HMS Triumph (1870)

HMS Triumph was a broadside ironclad battleship of the Victorian era, the sister-ship of HMS Swiftsure. These two ships comprise the Swiftsure class of 1870.

HMS Triumph dressed circa 1887.jpg
HMS Triumph dressed, most likely on the occasion of the official opening of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Vancouver harbour in 1887
United Kingdom
  • Triumph (1873–1903)
  • Tenedos (1903–1910)
  • Indus IV (1910–1914)
  • Algiers (1914–1921)
BuilderPalmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company, Jarrow
Laid down31 August 1868
Launched27 September 1870
Completed8 April 1873
FateSold for scrapping, November 1921
General characteristics
Class and typeSwiftsure class battleship
Displacement6,640 long tons (6,750 t)
Length280 ft (85 m)
Beam55 ft (17 m)
  • 24 ft 5 in (7.44 m) light
  • 26 ft 1 in (7.95 m) deep load
PropulsionOne-shaft Maudslay, 4,890 ihp
Sail planShip-rigged, sail area 41,900 sq ft (3,890 m2)
Speed14.07 knots (16.19 mph; 26.06 km/h)
  • Belt: 6–8 inches (150–200 mm)
  • Battery: 4–6 inches (100–150 mm)
  • Bulkheads: 4–5 inches (100–130 mm)

The two sister-ships, which were built side by side by Palmers, were designed and built specifically to serve as flagships on distant stations, primarily with the Pacific squadron. They were powered by a Maudslay horizontal twin-cylinder return connecting-rod engine, and were the last British battleships to be fitted with a hoisting screw.


The ship was built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company, Jarrow, Northumberland. She was launched on 27 September 1870.[1] On 28 November, during fitting out, she was severely damaged by fire.[2] As a result, she was not completed until 8 April 1873.[1]

Service historyEdit

Triumph was initially commissioned in 1873 for the Channel Fleet, being transferred after a short time to the Mediterranean.[citation needed] On 1 March 1877, she collided with the steamship Benjamin Whitworth but was not damaged.[3] She paid off in 1877 to be prepared for transfer to the Pacific as flagship, replacing HMS Shah after her indecisive action against the Peruvian rebel ship Huascar.

On 21 November 1881, while Triumph was off Chile, an explosion occurred caused by a drying compound called "xerotine siccative", also called a patent drier.[Note 1][7][6] Three men were killed and seven were wounded. She was relieved by Swiftsure in 1882.

Triumph returned to Portsmouth, where she was refitted, receiving new boilers and launching rails for torpedoes. She served as Pacific flagship from January 1885 until December 1888, and was present at the official opening of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Vancouver harbour in 1887 for both ceremonial reasons and protection against a rumoured Fenian attack. Her relief at that time by Swiftsure signalled the end of her foreign service.

Returning home, she was for a short time in reserve at Devonport, and was then flagship at Queenstown between February 1890 and September 1892. She returned to the reserve at Devonport, where she remained until July 1900. She was disarmed to become a depot ship at Plymouth. Captain Arthur William Edward Prothero was appointed in command on 11 July 1902, for command of Fleet Reserve at Devonport,[8] but the appointment was cancelled and Captain Cecil Thursby was appointed in command from 16 July 1902.[9] In September that year it was announced that her engines and boilers would be removed, and the vessel converted into a hulk.[10] In 1903, with her machinery removed, she was a training ship for boy artificers at Chatham under the new name of Tenedos. From 1905 she was tender to Warrior, and in 1910 was moved to Devonport to form part of the stoker training establishment, with the name of Indus IV. She was towed to Invergordon in 1914 to become a floating store with the name of Algiers. She was sold in November 1921, having remained afloat thirteen years longer than her sister.


  1. ^ "xerotine", from Greek ξηρός (xēros, "dry") and "siccative", from Latin siccus ("dry, sober") both meaning "drying compound". Xerotine siccative is a compound added to paint in order to thicken the oil and speed the drying process. It consisted of a very "volatile petroleum product."[4] It is a terebene, a series of hydrocarbons produced from oil of turpentine and sulphuric acid.[5] At the time, "patent driers" were used between the metal and wooden hulls in order to prevent corrosion.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Triumph". Shipping & Shipbuilding Research Trust. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Epitome of News". Wrexham Weekly Advertiser. Vol. 17, no. 925. Wrexham. 3 December 1870. p. 7.
  3. ^ "An Iron Clad in Collision with a Shields Steamer". Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough. No. 2747. Middlesbrough. 2 April 1877. p. 3.
  4. ^ Munroe, Charles E. (1899). "Explosions Caused by Commonly Occurring Substances". Journal of the American Chemical Society. American Chemical Society. 21 (4): 317–347. doi:10.1021/ja02054a001. PMID 17792856. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  5. ^ "Composition And Classification Of Driers". A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction Vol4: Plumbing And Gas-Fitting, Heating And Ventilation, Painting And Decorating, Estimating And Calculating Quantities. Colliery Engineer Co. 1899. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  6. ^ a b Michael W. Pocock. "Daily Event for April 26". Maritime Quest. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  7. ^ Mr. George TrevelyanSecretary to the Admiralty (9 February 1882). "Explosions on board HMS Triumph and Doterel". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. col. 234.
  8. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36799. London. 20 June 1902. p. 10.
  9. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36819. London. 14 July 1902. p. 7.
  10. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36876. London. 18 September 1902. p. 5.


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