Friday, 7 September 2012

HMS Gannet

Back in 2003 I visited the Historic Dockyard, Chatham. At the time they were in the process of restoring HMS Gannet (a former Royal Navy gunboat from the late Victorian period) to as close as they could get to her original appearance.

HMS Gannet was a member of the Doterel-class of screw sloops (i.e. gunboats). She was built at Sheerness Naval Dockyard, Kent and was launched on 31st August 1878.

Her particulars were:
  • Displacement: 1,130 tons
  • Length: 170 feet
  • Beam: 36 feet
  • Draught: 15 feet 9 inches
  • Propulsion: 1 x Two-cylinder horizontal compound-expansion steam engine (1,107 ihp) driving a single propeller
  • Speed: 11.5 knots
  • Complement: 140
  • Armament: 2 x 7-inch MLR guns, 4 x 64-pounder MLR guns, 4 x MGs
After she was decommissioned in 1895, Gannet was used accommodation hulk at Port Victoria railway station on the Isle of Grain before being converted into a Drill Ship for the RNVR (Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve) on the River Thanes. In 1913 she moved to the River Hamble where she became the dormitory ship for the Training/School Ship Mercury. She remained there until the 1968, when the school closed down.

Because the Cutty Sark was built using similar materials and methods, when she was refurbished a lot of her fixtures and fittings were stripped out and sent to Chatham ... and thus avoided being damaged when fire swept through the Cutty Sark in 2007. The craftsmen who had restored HMS Gannet were able to use their unique skills to help to restore the Cutty Sark.


  1. Very interesting... and Wiki says she was also served in the Sudan... "On 11 September 1888, she was ordered to relieve HMS Dolphin at the besieged port of Suakin, Sudan where she engaged anti-Anglo-Egyptian forces led by Osman Digna for nearly a month."

  2. Great set of photos. I am going to build a model of this fine vessel for Lt chamberlain's Game of Naval Blockade.

  3. Steve-the-Wargamer,

    The fact that HMS Gannet served in the Sudan is one of the reasons I am pleased that she was preserved.

    All the best,


  4. Steven Page,

    I am glad that you liked the photographs.

    HMS Gannet would make an excellent blockader for the Game of Naval Blockade ... and I look forward to seeing a photo of your model at some time in the future.

    All the best,