HMS Ringdove (1856)

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Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
NameHMS Ringdove
Ordered26 July 1855 [1]
Builder J & R White, Cowes [1]
Cost£31,748 [1]
Launched22 February 1856 [1]
Commissioned31 May 1856 [1]
Decommissioned10 November 1864 [2]
FateSold on 2 June 1865 and broken up by White at Cowes in November 1866 [1]
General characteristics [3]
Class and type Vigilant-class second-class despatch/gunvessel
Displacement860 tons
Tons burthen669 79/94 bm
  • 180 ft (54.9 m) (gundeck)
  • 160 ft 7.5 in (49.0 m) (keel)
Beam28 ft 4 in (8.6 m)
Draught8 ft (2.4 m) (designed) [4]
Depth of hold14 ft (4.27 m)
Installed power
  • 2-cylinder horizontal single-expansion steam engine
  • Single screw
Sail plan Barque-rigged
Speed11 kn (20 km/h) under steam
Complement90 [5]

HMS Ringdove was a Vigilant-class gunvessel of the Royal Navy. She was launched by J. Samuel White, Cowes in 1856 and broken up in Cowes in 1866.



Her class were designed as second-class despatch and gunvessels. [3] They were intended to operate close inshore during the Crimean War and were essentially enlarged versions of the Arrow-class gunvessel, which has been designed by the Surveyor’s Department in 1854. [1]

A two-cylinder horizontal single expansion steam engine by Miller Ravenhill & Co. provided 677 indicated horsepower (505 kW) through a single screw. All Vigilant-class gunvessels were barque-rigged. [1] Although designed with a pair of 68-pounder Lancaster muzzle-loading rifles, the Vigilant class were finished with one 7-inch (180 mm)/110-pound (50 kg) Armstrong breech-loading gun, one 68-pound (31 kg) Lancaster muzzle-loading rifled gun and two 20-pounder breech loaders. [3]


In February 1856, Ringdove was assigned under the command of Commander Isaac Newton Thomas Saulez. On 20 September 1856, command was transferred to Commander Robert George Craigie. [2]

In June 1861, Ringdove entered the Seto Inland Sea, [6] where she performed soundings and naming. [7] By July, she was stationed in Edo Bay during the Mito rōnin attack on the British Legation in Tōzen-ji. [8] After the incident, Laurence Oliphant, who survived the attack, joined Craigie on Ringdove for a reconnaissance mission in Tsushima. Craigie reported to Admiral James Hope the activities of Russians in the area, leading to the withdrawal of Russian troops from Tsushima in autumn 1861. [9]

By April 1862, Ringdove was anchored off the British Consulate in the Chinese city of Ningpo, which was occupied by the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. [10] On 22 April, the Taiping troops celebrated the arrival of General Fan Youzeng from Nanking. [11] The celebrations which involved the firing several poorly-aimed musket shots. Some of the shots narrowly missed Ringdove. Craigie wrote to the Taiping generals and Admiral Hope to complain. [10] [12] [13] Despite Craigie receiving profuse apologies from General Huang Chengzhong, [11] [12] Roderick Dew, commander of the British forces, demanded that the east-facing Taiping batteries to be dismantled. The demands were not met, and eventually escalated to the retaking of Ningbo on 10 May. [12] During the battle, Ringdove took down the guns at the North Gate of the city. [14] After the battle, she was placed about 25 miles up the Yong River, to prevent Taiping retaliation on civilians. [15]

On 16 September 1862, command was transferred to Commander Ralph Abercrombie Otho Brown, until her decommissioning on 10 November 1864. [2]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Winfield & Lyon 2004, p. 220.
  2. 1 2 3 The Victorian Royal Navy.
  3. 1 2 3 Winfield & Lyon 2004, p. 219.
  4. Preston & Major 2007, p. 150.
  5. Wilson 1868, p. 98.
  6. Thomas 2018, p. 45.
  7. Royal Museums Greenwich.
  8. Ion 2002, p. 5.
  9. Cortazzi 2000, pp. 95–96.
  10. 1 2 Clowes 1903.
  11. 1 2 Uhalley 1971, p. 23.
  12. 1 2 3 Platt 2012, pp. 275–277.
  13. Wilson 1868, p. 96.
  14. Wilson 1868, p. 99.
  15. Wilson 1868, p. 105.

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