Did HMS Hercules become training ship Fisgard? - Nostalgia

HMS Hercules of 1868 vintage in Portsmouth Harbour about 1902.  Picture: Robert James postcard collection.
HMS Hercules of 1868 vintage in Portsmouth Harbour about 1902. Picture: Robert James postcard collection.
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I think it’s a pity we do not have enough ships named after Roman and Greek mythical heroes. I know we had them in the past, ships like Arethusa and Argus to name but two. But what about HMS Hercules? The name gives strength to any ship don’t you think?

There was such a ship, launched in 1868 as a full-rigged vessel (like Victory and Warrior) and carried 49,400sq ft of sail. She also had one engine.

Was HMS Fisgard originally HMS Hercules? Picture: Robert James postcard collection.

Was HMS Fisgard originally HMS Hercules? Picture: Robert James postcard collection.

Built at Chatham she had a ram bow and carried eight 10in guns, the first ship to do so. Steam power was added in 1874.

In the early1890s she was in reserve in Portsmouth. In 1904 she changed her name to Calcutta serving as a depot ship in Gibraltar until 1914.

She was then towed home to Portsmouth where she became artificer training ship HMS Fisgard II the following year.

By this time she had lost her masts, superstructure and guns. Records show she had also lost her funnels but in this photograph she has still got them. She was broken up in 1932.

PS Kingswear Castle. Picture: Robert Mason

PS Kingswear Castle. Picture: Robert Mason

Robert James, who sent me the postcard,  says: ‘I do recognise the name Fisgard.

‘The picture of Fisgard I have attached still has her funnels and masts but I suspect this picture is earlier than the 1915 imprinted on it, and this may not be Hercules.

‘Fisgard was a collection of four ships but the funnels and masts look similar to the first picture and she is ironclad.’

Anyone with further info please?

Shieldhall. One of the great preservation success stories. Bought for 20,000 in 1988 she is still in service.

Shieldhall. One of the great preservation success stories. Bought for 20,000 in 1988 she is still in service.

In the first photograph we see HMS Hercules dressed overall, perhaps for the 1902 Fleet Review.

Then we see HMS Fisgard II in Portsmouth Harbour but was she originally HMS Hercules. She has a ram bow but her funnels and a mast remain.

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It is a great book for boat lovers. It covers the Isle of Wight ferries and cross-Channel ferries, Poole and Swanage, the western Solent, West Sussex (even the Chichester canal), Weymouth and Portland. It’s well researched sells for £14.99.Call 01453 847823 for suppliers.

• Shieldhall was bought from Southern Water in 1988 for just £20,000 and what a success she has become. Her story is featured in Mr Megoran’s book telliing how she was saved from the breakers and presevred.

Built in 1955 she ended her days dumping sewage off the Isle of Wight until 1985.

If you have not yet experienced a trip on this ship try it this summer.