HMS Achilles (1863)

HMS Achilles (1863)

The broadside ironclad HMS "Achilles" was the third member of the 1861 programme, was described as an ironclad frigate, and was originally projected as a modified version of the earlier HMS|Warrior |1860|6.

She was one of the first large warships to be built in dry-dock, and hence was floated out rather than being launched.

She was unique, no other ship being built to the same design. The hull shape was changed from that of the sclass|Warrior|battleship|0 to give protection from incoming gunfire to the steering gear. She also had a higher centre of gravity, making her at the time the steadiest ship in the battle fleet.

She was the only British warship ever to have four masts, and on them she spread the greatest area of canvas ever shown by a warship of any nationality.

HMS "Achilles" was subjected to more changes of her main armament than any other British warship, before or since.

ervice history

She was commissioned at Chatham in 1864, and served in the Channel Fleet until 1868. After a refit and her first major re-armament, she served as guardship at Portland until 1874. After her second major re-armament she became guardship at Liverpool until 1877. In 1878 she was one of the ships in the Particular Service Squadron which Admiral Hornby took through the Dardanelles at the time of the Russian war scare in June–August. Her final service was again with the Channel Fleet from 1880 to 1885.

She lay derelict in the Hamoaze until 1902, when she was sent to Malta as a depot ship with the new name "Hibernia". She was renamed "Egmont" in 1904, and remained in Malta until 1914. She was brought home to Chatham, and served there as a depot ship under the successive names of "Egremont" and "Pembroke" until she was sold for breaking up.


* Oscar Parkes, "British Battleships" ISBN 0-85052-604-3
* Conway, "All the World's Fighting Ships" ISBN 0-85177-133-5

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