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Type: Torpedo Boat Destroyer ; Armament 1 x 12 pdr ; 5 x 6 pdr
Launched : 19 Nov 1896 ; Disposal date or year : 1920
Disposal Details : Broken up
Displacement: 340 tons
Machinery notes: 5,700 FD ; Speed ; 30 knots ;
News of the World 15 Apr 1900
Disaster to Bluejackets - Boat Swamped at Brighton - Seven Seamen Drowned.
A deplorable disaster happened off the West Pier, Brighton, by which seven bluejackets of the torpedo boat destroyer Desperate were drowned. All the bodies have been recovered. During the morning four torpedo boat destroyers, the Bittern, Mallard, Desperate and Cheerful, belonging to the Chatham Division, arrived off the town and between four and five o'clock in the afternoon a whaler put off from the Desperate to go ashore. Twelve men were in the boat, six of them having obtained leave to go ashore, while the remainder were to tow the boat back. There was a fresh wind blowing, and just as the boat approached the pier a terrific sea swept over it completely swamping it. Immediately there was a scene of great excitement on the pier. One gentleman rushed off to the coastguard station, and the lifeboat was quickly launched. Other boats also put off to the rescue. Meanwhile, to the distress of the spectators, one by one the bluejackets were seen to sink under the waves until half their number had disappeared. The lifeboat rescued the others, who were nearly all in a state of insensibility. One was sent back to the ship and five others were brought ashore, three of these (John Smith, Albert Rowe, and Alfred Elliott) being taken to a house in Cannon-place, where they were carefully attended to, whilst the other two were conveyed to the hospital. One at the hospital was named Macallam. His mate's name has not yet been ascertained. One by one the sea began to give up its dead, and within an hour the mortuary near the Town Hall had received the lifeless bodies of four stalwart bluejackets. Their names were G. Smith, C. P. Fenner, J. Stuart and W. Hailstone. One the following morning the fifth body was washed ashore, that of R. E. Wells, whilst the body of a sailor named Hockham was found on the rocks. A Naval Committee of Inquiry has been opened.
Aug 1914 Eighth Destroyer Flotilla. Tender to Tyne.