HMS Theseus

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HMS Theseus, first-class cruiser of the Edgar Class. Launched in 1892, HMS Theseus saw service as tender to HMS Cambridge from 1905 to 1913 and then joined the Queenstown Training Squadron in February 1913. Theseus joined the 10th Cruiser Squadron during 1914-1915 after which she was rearmed and bulges added for Dardanelles service. She returned from service in the Mediterranean in 1916 and was sent to the White Sea. In 1918 she was stationed as a depot ship in the Aegean and later in 1919 in the Black Sea, returning home in 1920. She was sold and scrapped in 1921.

Displacement: 7,700 tons.    Horse power: 12,000.    Length 360ft.    Beam: 60' 8".    Draught: 23' 9".    Armament: two 22 ton guns.  ( protected by steel shields)     Speed:19.7 knots.

HMS Theseus. 

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HMS Theseus of the Special Flying Squadron

HMS Theseus, February, 1897

HMS Theseus.

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HMS Theseus is a steel first-class cruiser of the Naval Defence Act Programme, and was launched in 1892. She was built by contract at the yard of the Thames Ironworks & Shipbuilding Co, at Blackwall, and engined by Messrs. Maudsley & Co. The Theseus was commissioned for particular service, and hoisted the pennant at Chatham, in the Special Flying Squadron and was commanded by Captain Charles Campbell, C.B.

The Quarter-Deck of HMS Theseus with the officers' snowman c.1900.

Seeing the new century in at Deuthero Cove, Kavala, opposite Thasos in the Aegean Sea.

Stowing an Anchor on board the First-Class Cruiser Theseus

The photograph shows one of the anchors being stowed on board ship after being weighed. In ships such as the Theseus of 1896, the anchors rested ordinarily on a ledge at the side of the ship, about a third of the ship's length from the bows, nearly abreast of the conning tower. Various parties of men had a hand in the operation, each party with their special station - one to see the chain cable being properly stowed away in its locker; another to see to the coming in of the chain cable through the hawse holes, length by length and shackle by shackle; and a third party shown in the photograph on deck to "cat" and "fish" the anchor - that is to get the anchor up, guide it to the derrick, lower it to its resting place and finally secure it.

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At School on Board the Theseus 1896

The photograph shows some of the midshipmen and naval cadets of the cruiser Theseus in 1896, when the ship was in the Particular Service Squadron. These crewmen were undergoing tuition under the supervision of the chaplain of the ship, their naval instructor. After passing successfully out of the Britannia at the end of a two year course, the naval cadet would go to sea in some battleship or cruiser on which a naval instructor was borne, and served afloat for four years, after which, being 19 years old and having served for six years and passed an intermediate examination for midshipman, he would be examined finally for his lieutenant's commission.

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A Fine Type of Bluejacket: The Captains Coxswain of the Theseus

The post of Captain's Coxswain is held on board ship by a Bluejacket selected for general smartness and good character, to act as a factotum or handy man, and to look after and steer the captain's barge. In its name the post is as old as the Royal Navy itself, and takes us back to mediaeval times when the "cockswain" or "cogswain" was one of the three chief officers on board ship - in charge of the "cog", the largest of the boats.

Discussing Things in General On Board the Cruiser Theseus 1896

Three Petty Officers belonging to the first-class cruiser Theseus, attached to the Mediterranean Fleet in 1896, are seen having a quiet chat together over a pipe after dinner. It was not quite all work for Jack on board ship, although it seemed very near to it. After dinner every day from about half past twelve to a few minutes past one he would get  30 minutes or so of "Spell Oh!" when he could recreat as he liked, as we see above.; and again after supper, at 4.30pm, he would get a similar interval, and later again in the evening. The whole of Thursday afternoon, between dinner and supper could be used for his "rope-yarn Sunday" as sailors called it, and also on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

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Torpedo Instruction Aboard the Theseus 1896

Two Naval Cadets and a Midshipman from the cruiser Theseus are instructed by a Petty Officer in the technical points of a Whitehead torpedo during 1896. The Midshipman is shown working the propeller at the tail of the fish. Every Midshipman, before passing for his Lieutenant's commission, had to go through a preliminary course of torpedo instruction, to be supplemented later on as necessary, by a course of instruction in the Vernon or Defiance - the torpedo school ships at Portsmouth and Devonport during the 1890's. These courses were for general duty officers, not for those who made a specialist study of torpedo warfare as their particular line in the service.

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The After 22-ton Gun and Shield of the Cruiser Theseus in 1896

The Theseus and her sister ships mounted as their principal heavy armament two 22-ton guns each of 9.2 inches calibre. One was situated forward the other aft; each gun was protected by a large shield of steel, 3 inches thick, which sheltered the breech of the gun and gun crew on all sides except to the rear. The gun and its mountings, based on the Vavasseur principle, were entirely worked by hand, and every operation could be managed by one man, while the ammunition comes up a hoist through a tube in the centre of the mounting, an arrangement which enabled loading when the gun was in any position or pointing in any direction.

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Midshipmen of the Theseus being instructed by an assistant engineer in 1897.

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