HMS Magdala (1870)

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HMS Magdala
HMS Magdala with awnings rigged
Career RN Ensign
Builder: Thames Ironworks & Shipbuilding Company
Cost: £132,400[1]
Laid down: 6 October 1868
Launched: 2 March 1870
Completed: November 1870
Fate: Broken up, 1904
General characteristics
Class and type: Cerberus-class monitor
Displacement: 3,344 tons
Length: 225 ft (69 m)
Beam: 45 ft (14 m)
Draught: 15 ft 4 in (4.67 m)
Installed power: 1,436 ihp (1,071 kW)
Propulsion: Two 2-cylinder single-expansion steam engines (by Ravenhill, Hogson & Co)
Twin screws[1]
Speed: 10.6 knots (20 km/h)
Complement: 155

As of 1870:
4 x 10-inch (250 mm) rifled muzzle-loading guns
As of 1892:

4 x BL 8-inch (203.2 mm) Mk VI guns
  • Belt: 8 in (20 cm) amidships, 6 in (15 cm) fore and aft
  • Breastwork: 8–9 in (20–23 cm)
  • Turrets: 10 in (25 cm) faces, 9 in (23 cm) sides
  • Deck: 1.5 in (3.8 cm)
  • Breastwork deck: 1 in (2.5 cm)

HMS Magdala was a breastwork monitor of the Royal Navy, built specifically to serve as a coastal defence ship for the harbour of Bombay (now Mumbai) as part of the Bombay Marine.

Like her sister ship, HMVS Cerberus, Magdala was designed from the outset to dispense totally with a sailing rig, and to rely completely on her steam engines for her mobility. It was accepted that the steam engines of the period were inefficient, conferring only limited range on the ships mounting them; and that ships of modest displacement could not carry vast stocks of coal to increase their range. However, Magdala was intended only as a harbour defence ship and was never expected to make sea voyages of any length, only doing so for her delivery voyage to India. Magdala was fitted with a temporary sailing rig and made the trip under sail in the middle of winter without escort, as her builders, Thames Iron Works, considered her sufficiently seaworthy as to make the trip safely.

Her life thereafter was wholly spent in Bombay Harbour, with occasional short trips to sea for firing practice. She was transferred to the Royal Navy on 31 October 1892, but returned to the Royal Indian Marine (as the Bombay Marine had become) on 19 March 1903. She was sold for breaking in 1904.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Winfield, Rif; Lyon, David (2003). The Sail and Steam Navy List, 1815-1889. Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1861760326. 
  • Oscar Parkes, British Battleships ISBN 0-85052-604-3
  • Conway, All the World's Fighting Ships ISBN 0-85177-146-7

External links