The Flying Squadron of 1872
The Flying Squadron of 1872

Royal NavyFleetsThe Flying squadrons1871 ◄► 1873
Royal NavyFleetsThe Flying squadrons
1871 ◄► 1873

The following extracts from (generally the Naval Intelligence column of) The Times newspaper refer to the activities of the Flying squadron of of November 1871-September 1872.

Extracts from the Times newspaper
Sa 21 October 1871The three frigates - Inconstant, Immortalité, and Volage, now at Portsmouth, and forming part of the unarmoured detached squadron under the flag of Rear-Admiral F. Beauchamp Seymour, C.B., are being calked and refitted for further service, the crews having leave granted them in alternate watches. The Inconstant lies in No. 11 dock, and the Volage was yesterday taken into the Warrior dock. The Immortalité, carrying Admiral Seymour's flag, is refitting alongside the jetties of the dockyard.
Ma 30 October 1871Rear-Admiral F. Beauchamp P. Seymour, C.B., commanding the detached squadron, has re-hoisted his flag on board the Narcissus, 28, screw frigate, at Devonport, and, with the Cadmus, 17, screw corvette, Capt. W.H. Whyte, will sail with the other ships of the squadron (now at Portsmouth), about the 8th or 10th proximo, for Rio and the Cape of Good Hope.
Th 9 November 1871The Cadmus, 17, screw corvette, Capt. Whyte, has been taken out of dock at Devonport, where she has had her bottom stripped, thoroughly re-caulked and re-coppered.
The Narcissus, 28, screw frigate, Capt. W. Codrington, flagship of Rear-Admiral F. Beauchamp Seymour, C.B., commanding the detached squadron, was taken into dock at Devonport yesterday, to have the bottom cleaned and valves examined, after which Mr. Froude will make experiments with both ships to ascertain the extent to which they roll, in order to compare the results with those of similar trials of other ships.
Fr 10 November 1871The Immortalité and the Volage frigates, belonging to the detached squadron, have come out of harbour to Spithead, after completing their repairs and refit for the next voyage of the squadron. The Inconstant's repairs are not yet completed, and she remains for the present in the hands of the dockyard authorities.
Ma 13 November 1871The Narcissus, 28, screw frigate, Capt. W. Codrington, flagship of Rear-Admiral F. Beauchamp Seymour, C.B., commanding the Detached Squadron, sailed from Plymouth Sound on Saturday night for Portland; and the Cadmus, 17, screw corvette, Capt. Whyte, was expected to leave the Sound last night for the same port.
Tu 14 November 1871Her Majesty's ship Narcissus, 35, Captain William Codrington, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Beauchamp Seymour, C.B., arrived in Portland roads on Sunday afternoon, from the westward, and was saluted by Her Majesty's ship Achilles. It is stated that the other ships of war forming the flying squadron may be shortly expected, and after a short stay in the roads will proceed for a 14 months' cruise.
Sa 18 November 1871The flying squadron will leave Gibraltar for Madeira immediately after the arrival of the mail which leaves England on the 11th inst [sic; should presumably be proximo - next month]. From Madeira it will proceed to Teneriffe, where the mails which leave England on the 17th and 23rd of November will be received. From Teneriffe the squadron will cruise south, and then return to Gibraltar, calling at Madeira, arriving at Gibraltar on or after the 20th of December, and there wait further orders. The following is a list received from the Admiralty of the dates of departure of mails, from England for Madeira and the Canaries:- Via Liverpool, on the 5th, 11th, 17th, 23d, and 29th of each month; via Southampton, on the 10th and 25th, to Madeira. The Rear-Admiral commanding intends to have his private letters and newspapers sent to Madeira by the packet of the 11th of December from Liverpool, but the squadron will not be delayed there for the purpose of receiving them.
Ma 20 November 1871The unarmoured screw frigates Inconstant, Immortalité, and Volage, belonging to Rear-Admiral F. Beauchamp Seymours detached squadron, sailed from Spithead on Saturday for the rendezvous of the squadron in Portland Roads. The captains of the three frigates, Waddilove, Grahame, and Culme-Seymour, have been acting as members of the Megaera Court-Martial, held on board Her Majesty's ship Duke of Wellington, in Portsmouth, and, in consequence, the sailing of the frigates from Portsmouth for the rendezvous of the squadron was delayed until after the Court had concluded its sittings.
Th 11 January 1872The following notification was promulgated at the Admiralty yesterday: - "Mails for the Detached Squadron. It is anticipated that the Detached Squadron, under the command of Rear-Admiral Seymour, C.B., will reach the Cape of Good Hope towards the end of February , and Bombay towards the end of April. Letters should therefore be sent as follows: - For the Cape of Good Hope, by packet leaving leaving Southampton on the 25th January; to Bombay, by packet leaving Southampton each Thursday between the 1st of March and the 4th April, inclusive".
Ma 19 February 1872Rear-Admiral Beauchamp Seymour, C.B., arrived at Rio Janeiro January 8 with his flying squadron, consisting of the Narcissus, Inconstant, Immortalité, Topaze, Cadmus, and Volage. The Immortalité was detached on January 11 to look for the ship White Rose off Cape Frio; she returned on January 13. Admiral Seymour intended to leave with his squadron on January 18 for the Cape and Bombay. There is a report, however, that the Foreign Office has expressed a desire that the ships should return to Europe earlier than was originally intended.- Army and Navy Gazette.
Fr 22 March 1872Advices from the Cape of Good Hope, by the mail steamer Syria, report the arrival at Simon's Bay on the 14th of February of the Detached Squadron, under command of Rear-Admiral Seymour, C.B., from Rio Janeiro, which port was left on the 18th of January. The vessels comprising the squadron were the Narcissus (flag), Captain Codrington; the Topaze, Capt. Oldfield; the Immortalité, Capt. Graham; the Inconstant, Capt. Waddilove; the Cadmus, Capt. Whyte, and the Volage, Capt. C. Seymour. The squadron left Portland on November 19, 1871, and reached Vigo on the 24th of that month. Here the squadron was put in quarantine in consequence of two cases of smallpox having occurred on board the flagship. Through this quarantine the Narcissus left Vigo on November 27 for Lisbon, the squadron remaining behind with the Inconstant in command. The Narcissus returned on the same day, not being able to steam against the head wind prevailing, and on the 29th the fleet sailed for Lisbon. The flagship parted company the same day, steaming ahead, and arrived at Lisbon on the 2d of December - the fleet on the 3d. At Lisbon the Narcissus sent the cases to hospital, and the whole fleet received pratique. The Squadron remained at Lisbon till December 7, at which date it took its departure and made an excellent passage to Madeira, which was reached at 9 a.m. on Sunday, the 10th. It left this island on the following day. At Rio the weather was intensely hot, and the port was left on the 18th of January. The squadron arrived eventually at Simon's Bay on the 14th of February. During the cruise there were, of course, manoeuvres, gun exercise, and other drills, which kept all hands hard at work. Cape Town had been visited by a large number of the sailors of the fleet, and their conduct had been most exemplary. The Inconstant was sent round to Table Bay as a guardship, arriving there on the l6th ult., and it was considered probable that some of the other ships would visit the port before proceeding to Bombay.
Ma 8 April 1872We are glad to hear that Rear-Admiral Beauchamp Seymour's Flying Squadron only lost four men by desertion while staying at the Cape of Good Hope, notwithstanding the reports which were flying about to the effect that diamonds larger than the Koh-i-Noor were being found in abundance in the "fields." Rear-Admiral Beauchamp 's Flying Squadron will be in England towards the close of the year, if nothing untoward should occur to keep it abroad, and the Admiral will then probably haul down his flag to give another officer the opportunity of gaining the same experience which he has acquired.
Fr 26 April 1872The Detached Squadron, under the orders of Rear-Admiral Beauchamp Seymour, C.B., has arrived at Bombay. The squadron will not proceed to Madras and other ports in India, as originally intended, but will go to the Mauritius, where the crews will be granted leave, and thence return to the Cape of Good Hope to await further orders. The Cadmus will leave the squadron at Bombay, and proceed to China to join the squadron under the orders of Vice-Admiral Shadwell. Letters for the squadron should be sent to the Cape of Good Hope by the next mail, and for the Cadmus to Singapore.
Ma 29 April 1872We are informed, and we learn with regret, that Rear-Admiral F. Beauchamp Seymour, C.B., Commanding the Detached Squadron, has declined the offer made to him by Mr. Goschen of a post as a member of the Board of Admiralty, now under course of reconstruction by the First Lord. Rear-Admiral Seymour holds a most important command, and one that he fills with great tact and discretion; but his decision not to join the new Board, of which he is admirably qualified to become a member from his great professional knowledge, is undoubtedly a loss to the First Lord in the future administration of the Navy [he subsequently changed his mind and became a member of the Board which took office from 4 May 1872].
Ma 13 May 1872Rear-Admiral F.A. Campbell, second in command of the Channel squadron, is appointed to the command of the detached squadron for particular service, vice Rear-Admiral Beauchamp Seymour, who has been appointed a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty.
Ma 17 June 1872The subjoined notice was published at the Admiralty on Saturday last for public information :-
"The detached squadron will probably arrive at the Cape of Good Hope about the 8th of July, and after staying there about ten days will return to England, calling at St. Helena, Ascension, and the Azores. Letters sent by the ship Edinburgh Castle, which is appointed to leave London on the 20th- inst., will probably reach the Cape before the departure of the squadron. Letters sent by the mail on the 10th of July may also reach the squadron at St. Helena".
Sa 28 September 1872The Detached Squadron, comprising the following ships, arrived off the Eddystone, under canvas, yesterday morning, and parted company, the two first-named ships making for Plymouth Sound, where they anchored at 9.30 a.m., and exchanged salutes with the Royal Adelaide, flagship of the Commander-in-Chief at Devonport. The other three ships proceeded up Channel for Portsmouth. The screw frigates Narcissus, 28, Capt. W. Codrington, flagship of Rear-Admiral F.A. Campbell; the Topaze, 31, Capt. R.B. Oldfield; the Immortalité, 28, Capt. W. Graham; the Inconstant, 16, Capt. C. Waddilove, and the screw corvette Volage, 8, Capt. M. C. Seymour. The squadron, under command of Rear-Admiral Beauchamp Seymour, C.B., left Portland on Nov. 19, 1871, and arrived at and sailed from the following ports on the dates specified:- Vigo, Nov. 24, 29; Lisbon, Dec. 2, 7; Madeira, 10, 11; Rio Janeiro, Jan. 8, 18, 1872; Cape of Good Hope, Feb. 14, 27; Bombay, April 22 and May 6; Mauritius, June 5, 20; Cape of Good Hope, July 7, 27; St. Helena, Aug. 8, 13; Ascension, Aug. 17, 20; the Azores, Sept. 13, 16. The total distance traversed by the ships is 29,414 miles, accomplished almost entirely under sail. The general health of the crews has been good. The cruise from the Cape to Bombay was very tedious, owing to the prevalence of light winds and calms the whole way. The squadron steamed from the equator to Bombay, the ships towing each other alternately, the Inconstant and Volage doing most of the work. Steam was used for one day in crossing the equator, going out and coming home, and advantage was taken of it to exercise the squadron in steam tactics. The route of the squadron was to go round India, but on arrival at Bombay the ships were ordered home round the Cape, Rear-Admiral Seymour giving up command at Bombay to go to Aden, en route for England, on his appointment as a Lord of the Admiralty. The command of the squadron then devolved on Capt. Waddilove, of the Inconstant, who took charge, as senior officer, until arrival at the Cape, where Rear-Admiral Campbell joined, and the ships met the Russian squadron with the Grand Duke Alexis, who gave an entertainment on board his ship, the Svetland, and the Flying Squadron gave a ball at Simon's Bay.
Ma 30 September 1872The eastern division of the Detached Squadron, consisting of the unarmoured screw frigates Immortalité, Capt. W. Graham; the Inconstant, Capt C. Waddilove; and the Volage, Capt. M. C. Seymour, arrived and anchored at Spithead on Saturday morning.
The Narcissus, 28, Capt. W. Codrington, bearing the flag of Rear Admiral F.A. Cambell and the Topaze, 31, Capt. R.B. Oldfield, moved from Plymouth Sound into the harbour at Devonport on Saturday, preparatory to being paid off, all standing, and recommissioned.

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1871 ◄► 1873

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