The Flying Squadron of 1871
The Flying Squadron of 1871

Royal NavyFleetsThe Flying squadrons1869 ◄► 1872
Royal NavyFleetsThe Flying squadrons
1869 ◄► 1872

The following extracts from (generally the Naval Intelligence column of) The Times newspaper refer to the activities of the Flying squadron of January-October 1871.

Extracts from the Times newspaper
Th 5 January 1871The Flying Squadron, comprising the screw frigates Narcissus, 28, Capt. W. Codrington, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Beauchamp Seymour, C. B., Admiral in command of the squadron, and the Immortalité, 28, Capt. F.W. Sullivan, C.B.; and the screw corvettes Cadmus, 17, Capt. W.H. Whyte, and Volage, 8, Capt. M. Seymour, sailed from Plymouth Sound yesterday for Lisbon, Madeira, Barbadoes, and several other of the British West India Islands, including Jamaica, whence the squadron, probably calling at Havannah, will proceed to Bermuda, where the Pylades, 17, screw corvette, Capt. C.W.V. Buckley, V.C., is expected to join. The cruise will occupy four or five months, but a great deal of latitude is allowed to Admiral Seymour, both as to ports of call and the duration of the visit. The Commander-in-Chief at Devonport, Admiral Sir Henry Codrington, K.C.B., accompanied by Rear-Admiral W. Houston Stewart, C.B., went out in the steam tender Princess Alice to view the departure of the squadron, which left Plymouth with a fine easterly breeze.
Ma 9 January 1871The new Flying Squadron, under the command of Rear-Admiral Beauchamp Seymour, C.B., took its departure from Plymouth Sound on Tuesday, under the most favourable auspices. It is intended that the ships shall, if possible, visit the chief, if not all, of our West India colonies; but naturally the length of their absence will depend upon the political state of Europe, as the Admiral's orders are that he shall keep himself as much as possible within telegraphic communication with Whitehall. The trip may be long or short, but the officers and men cannot fail to be improved by the practical experience which they will acquire pending its duration.- Army and Navy Gazette.
Fr 13 January 1871The Admiralty yacht Enchantress, with the Lords of the Admiralty on board, on their return from inspecting the naval cadet training ship Britannia at Dartmouth, arrived and anchored at Spithead early yesterday morning. The forenoon was spent by their Lordships in an inspection of the ships of the detached squadron of unarmoured screw frigates, under the command of Rear-Admiral F.E. Seymour, C.B., which anchored at Spithead on Wednesday, on return from a cruise in the North Seas.
Ma 20 March 1871Our latest advices from Rear-Admiral Beauchamp Seymour's flying squadron are up to the 27th of February. The ships were then at Barbadoes, and would leave for Tobago, Trinidad, and other islands on the 4th of March, winding up with a somewhat lengthened visit to Jamaica. The squadron was in excellent order in reference to discipline and general efficiency. The officers and men were well, contented, and happy, and the cruise promises to be productive of much benefit to the service. The Volage is said to be the smartest ship, but then she has been longest in commission, and she is spoken of as being one of the greatest successes achieved by Mr. Reed; but her armament is regarded as being too small. The Immortalité has proved herself the fastest ship under sail. Steam is only resorted to when absolutely necessary, and, therefore, although agreeing very much with what that thorough good seaman of the old school, Admiral Rous, said in The Times of Thursday, we do not think there is much chance of the rising generation of our sailors turning out "tea-kettle" men.- Army and Navy Gazette.
Ma 1 May 1871The following is a brief account of the proceedings of Rear-Admiral Beauchamp Seymour's Flying Squadron since the last communication from the ships. Our letters are dated the 9th inst. [i.e. 9th April] from Jamaica : -"We remained a fortnight at Barbados, during which time the Governor and the town gave two balls in our honour, both being most successful. At Trinidad we stayed ten days, and from there have visited the islands of Grenada, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia, leaving the latter on the 30th, and arriving here yesterday. From St. Vincent to St. Lucia the squadron had a trial of rate of sailing. Getting all into one line when we had got an offing of the former island, the Admiral made the signal, 'Race to Castries, St. Lucia.' which was a dead heat [sic: should presumably be "dead beat"]. We started at 6 p.m. on the 27th and arrived in the following order on the 28th :- Volage, 12 50 p.m.; Narcissus, 2 50 p.m.; Pylades, 5 35 p.m.; Immortalité, 7 50 p.m.; Cadmus, 10 p.m. So the Volage has proved herself the best ship in sailing to windward, for she also beat the fleet in a two hours' trial we had between Grenada and St. Vincent. We met the Eclipse at St. Vincent on the 25th taking the Governor of Barbadoes round the islands. She was to return from there. The ships in port here are Myrmidon, Sphinx, Lapwing, and Britomart. We remain till the 20th, leaving for Havannah and Bermuda."- Army and Navy Gazette.
Th 4 May 1871The flying squadron has left Havanna for Bermuda.
Th 15 June 1871The Topaze, 31, screw frigate, was commissioned at Devonport yesterday by Lieut. Richards for Capt. R.B. Oldfield, and is intended for the Flying Squadron.
Ma 26 June 1871A Press despatch of the 1st of June from Halifax, Nova Scotia, is to the following effect:- "The remaining vessels of the Flying Squadron - Narcissus, Immortalité and Pylades - arrived to-day from Bermuda [I assume this means that Cadmus, Volage and Inconstant had already arrived]. The squadron will remain until the 17th, and then leave for a three year cruise to the West Indies, South America, China, Australia, and home. The squadron is commanded by Rear-Admiral Seymour. There are now eight warships and gunboats at this station".
We 28 June 1871The Topaze, 31, screw frigate, Capt. R.B. Oldfield, and the Research, 4, Captain Douglas, made a satisfactory trial of their machinery in the offing at Plymouth on Monday.
There is no authority for the statement contained in the press dispatch on the 1st of June from Halifax, Nova Scotia, quoted in the Times of the 26th inst., that the squadron was about to proceed on a cruise of three year duration to the West Indies, China and Australia. The squadron is now proceeding from Halifax to Gibraltar.
Ma 17 July 1871Her Majesty's ship Topaze will leave tomorrow morning for Gibraltar touching at Vigo, and will carry letters for her Majesty's ships Hercules, Northumberland, Monarch, and Warrior at Vigo and for the Mediterranean and Detached Squadrons at Gibraltar.
Sa 22 July 1871The Agincourt, 28, Capt. H.H. Beamish, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral A.P. Eardley Wilmot, C.B., second in command of the Channel squadron... arrived at Plymouth yesterday... The Inconstant remained at Gibraltar to join the Flying Squadron.
Ma 14 August 1871The Helicon, paddle despatch vessel, Commander H.E. Crozier, from Vigo on the 6th inst., arrival in Plymouth Sound on Saturday morning, with letters, despatches, and a few supernumeraries. On leaving Vigo she proceeded to the rendezvous off Ushant, which she reached at 7 p.m. on the 8th inst., the Reserve Squadron arriving there at 1.45 p.m. on the 9th, the Prince Consort at 10.5 p.m. on the 10th, and the Mediterranean and Flying Squadron at noon on the 11th; and the Helicon left at 10.20 the same night for Plymouth. The combined squadrons, consisting of 23 ships, under the supreme command of Vice-Admiral Sir Hasting R Yelverton, C.B., were to cruise between 20 miles off Ushant and Ireland until the 14th inst.; the rendezvous after that would be 20 miles south of Cape Clear until the 21st or 22d inst. The fleet includes the following ships:- First, the combined Mediterranean and Channel squadrons, comprising the Lord Warden (flagship of Vice-Admiral Yelverton), Prince Consort, Monarch, Hercules, Northumberland, Defence, Caledonia, and Warrior; letters for these ships should be sent to Queenstown before the 17th or 18th inst. Second, the Detached Squadron, consisting of the Narcissus (flagship of Rear-Admiral Beauchamp Seymour, C.B.), Cadmus, Topaze, Immortalité, Volage, and Inconstant; letters for these ships should be sent to Portland before the 15th or 16th inst. Third, the Reserve Squadron, under Commodore G.O. Willes, C.B., including the Achilles, Black Prince, Resistance, Invincible, Repulse, Hector, Valiant, Vanguard, and Penelope; letters for these ships should be sent to Queenstown before the 17th or l8th inst.
Tu 15 August 1871The combined squadron under Vice-Admiral Sir Hastings Yelverton, K.C.B., was cruising off Plymouth on Sunday evening. The Admiral's flagship, the Lord Warden, came close in to the Breakwater and exchanged salutes with the Port Admiral's flagship, the Royal Adelaide. The ships of the Flying Squadron then proceeded for Portland, with the exception of the Topaze, which came into the Sound to replenish coal. The other ships of the Mediterranean, Channel, and Reserve Squadrons steamed to the westward for the rendezvous, 20 miles south of Cape Clear, where the Topaze, instead of going to Portland, is ordered to join them when her coaling is completed. She is expected to leave to-night. The Port Admiral and Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Sir J. Codrington, K.C.B., carrying his flag in the Princess Alice, will leave Devonport to-morrow to visit the western portion of his command, extending to the Scilly Islands.
Ma 21 August 1871The official announcement is published of the route of the Detached Squadron, which has left the Downs. It is to arrive at Copenhagen on August 23, and stay there five days; then go to Carlscrona, where the squadron is appointed to arrive September 1. After remaining four days, it will proceed to Christiania, where it will remain five days, and leave on September 14 for Trondheim, where it will stay three days; then proceeds to Bergen, where it will arrive on September 25, and on the 27th will sail for Kirkwall, where the squadron remains three days, and is appointed to arrive at the Firth of Forth on October 4.
We 4 October 1871On Monday five vessels of the Flying Squadron proceeded up the Firth of Forth and anchored at St. Margaret's Hope. The squadron left Bergen on Thursday. The vessels in the Firth of Forth are the following:- The Narcissus, 35, steam frigate (bearing the flag of Admiral Seymour, C.B.), Capt. William Codrington; the Immortalité, 28, steam frigate, Capt. F.W. Sullivan; the Inconstant, 16, steam frigate, Capt. C. Waddilove; the Volage, 8, steam iron corvette, Capt. M. Culme-Seymour; and the Cadmus, 16, steam corvette, Capt. W.H. Whyte.
Tu 10 October 1871The Narcissus, Inconstant, Immortalité, Cadmus and Volage, belonging to the Flying Squadron left St Margarets Hope, Firth of Forth, on Saturday for Plymouth. The vessels were expected at Yarmouth and Sheerness on their way.
Th 12 October 1871The detached squadron of unarmoured screw frigates under the command of Rear-Admiral F. Beauchamp B. Seymour, C.B., comprising the Narcissus, 28 guns, 2,665 tons, 400-horse power, Capt. W. Codrington, carrying the flag of the Admiral commanding; the Immortalité, 28 guns, 3,959 tons, 600-horse power, Capt. Francis W. Sullivan C.B,; the Inconstant, 16 guns, 4,066 tons, 1,000-horse power, Capt. Charles Waddilove; the Volage, 8 guns, 2,322 tons, 600-horse power, Capt. Michael Culme Seymour; and the Cadmus, 17 guns, 1,466 tons, 400-horse power, Capt. W.H. Whyte, anchored at Spithead yesterday morning, as briefly reported in our Second Edition of yesterday, on the return from the last portion of the cruise of the squadron in the North Sea, and await orders. The squadron left Queensferry, on the coast of Scotland, about 2 p.m. on Saturday, and carried fair winds nearly all the distance round to Spithead. The cruise of the squadron has been in all respects a pre-eminently satisfactory one. A very gratifying feature in connexion with the cruise is that not one case of desertion has occurred throughout the squadron.
Sa 14 October 1871The Narcissus, 28, screw frigate, Captain W. Codrington, flagship of Rear-Admiral F. Beauchamp Seymour, C.B., commanding the Detached Squadron, and the Cadmus, 17, screw corvette, Capt. H.W. Whyte, arrived in Plymouth yesterday from Portsmouth and will be taken into the harbour at Devonport to make good defects.

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