Thu, 11/18/2021 - 18:05

Various Gwulo contributions tell us this was not actually the 'last voyage'

Date picture taken
21 Sep 1938


I cite this particular story in my book (promised before Christmas, probably not out till the New Year) because this was the 4th and last reprieve from scrapping in the ship's long service life. Of course it never happened because, as with her 3rd reprieve in 1913, a war got in the way. 

Conveniently forgotten here therefore, is the story of the 3rd reprieve and the 'final' voyage for docking that had preceded it by a couple of months. And that despite the SCMP having covered that reprieve quite fully back in 1913!

And as ever the story was full of the mistakes the SCMP had and has been putting out about the Tamar pretty much since the paper's first issue.

The Tamar was launched in January, not June 1863.

She was built in Cubitt Town (east shore of the Isle of Dogs), not Millwall (west shore of the Isle of Dogs)

She was 2,81182/94 tons b.m. - the 4,650 tons was her displacement, not her 'tonnage'.

Her best speed after her 1884 refit was 14 knots and wasn't quite 12 before it.

The first voyage indeed began on 12.1.1864 but was not to the Cape and China but the West Indies, West Africa, the Med and the West Indies.

The first voyage to HK was not in 1878 but began on Trafalgar Day 1864, arriving in HK on 7.2.1865.

The Tamar was already in HK as 1878 began, having arrived on 21.12.1877. She left on 5.1.1878, well before the new dockyard gates were installed, which the '1878' on them commemorates.

She made in all 18 port calls in HK in 13 separate years, 1865-1895, not just in 1878, 1886 and 1895.

She did not return in June 1895, but in August that year to become the Nominal Base Depot Ship - technically not merely the receiving ship.

She had not been on the West Wall since 1913, because over the first few years she moved from wall to wall before coming to roost on the West Wall in c.1917 or 1918.

And no source has her armed with more than 2 x 6 pdrs and with maybe 2 x 4 pdrs as well - but the armament, real or ceremonial, is something on which everyone was confused and which documentation does little to resolve.