William, Elliott - Bosun who died this day - RFA Black Rover 1983.
Benjamin, Ambridge - Fireman who died this day - RFA Industry 1918.
lower image HMS Racer in 1884
Previous name: HMS Racer
Class: Salvage vessel - MARINER CLASS Sloop (originally)
Pennant No: X 76 / X 57
Laid down: 9 April 1883
Builder: Devonport Dockyard
Launched: 6 August 1884
Out of service: 6 November 1928
Fate: Broken up by Hughes Bolckow of Blyth.
Items of historic interest involving this ship: -
Background Data: She was one of a Class of six gun vessels designed by Nathaniel Barnaby, the Royal Navy Director of Naval Construction, which were all re-rated as sloops before they entered service. The Class consisted of: HM ships ACORN, ICARUS, MARINER, MELITA, RACER and REINDEER, three of which were converted into Salvage Vessels. They were originally powered by a 2 cylinder horizontal compound expansion steam engine produced by Hawthorn Leslie
9 April 1883 laid down
6 August 1884 launched by HM Dockyard, Devonport as the screw gun vessel HMS RACER by Miss Maud Wright neice of Rear Admiral Charles T Curme Superintendent of the Dockyard
26 November 1884 was re-rated as a sloop
9 April 1885 commissioned for the Cape of Good Hope and West Coast of Africa Station. Hull cost £37,000 and her machinery cost £12,000
28 April 1885 at sea off Plymouth testing her equipment
29 April 1885 undertook full power trials off Plymouth
11 May 1885 Commander Edmund H Oldham Royal Navy in command
10 June 1885 joined the British Evolutionary Squadron, formed to test the practical efficiency of the material of the Fleet
29 August 1885 sailed Plymouth for the Cape of Good Hope
12 September 1885 berthed at Maderia and then sailed for Cape Coast Castle and the West Coast of Africa
20 November 1885 was at Cape Coast Castle
23 February 1886 was at Sierra Leone
31 March 1886 suffered defects in her engines - the Admiralty were advised that she would have to return to the UK for repairs or sail to the Dockyard at Simonstown
4 August 1886 refit of her engines completed at Simonstown for Sierra Leone
3 October 1886 arrived at Bathurst
October 1886 employed on duties for the Niger River Expedition
27 January 1887 proceeded 200 miles up the River Gambia
17 June 1887 arrived at Las Palmas
27 June 1887 berthed at Gibraltar - sailed the 2 July 1887 for Malta to relieve HMS Condor
June 1887 joined the Mediterranean Squadron
1 October 1887 at Port Said as the senior officer's ship
December 1887 ordered East to Sakim in the Soudan
14 December 1887 reported in the UK press of this date that an enquiry was to be held into the cause of the breakdown of the machinery in HMS Racer - she was designed to steam at 11kts but it was found unsafe to steam her at more than 8kts as her 'machinery was little more than worthless'
31 December 1887 at Sakim firing heavily at rebels
1888 to 1889 served in the Mediterranean
21 November 1888 Ordinary Seaman B Strong discharged dead. He is buried in Khartoum War Cemetery in Plot 5 Row C Grave 13
Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project
3 December 1888 Shipwright C Revell discharged dead. He is buried in Khartoum War Cemetery in Plot 5 Row C Grave 12
Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project
7 February 1889 arrived at Malta
11 March 1889 sailed Malta for the UK
16 April 1889 returned to Devonport with Commander Henry John May Royal Navy in command
10 June 1889 paid off into Reserve at Devonport
21 April 1891 commissioned at Plymouth - Commander Royle Royal Navy as Commanding Officer
10 May 1891 sailed Plymouth for West Africa
26 May 1891 sailed Las Palmas
1 January 1892 arrived at Bathurst
8 January 1892 landed the Naval Brigade at Bathurst
24 February 1892 sailed Bathurst for Sierra Leone
9 March 1892 sailed Sierra Leone for Fernando Po and Loanda
27 April 1892 at Bathhurst with HMS Alecto
7 May 1892 arrived at Sierra Leone
25 May 1892 sailed Sierra Leonne for St. Helena
8 September 1892 sailed Loanda for Fernando Po
10 March 1893 at Tristan da Cunha - Captain S Rolleston, Royal Navy as Commanding Officer
12 June 1893 at Simonstown, South Africa
1893 to 1894 served on the South East Coast of America
24 January 1894 at Rio De Janeiro during Revolution in Brazil
5 September 1894 arrived at Devonport
1894 to 1897 in reserve at Devonport
4 June 1897 arrived at Devonport with a party of Naval Cadets to visit naval establishments - Commander H W Steele Royal Navy was in Command
5 June 1897 sailed Devonport for Dartmouth
24 June 1897 arrived at Portsmouth with a party of Naval Cadets to visit the Dockyard
26 June 1897 took part in the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Fleet Review at Spithead.
1898 after a refit, she commissioned as a tender to Britannia Naval College at Dartmouth
1 June 1898 arrived at Portsmouth with a party of Naval Cadets to visit the Dockyard
19 July 1898 arrived at Devonport with a party of Naval Cadets to visit naval establishments. She sailed the same day for Dartmouth
28 July 1898 arrived at Portsmouth from Dartmouth with a party of Naval Cadets to visit the Dockyard
7 October 1898 sailed Dartmouth for a Channel cruise with Naval Cadets
17 April 1899 Seaman John Broughton Hauger discharged dead having drowned in Dartmouth Harbour - buried in a common grave in consegrated ground
12 February 1900 arrived at Devonport from Dartmouth for a refit
19 June 1900 arrived at Devonport. Captain M F O'Callaghan CB Royal Navy in command
20 June 1900 sailed Devonport to Dartmouth
3 April 1901 arrived at Plymouth from Dartmouth. Commander M S Beatty Royal Navy in command
4 April 1901 sailed Devonport to Dartmouth
22 July 1901 Stoker William James Bruce discharged dead. He had died while the ship was berthing having been scalled to death when a steam pipe burst. Chief Engineroom Artificer Carey gave evidence at at inquest at Dartmouth on 23 July 1901 stating that he heard an explosion from the engine room. He could not enter due to escaping steam. He shut off the valves to both boilers and found Stoker Bruce scalled to death lying close to the engines.
19 May 1902 her deployment as a tender to Dartmouth Naval College ended and her position as tender was taken over by HMS Isis
February 1903 sailed Dartmouth for Portsmouth, where she was used as a tender to Osborne College on the Isle of Wight
1 August 1903 Captain Rosslyn E Wemyss Royal Navy appointed in Command
Captain Rosslyn E Wemyss Royal Navy
30 June 1905 Captain Edwyn S Alexander-Sinclair Royal Navy appointed in Command
12 May 1915 Chief Petty Officer Griffith Williams G 98523 discharged dead - illness - be is buried in Baglan (St. Catherine) Churchyard, Glamorganshire
Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project
23 December 1915 Chief Petty Officer Ernest Edward Grant discharged dead - he is buried in Portsmouth (Kingston) Cemetery having died at home while on leave from pleurisy
Rebuilt 1916 - 1917 as a RFA Salvage Ship
2 May 1916 Stoker 1st Class George Poole discharged dead. He is buried in Cowes (Kingston) Cemetery, Isle of Wight in Section C grave 271
2 December 1916 Engineer Lieutenant Henry C Hancock RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
24 March 1917 Engineer Lieutenant John B Russell RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
18 April 1917 Lieutenant Horace H Gauld RNR appointed in command. He had previously been in command of RFA Melita from 29 January 1916 until 17 April 1917.
RFA Racer's Radio Room
22 August 1917 Rigger John Tremble charged with assault at Queenstown and detained. Discharged to HMS Eagle. He had signed on on 7 May 1917
5 September 1917 Engineer Sub Lieutenant J Russell RNR was married. The Captain and Officers of RFA Racer gave a silver wedding present -
8 January 1918 Lieutenant F B Nicholson RNR appointed in command.
3 April 1918 Lieutenant Harold Jones RNR appointed in command. He remained in command until 9 March 1920 when he was demobilised
RFA Racer dressed overall for the Armistice 1918
RFA Racer's Riggers in 1918
Back Left to right - Salvage Foreman W Dole, Salvage Bosun J Meek, Rigger John Foulkes
Others - not identified with people in the image are Riggers - E. Coone, James W Jones, Thomas E Robertson, Henry McDonald, Ernest Symons, Wilfred Kennedy, Henry Furley, Herbert Redgrave (may be back row far right) W. Harris and B McAteer
(Research by Tony Babb)
22 January 1918 ss Admiral Cochrane torpedoed off Berry Head by UB31 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Thomas Bieber and sank at the entrance into Dartmouth Harbour at 18.30hrs the same day. was refloated and regrounded in Dartmouth Harbour on 29 January 1918 by RFA Racer
SS Admiral Cochrane salvaged by the crew of RFA Racer
14 March 1918 ss Comrie Castle, a troop ship, torpedoed by UC71 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Walter Warzecha, 5 miles south of St Catherine Point, Isle of Wight, 9 died in the attack. She was beached and then salvaged by RFA Racer
RFA Racer's pumps working in ss Comrie Castle
24 March 1918 SS Anchoria was torpedoed by U98 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Rudolf Andler in Loch Swilly, Northern Ireland. She was salvaged by RFA Racer
SS Anchoria in happier times
SS Anchoria as approached by RFA Racer sent to salvage her
10 April 1918 HMS Magic was mined of Lough Foyle, Ireland and had her bows completely blown off with about 15 lives lost.
HMS Magic with no bow, RFA Racer on her port side and a tug forward
20 August 1918 HMS Shirley, an improved Racecourse minesweeper was mined 25 miles SE of Aberdeen. The mine had been laid on 17 April 1918 by the German submarine U71. The damage to the minesweeper was to the port side. She was towed ashore and beached. RFA Racer's crew assisted in the salavage.
1 February 1919 USS Narragansett carrying 2,000 troops from France ran aground on Bembridge Ledge, Isle of Wight during a SE gale and snowstorm. Towed off by RFA Racer on 17 February 1919
USS Narragansett with RFA Racer alongside
1918 to 1922 involved in the salvage of gold from HMS Laurentic off County Galway, Eire. (See RFA Awards for details of RFA crew recognised for the work (one BEM). Non RFA Awards for details of RN divers who were recognised for their work on this task).
During the salvage of the gold from HMS Laurentic, out of the salvage season, the ship was laid up at Portsmouth
Salvage Rigger John R Foulkes' Discharge Certificate
17 January 1920 sailed from Portsmouth
29 March 1920 Lieutenant in command James C N Macmillan OBE appointed as Master
23 April 1920 Commissioned Gunner Albert B Baldock appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
5 April 1921 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour
1 March 1922 Captain George C Brock RFA appointed as Master
RFA Racer's Football Team 1922
3 April 1923 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour
19 October 1923 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour
1 April 1924 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour
27 September 1924 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour
1925 placed on the Sales List
6 November 1928 sold for breaking up by Hughes Bolckow of Blyth.
10 November 1928 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour to the ship breakers yard
Ships of the same name
Racer. A Cutter of 203 bm, 75 x 26 feet by Baker of Sandgate, launched on the 24 April 1810. Stranded off the French coast on the 24 May 1810 and captured by the French.
Racer. A schooner of 250 bm, 93.5 x 25 feet, 12 x 12 pdr carronade, 2 x 6pdr, American privateer Independence, captured on the 9 November 1812. Wrecked in the Gulf of Florida on the 10 October 1814.
Racer. A cutter of 123 bm, 63.5 x 22 feet built by Pembroke Dock and launched on the 4 April 1818, armed with 2 x 6 pdr, 4 x 6 pdr carronade. Ordered to be sold at Malta on the 4 May 1830.
Racer. A brig sloop of 413 bm launched by Portsmouth Dockyard on the 18 July 1833. 101 x 32.5 feet armed with 14 x 32 pdr carronade, 2 x 12 pdr. Sold to Wilson and Company in September 1852.
Racer. A wood screw sloop of 579 bm, 151 x 29 feet by Deptford Dockyard, launched on the 4 November 1857. Armed with 11 x 32 pdr guns. Broken up at Portsmouth in 1876.