HMS Beagle (1854)

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HMS Beagle with HMS Wrangler
HMS Beagle and Wrangler by Sir Oswald Brierly, 1855
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Beagle
Ordered: 10 April 1854
Builder: C J Mare & Company, Leamouth, London
Cost: £23,091
(Hull: £8,302 Machinery: £9,725)[1]
Laid down: 15 April 1854
Launched: 20 July 1854
Commissioned: 3 September 1854[1]
Fate: Sold to the Japanese Army in 1863
Career (Japan)
Name: Kanko
Acquired: 1863
Fate: Broken up in 1889
General characteristics
Displacement: 586 tons
Length: 160 ft (49 m)
Beam: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Draught: 11.7 ft (3.6 m)[1]
Propulsion: 2-cylinder horizontal single expansion steam engine
Single screw[1]
Sail plan: Barque-rigged
Complement: 65

HMS Beagle was a wooden-hulled Arrow-class second-class screw gunvessel launched in 1854 and sold in 1863. She was the third vessel of the Royal Navy to use the name.


The Crimean War sparked a sudden need for shallow-draught, manoeuvrable vessels for inshore work in the Baltic and the Black Sea. The Arrow class of six wooden-hulled screw steamers were built during 1854 to a design by the Surveyor’s Department. Construction was undertaken at two commercial yards on the Thames, R & H Green and C J Mare & Company, both of Leamouth, London.[1] Two further designs of Crimean War gunvessel were ordered during 1855, the Intrepid class and the Vigilant class. The class was built as despatch vessels, but in 1856 were redesignated as second-class gunvessels.


A two-cylinder horizontal single expansion steam engine supplied by Humphrys, Tennant & Dykes provided 160 horsepower (119 kW) through a single screw.[1]

Sail Plan

All Arrow-class gunvessels were barque-rigged.[1]


The Arrow class were provided with two 68-pounder Lancaster Muzzle Loading Rifles weighing 95 long cwt (4,800 kg) on pivot mounts, and four 32-pounder 25 long cwt (1,300 kg) guns.


Beagle was laid down at the Leamouth yard of C J Mare & Company on 15 April 1854 and launched on 20 July the same year. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy two months later on 3 September.[1]


Beagle took part in the Crimean War from 1854 to 1856. During the Crimean War, two of her ship's company were awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions: Joseph Trewavas was awarded the VC for his actions in the Sea of Azov, and an acting-mate in Beagle, Wiliam Hewett, was awarded the VC for his actions in defending a shore battery.[2]


Beagle was sold to the Japanese army at Hong Kong in 1863 to be used as a training vessel, and was renamed Kanko in 1865. She was broken up in 1889.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Winfield, Rif; Lyon, David (2003). The Sail and Steam Navy List, 1815-1889. Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1861760326. 
  2. London Gazette: no. 21971, p. 652, 1857-02-24. Retrieved on 2008-06-25.
  3. "How the ship, HMS Beagle, got her name.". AboutDarwin. Retrieved 2008-06-25.