H.M.S. Sharpshooter (1888)

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H.M.S. Sharpshooter (1888)
Builder: Devonport DYd[1]
Laid down: 13 Jan, 1888[2]
Launched: 30 Nov, 1888[3]
Completed: Aug, 1889[4]
Hulked: 1904[5]
H.M.S. Sharpshooter was one of thirteen Sharpshooter class torpedo gunboats

Service

The ship ventured outside the Plymouth breakwater on 31 July 1889 for a steam trial at forced draught and suffered a steam accident which scalded five men. The injuries were not terribly serious.[6]

Sharpshooter's machinery, like many of her sisters', was a source of constant trouble. An eight-hours steam trial on 30 September 1890 was abbreviated by a mishap to her starboard engine.[7] A re-try on 10 October went much better, yielding speeds of 16.5 knots for the entire eight hour duration.[8]

Until her participation in the Annual Manoeuvres of 1892, her frequent steam trials and dockyard visits occur under the command of no specifically mentioned officer. Toward the end of those, on 14 August in a gale, her fires were extinguished and shipped fully seventy tons of water. A similar fate had nearly befallen Skipjack, and it was reported that "it is the univeral opinion amongst naval officers who have had experience of the Sharpshooter class that the vessels are unfit for active service owing to the weakness of their engines and boilers."[9] It might be that the vulnerability was introduced by the boilers resting on the hull rather than on the deck.

On 14 September, a Court Martial was convened in Devonport for Mr. Mabb, her chief engineer.[10] No conclusion was immediately forthcoming, but an officer from H.M.S. Spanker reported that that ship's bulkheads had flexed when she was under strain, and it was thought that this might open her seams. Tests of the two ship were to be conducted, but before these could start, in January 1893 Sharpshooter's faults were declared too great to permit her participation.[11]

On 21 March 1894, she trialled a new set of boilers in the Channel for two hours before her automatic feed gear broke down, compelling a return to Plymouth sound, where her crew made repairs, allowing her to continue trials. This was the sixth breakdown she had experienced since her steam trials began.[12]

After defects were repaired, further trials in April showed weakness in the steering engine and the starboard low-pressure indicator gave out. As she returned to harbour, the starboard air pump rods broke.[13]

In September 1894, she was commissioned to replace Speedwell in the Channel Squadron.[14] She underwent a satisfactory three-hour steaming trial on 24 September, but an examination showed her piston-rod gland and automatic feed for a boiler was defective. Repairs would be extensive enough that she was unable to join the squadron for the cruise.[15] She was able to make it to Gibraltar with Speedy by the end of October.[16] Predictably, after some time operating out of Gibraltar, she developed piston rod problems and required accompaniment for prudence's sake.[17]

When the squadron wished to depart Gibraltar for Arosa Bay in January 1895, it was declared that Sharpshooter would remain at Gibraltar "for the present."[18] The ship was not proving itself a naval asset in any way.

Sharpshooter was hulked in 1904 for instructional duties and renamed Northampton.

Captains

Dates of appointment are provided when known.

See Also

Footnotes

  1. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 89.
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 89.
  3. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 89.
  4. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. p. 89.
  5. Lyon; Winfield. The Steam & Sail List. p. 305.
  6. Hampshire Telegraph and Naval Chronicle (Portsmouth, England), 3 Aug 18989, p. 7.
  7. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Oct 01, 1890; pg. 7; Issue 33131.
  8. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Saturday, Oct 11, 1890; pg. 9; Issue 33140.
  9. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Friday, Aug 19, 1892; pg. 9; Issue 33721.
  10. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Sep 13, 1892; pg. 4; Issue 33742.
  11. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Jan 10, 1893; pg. 7; Issue 33844.
  12. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Thursday, Mar 22, 1894; pg. 10; Issue 34218.
  13. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Friday, Apr 27, 1894; pg. 8; Issue 34249.
  14. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Monday, Sep 17, 1894; pg. 8; Issue 34371.
  15. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Sep 26, 1894; pg. 8; Issue 34379.
  16. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Oct 30, 1894; pg. 10; Issue 34408.
  17. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Nov 27, 1894; pg. 10; Issue 34432.
  18. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Saturday, Jan 05, 1895; pg. 10; Issue 34466.
  19. "The Naval Manœuvres." The Times (London, England), Monday, 15 July, 1889. Issue 32751, col F, p. 3.
  20. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Jan 08, 1895; pg. 6; Issue 34468.
  21. Wells Service Refcord. The National Archives. ADM 196/39/619. f. 1389.
  22. Wells Service Refcord. The National Archives. ADM 196/39/619. f. 1389.
  23. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Thursday, Aug 23, 1894; pg. 8; Issue 34350.
  24. The Navy List. (March, 1896). p. 263.
  25. The Navy List. (October, 1898). p. 296.
  26. The Navy List. (March, 1900). p. 297.
  27. The Navy List. (May, 1903). p. 303.
  28. "APPOINTMENTS FOR THE NAVAL MANOEUVRES." The Times (London, England), Thursday, Jul 16, 1903; pg. 8; Issue 37134.
  29. "Appointments for the Naval Manoeuvres." The Times (London, England), Saturday, Jul 09, 1904; pg. 12; Issue 37442.
  30. The Navy List. (January, 1904). p. 377.
  31. Griffiths Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 170.
  32. Griffiths Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. f. 170.
  33. The Navy List. (October, 1908). p. 375.
  34. The Navy List. (January, 1910). p. 375.
  35. The Navy List. (July, 1911). p. 375.
  36. Henniker-Heaton Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/442. f. 508.
  37. Henniker-Heaton Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/442. f. 508.

Bibliography


Sharpshooter Class Torpedo Gunboat
Royal Navy Ships
Boomerang Gleaner Gossamer Karakatta Salamander
  Seagull Sharpshooter Sheldrake  
  Skipjack Spanker Speedwell  
Royal Indian Marine Ships
  Assaye Plassey  
<– Grasshopper Class Torpedo Gunboats (UK) Alarm Class –>