)
1865Jetty at Sheerness
1 April 1916
- 15 March 1922
Recommissioned as Wildfire, base ship, Sheerness
1957Broken up at Sheerness
Extracts from the Times newspaper
Th 21 January 1864Yesterday a naval court-martial, composed of Captain W.K. Hall, C.B., Cumberland, 70, guardship of the Chatham Steam Reserve, President; Commander the Hon. G.D. Keane, Cumberland; Commander R. Staddert, Wellesley, 72; Commander T.L. Gaussen, Formidable, 84; and Commander A. Barrow, Cumberland, assembled op board the Formidable, 84 Capt. J. Fulford, flagship of Admiral of the Blue Sir G.R. Lambert, K.C.B., naval Commander-in-chief at the Nore, for the trial of Lieut. William Walsh, commander, and the surviving officers and crew of Her Majesty's gunboat Lively, 2, 60-horse power, tender to the Cornwallis, 60, 200-horse power, Capt. J.N. Strange, on the charge of having lost that vessel among the shoals on the north coast of the Netherlands, east of the island of Schiermonnick Oog on the morning of the 21st of December last, during a violent hurricane, the Lively was engaged at the time in searching for a fleet of fishing-boats and other craft, which were reported missing between the Dogger-bank and the island of Heligoland. Mr. G.H. Knight, of the firm of Essell, Knight, and Arnold, Rochester, solicitors to the Admiralty, officiated as Deputy-Judge-Advocate, and conducted the investigation. Lieut. Walsh was assisted in his defence by Staff-Commander H.T. Ellis, of the Cornwallis. The witnesses examined by the Court were Lieut-Commander W. Walsh, who was in charge of the Lively at the time she was lost, Mr. F. Bush, engineer, Mr. C. Cox, gunner, together with the quartermaster and carpenter. From their evidence it appeared that the Lively left Berwick on the 19th of December with instructions to cruise in the German Ocean between the Dogger-bank and the island of Heligoland, with the view of assisting any of the fishing-boats which were then known to be at sea, and some of which appeared to have been lost. On the night of the 21st of December, when in lat. 54 26, long. 5 47, the Lively encountered a fearful gale, which continued with unabated fury during the whole of that and the following day. In spite of the untiring exertions of the officers and crew, the vessel became altogether unmanageable. Her foremast was carried away and hung over her side; there was about four feet of water in her hold, which extinguished her fires and prevented the working of her engines. During the height of the gale Mr. Home, the assistant-engineer, was washed overboard and drowned, and the pilot who had charge of the ship was found dead on the deck from exposure, cold, and fatigue. The gunboat being at the mercy of the waves was driven on shore on the Belgian coast, the officers and crew being providentially rescued by some fishing smacks, the men in which had heard their signal distress guns. Nearly everything on board the Lively was lost, and a day or two afterwards the vessel went to pieces. During the whole of the trying period the officers and crew appeared to have behaved in the most praiseworthy, manner. At the close of the case for the prosecution the Court adjourned for an hour to enable Lieutenant Walsh to prepare his defence, which was read by the Deputy-Judge-Advocate. The defence was a recapitulation of the evidence given by the witnesses for the prosecution, and at the close the court was cleared, the members remaining in deliberation about an hour. On the court being opened, the Deputy-Judge-Advocate read the finding, fully and honourably acquitting Lieut. Walsh and the officers and crew, and stating its opinion that the Lively was lost through the fearful gale which prevailed, she being in her right course at the time. The Court further stated that Lieut. Walsh had done everything in his power to save the ship. Capt. Hall, in handing Lieut. Walsh his sword, said he did so with the greatest pleasure, the Court believing that he, together with the officers and the whole crew, had behaved as British seamen on the trying occasion.

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