On my first visit to Portsmouth in April 2013, the first ship I saw was HMS Warrior. You cannot really miss her because she is berthed almost parallel to the station.
I remember reading about her preservation in the old days before Ships Monthly was priced out of our reach by the CNA. I never expected way back then that I would be seeing this ship in real life. The best description I could give when I first saw her was: “larger than life” because she is so much bigger than I expected.
However, compared to HMS Victory she is light years ahead. Victory was small and cramped, he is large and spacious, and probably the crew was much smaller too. Although she would have to carry a new breed of sailor for her engineering department.
Being a warship meant that she carried not only large caliber weapons, but small calibre and rifle calibre too, I expect she even had a detachment of Marines. Certainly there were rifles to hand.
And of course there was naval issue rum, probably one of the highlights of any sailor’s day.
HMS Warrior carried a formidable armament, and there were early breech loading guns on board. Yet, It doubt if she ever fired these guns in anger. It must however have been very interesting to watch gun drill with a large breech loader like the one above. Of course large calibre weapons also needed supplies of powder and shot, and a fire in a magazine would usually doom the ship.
I seem to recall that this was part of the powder magazine, with all the attendant risks associated with it.
Warrior was unique in that she could either be sail or screw driven (of both at the same time), and she had a propeller that could be raised when not required. It also gave her an additional edge in range, although how often sails were used is questionable. There were proponents of sail and proponents of steam, and at the end of the day steam won the race, and warships with multiple masts and yards were on their last legs.
It was soon time to leave this beaut behind and head off elsewhere, I had seen her, but she definitely needs another visit to fully appreciate her. Besides, I never found the heads!
© DRW 2013-2018. Created 01/03/2015, images recreated 03/04/2016