NOSTALGIA: Coal-powered warship sunk by her own propellor

Sailors from HMS Chamois after coaling ship.

I recently published a photo of men coaling ship in the days when ships were all powered by furnaces.

Here we see some of the company from the turtle-back destroyer HMS Chamois.

The River Class destroyer HMS Welland in the Pool of London. I am sure the bridge is the old London Bridge which was sold to America in 1967.

Bottom centre of the photograph is the ship’s pet and to the left of it is George Harwood. He was the grandfather of George Millener who provided all today’s photographs.

Portsmouth-based HMS Chamois was a three-funnel, 30-knot destroyer ordered by the Royal Navy under the 1895–1896 Naval Estimates. She was the first ship of the navy to carry this name.

She was commissioned in 1897 and served in the Channel and the Mediterranean.

She foundered in 1904 after her own propeller pierced her hull.

The converted cruiser HMS Courageous. Decommissioned after the First World War, she was rebuilt as an aircraft carrier in the mid-1920s. She could carry 48-aircraft. She was one of the first ships sunk after the outbreak of the Second World War going down with the loss of 519 of her company. The fencing at the bow end of the flight deck acted as a windbreak. She still has the prow from her days as a cruiser.

During her builder’s trials she met her contracted speed requirement.

On September 26, 1904, she was the victim of a bizarre accident. While conducting a full power trial off the Greek coast she lost a propeller blade. This unbalanced the shaft which was spinning at high speed. The resulting vibration broke the shaft bracket and tore a large hole in the hull. She sank by the stern in 30 fathoms. All hands were saved, but one engineer was wounded and another scalded.

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