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HMS Inflexible 

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HMS Inflexible, battleship of the Royal Navy. Inflexible was built at Portsmouth and launched on 27th April 1876. She was the first battleship to have submerged torpedo tubes and compound armour. She served at Alexandria engaging Forts Pharos and Ada, and was the most heavily damaged of all the ships present during the exchange. after serving as port guardship at Portsmouth she was sold in 1903.

Displacement: 11,880 tons.    Horse power: 6,500.    Length: 320 ft.    Beam: 75ft.    Draught: 26' 4".    Armament: Four 80ton guns, muzzle-loaders; eight 4.7 in guns, four 6 pounder guns and two 3 pounder quick firers. Partial belt of armour from 24 to 16 ins.    Speed 12.8 knots.    Complement: 485.

HMS INFLEXIBLE LAUNCHED 1876 COMPLETED 1881 SOLD AT CHATHAM 1903

HMS Inflexible.

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HMS Inflexible, 1881.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price £25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP124

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HMS Inflexible, 1881.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price £25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP123

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HMS Inflexible, February, 1894

HMS Inflexible, 1881.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price £25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP122

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HMS Inflexible - Name History

The fourth “INFLEXIBLE” was a 4-gun twin-screw turret ship, launched at Portsmouth in 1876.  She was of 11,400 tons, 8000 horse-power, and 15 knots speed.  Her length, beam, and draught were 320ft., 75ft., and 25ft.  In 1882 the “Inflexible,” commanded by Captain John Fisher, took part in the Egyptian War.   In July the “Inflexible” lay off Alexandria in a fleet of 14 ships, commanded by Admiral Sir Beauchamp Seymour with his flag in “Alexandria.” The Egyptians having failed to surrender their forts, the Commander-in-Chief  transferred his flag to the lighter draught battleship “Invincible,” and on July 11th at 7A.M. the “Alexandra” fired the first shot in the bombardment if Alexandria.  The “Inflexible” was stationed in the Corvette Pass, 3750 yards from Mex, and the concussion of her guns smashed her boats, and damaged her superstucture.  The ships were all cleared for action with topgallant masts struck by bowsprits rigged in.  By 7.10 A.M. all ships were engaged, and all the forts that could bring their guns to bear replied with vigour.  At 12.30 the Mex forts having received enough punishment, the “Inflexible” moved eastwards and engaged Forts Pharos and Ada.  During the firing one of the turret-guns stopped firing, and the gunnery lieutenant, Frank C. Younghusband, had himself rammed into the gun where he cleared the vent, and then, after being nearly suffocated by the powder gasses, was hauled out by a rope tied to his feet. By 5P.M. all the Egyptian guns were silent, and the fleet ceased bombarding at 5:30P.M.  The “Inflexible” was the ship most injured.  Besides being somewhat mauled aloft, and having her unarmoured parts penetrated in various places, she was struck outside the citadel below the water line by a 10” Palliser shot, which glanced upwards, passed through the deck, killed Carpenter Shannon, and mortally wounded Lieutenant Jackson on the superstructure.  In the course of its career it impressed the name on its base on an iron bollard which is now preserved at whale island, and by way of small reminder of the action it wrecked the captain’s cabin.  According to the Egyptian official account the “Inflexible” sank off Fort Ada at 10A.M.!  The only conceivable source of this statement is the fact that some weeks after the bombardment the “Inflexible” had to be dry locked for repairs. The British casualties were 5 killed and 28 wounded, to which the “Inflexible” contributed 1 killed, 1 mortally wounded, and 1 wounded.  The Egyptian loss has never properly ascertained, but it is believed to have been about 150 killed and 400 wounded, out of the 2000 men engaged in the working of the forts.  During the day the small were able to engage the heavy forts, by simple expedient of going so close that the Egyptian guns could not be depressed sufficiently to hit the ship’s hulls.  The “Inflexible” contributed to a Naval Brigade which occupied and policed the town of Alexandria with its turbulent population.  Captain John Fisher commanded the outer line of defences, and Captain Lord Charles Beresford acted as Chief of Police in the town.     Lieutenant William Harvey Pigott of the “Inflexible” and a seaman mounted the damaged lighthouse at great risk, and relighted the lamp in it, but neither was able to descend until rescued.  Captain Fisher, assisted by Lieutenant Richard Poore, devised and improvised an armoured train, which at once became exceedingly useful for reconnoitring purposes, and which was used first in action on July 28th, and then continuously.  Captain Fisher was sent for by the Khedive and complimented, on relinquishing some of his store duties.  On August 5th the “Inflexible” contributed to a Naval Brigade which left Alexandria in the armoured train which was commanded by Captain John Fisher.  The marines were detrained about 800 yards from Mehallet Junction, and, assisted by a 40-pounder Armstrong gun, quickly dislodged the enemy.  During the evening the Brigade was exposed to a galling fire, but the marines behaved with great gallantry and bore the brunt of the attack.  The casualties in this affair were 1 marine killed and 12 wounded, and 1 seaman killed and 4 wounded.  The Naval Brigade were then recalled to their ships.    In August 1882 the “Inflexible’s” men assisted in the seizure and occupation of the Suez Canal.   Captain John A. Fisher was given the C.B., and Commander Albert B. Jenkins was promoted to captain, for their services.  In 1885 the “Inflexible” contributed to a Naval Brigade which operated on the Nile under Captain Lord Charles Beresford.  They took part in the battles of Abu Klea, Metemmeh, and Wad-Habeshi, and in the relief  of  Sir Charles Wilson.  After some years service as post guardship at Portsmouth, the “Inflexible” was sold at Chatham in 1903. 

HMS Inflexible - Portguard Ship at Portsmouth

The Inflexible is an iron second class battleship, and was completed for sea in 1881. She was built at Portsmouth Dockyard and engined by Messrs. Elder. Commissioned in Portsmouth in November 1893 under Captain Atwell P M Lake of the Fleet Reserve at Portsmouth.

 

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