HMS Defiance

The Ship

The ninth ship named HMS Defiance was launched at Pembroke Dock in south Wales on March 27th 1861. She was immediately declared as obsolete following the introductin of ironclad ships and was towed to Plymouth, where she was placed in the reserve fleet.

Over twenty years later, on April 22nd 1883, orders were given for her to be stripped of her machinery and on December 13th 1884 she was commissioned as the new Torpedo School Ship at Devonport. She was moored in the Hamoaze off Wearde Quay by the entrance to the river Lynher, just below Saltash. This river was very useful as part of the curriculum in this school was the firing of live explosive submarine mines and Whitehead Torpedos and this was done up the river.

In the middle of 1886 the sloop "Perseus" (built in 1861) was moored just ahead of the "Defiance", to which she was connected by a bridge. She was used almost entirely for mining work, the mines being kept on board. Early in 1904 she was renamed "Defiance II". She appears to have been replaced in 1921 by the "Spartan", as noted below.

In 1905 the School was expanded by the addition of the corvet "Cleopatra" (1879), which became an overflow ship. She was named "Defiance III" in January 1922 and survived until July 1931, when she was sold.

Then in 1907 the obsolete 2nd class cruiser "Spartan" was added as a tender. She was renamed "Defiance II" in August 1921 and served until she was sold on June 26th 1931.

From October 1920 the frigate "Inconstant" (1868), which had been a part of the "IMpregnable since 1906, became an extra accommodation hulk and took the name "Defiance IV" in January 1922. She in turn became "Defiance II" in December 1930.

The original "Defiance" was withdrawn at the end of 1930 and sold on June 26th 1931 to Messrs Castles for breaking up. Surprisingly, it appears that she was not broken up until August 14th 1956. It is not clear if this is the date the work started or was completed but is probably the latter. She was replaced from January 20th 1931 by the former cruiser "HMS Andromeda" (1897), which between 1919 and 1930 had been a part of "HMS Impregnable", the Naval Training establishment based at Devonport.

Finally, the ex submarine depot ship "HMS Vulcan" was renamed "Defiance III" on February 17th 1931.

Sorry, no postcards for this ship.

Return to Postcard Collection

Return to Lindy's Pages