HMS Volage

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History of the Training Ship HMS Volage. The Volage was originally an iron screw corvette launched in 1869 and was sold in 1904. Her sister ships were Active (also a Training Ship in 1896) and Rover. Other Training Ships in 1896 included the Champion and Calypso.

Four of the older corvettes - the Active, Volage, Champion and Calypso comprised the Training Squadron in 1896, under a Commodore, and their special duties were to take to sea, for extended cruises of six months or more, drafts of lads passed out from the school-ships which were at various home ports. All four training ships were fully masted, square-rigged vessels which belonged to the older class of masted steamship common in the Navy in the 1870s. The Volage was a corvette launched in 1869, a single-screw iron ship of 3,080 tons. The lads on board would learn to use the great guns which the Volage and all her fellow training ships had, these were the modern (1890s era) guns of the lighter types - 6 inch breech-loaders, quick-firers and torpedo tubes. The Volage and Active were sister ships and the largest of the training ships, each carried a company of 357.  The Volage's midshipmen after coaling would be very dirty after their coaling duty. Grimy and unpleasant work as coaling a ship was, it was a job in which everybody on board a man-of-war took a hearty part, officers and men alike sparing themselves no fatigue. In all the fleets and squadrons, there was always the keenest rivalry among individual ships as to the smartness with which each ship could get its coaling done, a healthy sign of the spirit of the men of the Sea Service; but was also a matter of national interest, for the quicker a ship could take on her fuel, the readier for emergencies she would be.

The photographs below are available to purchase. six post card size prints on two large 15" x 10" magazine pages dated 1896.  price ?22 for the set. (incl post)  REF: C5

Furling Sail

This photograph shows lads aloft engaged in furling sail. The lads who came on board were all used to and trained in exercise aloft and sail drill of any kind.

The Captain and Officers, HMS Volage

A portrait group of the officers of the Volage in uniform, the captain in command of the ship being readily distinguishable as the officer with four rings of lace on his sleeve, and a telescope under his arm.

Divisions on Christmas Day

The whole of the ship's company are mustered for "Divisions" for the Captain's inspection, a parade of all ranks and ratings which would take place every Sunday morning and on Christmas Day, the lads falling in around the upper deck right round the ship, each Division or party of men separately under its own officers - some of the Lieutenants and Midshipmen. The inspection would take place a little after breakfast, the Captain being accompanied by various officers and receiving reports from the officers of each Division as he comes to it and also from the heads of departments on board, the Chief Engineer, Paymaster and the Doctor. As the Captain approached each Division, the men would doff their hats and stand to attention, while the Captain scrutinized each man individually and drawing attention to the smallest irregularity of dress or appearance. When the Captain has passed to the next Division the previous Division can replace their hats and stand easy until the Captain has completed his round of the ship when all are piped to Divine Service.

In Boats

This photograph shows the larger boats of the ship in the act of being swung on board to be stowed amidships and made fast.

A Gun Room Smoking Circle

This photograph shows the midshipmen of the Volage taking it easy after dinner on deck, on a warm day under tropical skies, until the order is issued for afternoon drills to begin.

The Captain Going On Shore

The captain of the ship in mufti going over the side to spend a day on shore. The captain of a man-of-war was an absolute king on board his ship, a monarch of despotic power, and even so comparatively trivial an incident as his going ashore for his own pleasure in civilian attire, was in itself a semi-state ceremonial, the side being manned and everybody near standing at salute.