A tale of two sister-ships: Messudieh and HMS Superb

In the 1860s the Ottoman Navy experienced a resurgence that led to the building of several ironclad battleships. These were ordered from a number of shipbuilders, including Thames Ironworks of Blackwall, London. This company had already built several ironclads for the Royal Navy (including HMS Warrior) and was more than willing to accept a contract for two modern battleships to be named Messudieh and Hamidieh. The ships were designed by Sir Edward Reed and were launched in 1874 and 1875 respectively.

During the Russian war scare of 1878 the Royal Navy found itself in need of some additional modern warships and Hamidieh was compulsorily purchased from the Ottoman government – along with several other warships that were being built in the UK for foreign navies – and renamed HMS Superb. The Messudieh was not purchased as she had already been delivered and commissioned into to the Ottoman Navy.

Subsequently these two sister-ships had very different careers in their respective navies, as outlined below.


MESSUDIEH
Messudieh was commissioned in December 1875 following her trials, and at the time she was considered to be one of the most powerful warships in the world.

Messusieh as completed.

Her specifications when she was built were as follows:

  • Displacement: 8,990 tons
  • Dimensions: 348’ 0” x 59’ 0” x 25’ 11”
  • Machinery: 1-shaft Maudslay horizontal direct-acting engine (7,800 IHP) powered by steam from 8 rectangular boilers
  • Speed: 13.5 knots
  • Armament: 16 x 10-inch MLR guns, 4 x 7-inch MLR guns
  • Armour: Belt: 7-inch to 12-inch; Battery: 10-inch to 12-inch; Control Tower: 8-inch; Bulkheads: 10-inch
  • Complement: 600

In the 1890s 4 x 10-inch MLR guns and 4 x 7-inch MLR guns were removed and replaced by 3 x 5.9-inch BLR guns.

By the end of the nineteenth century it was obvious that Messudieh was obsolete, and between 1898 and 1903 she was completely reconstructed by the Ansaldo shipyards in Genoa, Italy.

Her three masts were replaced with a single military main mast that was stepped aft of the funnels, and two turrets were fitted. The remaining 10-inch MLRs in her central battery were replaced with modern 5.9-inch BLR guns, but her new heavy guns (2 x 9.2-inch BLR guns) were not ready to be fitted when the reconstruction was completed and wooden guns were fitted in their place.

Messusieh after reconstruction.

Her specifications after her reconstruction were as follows:

  • Displacement: 9,250 tons
  • Dimensions: 338’ 0” x 59’ 0” x 27’ 3”
  • Machinery: 2-shaft Ansaldo vertical triple expansion engines (11,000 IHP) powered by steam from 16 Niclausse boilers
  • Speed: 16.0 knots
  • Armament: 2 x 9.2-inch BLR guns, 12 x 5.9-inch BLR guns, 14 x 3-inch QF guns, 10 x 6-pounder QF guns
  • Armour: Belt: 7-inch to 12-inch; Battery: 10-inch to 12-inch; Control Tower: 8-inch; Bulkheads: 10-inch; Turrets and Barbettes: 6-inch
  • Complement: 640

During the First Balkan War Messudieh took part in the bombardment of Varna (12th November 1912) and in two battles with the Royal Hellenic Navy (Elli on 16th December 1912 and Lemnos on 18th January 1913).

When the First World War broke out Messudieh was sent to act as a floating battery just south of the Dardanelles Narrows at Chanak. There her guns were able to cover and protect the minefields that had been laid to protect the Dardanelles.

On 13th December 1914 the British B-class submarine B11 entered the Dardanelles, and just before noon she torpedoed Messudieh from a range of approximately 850 yards. The torpedo caused Messudieh to immediately begin to heel over, and within ten minutes she had capsized and sank. A total of thirty seven crew (ten officers and twenty seven men) were killed.


HMS SUPERB
Before being taken over, HMS Superb had originally be called Hamidieh.

HMS Superb as completed.

Her specifications when she was built were as follows:

  • Displacement: 9,710 tons
  • Dimensions: 348’ 0” x 59’ 0” x 26’ 6”
  • Machinery: 1-shaft Maudslay horizontal direct-acting engine (6,580 IHP) powered by steam from 9 rectangular boilers
  • Speed: 13.25 knots
  • Armament: 16 x 10-inch MLR guns, 6 x 20-pounder MLR guns
  • Armour: Belt: 7-inch to 12-inch; Battery: 10-inch to 12-inch; Control Tower: 8-inch; Bulkheads: 5 inch to 10-inch; Deck: 1½-inch
  • Complement: 640

From 1880 to 1887 HMS Superb served in the Mediterranean and took part – in 1882 – in the bombardment of Alexandria.

In 1885 the 6 x 20-pounder MLR guns were replaced by 6 x 4-inch QF guns and 4 x 14-inch torpedo tubes.

Between 1887 and 1891 HMS Superb was reconstructed. Her original masts were replaced by military masts and the existing engine and boilers were also replaced. As a result her speed increased to 14.5 knots. She was also rearmed but nowhere near as extensively as Messudieh had been.

HMS Superb after reconstruction.

Her specifications after her reconstruction were as follows:

  • Displacement: 9,710 tons
  • Dimensions: 348’ 0” x 59’ 0” x 26’ 6”
  • Machinery: 1-shaft Humphrys vertical triple expansion engine (8,500 IHP) powered by steam from 5 cylindrical boilers
  • Speed: 14.5 knots
  • Armament: 12 x 10-inch MLR guns, 10 x 6-inch BLR guns, 6 x 6-pounder QF guns, 10 x 3-pounder QF guns, and 4 x 14-inch torpedo tubes.
  • Armour: Belt: 7-inch to 12-inch; Battery: 10-inch to 12-inch; Control Tower: 8-inch; Bulkheads: 5 inch to 10-inch; Deck: 1½-inch
  • Complement: 640

In 1904, after serving in the Reserve, she was reclassified as an accommodation ship. On 15th May 1906 she was sold as part of Admiral ‘Jacky’ Fisher’s campaign to scrap ninety obsolete ships that he described as being ‘too weak to fight and too slow to run away’, and ‘a miser’s hoard of useless junk’.


Heard in the Sudan: The answers

Here are the answers to the quiz I set a couple of days ago.

  • Ansar: Followers of the Mahdi (Arabic, helper or follower).
  • Ardeb: A unit of capacity used in many Islamic countries. In the Sudan it was about 5.5 bushels.
  • Ashraf: A name given to the relatives of the Mahdi.
  • Asida: Sorghum mixed with water into a paste onto which was poured a strong sauce of spices and peppers. In the Sudan it is eaten with meat and milk.
  • Aziba: The tail of turban that hung behind left ear and served as a mark of being a Madhist.
  • Baggara: Cattle-owning Arab tribes living south of Darfur and Kordafan.
  • Beia: The oath of allegiance to the Mahdi.
  • Bimbashi: A Major in the Egyptian Army.
  • Curbash: A whip made from rhino hide.
  • Dem: A Madhist camp.
  • Dragoman: An interpreter or guide who speaks Arabic, Turkish, or Persian. It was used especially in the Near East (Aramaic: turgemana).
  • Durra: A kind of millet eaten in the Sudan.
  • Effendi: A man of property, authority, or education in an eastern Mediterranean country (Turkish: effendi = master).
  • Farda: A cotton or woollen shawl.
  • Fellah: The common soldiers in the Egyptian Army. Also used for Arabic or Egyptian peasant (Arabic: fallah).
  • Fellahin: Plural of fellah.
  • Felucca: A lateen-rigged coasting vessel of North Africa (Italian: felucca).
  • Gellabas (or Jellabas): West African pilgrims working their way across the Sudan on their way to Mecca.
  • Hamattan: A dry, Saharan wind.
  • Imma: A turban.
  • Jebel: A hill or mountain.
  • Jibbah: A Sudanese robe. The were originally rough, patched garments worn by all, but eventually they became highly embroidered when worn by the Mahdist leaders.
  • Jihadiyya: The Mahdist rifle units pre-1892.
  • Kadi: A judge during the Mahdiya.
  • Kaimakam: A Lieutenant Colonel in the Egyptian Army.
  • Karaba: A straw belt.
  • Khalifa: The deputy (or caliph) of a Sufi shaikh, in the Sudan the term described the Mahdi’s successor. He termed himself Khalifat al-Mahdi, or successor of the Mahdi.
  • Khedive: A Turkish ruler of Egypt from 1867 to 1914 (Turkish: hidiv)
  • Mahdi: The Sudanese messiah (Arabic: mahdIy = one guided by Allah)
  • Mahdiya: The period from 1885 to 1898 when the Sudan was ruled by the Mahdi and the Khalifa.
  • Mudiria: A building in which the district governor lived or worked.
  • Mulazem: A servant/bodyguard who served the Mahdi and Khalifa.
  • Mulazemin: Plural of mulazem.
  • Mulazimiyya: The Madhist rifle units post-1892.
  • Muslimaniya: Christians who had converted to Islam.
  • Ombeya: A horn made from an elephant tusk.
  • Pasha: A man of high rank or office in Turkey or North Africa (Turkish: pasa)
  • Ras: An Ethiopian prince.
  • Ratib: The book of sayings of the Mahdi.
  • Rayya: The flag used to designate Mahdist military groupings (e.g. the Black Flag force or the Green Flag force).
  • Rekuba: A small hut.
  • Sayidan: Sandals.
  • Shebba (or Shaybe): A forked pole that was fastened to the necks of slaves to prevent their escape.
  • Siraral: White trousers.
  • Sirdar: The commander of the Anglo-Egyptian army (Hindi/Persian: Sardar).
  • Sudan: An Arabic term meaning ‘Land of the blacks’.
  • Taggia: A skull cap
  • Tarboosh: A fez-like hat (Arabic: tarbush)
  • Turkiya: The period from 1821 to 1885 when the Sudan was ruled by Egypt.
  • Voyageurs: French-Canadian boatmen brought over to Egypt for the Nile expedition.
  • Xebec (or Zebec): A North African coasting vessel that had masts that carried a combination of lateen and square sails. (Modification of French: chebec and Arabic shabbak).
  • Zariba: An improvised enclosure constructed from thorn bushes (Arabic: zaribah = enclosure).

I have plans for one more of these quizes … and the next one will probably appeal to anyone who has read any of the FLASHMAN books.


‘Too weak to fight and too slow to run away’

This was the way in which Admiral ‘Jacky’ Fisher described much of the Royal Navy’s Reserve Fleet when he became First Sea Lord. He inherited a fleet that looked powerful on paper, but which was dependant upon old ironclad and early pre-dreadnought battleships to make up the numbers. Not only that but they required expensive maintenance to keep them in reasonable condition and absorbed trained personnel who could otherwise have been used to crew newer, more effective ships.

Amongst the old and obsolete battleships that were still in service – in some form or another – in 1900 were:

  • HMS Defence (Broadside ship: completed 1861; refitted 1867 and 1872 to 1874): 1890: Floating workshop; 1935: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Hector (Broadside ship: completed 1864; refitted 1867 to 1868): 1900: training ship; 1905: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Achilles (Broadside ship: completed 1864; refitted 1868 and 1874): 1902: Depot ship; 1923: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Northumberland (Broadside ship; completed 1868; refitted 1875 to 1879 and 1885 to 1887): 1898: Training ship; 1909: Coal hulk; 1927: Sold for commercial use; 1935: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Bellerophon (Central battery ship: completed 1866; refitted 1881 to 1885): 1904: Training ship; 1922: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Scorpion (Turret ship: completed 1865): 1901: Target ship (sunk); 1903: Refloated and sold for scrap.
  • HMS Wivern (Turret ship: completed 1865): 1904: Workshop and distilling ship; 1922: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Hercules (Central battery ship: completed 1868; reconstructed 1892 to 1893): 1905: Depot ship; 1914: Training ship; 1932: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Monarch (Turret ship: completed 1869; refitted 1871 and 1887; reconstructed 1890 to 1897): 1902: Depot ship; 1905L Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Audacious (Central battery ship: completed 1870; refitted 1880 to 1883 and again 1889 to 1890): 1901: Training ship; 1929: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Invincible (Central battery ship: completed 1870): 1901: Depot ship; 1906: Training ship; 1914: Sank.
  • HMS Iron Duke (Central battery ship: completed 1871; refitted 1877 to 1878 and 1883 to 1885): 1900: Coal hulk; 1906: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Swiftsure (Central battery ship: completed 1872; refitted 1881 and 1886 to 1888): 1901: Store hulk; 1908: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Triumph (Central battery ship: completed 1873; refitted 1882): 1900: Depot ship; 1914: Store ship; 1921: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Sultan (Central battery ship: completed 1871; refitted 1876 and 1879; reconstructed 1893 to 1896): 1906: Training ship; 1940: Deport ship: 1946: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Cerebus (Breastwork monitor: completed 1870): 1900: Depot ship; 1924: Sold and sunk as a breakwater.
  • HMS Magdala (Breastwork monitor: completed 1870; rearmed 1892): 1903: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Abyssinia (Breastwork monitor: completed 1870; rearmed 1892): 1903: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Glatton (Breastwork monitor: completed 1872): 1903: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Hotspur (Breastwork monitor/ram; completed 1871: reconstructed 1881): 1904: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Rupert (Breastwork monitor; completed 1874: reconstructed 1891 to 1893): 1907: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Devastation (Turret ship: completed 1873; refitted 1879, 1891 to 1892, and again in 1904): 1908: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Thunderer (Turret ship: completed 1877; refitted 1881, 1889 to 1891, and again in 1903): 1909: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Dreadnought (Turret ship: completed 1879; refitted 1894 and again 1895 to 1897): 1902: Depot ship; 1908: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Cyclops (Breastwork monitor: completed 1874; refitted 1887 to 1889): 1903: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Gorgon (Breastwork monitor: completed 1877; refitted 1888 to 1889): 1903: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Hecate (Breastwork monitor: completed 1877; refitted 1885 to 1886): 1903: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Hydra (Breastwork monitor: completed 1876; refitted 1888 to 1889): 1903: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Alexandra (Central battery ship: completed 1877; reconstructed 1889 to 1891): 1903: Training ship; 1908: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Temeraire (Central battery and barbette ship: completed 1877; refitted 1892 to 1894): 1902: Depot ship; 1915: Reformatory ship; 1921: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Inflexible (Turret ship: completed 1881; refitted 1885): 1903: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Ajax (Turret ship: completed 1883; refitted 1886): 1904: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Agamemnon (Turret ship: completed 1883; refitted 1886): 1903: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Belleisle (Central battery ship: completed 1878): 1900: Target ship (sunk 1903); 1904: Refloated and sold for scrap.
  • HMS Orion (Central battery ship: completed 1882; refitted 1890 to 1893): 1902: Depot ship; 1913: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Superb (Central battery ship: completed 1880; reconstructed 1887 to 1891): 1904: Accommodation ship for infectious patients; 1906: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Neptune (Turret ship: completed 1881; refitted 1886 to 1897): 1903: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Colossus (Turret ship: completed 1886): 1904: Depot ship; 1908: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Edinburgh (Turret ship: completed 1887): 1908: Target ship; 1910: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Conqueror (Turret ship: completed 1886): 1907: Sold for scrap
  • HMS Hero (Turret ship: completed 1888): 1907: Target ship (sunk 1908).
  • HMS Collingwood (Barbette ship: completed 1887; refitted 1897): 1909: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Anson (Barbette ship: completed 1889; refitted 1896): 1909: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Camperdown (Barbette ship: completed 1889; refitted 1896 to 1897): 1911: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Howe (Barbette ship: completed 1889): 1911: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Rodney (Barbette ship: completed 1888): 1909: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Benbow (Barbette ship: completed 1888): 1909: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Sans Pareil (Turret ship: completed 1891): 1907: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Nile (Turret ship: completed 1891): 1912: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Trafalgar (Turret ship: completed 1890; refitted 1891 and 1905): 1911: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Empress of India (Barbette ship: completed 1893): 1911: Target ship (sunk 1913).
  • HMS Ramillies (Barbette ship: completed 1893; refitted 1903 to 1904 and 1906): 1913: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Repulse (Barbette ship: completed 1894; refitted 1903): 1911: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Resolution (Barbette ship: completed 1893): 1914: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Royal Oak (Barbette ship: completed 1893; refitted 1902): 1914: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Royal Sovereign (Barbette ship: completed 1892; refitted 1903): 1913: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Revenge (Barbette ship: completed 1894; refitted 1902): 1914: On list of ships to be sold but retained and used as a bombardment ship (renamed Redoubtable); 1919: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Hood (Turret ship: completed 1893): 1911: Target ship; 1914: Sunk as blockship off Portland.
  • HMS Barfleur (Barbette ship: completed 1894; reconstructed 1902 to 1904): 1910: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Centurion (Barbette ship: completed 1894; reconstructed 1901 to 1903): 1910: Sold for scrap.
  • HMS Renown (Barbette ship: completed 1897; refitted 1904 to 1905): 1909: Training ship; 1914: Sold for scrap.

Part of the Royal Navy’s Reserve Fleet can be seen moored in the background of this photograph of young sailors under training. Such ships required high levels of costly maintenance to keep them in anything approaching reasonable condition as well as a cadre of trained seamen who could be put to better use manning more modern ships.


Heard in the Sudan

I recently found a glossary of words in a book about the Sudan campaigns that took place during the latter part of the nineteenth century, and it struck me that it would be an interesting exercise to see how many of them my regular blog readers knew.

  • Ansar
  • Ardeb
  • Ashraf
  • Asida
  • Aziba
  • Baggara
  • Beia
  • Bimbashi
  • Curbash
  • Dem
  • Dragoman
  • Durra
  • Effendi
  • Farda
  • Fellah
  • Fellahin
  • Felucca
  • Gellabas (or Jellabas)
  • Hamattan
  • Imma
  • Jebel
  • Jibbah
  • Jihadiyya
  • Kadi
  • Kaimakam
  • Karaba
  • Khalifa
  • Mahdi
  • Mahdiya
  • Mudiria
  • Mulazem
  • Mulazemin
  • Mulazimiyya
  • Muslimaniya
  • Ombeya
  • Pasha
  • Ras
  • Ratib
  • Rayya
  • Rekuba
  • Sayidan
  • Shebba (or Shaybe)
  • Siraral
  • Sirdar
  • Sudan
  • Taggia
  • Tarboosh
  • Turkiya
  • Voyageurs
  • Xebec (or Zebec)
  • Zariba

(Please note that this is not a proper quiz and there is no prize for who knows the most words! It is intended to be a bit of mental exercise in the aftermath of Christmas.)


History is all around us: The answers

Here are the answers to the quiz I set on Christmas Eve about street and pub names in the Woolwich area:

Street names

  • Academy Road: Named after the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich that is located on that road.
  • Alma Terrace: Named after the battle of that name during the Crimean War.
  • Anglesey Road: Named after Field Marshal Henry William Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey, KG, GCB, GCH, PC (17th May 1768 – 29th April 1854) who – as The Earl of Uxbridge – lead the charge of the heavy cavalry against d’Erlon’s column during the Battle of Waterloo. He later served twice as Master-General of the Ordnance (1827 – 1828 and 1846 – 1852).
  • Armstrong Road: Named after William George Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong, CB, FRS (26th November 1810 – 27th December 1900) who worked at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich as well as founding the armaments and shipbuilders W.G. Armstrong & Company and Elswick Ordnance Company.
  • Baker Road: Named after Ezekiel Baker (1758 – 1836) the inventor of the Baker Rifle, which was tested at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich before being introduced into service with the British Army.
  • Beresford Square: Named after General The Rt. Hon. William Carr Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford, 1st Marquis of Campo Maior, GCB, GCH, GCTE, PC (2nd October 1768 – 8th January 1856) a general in the British Army and Marshal in the Portuguese Army. After the Napoleonic Wars he held the office of Master-General of the Ordnance (1828 – 1830) and served as Governor of Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.
  • Beresford Street: See above.
  • Bloomfield Road: Named after Lieutenant-General Benjamin Bloomfield, 1st Baron Bloomfield GCB GCH (13th April 1768 – 15th August 1846). He was educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and was joined commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in 1781. After extensive service he was promoted to the rank of Major General in 1814, and by 1826 he was Commanding Officer of the garrison at Woolwich. He later became Colonel Commandant of the Royal Horse Artillery.
  • Borgard Road: Named after Colonel Albert Bogard, the first commander of the Royal Artillery.
  • Cambridge Barracks Road: Named after the Cambridge Barracks, which were – in turn – named after Prince George, 2nd Duke of Cambridge, KG KT KP GCB GCH GCSI GCMG GCIE GCVO VD PC (26th March 1819 – 17th March 1904) who served as Commander-in-Chief of the Forces from 1856 to 1895.
  • Cornwallis Street: Named after Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis KG (31st December 1738 – 5th October 1805) who – besides surrendering his army at Yorktown in October 1781 during the American War of Independence – served as Master-General of the Ordnance from 1795 until 1801.
  • Duke of Wellington Avenue: Named after Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG GCB GCH PC FRS (1st May 1769 – 14th September 1852) who – beside all of the other military offices that he held – was Master-General of the Ordnance from 1819 until 1827.
  • General Gordon Place: Named after Major General Charles George Gordon, CB (28th January 1833 – 26th January 1885) who was born in Woolwich and educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich before being commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1852.
  • Grand Depot Road: Named after the Grand Depot that was set up there during the latter part of the nineteenth century. The Grand Depot held sufficient stores to equip an Army Corps for overseas service.
  • Herbert Road: Named after Sidney Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea PC (16th September 1810 – 2nd August 1861) who, as Secretary at War during the Crimean War, sent Florence Nightingale to Scutari. After the Crimean War he and Florence led the movement for Army Health reform.
  • Macbean Street: Named after Lieutenant General Forbes Macbean (28th June 1725 – 1800) who was educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich before being commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1745. He took part in the Battle of Fontenoy (1745), the Siege of Carlisle (1745), and the battle of Minden (1759). In 1762 he was sent to Portugal and was appointed Colonel of Portuguese Artillery, followed – in 1765 – by his appointment as the Inspector-General of Portuguese Artillery. He then commanded a company of artillery in Canada from 1769 until 1773, when he returned to Woolwich. In March 1778 he was appointed to command the artillery in Canada, in succession to Major General Thomas Phillips, and in 1780 he was given command of a brigade consisting of the 31st, 44th, and 84th Regiments. He later became Colonel-Commandant of the Royal Artillery.
  • Mulgrave Road: Named after Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave GCB, PC (14th February 1755 – 7th April 1831) who reached the rank of General in the British Army and was Master-General of the Ordnance from 1810 until 1819.
  • Paget Rise: See above.
  • Pett Street: Named after Peter Pett who was Master Shipwright for Woolwich during the seventeenth century.
  • Prince Imperial Road: Named after Napoléon Eugène Louis Jean Joseph, Prince Imperial (16th March 1856 – 1st June 1879) who was the only child of Emperor Napoleon III of France and his Empress consort Eugénie de Montijo. He was educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and killed during the Zulu War.
  • Raglan Road: Field Marshal FitzRoy James Henry Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan, GCB, PC (30th September 1788 – 29th June 1855) who commanded the British Army sent to the Crimea in 1854. In 1852 he was appointed Master-General of the Ordnance and remained in post until 1855.
  • Red Barracks Road: Named after the Red Barracks that was formerly located there. The Red Barracks was so named after the Woolwich Division of the Royal Marines who wore red (as opposed to blue) uniforms.
  • Repository Road: Named after the Military Repository (i.e. stores) that was built there.
  • Ropeyard Rails: Named after the rope-making and storage area that originally occupied the site.
  • Warspite Road: Named after the Royal Marine Society’s Training Ship Warspite which was moored at Woolwich from 1862 until 1901.
  • Wellington Street: See above.
  • Whitworth Road: Named after Sir Joseph Whitworth, 1st Baronet (21st December 1803 – 22nd January 1887), who created an accepted standard for screw threads (the British Standard Whitworth system) and who also designed the very accurate Whitworth rifle.

Pub Names

  • Earl of Chatham: Named after General John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham, KG, PC (9th October 1756 – 24th September 1835) who served as Master-General of the Ordnance twice (1801 – 1806 and 1807 – 1810).
  • Lord Clyde: Named after Field Marshal Colin Campbell, 1st Baron Clyde GCB, KSI (20th October 1792 – 14th August 1863) who led the Highland Brigade in the Crimea – and the ‘Thin red line’ at the battle of Balaclava – in particular as well as one of the armies that brought an end to Indian Mutiny of 1857. The name was also given to an early ironclad that was built in 1864.
  • Lord Herbert: See above.
  • The Director General: Named after the office of Director General of Ordnance Survey, which was originally part of the Board of Ordnance.
  • The Great Harry: Named after the flagship of Henry VIII’s fleet (also known as Henry Grace à Dieu [“Henry Grace of God”]) which was built at Woolwich.
  • Wellesley Arms: See above.
  • Woolwich Infant: Named after the 35-ton Rifled Muzzle-loading Gun that was built at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. It was called the ‘Infant’ because it was so large.

Christmas presents

My wife Sue bought me a very useful present that I can see that I am going to enjoy learning how to use … a bridge camera! This is halfway between the simple ‘point and click’ digital cameras that I have been using for the past few years and a traditional SLR (single lens reflex) camera of the sort that I used to use.

The Fujifilm Finepix S8200 has the usual LCD screen display found on digital camera but also has a digital viewfinder that should make taking photographs on very sunny days a lot easier. (Most ‘point and click’ digital camera users have problems with this, and often end up holding their cameras in all sorts of odd ways to try to frame their shots when the sun is reflecting back off the LCD screen.) It also has a 24mm wide angle Fujinon lens that has 40 x optical zoom and a 16 megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor, all of which should allow me to take much clearer photographs of things that are some way off as well as close-ups of stuff on my wargames table!

This year’s Christmas present included an interesting selection of books. From my old friend Tony Hawkins I received and copy of Stephen Manning’s SOLDIERS OF THE QUEEN: VICTORIAN COLONIAL CONFLICT IN THE WORDS OF THOSE WHO FOUGHT (Published in 2009 by Spellmount [ISBN 978 0 7524 4984 5]).

I was also given copies of DECEIVING HITLER: DOUBLE CROSS AND DECEPTION IN WORLD WAR II by Terry Crowdy (Published in 2008 by Osprey Publishing [ISBN 978 1 78200 331 1]) and …

… NATIONAL SERVICE: FROM ALDERSHOT TO ADEN: TALES FROM THE CONSCRIPTS, 1946-62 by Colin Shindler (Published in 2012 by Sphere [978 0 7515 4620 0]).

These books all cover topics that interest me, especially the last as I only missed doing National Service by a few years!


Merry Christmas!

I would like to wish my regular blog readers (and their nearest and dearest) a Merry Christmas … and to hope that you are enjoying the holiday.

I am doing my best to enjoy myself and trying not to be too much of a GOM (Grumpy Old Man).