Help identifying English ship in Venice… with an ostrich(?) on board

Home Forums Nautical Research: 1830 – Present Day Help identifying English ship in Venice… with an ostrich(?) on board

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  • #21166
    Saul H
    Participant

      Hi everyone,
      the Venetian Institute for the History of the Resistance and Contemporary Society (https://www.iveser.it/) posted on their Instagram account a photograph from the beginning of the XX Century where an English ship (she’s flying the white ensign) can clearly be seen on the background, moored in the middle of Saint Mark’s Basin, right in front of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. This is the link to the post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CK6T_U9gmac/
      Firstly my eye fell on the beautiful small “sandolo” crossing by sail and using an oar for steering, but then I started looking at the details: a gondola can be seen navigating on the right while carrying the “felze”, a removable cabin not used anymore in modern Venice. Another one can be seen waiting to be installed on the dock on the left… There are a few other details worth noting, but what I couldn’t explain is the thing on top of the bridge of the English ship. Is it an ostrich? It sure looks like one. How is it possible?
      Unfortunately I don’t know the exact year in which the photo was taken, but would be nice if someone could at least recognize the ship, so that I might look for a higher-res picture and hopefully solve the mistery.
      Thank you in advance,
      Saul

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      #21185
      Frank Scott
      Participant

        You need to access an early edition of Jane’s Fighting Ships (pre 1905) to confirm, but the British warship concerned could be one of the two ships of the Scout Class (HMS Scout or HMS Fearless), 3rd class cruisers commissioned in mid-1880s. What you take to be an Ostrich is more likely to be a mechanical semaphore, but even in blow up the picture quality is too poor to be sure.
        Frank

        #21201
        David Hepper
        Participant

          I would agree with the previous suggestion – it is either FEARLESS or SCOUT; they both served in the Mediterranean in the 1890s, and the British fleet regularly visited Venice.
          I confess I cannot see any ‘ostrich’ … mechanical semaphore is a good suggestion; or perhaps they were boasting that they had the Cock of the Fleet trophy…

          Cock of the Fleet Photograph

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