HMY Victoria and Albert (1899)
HMY Victoria and Albert
|Name:||HMY Victoria and Albert|
|Namesake:||Queen Victoria & Albert, Prince Consort|
|Commissioned:||23 July 1901|
|Fate:||Broken up, 1954|
|Length:||380 ft (120 m)|
|Beam:||40 ft (12 m)|
HMY Victoria and Albert was a royal yacht of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. The yacht was designed by the Chief Constructor of the Royal Navy Sir William White, launched in 1899 and ready for service in 1901. This was the third yacht to be named Victoria and Albert and she was fitted with steam engines fired by Belleville water-tube boilers. She served four sovereigns, and was decommissioned as royal yacht in 1939, served in the Second World War, and was broken up in 1954.
Background and Construction
Queen Victoria had lobbied Parliament for many years for a more modern yacht – HMY Victoria and Albert II dated from 1855, and won this expenditure after pointing out that both the Russian Tsar and the German Kaiser had larger and more modern yachts than Great Britain. Built at Pembroke Dock and launched in 1899, she was completed in the summer 1901, seven months after the death of Queen Victoria.
The vessel measured 380 feet (120 m) in length by 40 feet (12 m) in the beam with a tonnage of 4,700. The total cost of the ship was £572,000, five-sevenths the cost of the battleship HMS Renown. During fitting-out the yacht had significant extra weight added including concrete ballast and even a large traditional capstan so the Queen could be entertained by watching the sailors work. This extra weight proved to be beyond the original design parameters and resulted in the ship tipping over when the dock was flooded – causing significant damage to the ship. Designer Sir William White was exonerated from direct responsibility, but lost confidence and resigned his role as Chief Constructor shortly afterwards.
Victoria and Albert was commissioned at Portsmouth 23 July 1901 by Commodore the Hon. Hedworth Lambton, who hoisted his broad pennant. Nearly all the ship's company of 230 men of the old HMY Victoria and Albert II were transferred to the new yacht, which with an additional 100 men had a total ship's company of 336.
King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visited their new yacht in early August 1901, and used it for the first time when crossing the English Channel 9 August 1901 to attend the funeral in Germany of the King's sister, Empress Frederick.
King Edward later used the yacht for summer cruises most years of his reign, visiting various countries in Europe.
Victoria and Albert later served King George V, King Edward VIII and King George VI, and took part in two fleet reviews (in 1935 and the Coronation Review of the Fleet, 1937), but was withdrawn after the latter and decommissioned in 1939. She served as a depot ship during the Second World War, as an accommodation ship to HMS Excellent, and was broken up in 1954.
During 1947, while moored alongside at Whale Island, her caretaker was Mr J.G. "Tom" Cox BEM, RN. He was responsible for the care of her contents, some of which were selected for eventual use in HMY Britannia.
Although there were plans for a new yacht to be built these were suspended due to the outbreak of the Second World War. Eventually HMY Britannia replaced Victoria and Albert in 1954.
- Archibald, E.H.H. & Woodward, Ray, (ill.) (1971). The Metal Fighting Ship in the Royal Navy 1860-1970. New York: Arco Publishing Co. ISBN 0-668-02509-3.
- MaritimeQuest photo gallery: Victoria and Albert
- Video of Victoria and Albert at the opening ceremony of Southampton's King George V dry dock in July 1933