|The Flying Squadron 1869-70|
Sydney Morning Herald
2nd November 1869
THE CRUISE OF THE FLYING SQUADRON
The Flying Squadron, under the command of Rear-Admiral Geoffrey T. P. Hornby, left Madeira on the 2nd of July, at 7 p.m., consisting of her Majesty’s ships Liverpool, Bristol, Liffey, Endymion, Barrosa, and Scylla. Some mistake appears to have been made in the squadron going inside the Cape Verd Islands, which on one occasion brought them within a day’s run of Sierra Leone. This, however, was the route laid down by the Admiralty, no doubt with some special object, although in the track chart of the sailing directions it plainly states that the inner track should only be taken between the months of October and March; we hope it is not the fault of any navigating officer. Four nights after leaving Madeira all the ships’ companies went to night quarters and fired four rounds of blank cartridges. In fact, every night some duty had to be carried on, so that every opportunity is given for the young officers to become practically acquainted with all exercises. Vessels having been less than three months in commission have been permitted to chose any exercise. The hands are, moreover, exercised at shifting sails, &c. In the evening the Admiral frequently makes signal for the watch on deck to shift jib, spanker or topgallant sail, and by doing so the crews are all being brought into a course of good instruction. The blue jackets are not the only ones looked after by the Admiral, as the midshipmen and cadets, by his order, are continually put through a course of instruction, and most stringent examinations are periodically imposed by the naval instructors, and their results are reported to the commander-in-chief.
On the 9th of July, a strong breeze springing up, all the ships in the squadron were tried as to their rate of speed for four hours under sail, the result being that the Barrosa was first, the Scylla second and the Bristol third. On the 13th July the wind fell to nearly a calm, when the signal was made for the port division to take the starboard in tow – the Barrosa taking the Scylla, the Liffey taking the Liverpool, and the Bristol taking the Endymion. Some days were entirely given to squadron evolution sailing, thereby affording the lieutenants and midshipmen every opportunity of acquiring practical knowledge in this branch of naval instruction.
The squadron has generally sailed in two divisions, one consisting of the Liverpool, Scylla and Endymion, and the other the Liffey, Barrosa and Bristol. The heat has been intense, and when any sea has been on and the cabin ports closed it has been unbearable. The thermometer, on the 24th July, was 74 degrees, and all the ships were making good way with topmast studding sail, staysails, and all plain sail. On Sunday, the 25th July, they crossed the line, and got into the S.E. trades when, every stitch of canvas being set, they went along at a good rate. The Endymion, unfortunately, proved a drawback to the progress of the movements. The squadron would have reached Bahia some time before the 2nd of August had it not been for the wretched sailing qualities of this frigate.
At 2 p.m. on the 2nd of August the squadron arrived at Bahia with a close-reefed topsail breeze. The whole of the ships immediately on their arrival fired a salute and hoisted masthead flags in honour of the birthday of one of the royal family in whose harbour they anchored. They left again on the 4th August for Rio de Janeiro. –
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