Looking for some help

18th February 2011, 11:48
Hi I hope someone can help or point me in the correct direction.
My Great Grandfather Charles Durham born 1832 served in the Royal Navy.
His first ship (or should that be boat?) was HMS Viper from July 1848 to 1850.
His next ship was HMS Dolphin June 1850 to 1852
Then HMS Barracuda (think this is correct spelling) from January 1853 to March 1855 and then again March 1855 to August 1857.
After that he served on HMS Terrible on which he died on the 1st December 1861 aged 29. He was a Ships Steward at the time of death.
Any help on these ships/ boats would be of great help.
I have so far been unable to find any information on these and would love to be able to fill in more information on him as we can not trace him any further back.
Thank you

18th February 2011, 12:13

HMS Viper was a Turbine Destroyer picture here http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/purchased_destroyers.htm jst scroll down to the picture and description

HMS Dolphine was a composite screw sloop picture here http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/cruisers.htm scroll right down for the picture , she was a named ship of the class

I will look for the others

18th February 2011, 12:52
Thank you so much! Fantastic looking ships, I look forward to hearing from you again.

18th February 2011, 17:13

I think that HMS Barracuda should read HMS Barracouta. Wikipedia says of Barracouta

HMS Barracouta was a paddle sloop, of the Royal Navy, built at the Pembroke Dockyard and launched on 31 March 1851.[1]

She commenced service in England before joining the East Indies Station in 1854. During the Crimean War she participated in the blockade of Petropavlovski.[1] She also participated during the Second Opium War in 1856 before returning to England and being paid off in 1857.[1] She was sent to North America and West Indies Station in 1860 until 1864, before being paid off and then returning to the North America and West Indies Station in 1866. She returned to England in 1870 and was paid off and was used as a tender at the Portsmouth Dockyard. She served as part of the West Africa Station in 1873 and participated in the Anglo-Ashanti wars.[1]

After being refitted in England, she commenced service on the Australia Station in August 1874.[1] She took part in the Samoan operations in 1876. She left the Australia Station in July 1876 and returned to England and was paid off at the Chatham Dockyard in 1877.[1]

So your Great grandfather was on her during the Crimean War.

There is more information here about her http://www.pdavis.nl/ShowShip.php?id=1107

Cant find a photo of her I am afraid.

HMS TERRIBLE of 1850s 1860s was a Steam powered paddle wheeled frigate, there is alot of information about her here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Terrible_%281845%29

There is a picture of her here http://www.ssplprints.com/image.php?imgref=10314602

I hope I have helped you

18th February 2011, 19:01
Hi Boatman25,
I've just had your reply in the middle of look up amother family name.
This man is a distant relitive of this man's wife's father. All long and compliecated. I was as stumped with him as with Charles Durham!
The reason for the shock is he recieved the VC in the Crimean war when I look at your message and see that someone closer to me was there as well!
I had no idea I had any family there at all!
What a day I am having! It's fantastic.
Thank you so much for the help and the information.
My mind is realy going around at the moment and wondering if they meet along shot but it is still a fun idea.
Many thanks

Roger Griffiths
18th February 2011, 19:12

HMS Viper was a Turbine Destroyer picture here http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/purchased_destroyers.htm jst scroll down to the picture and description

HMS Dolphine was a composite screw sloop picture here http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/cruisers.htm scroll right down for the picture , she was a named ship of the class

I will look for the others

That's the wrong HMS VIPER which was built by Hawthorn and launched 6/9/1889. As Charles Durham served on HMS VIPER from 1848 to 1850 it could not possibly be the vessel he served on.
The one you are looking for is HMS VIPER Schooner built Pembroke Dock 12/5/1831 Broken up May 1851.
Her logbooks for the period CD served are in the National Archive. Piece numbers ADM53/3452 & ADM53/3452
Logbooks were primarily navigational records and I doubt there will be little info on CD but you can at least see where she operated. As far as I can tell she was not involved in any major actions during this period.

I have not had time to search for the others, suffice to say, lot's of the info on the internet needs double checking.


18th February 2011, 19:27

I apologise, it would appear as well as HMS Viper I have also got HMS Dolphin wrong too, after viewing Rogers post, I double checked and found that the HMS Dolphin your GGF was on is in fact HMS Dolphin a 3-gun brigantine which was launched in 1836 and sold in 1894. I cannot find any other info on her at the moment nor a photo.

Sorry about that however I am happy that HMS Barracouta and HMS Terrible are the right ships that your GGF was on and between me and Roger you now have the right information on all the ships

18th February 2011, 19:46
There is a brief history of HMS Dolphins' service in the RN here http://www.pdavis.nl/ShowShip.php?id=1349and a painting/print of her here http://www.grosvenorprints.com/stock.php?artist=Vernon%2C+H.+John&WADbSearch1=Submit scroll down and click on the painting/print to make it bigger

18th February 2011, 20:18
Hi to you both, Boatman25 & Roger Griffiths,
I can not believe that in one day I have found information that I have been hunting for, for four years!
This information has been fantastic and I can fill him out more. Having found this other relative can I be really really cheeky and ask if there is any information out there on HMS Weser?
Again I thank you both.

18th February 2011, 20:34
Hi Sage,

Little bit abour HMS Weser here http://www.pdavis.nl/ShowShip.php?id=2294

also VC awards to ships crew

John Commerell HMS Weser 1855 Crimean War Sea of Azov, Crimea

William Rickard HMS Weser 1855 Crimean War Sea of Azov, Crimea

If you google HMS Weser there is alot about her to go through, you will find it very interesting

Roger Griffiths
18th February 2011, 22:39
Sage this may be of interest to you.


18th February 2011, 22:44
Hi Boatman25,
thanks again my releitive, ok distant, was William Rickard.
He was born in Cornwall and died on the Isle of Wight which is where I live!
This has been a great day for me it'll take me a while to take it all in.
Give yourself a pat on the back.
Have a great weekend
ps just seen that John Commerell went on to HMS Terrible. Charles Durham was unfortunatly dead by that time but what a tangle this is becoming.

18th February 2011, 22:51
Thank you Sage, glad to be of help to you

18th February 2011, 23:31
Hi Roger Griffiths,
Thank you for your help and for the list. Two names stood out for me and that's Hook and Hitch the two from the Zulu wars!
I did find William Rickard on the list so thank you.
You tend to forget how many VC's there have been awarded, so thank you for that.
I will be raising a glass to you this weekend.

8th July 2013, 01:04

Wondering if your ancestor was part of the HMS BARRACOUTA crew that was involved with Samoa Natives in 1876?

Does anyone know how I can find out the names of crew on the HMS Barracouta back in 1876? I have a record for a relative that was discharged from the Barracouta because of gunshot wounds. I am assuming he was one of the wounded during that skirmish with the Samoan Natives.