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History of HMS Warrior

History of HMS Warrior

ORIGINS

Britannia ruled the waves when Queen Victoria came to the throne. Wooden sailing ships were on the decline, making way for new maritime innovations like the paddle steamer, Great Western and the iron-hulled, screw driven SS Great Britain.

The Admiralty had, however, grown complacent about Britain's command of the seas.

Steam engines had been installed in some wooden ships of the line, and smaller vessels had been constructed with the new types of propulsion or iron hulls, but it was a shock when in 1858 the French started building La Gloire, the first armoured wooden-hulled ship. La Gloire was launched in 1859.

The original intention of the French was to replace their whole fleet with iron hulls, but French industrial capacity proved incapable of delivering enough iron.

Instead, almost all ships had wooden hulls clad with iron up to 5 inches thick above the waterline. Emperor Napoleon lll was certain his projected new-look Navy could out-manoeuvre and out gun the British.

News of the construction of La Gloire and naval expansion across the Channel caused an explosion of anti-French feeling in Britain. The Press stirred fears of an invasion.

The Royal Navy After Trafalgar

With the defeat of the French Fleet at Trafalgar, the RN had smashed its most powerful opponent at sea, but it would take another 10 years for Napoleon to finally be defeated at the Battle of Waterloo, in June of 1815.

After 1815 the Royal Navy took on the role of the World's policeman - suppressing the slave trade, attacking piracy and helping to maintain the diplomatic balance in Europe. From the Bombardment of Algiers in 1816, the Navy flexed its muscles and the fleet was involved in innumerable actions over the next 4 decades.

Ship design was also changing - on the declaration of peace in 1815 the largest of the Navy's sailing ships had been almost 50% larger than HMS Victory, thanks to advances in building techniques. Steam was introduced into the Royal Navy in 1821, and through the 1830's and 1840's the Navy gradually incorporated the new technology, initially with the paddle-wheel and by the 1840's with the propeller.

France, constantly looking for any advantage, quickly embraced the steam engine and there were worries in Parliament that "Steam has bridged the Channel". The Royal Navy responded and by the early 1850's the Battlefleet had auxiliary steam and propellers.

The Crimean War & Ship Design

The origins of the Crimean War lay in disagreements between Russia, France and the Ottoman Empire as to who was the protector of the Christian Faith in the Holy Land. Britain, concerned that Russia would become too powerful, watched closely.

In November 1853 a Russian fleet armed with shell - firing guns destroyed a squadron of Ottoman ships at the Battle of Sinope. This provided Britain and France with a reason to declare war against Russia on the side of the Ottoman Empire.

The Battle of Sinope demonstrated how vulnerable wooden ships were to shell-firing guns. The French set about designing floating batteries that were to be protected by iron-boxes filled with cannonballs. The Admiralty's Chief Engineer - Thomas Lloyd, saw this design and realised that as soon as a cannonball hit the box it would break open, the cannonballs would roll out, and the protection would be useless. He suggested to the French that they use 4.5" iron plate as protection, and the armoured floating battery was born.

Britain was unable to complete any armoured-batteries before peace was declared, but the French batteries saw action at the Bombardment of Kinburn in October 1855 where they helped to destroy Russian Forts, proving the importance of armour protection.

La Gloire

On January 1st 1857 Henri Dupuy de Lôme was appointed Directeur du Matériel of the French Navy. Having observed the successes of the floating batteries at Kinburn, and a keen proponent of the use of iron in shipbuilding, de Lôme quickly set about designs for an armoured sea-going ship - La Gloire.

La Gloire was launched November 1859. The class were poor seaboats, suffered from unsound timber and generally failed to meet expectations. They were broken up in the 1860's.

One of the greatest naval architects of his generation, de Lôme was hindered only by France's lack of industrial capacity - with French foundries incapable of producing enough iron, La Gloire was designed as a wooden ship, clad in iron 12cm (4.5 inches) thick. At 77.8m (255 feet) in length, and displacing 5,630 tons, La Gloire was 40% smaller than Warrior.

La Gloire made an enormous impact on the world stage when commissioned in August 1860. With a crew of 570 men and some 36 muzzle - loading guns she was quickly hailed as a success, however there were some problems: The guns were close together, and the gun-ports were too close to the waterline - making them very difficult to fight in anything other than a calm sea. In addition, the timber used was of poor quality - unable to dry out because of the iron armour, the hull rotted quickly and she was scrapped in 1883.

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CONSTRUCTION

Admiral Baldwin Walker, the Surveyor of the Navy, was not convinced that ironclad warships would ever completely replace wooden ones but he recognised that the safety of the country depended on bettering the French threat as soon as possible.

The simple solution first suggested was to clad existing ships in iron. However Sir John Pakington, the First Lord of the Admiralty, supported the building of iron-hulled ships and, in November 1858, he commissioned a design.

The new ironclad was to be called Warrior after a distinguished third rate ship-of-the-line which had recently been broken up.

Warrior and her sister ship Black Prince were the fastest, largest, strongest and most powerfully- armed warships in the world, and confirmed Britain's place as the ruler of the waves.

It was a time of transition from sail to steam and Warrior would prove to be one of the fastest ships of her day.

"I often wondered how I mustered sufficient courage to order such a novel vessel" Sir John Pakington, First Lord of the Admiralty.

Design

HMS Warrior - Design

Isaac Watts, Chief Constructor to the Navy, and his assistant Joseph Large, developed an entirely new concept in warships. Their revolutionary idea was to house the main guns, boilers and engine in an impregnable armoured 'box' or citadel.

This was to be constructed from 4 ½ inch thick wrought iron plates bolted to 18" inches of teak, then mounted on the 1 inch thick plating of the hull itself, behind which were the frames and timber lining. In all this represented a total thickness of some 2 feet.

The bow and stern were added to each end of this well-armoured box and were constructed of wrought iron plates 1 inch thick. Watertight compartments were formed to limit the spread of water inside the ship, the first time this technique - soon to become worldwide practise - had been used in a warship.

Laying Down

Portsmouth and Chatham Royal Dockyards were not equipped to build iron hulls, so the contract went out to tender and was won by the Thames Iron Works and Shipbuilding Company based at Blackwall, London.

The plan was to complete the ship in nine months, but delays added 10 months. The Thames Iron Works had to be rescued from bankruptcy by the Admiralty during construction and work was made even more difficult by the coldest winter for 50 years.

"I often wondered how I mustered sufficient courage to undertake its construction".Mr Peter Rolt, Chairman, Thames Iron Works and Shipbuilding Company.

Building

HMS Warrior - Build

As Warrior's sleek profile rose slowly from the (building) slip like some huge iron curtain the crowds gathered eagerly, fascinated by the ironclad's progress. Over 2,000 workers swarmed night and day over the wooden scaffolding which cocooned Warrior's vast hull, rising like a monolithic iron skyscraper.

Newspapers and magazines reported with great enthusiasm on every development, one week waving the flag patriotically; the next, doubting whether she would ever float. A favourite topic was the cost which escalated to almost £400,000, twice that of a standard wooden ship-of-the-line.

Only 4 months after La Gloire was commissioned, Warrior was ready for launching and to make the Royal Navy the envy of the world.

Launch

HMS Warrior - Launch

Warrior was launched on 29 December 1860. It was the coldest it had been for 50 years and the dockyard, even the Thames, were covered in frozen snow.
Sizable crowds gathered to watch as Sir John Pakington named the ship, but even though braziers had been lit down both sides of the ship the night before, Warrior remained frozen on the slipway. Extra tugs and hydraulic rams were used, while on the upper deck hundreds of men ran from side to side to rock her free.

After 20 minutes, almost imperceptibly, she began to move, "God speed the Warrior" shouted Sir John, and broke a bottle of wine on her bow. The spectators cheered, hats were thrown in the air, tugs blew their whistles and the stern took the water 'as gracefully as any yacht'. Her Majesty's Ship Warrior was now afloat. She, and her sister ship, Black Prince, were to become the most feared ships afloat.

Fitting Out

The morning after her launch, Warrior's red-painted hull sat high in the water as she was moved to the Victoria Docks for fitting out. A week after her launch the first member of Warrior's crew - Engineer William Buchan - was appointed to the ship, and by the end of January the Penn steam engine was part-assembled inside the ship. Steam was got up for the first time on March 1st whilst the fitting of the armour plates carried on for the next few months.

Fixing the armour plates to the side of the ship was a complicated job - each one had to be bent to fit the curve of the ship's hull before being tongued and grooved in order to fit closely to the plates around. In all some 202 armour plates had to be put onto the ship, weighing a total of 960 tons.

The masts and rigging were all supplied by Chatham Dockyard, and on April 15th the masts were lowered into the ship for the process of rigging to be begun on April 17th. When completed the 100-strong party of seamen sent from Woolwich had installed 25 miles of rope, 660 blocks and 80 hearts & deck eyes.

Along with these works, the myriad of other tasks needed to convert the empty iron hull into the world's most advanced warship were being undertaken: everything from the gunpowder magazine to the sickbay, and from the galley range to the wallpaper of the officer's cabins had to be fitted. Captain Cochrane commissioned the ship on August 1st, and a week later Warrior moved out of the Victoria Docks under her own power, and anchored a few miles down river at Greenhithe to continue fitting out and take on her guns and stores. It was during her time at Greenhithe that Charles Dickens visited the ship, writing later "..a black vicious customer as ever I saw. Whale like in size, and with as terrible a row of incisor teeth as ever closed on a French frigate."

With the finishing touches made, Warrior left the Thames for Portsmouth on September 19th 1861.

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COMMISSION 

HMS Warrior - Commission

First Commission 1861 - 1864

Warrior was first commissioned into the Royal Navy on 1st August 1861 whilst still being fitted out on the River Thames. The Honourable Arthur Cochrane, the third son of Admiral Thomas Cochrane, tenth Earl of Dundonald, was her Captain.

As she was a new and innovative ship the next few months were spent establishing her performance in trials. This led to some minor modifications and, in June 1862, Warrior was ready for active service in the Channel Squadron, patrolling coastal waters and making voyages to Lisbon and Gibraltar.

Warrior was the focus of attention wherever she went and when she toured the British ports in 1863 as many as six thousand people a day came to marvel at this symbol of British Naval power.

No wonder, as she was the largest, fastest and most heavily armoured and most heavily armed warship in the world. Not for nothing was she described as "The Black Snake amongst the rabbits in the Channel".

Although not the first iron ship, nor the first to use both sail and steam, Warrior combined these and other technological developments together and presented the greatest advance in ship design for centuries. She kept the peace by deterring the enemy. All other warships were obsolete the day Warrior was launched.

1867 - 1871

Warrior kick-started a change in naval technology which went at a pace never seen before. When her first commission ended in November 1864 she spent two years in harbour before rejoining the Channel Squadron for another four years in 1867. To many on board it must have seemed that Warrior's career would go on forever.

Foreign navies soon copied Warrior's design. Ships were built with ever thicker armour and ever more powerful guns. Engines too became increasingly efficient and, with coaling stations, and later oil, being established in many ports throughout the world, sails soon became obsolete. In only ten years, Warrior, once at the peak of Victorian technology was herself overtaken by progress. She was no longer a fearsome deterrent.

1875 - 1883

In 1875 Warrior began life as a Coastguard and Reserve ship, taking the officers and men from HMS Royal Alfred. Having been in refit since 1871, Warrior's masts, rigging and decks had all been renewed, and a poop deck had been added at the stern as it had been intended to make her flagship of the Admiral commanding the Mediterranean squadron. This star role was not to be, however, and so she found herself moored at Portland harbour for the majority of the next six years, making a single extended voyage each summer in the company of the reserve squadron.

The years passed largely uneventfully, apart from the sinking of HMS Vanguard in 1875, but in May 1881 Warrior again lost out to the Hercules - the ship that had ended up as flagship in the Mediterranean - when Rear Admiral the Duke of Edinburgh hoisted his flag in the latter ship, forcing an exchange of crews with Warrior. This latest change saw Warrior stationed at Greenock, where she would spend the remainder of her career in the coastguard.

Warrior's sea-going service ended in May 1883, when during her routine pre-summer cruise refit it was discovered that her main and foremasts were rotten, and would need replacing. Time and money were against the ship, her place was taken by the armour-plated Shannon, and Warrior was relegated to rotten row.

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OBSOLETE

Warrior was obsolete within a decade. She was relegated to the reserve Fleet ranks and in 1883, withdrawn from sea service. She was now little more than a floating hulk, although still officially classed an armoured cruiser.

Her masts and guns were stripped when she was used as a depot ship for two years. Her name became Vernon III, the Navy's torpedo training school. Her role was supplying steam and electricity to neighbouring hulks. A year later, another armoured cruiser called Warrior was launched.

Nobody wanted the old battleship when she went up for sale in 1924. Five years on, she inherited the name Oil Fuel Hulk C77 when starting life as a ship keeper's home and floating oil jetty at Pembroke Dock in Wales.

Some 5,000 ships refuelled alongside her in her 50 years at Pembroke. However, the Royal Navy kept her in reasonable condition with occasional maintenance trips into dry dock keeping her hull intact. Warrior was the only example of the 45 iron hulls built between 1861 and 1877 to survive.

Hulked & Rotten Row

Hulked & Rotten Row

In 1883 Warrior had been superseded by newer, better armed and protected ships. On May 14th she entered Portsmouth for the last time under her own steam. In her 22 years of service, six of them in full commission and eight as a first line reserve, Warrior had sailed some 90,000 sea miles without ever seeing an enemy ship or firing a shot in anger. She had now been withdrawn from sea service - her engines, boilers and guns stripped out and, for several years she languished in 'Rotten Row', a remote corner of Portsmouth Harbour. Now little more than a floating hulk, although still officially classed an armoured cruiser Warrior was progressively forgotten.

Vernon III

HMS Vernon III

In 1902, Warrior took on a new lease of life as she was fitted out to become mother ship to the Portsmouth flotilla of small torpedo boats. But this role was only a brief one. In 1904 she became part of the Royal Navy's Torpedo Training School at Portsmouth and was renamed Vernon III. It was hardly a return to glory as she was used to supply steam and electricity to other hulks moored alongside. A new armoured cruiser, launched in 1905, took Warrior's name.

In 1923 Vernon moved ashore and once more Warrior was paid off. But again she survived at a time when her sister ship Black Prince and many others went to the scrapyard. She was offered for sale - but there were no takers. Finally because the hull was still in excellent condition, Warrior was converted and in 1929 towed to Milford Haven for use as a floating oil jetty.

Llanion Cove

HMS Warrior - Llanion cove

Nobody wanted the old battleship when she went up for sale in 1924. But 1929 saw another change and another name. Rescued from possible destruction - a fate suffered by her sister ship Black Prince - she was towed to Pembroke Dock in Milford Haven to begin a new life and served for 50 years as an oil jetty under the name of Oil Fuel Hulk C77. Warrior acted as home to a ship keeper and his family.

Some 5,000 ships refuelled alongside Warrior and her armoured hull showed little sign of deterioration. She was kept in reasonable condition by the Royal Navy who dry docked her regularly. As a result Warrior was the only example of the 45 ironclads built between 1861 and 1877 to survive.

When in 1960, HMS Vanguard submitted to the cutting torch, Warrior remained as Britain's last surviving battleship - a fact not lost on several influential people.

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BATTLES

Battles on HMS Warrior

Although the constant threat of war hung over Warrior during her first commission (1861 - 1864), and there were further scares throughout her career, the ship's guns were never used in anger.

When Warrior was launched she was met with mixed reaction, some commentators crediting the first Iron-hulled armoured warship with the ability to defeat the enemy fleet single handedly, whilst others were less complimentary.

The truth will never be known, but by comparing Warrior to her probable opponents, conclusions may be drawn.

In any naval action the role of a ship is to strike the enemy with more devastating blows than those received over a given period. The hitting capability depended upon: the number, calibre and layout of the guns; the stability of the ship as a gun platform, and the height of the gun port sill above the waterline; the effective range of engagement and rate of fire; the weight, terminal velocity and nature of projectiles; and the efficiency of the gun crews in loading, and firing the weapon accurately.

Equally important was tactical mobility of the ship; at greater ranges speed was important, as the range decreases the ability to turn quickly and tightly becomes paramount.

Whilst the power of the guns was utilised in both offensive and defensive situations, the protection provided by armour and watertight sub-division in an iron hull was vastly superior to that afforded by a wooden hull.

With all the above taken into consideration, more often than not it was the morale of the crew that was the deciding factor in any engagement.

The Opposition

 In 1863 the Controller of the Navy reported that the French Ironclad fleet, viewed by the Admiralty as the most likely adversary, consisted of Gloire, Normandie, Invincible and Couronne who combined 148 guns, 130 of which were behind armour. The British fleet of Warrior, Black Prince, Defence and Resistance mounted 116 guns, 80 of which were behind armour. Warrior and Black Prince's superior speed was countered by the slower Defence and Resistance. Whilst the higher gunport sills of the British ships would provide an advantage in the Atlantic, once in smoother waters this edge would disappear, added to this the French ships were armoured from end to end and had greater manoeuvrability. Impinging upon this advantage was the fact that only Couronne had an iron hull and the French 55lb guns were substantially inferior to the British guns in terms of armour penetration. On balance, the Controller conceded that individual power was on the Royal Navy's side, but emphasised the "Compactness and homogenous qualities of the French ships".

With the outbreak of hostilities in the American Civil War the situation became serious enough for Warrior or Black Prince to be stationed to the North American Squadron. The Federal government backed down, but it may be worth examining the fighting capabilities of the latest Union ship, the Monitor.

Launched in 1862 with an overall length of 172 feet, Monitor weighed in at a little over 900 tons, or 1/10th of Warrior's displacement. Armour plating consisted of between 2 & 4 inches for the hull, and 8 inches for the gun turret. The ship was armed with 2 11inch smooth bore guns that had a practical rate of fire of one round every 7 minutes. Monitor had an extraordinary low freeboard, a mere 6 inches, and with a speed of perhaps 5 knots she could not hope to make headway in an open sea.

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CREW

Life on Board

Life on HMS Warrior

Warrior was different from the sailing warships of the previous four centuries - like Mary Rose and Victory - in having one long stable gun deck rather than several stacked gun decks. Six hundred men lived here, divided into 34 messes, each with up to 18 men squashed into the space between two guns. They crammed around the simple mess table at mealtimes and at night slung their hammocks above. They were allowed small ditty bags or boxes containing day-to-day possessions. Despite the sometimes rigorous conditions, off-watch the crews' leisure time was spent singing, talking, playing cards, sewing and writing letters home. Some had musical instruments; others had pets such as parrots.

The contrast between the social life of the crew and officers is evident. The Captain's cabin, with its rich décor and fine furniture, was very like the Victorian drawing room. Officers had individual cabins, which they adorned with personal possessions such as fishing rods, books and photographs. The Wardroom table is still magnificently set for formal dinner, gleaming with silver, crystal and embossed fine bone china.

The Admiralty classification of ships was regulated by armament and Warrior, officially a third-rate frigate, would normally carry a crew of 300. However, when she set sail on her first commission, Warrior had a crew of approximately 700.

The ship herself may have been revolutionary, but the day to day lives of her crew differed little from service in the great wooden warships. Manpower was still essential.

To many on board it must have seemed, as it did to those at home, that Warrior's career would go on forever.

Old Warriors - If you are related to someone who served in the ship during her history we would be grateful if you could offer any information for our growing Genealogical Archive. Get in touch - library@nmrn.org.uk

Officers

HMS Warrior - Officer

You can trace today's Naval command system back to Warrior and beyond.

The Captain was the ship's undisputed ruler, answerable to the Admiralty for everybody and everything on board.

His comfortable quarters were at the aft end of the main deck. They comprised day and sleeping cabins. He also had private heads (toilet), a personal steward who worked from a nearby pantry. Beyond his quarters were the rudder yoke and propeller well.

Number two was the Commander, who was responsible for the ship's day to day routines, fighting capability and general appearance. He was also Wardroom Mess President. His quarters were next to the Captain's as were those of the Master. His title was a throwback to when merchant ships and their masters were commandeered for naval use.

The Captain could only enter the wardroom by invitation of the other officers. The wardroom was their mess. It was on the lower deck, with their 14 cabins, 6 feet by 10 feet, arranged around a central dining and leisure area.

With the Royal Navy's new professional status some of the younger wardroom members would have graduated from the officer training school on Illustrious or later Britannia.

The ship's chaplain was also the schoolmaster, teaching the ordinary crew and the junior ranks comprising 20 to 30 midshipmen and sub-lieutenants. These very young officers led a less formal life in the gunroom - their lower deck mess - where the chief gunner was in charge of the midshipmen. They slept in hammocks.

Also sharing the lower deck were the engineers, the boatswain, gunner, shipwright (carpenter) and chief petty officers, all of whom had cabins and messes.

Men

HMS Warrior Men

If you wanted to serve on board Warrior, you needed brawn rather than brain. 600 of the 700 men aboard had tough physical jobs. The ship herself may have been revolutionary, but the day to day lives of her crew differed little from service in the great wooden warships.

The average sailor manned the guns, hoisted the sails, turned capstans, hauled on ropes, lifted and lowered boats, pulled on oars and cranked the massive pumps that moved water around the ship. "Knowing the ropes" was more than an idle phrase to the men who worked 180 feet up in the rigging day and night.

A large number of the crew helped raise the ship's four anchors located at the bow and stern. Each weighed 5.6 tons, the heaviest ever in maritime history to be operated manually. Over 100 men hauled one anchor up at a time through linked capstans with its chain fed into cable lockers amidships to keep the ship balanced.

The crew slept in hammocks slung above the guns, and lived and ate in messes between the guns. The lot of the Jack Tar was improving. Press gangs had been abolished. Instead, seamen would be recruited for a fixed period and could then re - enlist or take a pension.

Uniform & Pay

HMS Warrior - Crew

Uniforms had been introduced in 1859, the year before Warrior's launch. The dress depended on the job and the time of day or week. The normal outfits comprised dark blue jumpers and white trousers. All white outfits were worn for drills.

Stokers wore white suits of duck - a material similar to canvas, all the time and on Sundays, hats - black in winter and white in summer - were compulsory except in wet weather.

Clothes were issued monthly from the Paymaster and the cost of the uniform deducted from the seaman's wages. Hat ribbons were offered at a cost of 1 shilling each, a day's wages to a second class ordinary seaman. The Paymaster was a key figure on the ship. He controlled the victualling, clothes and pay from his lower deck office.

Pay parade was monthly and formal. Off-watch seamen reported to the pay office and, at the command, a seaman took off his hat so that his wages could be put in it. Pay levels ranged from the Captain's £1 a day to the sixpence (2.5p) paid to a Boy Second Class.

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GUNS

HMS Warrior - Guns

Wooden warships had attained their optimum length, their multiple gun decks making them unstable. Warrior's ingenious design incorporated just one long, very stable gun deck - 100 feet longer than any previous warship. Her firepower could blow any other vessel out of the water. While wooden ships carried 32-pounder guns, Warrior had 68-pounders and 110-pounders. She was the ultimate deterrent.

Of the two types of heavy gun carried by Warrior the 68 pounder was most numerous, with twenty six on board. This gun was designed in 1846 by Colonel Dundas, weighing 6 tons on its elm carriage. 18 men were required to man the position and could achieve a rate of fire of one round every 55 seconds. Although equipped with fitted sights, the trajectory was erratic. Due to the smooth bore nature of the gun effective range was limited to 2,000 yards. Complementing the 68 lb muzzle loading guns were ten 110 pound guns.

The Admiralty opted for these relatively untried breech loading guns, designed in 1859 by Tyneside engineer, William Armstrong and weighing 4.1 tons. Again a gun crew of 18 men were required to discharge one round every 50 seconds.

One innovation was the barrel's rifling. This made the shot fly true and spin so that the tapered point hit the target first. This heralded the introduction of the percussion fuse, which detonated the shell on impact.

Another new feature was the loading method. The guns did not have to be drawn back into the ship; both projectile and charge were loaded through the breech screw and the chamber sealed with a block.

Equipped with tangent elevated sights and a rifled bore, accuracy up to 4,500 yards was expected, making it far more efficient than any smooth bore gun in use at the time.

The guns were not as impressive at sea as first hoped. It proved impossible to create a gas tight seal between the block and breech, reducing the ability to fire rapidly and safely.

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INNOVATION

HMS Warrior  - Technology

The stokers and trimmers had the worst jobs so were paid 50 per cent more. They toiled in the stokehold in appalling conditions, shovelling tons of coal and ash by hand in temperatures of about 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degree Centigrade). The air was thick with dust, and the noise was indescribable.

Another vital task was coaling up. This took place every few weeks when suitable port facilities were available. The job was dirty and complicated, and involved all the crew. The gun deck was cleared with tables up, guns back and ports opened. Seamen and Marines filled two cwt (100kg) wicker panniers aboard the collier berthed alongside. The panniers were hauled through the gunports, lifted over the deck and emptied down six chutes to stokers in the bunkers below. Two full days were needed to load 805 tons of coal. The ship's resident 16 piece band played rousing melodies to keep the crew's morale up. Tons of dry coal blackened the gun deck to such an extent that it took a week to clean up afterwards.

It is not surprising, therefore, that Warrior was the first warship to have washing machines!

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COLLECTION & ARCHIVE

HMS Warrior - Collections & Archive

Warrior Preservation Trust welcomes donations for the collection within the limits of our Acquisitions and Collections Development Policies.

In broad terms, this involves items relating to Warrior and her sister ship Black Prince through all stages of their careers. We are also interested in information pertaining to the crew of HMS Warrior between 1861 and 1904, of HMS Vernon lll 1904-1923 and material relating to Warrior’s subsequent namesakes.

We cannot always accept material offered for the collection, for instance if it duplicates an item we already have. If we cannot accept an item, we may be able to recommend an alternative home.

We are currently improving our archive facilities, which will be accessible and open to potential users in the near future.

If you are looking to donate to the collection, (please include digital photographs or scans of items where possible), or have any information you think may be of interest, please contact library@nmrn.org.uk. Please allow at least one month for a response.

For family history enquiries, see the Old Warriors sections below.

For any other enquiry, please contact library@nmrn.org.uk. Enquiries are dealt with free of charge but donations towards supporting our work are appreciated.

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OLD WARRIORS

HMS Warrior - Old Warriors

Can You Help? #OldWarriors

Warrior Preservation Trust is collecting information relating to the crew of HMS Warrior 1860 across all her service periods and subsequent namesakes, but particularly so for her first commission from 1861 – 1864.

We would love to hear from you if you have service records, diaries, logbooks, photographs, paintings - in fact, any record or material that relates to your relative and the ship or her namesakes. If you have something that may be of interest, please include digital photographs or scans of items where possible, and contact library@nmrn.org.uk. Please allow at least one month for a response.

Family History Research

Warrior Preservation Trust does not hold official service records within our collections. For advice about what these are, what they contain and where full service records can be obtained, please look at the National Archives Guides and Resources.

General Research

We are unfortunately unable to complete research on the behalf of enquirers.

If you are looking to make a research appointment, we require a minimum of two weeks' notice in advance of an intended visit. Preferred appointment times cannot be guaranteed and general Museum admission may be charged. You must have a confirmed appointment in order to visit our archive.

For any other enquiries, or if you are looking to donate to the collection, (please include digital photographs or scans of items where possible), please contact archive@hmswarrior.org. Please allow at least one month for a response to your enquiry. Enquiries are dealt with free of charge but donations towards supporting our work are appreciated.

Ship’s Plans

Ship’s Plans for HMS Warrior 1860 are held in the collection of the National Maritime Museum.

If you wish to build a model of the ship, please see William Mowell 'Building a Working Model Warship: HMS Warrior 1860'.

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