Lord Charles Beresford – 1861 – The Marlborough


Search the Library for more like this

Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  This is the sixth installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here or search our library here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1861 – The Marlborough

The Ship of Happiest Memory

HMS Marlborough 1861ON the 28th of March, [1861], I was appointed naval cadet in the Marlborough. As I climbed up her side by the hand-rungs, while my chest was being hoisted in over all, I perceived two huge men looking down upon me, and I heard one say to the other:-

              “That white-faced little beggar ain’t long for this world, Dick.”

The speaker was John Glanville (called Clamfy Glanville), boatswain’s mate (of whom more anon), and he addressed this lugubrious remark to Dicky Home, the quartermaster, a very fat man. It was a far from encouraging welcome to the sea; but the fact was that I had been ill, and was feeling very cold as I climbed up the side of the ship. At first, I was much disappointed at having been sent to a large ship, for we youngsters had a notion that there were more freedom and independence in a small ship; and besides, I wanted to go to China. But I went to China all in good time.

The Marlborough was the flagship of the Mediterranean station. She was a wooden line of battleship, three-decker, launched in [1835], 4000 tons burthen old measure, 6390 displacement new measure, fitted with single screw horizontal Maudslay engines. The length of her gundeck was 245 feet 6 inches, her extreme beam was 61 feet, her maximum draught was 26 feet Her complement was 950, and she always carried 100 or more supernumeraries. She was pierced for 131 guns and she carried 121 guns. She was one of the first ships to be fitted with wire lower rigging. In the Marlborough the old 24-inch hemp cable was used for laying out anchor at drill. It was the same class of cable as that which was used in Nelson’s time; it was superseded by the chain cable.

The vice-admiral in command of the Mediterranean station was Sir William Fanshawe Martin (called “Fly” Martin); the captain, William H. Stewart; the commander, Thomas Brandreth: three of the finest officers that ever lived. The captain of the Fleet was Rear-Admiral Sydney C. Dacres, C.B. His duties were those of what we should now call a chief of staff. The office was subsequently abolished; and it was always my desire to see it restored.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.


Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project