HMS Beagle (1854)

For other ships with the same name, see List of ships named HMS Beagle.
HMS Beagle and Wrangler by Sir Oswald Brierly, 1855
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Beagle
Ordered: 10 April 1854
Builder: C J Mare & Company, Leamouth, London
  • £23,091
  • (Hull: £8,302 Machinery: £9,725)[1]
Laid down: 15 April 1854
Launched: 20 July 1854
Commissioned: 3 September 1854[1]
Fate: Sold to the Japanese Army in 1863
Name: Kenko (乾行)
Acquired: 1863
Fate: Broken up in 1889
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Arrow-class gunvessel
Displacement: 586 tons
Tons burthen: 476 68/94 bm
Length: 160 ft (48.8 m)
Beam: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Draught: 11 ft 8 in (3.6 m) (aft)
Depth of hold: 13 ft (3.962 m)
Installed power: 160 nhp
  • 2-cylinder horizontal single-expansion steam engine
  • Single screw
Sail plan: Barque-rigged
Complement: 65

HMS Beagle was a wooden-hulled Arrow-class gunvessel second-class screw gunvessel launched in 1854 and sold in 1863. She was the third vessel of the Royal Navy to use the name.


The Crimean War sparked a sudden need for shallow-draught, manoeuvrable vessels for inshore work in the Baltic and the Black Sea. The Arrow class of six wooden-hulled screw steamers were built during 1854 to a design by the Surveyor’s Department. Construction was undertaken at two commercial yards on the Thames, R & H Green and C J Mare & Company, both of Leamouth, London.[1] Two further designs of Crimean War gunvessel were ordered during 1855, the Intrepid class and the Vigilant class. The class was built as despatch vessels, but in 1856 were re-designated as second-class gunvessels.


A two-cylinder horizontal single expansion steam engine supplied by Humphrys, Tennant and Dykes provided 160 horsepower (119 kW) through a single screw.[1]

Sail plan

All Arrow-class gunvessels were barque-rigged.[1]


The Arrow class were provided with two 68-pounder Lancaster muzzle-loading rifled guns weighing 95 long cwt (4,800 kg) on pivot mounts, and four 32-pounder 25 long cwt (1,300 kg) guns.


Beagle was laid down at the Leamouth yard of C J Mare & Company on 15 April 1854 and launched on 20 July the same year. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy two months later on 3 September.[1]


Beagle took part in the Crimean War from 1854 to 1856. During the Crimean War, two of her ship's company were awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions: Joseph Trewavas was awarded the VC for his actions in the Sea of Azov, and an acting-mate in Beagle, Wiliam Hewett, was awarded the VC for his actions in defending a shore battery.[2]


Beagle was sold to the Satsuma Domain (薩摩藩) of Japan at Hong Kong in 1863 to be used as a training vessel, and was renamed Kenko (乾行) in 1865. She was broken up in 1889.[3]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Winfield (2004), p.219
  2. The London Gazette: no. 21971. p. 652. 1857-02-24. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  3. "How the ship, HMS Beagle, got her name.". AboutDarwin. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
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