Neha Patil (Editor)

HMS Pelican (1877)

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Name  HMS Pelican
Laid down  8 March 1875
Decommissioned  1899
Launched  26 April 1877
Builder  HMNB Devonport
Namesake  Pelican
Completed  29 November 1877
Construction started  8 March 1875
Draft  4.8 m
HMS Pelican (1877)
Cost  Hull £41,282, machinery £14,939

HMS Pelican was an Osprey-class sloop built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1870s. She was launched in 1877 and was sold to the Hudson's Bay Company in 1901. She was scuttled in 1953.


Design and construction

Pelican was an Osprey-class sloop-of-war, with a composite hull design. The ship had a displacement of 1,130 tons, was 170 feet (52 m) long, had a beam of 36 feet (11 m), and a draught of 15 feet 9 inches (4.80 m). A Humphrys, Tennant and Co. two-cylinder two-cylinder horizontal compound-expansion steam engine fed by three cylindrical boilers provided 1,056 indicated horsepower to the single 13 ft (4.0 m) propeller screw. This gave Pelican a top speed of 12.2 knots (22.6 km/h; 14.0 mph). She had a maximum range of 1,480 nautical miles (2,740 km; 1,700 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph). In addition to the steam-driven propeller, the vessel was also barque rigged. The standard ship's company was between 140 and 150.

Armament consisted of two 7-inch (90cwt) muzzle-loading rifled guns, four 64-pound guns, four machine guns, and one light gun. Pelican and her sister-ship Wild Swan were re-armed later with two 6-inch (81cwt) BL guns and six 5-inch (35cwt) BL guns.

Pelican was built by Devonport Royal Dockyard. The vessel was laid down on 8 March 1875. She was launched on 26 April 1877, and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 29 November 1877. Construction costs included £41,282 for the hull, and £14,939 for machinery and equipment.


Pelican was sold as a supply ship on 22 January 1901 to the Hudson's Bay Company for use as a northern supply ship. During World War I, Pelican was delivering supplies to Russia when she was engaged by a surfaced U-boat. The fight lasted one-and=a-half hours, but eventually, the U-boat was driven off. In 1922, the ship was no longer considered serviceable and was sold as scrap to Fraim Bannikhin of St. John's for $1,500. However, the vessel was not scrapped, instead being reduced to a barge. In November 1922, the barge parted its hawser off Flat Point, while being towed to Sydney, Nova Scotia. The barge grounded near Sable Island. Pelican was recovered by the tugboat Ocean Eagle II and towed her towards Sydney. However, once in the harbour, the barge grounded again on the South Bar. The barge was recovered again and docked at Sydney. In 1927, the barge sank to the bottom of the harbour after being vandalized and her sea cocks opened. The hulk remained with masts, port gunwales and forecastle above water at the wharf for 23 years. The hulk was towed out to sea, escorted by HMCS Porte Dauphine and scuttled in June 1953.


HMS Pelican (1877) Wikipedia

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