Thursday, 7 January 2016

HMS Leander (1882)

I have recently finished reading Antoine Vanner's latest book entitled BRITANNIA'S SPARTAN: THE DAWLISH CHRONICLES: JUNE 1859 AND APRIL - AUGUST 1882. The ship that Captain Dawlish commands in the book is the brand-new protected cruiser HMS Leonidas, which is – of course – not a real ship but whose design is based on the contemporary Leander-class that was just coming into service with the Royal Navy in 1882.

The leadship of the class was HMS Leander, and her particulars are shown below:
  • Displacement: 4,300 tons
  • Length: 300' (91.4m) between perpendiculars; 315' (96.0m) overall
  • Beam: 46' (14.0m)
  • Draught: 20' 8" (6.3m) maximum
  • Propulsion: 2 x Two-cylinder steam horizontal direct acting compound engines driving two propellers, 12 cylindrical boilers, 5,500 IHP
  • Speed: 16.5 to 17 knots
  • Range: 11,000 nautical miles at 10 knots
  • Complement: 275
  • Armament: 10 × 6-inch RBL guns; 8 x 1-inch Nordenfelt QF guns; 2 x 5-barrel 0.45-inch Gatling MGs; 2 x 2-barrel 0.45-inch Gardner MGs; 4 x 14-inch torpedo dischargers
  • Armour: 1.5" steel armoured deck; 1.5" steel armoured gun shields
  • Notes: Also carried 2 second class torpedo boats; 7-pdr and 9-pdr boat and landing guns

There were four ships in the class:
  • HMS Leander
  • HMS Phaeton
  • HMS Amphion
  • HMS Arethusa
They were a very successful design, and as David K Brown stated in his book WARRIOR TO DREADNOUGHT: WARSHIP DEVELOPMENT 1860–1905 (published in 1997 by Chatham Publishing [ISBN 1 86176 022 1]):
Leander and her three sisters were very successful and may be seen as the ancestors of most cruisers for the rest of the century and beyond. Their general configuration was scaled up to the big First Class cruisers and down to the torpedo cruisers, whilst traces of the protected deck scheme can even be recognised in some sloops.

The following is the illustration and particulars of HMS Leonidas taken from BRITANNIA'S SPARTAN: THE DAWLISH CHRONICLES: JUNE 1859 AND APRIL - AUGUST 1882:


  1. Hi Bob,

    That was a very modern looking cruiser for its time - and it would not be too difficult to model 'cartoon style'. I have a feeling the Shooters Hill shipyard is going to be very busy indeed!

    All the best,


    1. Hello David:

      If a model of Leander/Leonidas does roll off the Shooters Hill stocks you might like to post a photograph on the Dawlish Chronicles FB page. It would be a delight to see it!

      Best Wishes: Antoine

    2. Antoine Vanner,

      One day I hope to build a model cruiser based on the Leander/Leonidas.

      All the best,


  2. David Crook,

    The design is certainly simple enough to model quite easily ... and could be used from 1880 to 1910 without difficulty.

    As to whether one ever appears from the Shooters Hill shipyards ... well that is something that you might find out in due course.

    All the best,



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