HMS Volta 1863 - Ships Nostalgia
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HMS Volta 1863

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  #1  
Old 2nd September 2019, 12:58
Squire Trelawney Squire Trelawney is offline
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HMS Volta 1863

The ower, at Finedon (pictured below) was built in 1865 and named the "Volta Tower" to commemorate a local Naval Officer who had drowned off Nigeria in 1863 whilst serving on HMS Volta.



http://thevoltatower.weebly.com/history.html





I can find very little about any naval vessel called the "Volta" during the 1860's.

All I can find about the incident from the Army and Navy Gazette is that the officer, Lieutenant William Dolben, had been on the "HMS Rattlesnake".
He was then transferred to command "The Investigator 2" which was a small steam driven paddle boat for an expedition up the river Niger. At some point he got into a small four-oared whaling boat which capsized and William Dolben was drowned.

So I am not sure where the "HMS Volta" comes into the story.

Does anyone know anything about a HMS Volta in 1863?
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  #2  
Old 6th September 2019, 17:47
wightspirit wightspirit is offline  
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You could start with William Dolben's service record, available from the National Archives. Go here, enter his name and the reference ADM, and you'll find it: https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...dvanced-search. It should give the ships he served on.

Dave W
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  #3  
Old 7th September 2019, 01:01
Squire Trelawney Squire Trelawney is offline
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Thank you very much wightspirit. That is a very useful resource.

Using it I have now found that William Dolben joined up as a Naval cadet in 1852 aged 13 and served on quite a lot of ships before he drowned in 1863.

It is difficult to read the preview on screen but those ships appear to be:

Leopard
?elaufeus
Atlanta
Devastation
Buzzard
Curlew
Prometheus
Rattlesnake
Galatea
Bloodhound
Investigator 2

But no sign of any "HMS Volta".

It just seems to be a bit of a mystery bearing in mind so many sources say the 'Volta Tower' at Finedon was named after the ship on which William Dolben was serving.
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  #4  
Old 8th September 2019, 20:56
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Roger Griffiths Roger Griffiths is offline  
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Hello,
Seems there are some wires crossed some where.
According to "Ships Of The Royal Navy" by J J Colledge. There was only one HMS VOLTA. A 159 ton Trawler hired in 1918-1919!
Wiki says He was lost whilst serving on HMS INVESTIGATOR. This seems to tie up somewhat with his RN Service Record. (Cannot find INVESTIGATOR II)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volta_Tower
Don't forget Volta Tower was built as a Folly.

regards
Roger
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  #5  
Old 8th September 2019, 22:40
eddyw eddyw is offline  
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Account of accident from survivor here:
https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/ne...H18640305.2.14
According to this report mishap occurred after Lt. Dolben's whaler had left HMS Rattlesnake to cross Lagos Bar. I suppose 'Rattlesnake Tower' might not be considered a suitable name for a memorial. Volta of course is the name of the main river system in what was then known as the Gold Coast (now Ghana) but that is several hundred miles from the scene of the accident.
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Old 9th September 2019, 00:18
Squire Trelawney Squire Trelawney is offline
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Thankyou to eddyw, Roger Griffiths and wightspirit for your input on this.

It's looking as though name 'Volta' with regard to that tower at Finedon is going to remain a mystery.
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  #7  
Old 9th September 2019, 19:04
Squire Trelawney Squire Trelawney is offline
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Just as a postscript to this a friend just phoned to tell me a letter of mine appeared in the Daily Mail 'Answers to Correspondents' section on Friday 6th September.

I had asked the question was there any 'HMS Volta' around the time that William Dolben was serving?

I sent the question a few days ago not expecting them to publish it. Anyway it is there now as a question.

If you read the Daily Mail over the next few days watch out to see if it gets any responses.
If there are any responses they should be interesting to read!
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