Surprise Class

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Surprise 3rd Class.  Surprise Class cruisers of the Royal Navy.  Photos and history of the cruisers of the Surprise class, including HMS Alacrity and HMS Surprise, launched 1885.

Initially designed to be despatch ships by soon after launch the Admiralty decided to use these ships as fleet scouts and so armed them with four 5 inch Breach Loading Main armament. and Four 6 pdr. Quick Firing Guns, plus two machine guns.  both ships were built at Palmers at Jarrow.   These ships were built similar to The Scout class torpedo Cruisers. except. their accommodation  was of a high standard , so transportation of Diplomats amd other high ranking officials.   HMS Alacrity served for many years until being sold in 1913.  HMS Surprise. was renamed HMS Alacrity and served during World war one before being sold in 1919.

Length 250ft.  Beam 32ft 6in. Height 13ft.  Speed 17knts.  Armament 4 x 5in BLR, 4 x 6pdr QF, 2 Machine Guns.  Crew 93.

HMS Alacrity 28th February 1885 Became despatch vessel. Sold in 1913.
HMS Surprise 17th January 1885 Became despatch vessel, renamed Alacrity 1913, China station until 1919 then broken up. Information from Alfred Maistriaux.
HMS Alacrity

HMS Alacrity - Name History

The fifth ?Alacrity? was a twin-screw despatch vessel, launched at Palmers Yard.  Jarrow-on-Tyne, in 1885.  She was of 1700 tons, 300-horse power, and 18 knots speed.  Her length, beam, and draught were 250ft, 32ft, and 14ft.

           In 1900 the ?Alacrity,? commanded by commander Christopher George F. M. Cradock, took part in the third Chinese war or Boxer riots.

           On June the 16th commander Cradock landed at the head of a combined Anglo-German-Russian-Japanese-Italian-Austrian brigade of 35 officers and 869 men, and co-operated with the allied ships on the attack on the Taku Forts.  After the ships had effectively bombarded the forts, the allied brigade advanced to the attack, but finding the Chinese still needed further punishment, they took shelter in the cover afforded by a bend in the river.  At 4.30 a.m. on the 17th the allies advanced, and captured all the forts on the north side of the river.  The British and Japanese scaled the parapet together, the Japanese commander being the first man up.  Having assisted commander Cradock up the wall the Japanese officer was killed.  The British casualties were 1 killed and 13 wounded.  Commander Cradock mentioned Lieutenant Eric Charrington, of the ?Alacrity? as having distinguished himself, and commanded Surgeon Robley Browne of the same ship for his attention to the wounded.

           On June 22nd Commander Cradock commanded a column of 760 men of mixed nationalities, which arrived at Tientsin in spite of a vigorous opposition and assisted in the international defence of that place, and in the capture of Pieyang Arsenal.

           During these Chinese operations the navy landed 167 officers and 2040 men.  They suffered 7 officers and 83 men killed, and 13 officers and 256 men wounded.

           During 1913 this vessel was ordered home to pay off, probably for the last time.

HMS Alacrity c.1892 as Despatch vessel.

HMS Alacrity in Hong Kong on 24th April 1921. ??

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HMS Alacrity at Wei Hai Wei for the Kings birthday. ??

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HMS Surprise

HMS Surprise.

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