Waterbodies & Maritime => Vessels => Topic started by: WO1RNR on July 17, 2012, 17:57:00

Title: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: WO1RNR on July 17, 2012, 17:57:00
While researching Gravesend 2WW, I came across the attached fabulous but sad pictures of this famous old vessel that had a storybook history and such a sad ending. Apparently Lord Haw Haw announced that a battleship had been sunk by the Luftwaffe, when her beaching was reported.
Additional information from Wikpedia. Photos courtesy of Gravesend Photograph Library.

Title: Re: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: Bilgerat on July 21, 2012, 10:37:42
HMS Wellesley in 1862, during her time as guardship of the Ordinary at Chatham. The ships figurehead is just inside the Main Gate at the Historic Dockyard.

Contrary to the article on Wikipedia, the ship was named after Richard Wellesley, Lord Mornington, the elder brother of the Duke of Wellington who was Governor General of India between 1798 and 1805 and Foreign Secretary from 1809 to 1812.

Title: Re: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: WO1RNR on July 21, 2012, 13:07:15
Therein lies the integrity of Wikpedia
Title: Re: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: Leofwine on February 09, 2013, 21:52:04
Morning Post - Thursday 06 July 1854

The Wellesley, 72, guard-ship of ordinary and flag-ship of Commodore Superintendent Christopher Wyvill, at Chatham, is being fitted at that port, and so far advanced that one side has been painted, and she will soon be ready to be placed on her station at moorings in the Medway.

HMS Wellesley at Chatham, c.1860
Title: Re: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: petermilly on February 09, 2013, 23:22:38
Thats a nice looking ship.  :)
Title: Re: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: Leofwine on February 10, 2013, 22:55:27
Looking at the posts about her destruction in the Second World War made me realize that she was 90 years old when she was sunk, less than a century, but by the time of her demise her lifetime had seen ships move on from 'wooden walls' to aircraft carriers, submarines and all those other 'modern' warships so familiar from the two world wars.
Title: Re: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: Bilgerat on February 10, 2013, 23:24:45
The ship was launched in Bombay in 1815 after having been built by the East India Company for the Royal Navy. When built, she was a 74 gun third rate ship of the line. Her longevity (almost 130 years old when she was sunk) is probably due to the fact that she was built from teak. This would have made her heavier than a similar oak-built ship, but also stronger. Teak exudes a natural oil which prevents rot (one of the reasons why the Gannet is still with us). Had the Luftwaffe not sunk the ship, she may have still been around today.
Title: Re: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: Leofwine on February 11, 2013, 00:53:16
Good point on her building date Bilgerat. I had read the fitting out in the 1854 article as the last stages of building, rather than a refit. I've altered the thread title to include the correct building date.
Title: Re: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: rossco on April 30, 2014, 20:40:36
Do you think this could be the ship after she was hit in the air raid?

Title: Re: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: filmer01 on January 19, 2015, 14:19:46
Plodding along with family history, I found a James Witsey (my great, great grandfather) posted to the Wellesley in 1859, and at the 1861 census he was on board the Adder, its tender. The census for the Wellesley lists a large number of 16yr old boys, so its function as a training ship must have been under way by then.
Title: Re: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: Bilgerat on July 16, 2017, 15:11:09
Although originally ordered as a Black Prince Class, 74 gun, Third Rate ship of the line, to be built for the Royal Navy by the Honourable East India Company at their shipyard at Bombay, HMS Wellesley ended up being built to the design of the Vengeur Class.

The Black Prince Class were built to a reduced version of the design of the Danish ship Christian VII of 80 guns, which was handed over by the Danes to the Royal Navy as part of the settlement following the Bombardment of Copenhagen. The design of the Christian VII was found to be superior to the 80 gun ships captured from the French, in that her hull was much stiffer, making her a better sailer. The design was ordered to be copied, line for line in the form of HMS Indus, launched at Portsmouth Royal Dockyard in 1824 and in a reduced form, for the four ships of the Black Prince Class, of which two were built in Kent.

HMS Wellesley was originally intended to be a fifth member of the class, but the ship bringing the plans to India was taken and destroyed by the Americans during the war of 1812. The Bombay shipyard had recently completed HMS Cornwallis, so still had the plans and more importantly, the moulds for the Vengeur Class, so to save time, HMS Wellesley was built to that design instead.

Title: Re: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: Piglet 88 on June 14, 2018, 07:18:08
I have just found a very odd story relating to the Wellesley. In 1825 a newspaper article had a strange story about the crew of the Wellesley swapping ships with the crew of the Spartiate, while off the coast of Brazil. The Spartiate was in a very bad state, and limped home via Portugal in a sinking state.
While at Kew I looked up the two ships...and yes...the whole crews swapped ships.
Title: Re: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: Bilgerat on June 14, 2018, 20:31:18
William James (A History of the Royal Navy 1793 - 1827 Vol VI) has HMS Spartiate arriving at Spithead directly from Rio de Janiero on the 30th November 1825, manned by the former officers and crew of HMS Wellesley. She was reported to be in a leaky condition, so much so that two of her pumps had to be kept going all the time.

The ship was taken into the Royal Dockyard at Portsmouth for repairs on the 3rd December and the repairs were completed by the 16th January 1826.

HMS Wellesley arrived back at Spithead also from Rio de Janiero on the 10th December 1826 and left there for Lisbon ten days later.
Title: Re: HMS Wellesley (1815)
Post by: smiffy on June 14, 2018, 20:35:53
Is there any information relating to why they swapped ships?