HMS Sans Pareil

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HMS Sans Pareil. Pre Dreadnaught Battleship of the Royal Navy, HMS Sans Pareil was launched on 9th May 1887 and served in the Mediterranean in 1895 returning in 1896 to serve as a port guardship at Sheerness. She was later put into reserve and then broken up in April 1907. Sans Pareil's sister ship was HMS Victoria which was lost in collision with HMS Camperdown.

The Sans Pareil was a steel first-class battleship completed for sea in 1889. She was built by the Thames Ironworks Co at Blackwall and engined by Humphreys & Tennant. 

Displacement: 10,740 tons.    Horse power: 7500.    Length: 340 ft.    Beam: 70ft.    Draught: 29' 3".    Armament: Two 16.25in guns, one 10 in gun, twelve 6 in guns, eight torpedo tubes (2 submerged).    Speed 14.5 knots.    Complement: 630.

HMS Sans Pareil - Portguard Ship at Sheerness. Photograph shows Sans Pareil in 1895/6 commanded by Captain J L Hammet.

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The Sans Pareil photographed at the Royal Review of 1902. She was the flagship of Rear-Admiral Pelham Aldrich, the Admiral Superintendent at Portsmorth Dockyard at this time.

HMS Sans Pareil, June, 1896

HMS Sans Pareil.

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Working Quick Firers on the Upper Deck of the Sans Pareil

The scene is on the upper deck of the battleship Sans Pareil, where the men are shown at quarters, working some of the quick firing guns of the ship. After returning from the Mediterranean in 1895 the Sans Pareil had all her original armament (except the big 110 ton guns in her turrets) removed, and quick firers, both heavy and light, substituted throughout the ship.

Preparing a Ships Light Gun for Shore Service

The handiness and capacity of the sailor for adapting himself to his surroundings is proverbial. It is a characteristic that the authorities turn to account by fitting his weapons, wherever possible, for either land or sea service. In the picture a party of bluejackets are seen preparing a ships light gun for shore work - taking it off its ships carriage to mount it as a field piece. Each man of the gun team in landing carries with him some portion of the gun's gear or mechanism, ready on reaching shore to assemble these and to rapidly prepare the piece for action.

Some of the Company on the Sans Pareil

These are some of the men who form the ship's company of the big first-class battleship Sans Pareil, the port-guardship at Sheerness in 1896: - seamen, in blue ordinary rig and canvas working rig; marines, in blue sea service uniform; and marine artillerymen. There are upwards of 700 men in all allotted to a ship such as the Sans Pareil, under ordinary circumstances, though she was not more than half to two-thirds manned, her complement as a port guardship remaining to be fully filled up on mobilisation from the coast guardsmen of the reserve. These were held ready to board the ship at short notice, and were all stationed within easy reach.

On the Forecastle of the Sans Pareil Looking Aft

The Sans Pareils sister ship the Victoria sank in the Levant with the loss of many lives.  One can realise as one looks aft on the Sans Pareil, how, as the bows of the Victoria sank lower and the ship healed more and more, tons of water poured down into the chain lockers and through the turret gun ports until the sudden catastrophe came, Admiral Tyron watching it all from the platform high up above the conning tower.  Since that disaster the Sans Pareil was practically reconstructed below, and every care was taken to safeguard her stability.

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Serving a 6-Pounder on the Sans Pareil

HMS Sans Pareil 1902 as she tests the new floating dock (Bermuda Dock) in the Medway. The lifting capacity of the floating dock is 17,500 tons.