The Royal Navy and the Developments of Mobile Logistics 1851–94

By David Evans, published August 1997


The first attempt by the Royal Navy at providing a mobile workshop facility was in 1851 when the schooner HMS Spider was equipped with basic tools for making and repairing articles for the Devonport Steam Reserve. In early 1854, with the imminent outbreak of hostilities with Russia likely, the wooden sail assisted paddle steamer HMS Volcano was also converted to the same role for service in the Baltic but with very much more extensive workshop facilities. Two further iron screw steamers were then purchased, renamed Bruiser and Abundance, and fitted out as a floating mill and bakery respectively to supply the troops around Sebastopol and in May 1855 the iron screw ship Chasseur was acquired to attend to the materiel of the Army in the Crimea. Volcano also later served with the Fleet in the Second Opium War.

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Filed under: Baltic | English Channel | Opium Wars | Crimean War | Other (location)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards | Logistics | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

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