|BCN015||150th Anniversary of the Launch of HMS Repulse||£12.50||Limited Availability|
Issue Date: 25/04/2018
Issue Name: 150th Anniversary of the Launch of HMS Repulse
Producer: Buckingham Covers
HMS Repulse was the last wooden battleship ever constructed for the Royal Navy, and the last ship constructed at Woolwich Dockyard. Our lovely cover commemorates the launch and features an historical photograph of HMS Repulse, and is postmarked on the launch anniversary at Woolwich.
HMS Repulse was the last wooden battleship ever constructed for the Royal Navy and the last ship constructed at Woolwich Dockyard. Launched on 25 April 1868, the Repulse was originally intended to be a 90-gun second-rate line-of-battle ship with two decks but was instead approved for conversion to a broadside ironclad ship in 1861. At the time, tests were being carried out as to whether the conversions of these ships were proving effective and so production was halted on the HMS Repulse until it was certain that the conversions were working. The tests and the conversion caused the launch to be delayed, with no work on the ship between 1861 and 1866. It was the thickness of the armour which would ‘clad’ the ship which was under question; the previous ship, the HMS Warrior had an armour which was 4.5 inches thick. Other ships afloat during this time were capable of holding 9-inch and 10-inch calibre guns and so the armour that had previously been considered strong enough would not be able to protect the ship. This in turn meant that less of the side of the ship could be armoured as it would potentially be too heavy.
The HMS Repulse was intended as an overseas flagship, providing the best accommodation in the fleet. Over her career, she travelled more distance under sail alone than any other ironclad, except HMS Zealous. When she was commissioned in March 1870, she was posted to Queensferry as a guard ship for two years. After relieving HMS Zealous as flagship, HMS Repulse went on to patrol the seas from Patagonia to British Columbia for the next five years. In 1877, HMS Shah replaced her as flagship and the captain of the Repulse decided to take the ship home round Cape Horn under sail rather than through the Straits of Magellan under steam which was the usual route. She was the only British armoured ship to go round Cape Horn under sail. After a refit, she then was a guardship at Hull until 1885; all major ports traditionally were guarded by a warship. Admiral Sir Geoffrey Phipps Hornby commanded the ship when she was mobilised as part of the Royal Navy Evolutionary Squadron in 1885 which involved testing new techniques against the older ships. Finally, HMS Repulse was held in reserve until she was sold and broken up in 1889.
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