HMS Highflyer (1851)

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HMS Highflyer
Profile of Highflyer dated 1863
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Highflyer
Ordered: 25 April 1847
Builder: C J Mare & Co., Leamouth Wharf
Cost: £56,075
Laid down: January 1850
Launched: 13 August 1851
Commissioned: 10 April 1852
Fate: Broken up May 1871, at Portsmouth
General characteristics
Class and type: Highflyer-class corvette
Tons burthen: 1,153 tons
Length: 192 ft (59 m) oa
167 ft 3.75 in (50.9969 m) pp[1]
Beam: 36 ft 4 in (11.07 m)[1]
Draught: 15 ft 9 in (4.80 m)[1]
Installed power: 702 indicated horsepower (523 kW)
  • 2-cylinder horizontal single-expansion steam engine
  • Single screw
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Speed: 9.4 kn (17.4 km/h) under steam

As built:
21 guns:

  • 1 x 10-inch/84-pdr (85cwt) gun
  • 20 x 32-pounder long guns


  • 1 x 10-inch/84-pdr (85cwt) gun
  • 18 x 8-inch guns

HMS Highflyer was a 21-gun wooden screw frigate (later re-designated a corvette) of the Royal Navy. She was built on the River Thames by C J Mare and launched on 13 August 1851. She spent twenty years in service, including action in the Crimean War and the Second Opium War, before being broken up at Portsmouth in May 1871.


Highflyer was ordered as a small wooden frigate to a design by the Surveyor's Department of the Admiralty on 25 April 1847; she and her sister Esk were redesignated as corvettes in 1854. In common with other screw corvettes of the time, she was envisaged as a steam auxiliary, intended to cruise under sail with the steam engine available for assistance. Commensurately she was provided with a full square sailing rig. Her geared two-cylinder horizontal single-expansion steam engine, provided by Maudslay, Sons & Field, developed 702 indicated horsepower (523 kW) and drove a single screw.[1]


The design was approved in November 1849, and she was laid down in January 1850 in the Leamouth Wharf yard of C J Mare & Co. on the River Thames. She was launched on 18 August 1851 and commissioned at Woolwich on 13 August 1852.[2] The cost of building came to £27,105 for the hull, £17,431 for the machinery and £11,539 for fitting out.[1]

Service History

After commissioning she served on the North America and West Indies Station, and in the Mediterranean Fleet. She took part in the 1853 Naval Review as part of the starboard division,[3] and deployed in 1854 to the Baltic during the Crimean War.[2]

After recommissioning at Portsmouth in 1856 she sailed for the China Station, where she took part in the Second Opium War. She was present at the capture of Canton in December 1857 and the Second Battle of Taku Forts on 25 June 1859.[2] Midshipman John Fisher, later Baron Fisher of Kilverstone, served in her during the mid 1850s.

Highflyer paid off at Portsmouth on 31 May 1861 and recommissioned on 15 December 1864 for a commission on the Cape of Good Hope and East Indies Stations. She paid off for the last time on 31 August 1868 and was broken up at Portsmouth in May 1871.[2]


Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: the complete record of all fighting ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham. ISBN 9781861762818. OCLC 67375475. 

Template:Highflyer class corvette