HMS Immortalite

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HMS Immortalite

Postby andy5880 » 31 Mar 2015 21:31

hmsimmortalite.jpg
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My great grandfather, Charles Lawrence, served in Queen Victorias navy from 1870 to 1893, joining as a 15 year old after having been a fisherman in the south of England. HMS Immortalite was his first ship, which he served on from 1870 to 1872 as a Boy 2nd class initially and then Boy 1st class. Launched in 1859 in Pembroke dockyard, it was converted to a screw frigate during build, one of the 3 wooden Emerald class scew frigates, of 3058 tons and 251 feet. It initially had 51 guns, later reduced to 28, presumably improved guns, during the refit sometime between 1864 and 1871. The ship had a crew of 580. It was part of the 'Flying Squadron' from 1871 whilst Charles was onboard, under the flag of Rear Admiral Beauchamp Seymour, and commanded by Captains Francis Sullivan and then William Graham. Between 1871 and 1872 this ship, and the rest of the squadron, sailed over 29000 miles, mostly using sails, and visited many countries, including Norway, Brazil, the Carribean Islands and South Africa to name a few. The ship was intended to be away from the UK for 3 years, but came back to the UK early at the request of the Foreign Office it seems. Charles left the ship in Cape Town to join HMS Seringapatam, missing out on going to India. The ship was sold in 1883 and broken up. Some documents relating to this ship exist in the National Library of Scotland, from the estate of Duncan of Ochtertyre - Lt Duncan RN served on board at the same time as Charles and kept some documents, including the Ships Log, the watch and station bill and a list of Boys and Ordinary Seamen. Apart from some news articles from the Times newspaper about the Flying Squadron, these appear to be the only records of the ship that exist. The name Immortalite is, like that of so many RN ships, of French origin, the Royal Navy captured 3 French ships named Immortalite, in 1798, 1806 and 1814.
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