The Detached Squadron of 1880
The Detached Squadron of 1880

The Royal NavyThe Detached squadrons1874
The Royal NavyThe Detached squadrons

The following extracts from (generally the Naval Intelligence column of) The Times newspaper refer to the activities of the Detached squadron of October 1880-October 1882.

Extracts from the Times newspaper
We 25 August 1880Capt. Charles Fitz-Gerald commissioned the unarmoured frigate Inconstant at Portsmouth yesterday morning, with a crew of 611 officers and men, of whom upwards of 200 will be ordinary seamen. The Inconstant will bear the flag of Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, formerly Junior Lord of the Admiralty, who will command the flying squadron now in course of being prepared for sea.
We 25 August 1880The Cleopatra was commissioned yesterday by Capt. F. Durrant, late Captain of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, with a complement of 245, for service with the Detached Squadron, under the flag of Earl Clanwilliam. She will be passed out of dock this morning and leave for trial on Monday next.
Ma 4 October 1880The Inconstant, Captain Fitzgerald, the flagship of Admiral Lord Clanwilliam, commanding the Flying Squadron, was out of the shipwrights' hands at Portsmouth, on Saturday, and as the Prince of Wales has asked that she may be completed as soon as possible it is expected that she will be ready for sea on the 14th, when she will join the Bacchante at Gibraltar. She will receive her crew from the Bellerophon hulk to-morrow.
Tu 12 October 1880The Inconstant, Capt. Fitzgerald, bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, commanding the Flying Squadron, bent sails on Saturday, proceeded out of harbour, and anchored at Spithead yesterday afternoon where she will be joined to-morrow by the Cleopatra. The ships will leave on Thursday for Gibraltar, where they will be joined by the Bacchante and Tourmaline. The route of the cruise has been prepared, but it will not be divulged until it has received the approval of the Queen. The ship's company of the Inconstant consists of 680 officers and men, or 120 more than her ordinary complement, there being about 200 ordinary seamen on board for training.
Ma 18 October 1880The Flying Squadron, consisting of the unarmoured frigate Inconstant, Captain FitzGerald (bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam), and the two new corvettes, Cleopatra, Captain F. Durrant, and Carysfort, Captain H.F. Stephenson, sailed from Spithead on Saturday evening for their training cruise round the world. The Inconstant is, with the exception of the Shah, the largest unarmoured ship in the Navy, measuring 333ft. in length, 50ft. 1in. in. breadth, and having a displacement of 5,782 tons. She is armed with ten 12-ton guns on the main: deck, and six 6½ -ton guns on the upper deck. When new the Inconstant realized the highest: speed known at that time in the Navy, having attained close upon 17 knots on the measured mile. But, although her machinery has developed as much as 7,361 horses, the boilers have now, in consequence of their worn condition, been reduced to 20lb. on the square inch, and on her trial on the mile in Stokes Bay last week her mean power was 4,197.76, and the speed realized 13.555 knots. The Cleopatra and the Carysfort belong to the new steel Comus type of vessels known as the "C." class, and are intermediate between the Opal or "Gem" class and the corvettes of the Bacchante class. They are 225ft. in length and 44ft. 6in. in beam, with a load displacement of 2,383 tons and engines working up to 2,300 horses. They carry 14 guns - two 4 ½-ton and 12 64-pounders. On the squadron reaching Vigo it will be joined by the Bacchante, Capt. Lord Charles Scott. while the Tourmaline will join either there or at Madeira. The Bacchante class are not so large as the Inconstant and Shah, and not so small as the Cleopatra and Carysfort. Her dimensions are :- Length between perpendiculars 280ft.; extreme breadth, 45ft. 6in.; and depth of hold 15ft. 7in. Her displacement is 4,070 tons and the power of her engines 5,250 horses. She carries two 4½-ton guns on the upper deck, one forward under the forecastle, and one aft under the poop, each having a range from 3deg. across the line of keel on either side to 22deg. abaft the beam for the foremost gun and 14deg. before the beam for the after gun. On the main-deck she mounts 12 4½-ton guns, training through an arc of 40deg., and two 64-pounders, which can he used either on the broadside or stern. The Tourmaline forms one of the "Gem" class, and is slightly smaller than the Cleopatra. She is 220ft. in length and 40ft. in breadth, and has a displacement of 2,162 tons, and machinery, which has indicated 1,972 horses. Her armament consists of 12 64-pounders. We have already given the route proposed to be taken by the Flying Squadron during a cruise which is not to terminate until May, 1882 so that it is not necessary to say more than that the ships will probably be 370 days actually at sea under steam or sail, and that they are expected to traverse 400,000 [sic; should be 40,000] knots [i.e. nautical miles] during the cruise.
Our Portsmouth Correspondent writes :-''Considering that the Flying Squadron will have on board close upon 1,900 officers and men, and that their friends and relatives will naturally be anxious to communicate with them, it seems an anomalous circumstance that the movements of the ships should have been invested with so much foolish mystery. The route of the cruise, containing the dates of the arrivals and departures of the Squadron from the various ports called at, with a mass of information concerning mails and postal services had been prepared; but though the very object of the document was to show all concerned how they might readily maintain communications with the ships, it was jealously kept from the Press. Perhaps it would be well if the Admiralty were to give a hint to the naval authorities at Portsmouth that there is no regulation in the service to preclude them from exercising a wise discretion, and that to make no distinction between confidential information and intelligence which is worthless until it is made public exhibits a want of discretion and of common sense".
Tu 2 November 1880The Tourmaline, 12, corvette, Capt. Dennistoun, has left Plymouth to join the ships of the Flying Squadron at Madeira.
Sa 13 November 1880The detached squadron left Madeira for St. Vincent.
We 1 December 1880Letters have been received from the Rear-Admiral, the Earl of Clanwilliam, C.B., commanding, at St. Vincent, Cape Verd, up to today. Would leave for Montevideo on the 20th.
Ma 22 November 1880The detached squadron, under the command of Rear-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, C.B., left St. Vincent, Cape Verd, for Montevideo.
Fr 24 December 1880The Detached Squadron, under the command of Rear-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, C.B., arrived at Montevideo from the Cape Verd Islands.
Th 13 January 1881The Detached Squadron sailed from Montevideo today. Orders have been given for the Detached Squadron to proceed from the Falkland Islands to the Cape of Good Hoop, where letters should be addressed until further notice.
Ma 24 January 1881The change in the programme of the Detached Squadron, whereby the Carysfort has gone to the Cape, has necessitated the Champion being sent to relieve the Turquoise on the Pacific instead of being attached to the China Squadron, as was originally intended.
We 9 February 1881The Detached Squadron, under the command of Rear-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, C.B., left Stanley, Falkland Islands, for the Cape of Good Hope. In the squadron is the Bacchante, Capt. Lord Charles Scott, on board which ship the Princes Albert Victor and George of Wales are serving.
Th 7 April 1881The following official notification was issued from the Admiralty yesterday afternoon :- "Orders have been given by telegraph for the Detached Squadron to proceed from the Cape of Good Hope to Melbourne, and afterwards to Sydney. Letters should be addressed to Melbourne by mail leaving London on the 8th inst." It was recently announced by the Admiralty that the squadron would sail for Singapore.
Th 21 April 1881The following is the revised route of the Flying Squadron, under the command of Admiral Lord Clanwilliam:- The ships will leave the Cape of Good Hope on the 10th of April and arrive at Melbourne on the 20th of May, and will stay 12 days. Leaving Melbourne on the 1st of June, they will arrive on the 6th at Sydney, where they will remain 10 days. Proceeding next to Auckland, they will arrive on the 28th of June, and after a stay of five days they will sail for Fiji, which place they will reach on the 13th of July and remain four days. Leaving Fiji on the 17th of July, they will reach Yokohama on the 26th of August, here they will remain 15 days. They will leave Yokohama on the 10th, and reach Kobe on the 14th of September, and after staying seven days they will leave for Nagasaki on the 21st and arrive on the 25th of September; here they will remain a week. Leaving Nagasaki on the 2d of October, they will arrive on the 7th at Chefoo, where they will remain 30 days. They will afterwards arrive at Shanghai on the 11th of November, and remain 10 days; Hongkong on the 28th of November, and remain 14 days; Singapore on the 24th of December, and remain 14 days; Sunda Strait on the 14th of January, 1882, and remain two days; return to the Cape of Good Hope on the 5th of March, and remain 14 days; leave the Cape on the 19th of March and arrive at St. Helena on the 2d of April, where they will remain three days; and finally leaving the island on the 5th of April, they may be expected at Portsmouth on the 25th of May, 1882, having accomplished a cruise of 5,400 knots. Letters are requested to be despatched by the following mails from London :- Leave on the 19th of May by the San Francisco route and arrive at Auckland on the 27th of June; leave the 20th of May by Brindisi and Sydney and reach Fiji about the 7th of July; leave 15th of July by Brindisi and reach Yokohama on the 29th of August; leave the 22d of July by Marseilles (French packet) and reach Yokohama on the 6th of September.
Sa 21 May 1881The detached squadron has arrived at Cape Otway.
We 6 July 1881With the exception of the Bacchante, the Detached Squadron of Her Majesty's ships- viz., the Inconstant, the Carysfort, and the Tourmaline, arrived in Hobson's Bay on Sunday last, the 22d instant. The Bacchante, having been partially disabled, as hereinafter mentioned, had to put into King George's Sound, where she must remain until the completion of the repairs necessary to enable her again to put to sea. The young Princes Albert and George, being stationed in that vessel, of course remain with her, and are reported as thoroughly enjoying themselves in Western Australia. It is certain that Victorians will very heartily welcome the grandsons of Queen Victoria, although there are no indications of such a demonstration awaiting them as that which marked the triumphal entry into Melbourne of the Duke of Edinburgh on the occasion of his first visit. At the same time the visit of such a squadron as this, officered in so distinguished a fashion, is such an event in an Australian port that a series of balls, banquettings, and country sports will assuredly come off in honour of our guests, in order that they may at least carry away with them some pleasant recollections of Victoria.
We 6 July 1881The particulars touching the Bacchante were, in the first instance, telegraphed from Albany, in Western Australia, by the Argus Correspondent, and have been since confirmed by other communications from the ships' officers. She sailed from the Cape on the 9th of April, and had fine weather until the 11th of this month, when the wind began to freshen. On the 12th she was struck by a heavy sea, which carried away the life-cutter on the port side. About midday a heavy sea broke on board forward, and the ship broached to and would not pay off, when it was discovered that the rudder was partially disabled. As it was found that the vessel would steer better against ahead wind, and as the wind was blowing fresh from the west, it was determined to alter the course to Albany, being considerably east and south, and with the aid of a temporary steering gear of spars, she arrived at that place on Sunday last, the 15th inst.Divers have been down to examine and report on the state of the vessel. It was discovered that part of the iron frame of the rudder was fractured near the upright, and the rudder itself was bent considerably over to one side. It is feared also that the centre frame is injured. The rudder was being unshipped with the purpose of taking it on shore to be straightened if possible, and to get bolting irons fastened to each side. The steering is then to be with guys from the centre of the frame. A second report has arrived of another examination by the divers. They state that the iron frame of the rudder is broken about 20in. abaft the head on the upper part, and bent or broken 4ft. below the head on the fore part, just before the upper pintle. The whole of the shot, shell, and other portables have been removed forward, so as to put the vessel down by the head. For the necessary repairs she will be probably detained at Albany for several weeks. Meanwhile the young Princes are reported to be engaged in a little shooting excursion about 30 miles up the country. Albany, at which place I have had occasion to land more than once, cannot be regarded at any time as a lively seaport; but then its surroundings are beautifully picturesque, and the climate is all the year round deliciously exhilarating. The harbour is one of the finest in the world, and well protected from all winds. The township is small, the houses thereof scattered about without much regard to symmetry or alignment of streets, in which, however (ay, even in the so-called streets), the exquisite wild flowers and shrubs amply compensate to the artist eye for all architectural and other deficiencies. Although this pretty little place actually has an Anglican, Wesleyan, and Roman Catholic church, a new Roman Catholic convent, a school, and chapel, also a police magistrate (who has little else to do beyond fining a fellow occasionally for drunkenness), I hardly know what would become of it but for the tonic effect communicated to it by the Peninsular and Oriental Company, whose steamers regularly call here, out and home, either to land or take in Western Australian mails and passengers. Albany is a coaling station for the company, and the residence and offices of the agent of the company are the most important buildings in the place. A few boatmen, pilots, and black fellows are usually the only noticeable human creatures in this Sleepy Hollow of a place, and yet there are some 1,500 people in the district of Plantagenet, of which this Albany is the capital. That there is a population somewhere, however invisible in or from the town, is in some sort evidenced by the existence of the churches aforesaid, as also by the patent facts that the place boasts of two schools, a savings bank, a mechanics' institute, and branches of the National and Union banks. As, in addition to these works of man, there are any number of kangaroos and wallaby, an infinite variety of the parrot tribe, tad excellent fishing and shooting in the neighbourhood, I can just understand that, with the ordinary capacity of youth for enjoyment, the young Princes may "thoroughly enjoy themselves " here - as reported. They have, of course, been invited by the Governor, Sir W.C. Robinson, to visit him at Perth, the capital; but the uncertainty of the period of detention at the Sound prevented the Princes from accepting the invitation. To do so they would have had to travel 260 miles there and the same distance back by coach, and that on Western Australian roads.
Ma 18 July 1881The Detached Squadron, under the command of Vice-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, arrived at Sidney.
We 27 July 1881The Bacchante left Melbourne to rejoin the Detached Squadron at Sydney; the Detached Squadron is in port there.
The Earl of Clanwilliam - Admiral Lord Clanwilliam, who is in command of the Detached Squadron, was, according to a private telegram received from Sydney yesterday morning, much better; but nothing is known about a "relapse," as no intimation had been previously received that his lordship had been suffering from any serious illness. The Countess of Clanwilliam, who is in Switzerland, has had the telegraphic message forwarded to her in order to relieve her natural anxiety.
Th 18 August 1881The Detached Squadron, commanded by Vice-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, arrived at Brisbane and will sail for Fiji on the 20th.
Th 22 September 1881The detached squadron left Fiji, all well.
Th 22 September 1881The Detached Squadron.- Letters have been received from Vice-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, C.B., commanding in the Inconstant, at Moreton Bay, Brisbane, up to the 20th August; arrived from Sydney 16th August, and left for Fiji on the 20th August; arrived at Fiji on the 3d September, and left for Yokohama on the 10th September.
Th 27 October 1881The Detached Squadron, under the command of Vice-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, C.B., consisting of the Inconstant, flagship, Bacchante, Capt. Lord Charles Scott, on which are serving the Princes Albert Victor and George of Wales; the Carysfort, Capt. Henry F. Stephenson; the Cleopatra, Capt. Francis Durrant; and the Tourmaline, Capt. Robert P. Dennistoun, was, it is officially announced, at Yokohama yesterday, and would sail on the 1st of November for Kobe and Shanghai.
Sa 5 November 1881From Kobè (Hiogo).- The Detached Squadron, under the command of Vice-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, C.B., arrived from Yokohama on the 4th inst.
Ma 14 November 1881The Detached Squadron, under the command of Vice-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, C.B., including the Inconstant, flagship; the Bacchante, Capt. Lord Charles Scott, having on board the Princes Albert Victor and George of Wales; the Carysfort, and the Tourmaline, sailed from Kobe (Hiogo).
Fr 18 November 1881The Detached Squadron, under the command of Vice-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, C.B., sailed from Simonosaki [Shimonoseki].
We 23 November 1881The Detached Squadron.- Letters have been received from Vice-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, C.B., Commanding in the Inconstant, at Levuka [Fiji] up to the 9th of September; would leave for Yokohama on the 10th of September; arrived at Yokohama on the 21st of October; left Japan for Shanghai on the 16th of November; and is due at the latter port on the 22d of November.
Fr 2 December 1881The Detached Squadron.- Letters have been received from the Vice-Admiral, the Earl of Clanwilliam, C.B., commanding, in the Inconstant, at Yokohama, up to the 23d of October. Had arrived from Fiji on the 21st of October, left Japan on the 16th of November, and arrived at Shanghai on the 23d of November.
Th 24 November 1881The Detached Squadron, under the command of Vice-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, C.B., arrived at Woosung (Shanghai) from Japan, yesterday.
Tu 6 December 1881Rear-Admiral Sir F.W. Sullivan, K.C.B., has been appointed to the command of the Detached Squadron, vice Vice-Admiral the Earl of Clanwilliam, C.B.
Fr 23 December 1881The Detached Squadron, including Her Majesty's ship Bacchante, with the Princes Albert Victor and George of Wales on board, has arrived at Hongkong. Their Royal Highnesses proceed on the 26th inst. to Canton. The town of Hongkong is to be illuminated on Christmas Eve in honour of the Royal visitors.
Tu 27 December 1881The Bacchante and the Cleopatra will leave the Detached Squadron, and proceed to Singapore on the 31st inst.
Ma 6 February 1882Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Sullivan arrived at Hongkong on the 3d of February, and would sail for Singapore with Detached Squadron on the 11th inst.
We 1 March 1882Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Sullivan reports by telegraph to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that the Detached Squadron will leave Singapore for Sunda Straits and Simon's Bay on the 2d inst., instead of the 5th as previously announced.
We 8 March 1882The Detached Squadron, consisting of the Inconstant, Tourmaline, and Carysfort, under the command of Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Sullivan, arrived at Anjer, Java, from Singapore, on Monday last, and will sail for Simon's Bay to-day.
We 15 March 1882Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Sullivan, who assumed the command of the detached Squadron at Hongkong on the 2d ult., was to leave the Sunda Straits in the Inconstant, with the Carysfort and Tourmaline, on the 8th inst. for Simon's Bay.
Ma 1 May 1882The Detached Squadron, under the command of Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Sullivan, consisting of the Inconstant, the Carysfort, and the Tourmaline will leave Simon's Bay, Cape of Good Hope, homeward bound, on the 9th inst and will call at St. Vincent, Cape de Verd, to which place letters should be sent by mails of the 8th of May and the 8th of June.
We 10 May 1882The Detached Squadron, consisting of the Inconstant, steam frigate, Capt. C.P. Fitzgerald, flag ship of Rear-Admiral Sir F. Sulivan; the Tourmaline, steam corvette, Capt. R.P. Dennistoun; and the Carysfort, steam corvette, Capt. Stephenson, C.B., will sail from Simon's Bay for St. Vincent and Gibraltar on the 16th inst.
Th 18 May 1882The detached squadron under the command of Rear-Admiral Sir F. Sulivan - consisting of the Inconstant, steam frigate, Capt. C.C.P. Fitzgerald; Tourmaline, steam corvette, Capt. R.P. Dennistoun; and Carysfort, steam corvette, Capt. H. Stephen [sic, should be Stephen], C.B.- sailed from Simon's Town on the 16th inst.
Fr 23 June 1882The detached squadron, under the command of Rear-Admiral Sir Francis W. Sulivan, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., consisting of the Inconstant, flagship, Carysfort, and Tourmaline, arrived at Cape St. Vincent.
Th 22 June 1882The Detached Squadron, under the command of Rear-Admiral Sir Francis W. Sullivan, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., sailed from Cape St. Vincent.
Tu 17 October 1882The screw frigate Inconstant, 16, Capt. Fitzgerald, the flagship of the Detached Squadron, with which the Royal midshipmen, Prince Albert Victor and Prince George of Wales, made their cruise round the world, arrived at Spithead yesterday morning for the purpose of dismantling and paying-off at Portsmouth. She was commissioned on the 24th of August, 1880, and left Spithead on the 17th of September in company with the Cleopatra and Carysfort. These ships were joined by the Bacchante and Triumph [sic; should be Tourmaline] at Ferrol. At the beginning of the cruise the Inconstant hoisted the flag of Rear-Admiral Lord Clanwilliam, and afterwards, on the Earl being invalided home, she bore the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Sullivan. The ships of the Detached Squadron parted company at Hongkong.


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