Naval Database

| Previous Page | Next Page | Index

Spitfire, 1845
Type: Gunvessel ; later as a Tug ; Armament 5
Launched : 26 Mar 1845 ; Disposal date or year : 1888
BM: 432 tons ; Displacement: 600 tons
Propulsion: Paddle
Machinery notes: 380 hpi 140 hp

Summer, 1848, Venice.

20 Dec 1848 Steam vessel. Mediterranean.

1851 Survey vessel.

30 Aug 1851 Mediterranean.

End of June, 1854 - 17 Jul 1854, operations in the mouths of the Danube, by the Firebrand, Spitfire, and Vesuvius - see p. 405-> at

17 Oct 1854 1st Bombardment of Sebastopol - see p. 437 at

Circa 26 May 1855 with the British and French Fleets off the Straits of Kertch at early dawn on the birthday ot Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen.

24 May 1855 detained the brig Annina.

25 May 1855, Kertch and Yenikale were captured, along with thousands of tons and coal and provisions, along with factories etc., by some 60 French and British vessels, and allied troops, for which no prize money appeared to be payable, contrary to the Queen's instructions. See Hansard for more details, and approval for a Parliamentary Grant in lieu.

14 Oct 1855 at the entrance of Dnieper Bay.

24 Jan 1856 Portsmouth. Captain Spratt. departed this morning for Woolwich to be paid off.

11 Dec 1857 departed England for anti-slavery duties on the West Coast of Africa.

13 Mar 1858 the North Division, on the West Coast of Africa: following a visit by the Flag Officer he stated that there is no reason to believe that the Slave Trade is now carried on, though it would be imprudent to give up the watching of the river between the Gambia and Sierra Leone. The report brought to the latter place of a vessel having arrived in, the Pongas to ship slaves, appears to have been unfounded. The chief duties of the squadron on that coast will therefore be the general protection of British interests, and for that service I have allotted the Childers, Alecto, Trident, and Spitfire, directing Commander Hickley, the senior officer, to station one of them in the Gambia.

8 Jun 1858 arrived in the evening at the entrance to the River Pongas. The following day sent the ship's boats out to reconnoitre the various creeks in the area and discovered where slaves were collected to embark them on board slave ships, although none were expected until the end of July.

15 Jul - 16 Aug 1858 cruising in lat. 6 and 7 N., long. 10 13' W., off the Gallinas, and from Cape Mesurado to Manna Point of Sherbro River. Lieutenant Chapman was advised that slaves in this region were usually taken inland for shipment from the River Pongas.

12 Dec 1858 departed the River Pongas and was able to confirm that the Trident's report of 22 Oct that the slaves and barracoons existing in the neighbourhood of Mrs. Lightbourne's premises, upwards of 700 having been seen all chained and ready for embarkation, remained the same.

16 Dec 1858 having undergone a partial refit departed from Sierra Leone for the Pongas and cruised in that neighbourhood until 9 Jan 1859.

21 Sep 1859 steamed to Aghwey, and on anchoring received information regarding a suspect slave vessel having communicated with the shore the previous night and went in search towards Jackin, but found nothing.

22 Sep 1859 steamed back through Whydah to Aghwey and met the brigantine J. Harris running to leeward, which was suspected that she had returned to pick up her human cargo, and anchored in company at Whydah, and remained with her until the 25th when the suspect vessel departed to leeward, whilst the Spitfire steamed towards Jackin, and later that day sighted the brigantine standing off the land and boarded her at 2130 to examine her papers, not appreciating that she had recently embarked her human cargo. This fact was discovered later that night and she was later detained as described in the following item.

26 Sep 1859 in the Bight of Benin, 15 miles from Appi, at 0945 detained a slave brigantine, Name Unknown, with no papers or flag, supposed J. Harris, with 500 slaves on board, which was sent to the Vice Admiralty Court of Sierra Leone for adjudication, under the command of the Second Master, Mr. Ling, and 15 men. The master was unwilling to divulge any information regarding the vessel or himself, and merely gave up the vessel as a prize to her captors.

27 Sep 1859 off Whydah.

22 Oct 1859 at Lagos.

16 Aug 1860 detained in lat. 7 45' S., long. 12 50' E., Snake's Head, River Congo, a slave brigantine, Name Unknown, 100 tons, with 800 slaves, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena, and on 10 Sep 1860 sentenced to be condemned.
Lieutenant Allingham to the Secretary to the Admiralty. I beg to inform you that about half-past 8, this forenoon, HM ship under my command being then in the lat & long, as above, I, in company with Mr. Martin, Acting Mate, boarded and took possession of a brigantine without colours, papers, or name, and fitted in all respects for the Slave Trade. I therefore seized her as a vessel not entitled to the protection of any State or nation, and have this day sent her to St. Helena for adjudication in charge of Mr. Martin, Acting Mate, and eight men. The person who reported himself to be the master declined any information respecting either himself or the vessel, merely delivering her up as a prize to Her Majesty's ship under my command. I have, &c. (Signed) C. 0'D. Allingham.

1862 converted for use as a tug at Bermuda.

1870 at Bermuda.

1879 at Bermuda.

NL Jul 1885 at Bermuda.