Sunday, 10 January 2010

Pre-Dreadnought Photos: Part 2

Some more Pre-Dreadnought photographs, now, with more of a Boxer Rebellion era flavour.
Above we have a slightly grubby view of the Japanese battleship Shikishima, which was completed in January 1900 and was present throughout all the major engagements of the Russo-Japanese War - Port Arthur,Yellow Sea, and of course Tsushima. Apparently, she soldiered on in various guises right up until 1947, when she suffered the final ignominy of being scrapped after WWII.
She was armed with four 12" guns in twin turrets fore and aft, had fourteen 6", and thirty-odd guns of smaller calibre, also five 18" torpedo tubes.
The photo itself is interesting, in that it is from a Trade Card issued by the 'Art Pavements and Decorations Ltd', of Holborn and Camden Town, London, who specialised in Marble Masonry and Tiling.
They make the proud boast on the card that the Shikishima had "800 yards of Terrazzo Marble Mosaic laid"!
Now that's what I call class, no nasty corticene linoleum on our Battleship! I suppose having been built at the Thames Ironworks, the Japanese took advantage of local craftsmanship to decorate the Officers' Mess deck - those were the days......

Next up, we have a view of the cruiser HMS Eclipse, of whose class, sister ships HMS Dido and Isis where present off the Taku Bar during 1900. These were in effect enlarged Astraea Class protected cruisers, and had a mixed armament of 6 and 4.7" guns.

Next we have a view of a class of ship sadly lacking in the Navwar and other 1/3000th catalogues, the tidy looking sloop, represented here by HMS Alacrity, which was captained by Christopher Craddock (of Battle of the Coronel fame) during the Boxer Rebellion, and saw action at the Taku Forts, and of course provided shore parties that fought throughout the campaign.

Moving on to another veteran of the Taku Forts assault, as well as famously a participant in the Battle of Chemulpo four years later, we have the Russian Mandjur class gunboat Korietz.
She was armed with two obsolete 8" muzzle loading guns, in barbette bulges forward, one of which can plainly be seen here, and is that a Nordenfeldt QF atop the bow?
Interesting as well, in this view, is the puff of smoke at the stern - firing a signal gun or salute, perhaps?

Finally we have a shot of HMS Orlando, a 1st class Cruiser with a partial 10" armour belt, two 9.2", and ten 6" guns, also a handy brace of six 18" torpedo tubes, including two submerged, at bow and stern. This view is from an Ogden's Guinea Gold Cigarette Card, and is subtitled "Now in Chinese Waters" - so there!

Next time on this subject, there'll be some torpedo boats, and some stereo-views of Russo-Japanese vessels, so stay tuned....


  1. I, for one, am certainly enjoying these old Pre-Dread photos. Thank you.

    -- Jeff

  2. Thanks guys, glad you like them, plenty more to come......!