OLD DEVONPORT . UK
www.olddevonport.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 14, 2018
Webpage updated: March 28, 2023

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ROYAL NAVY IN OLD DEVONPORT  |  TRAINING SHIPS

HMS "IMPLACABLE" later HMS "LION"

"HMS Implacable" became the Royal Navy's first training ship at Devonport in 1855.   She was originally a French ship by the name of "Duguay Trouin" and had been a part of the French fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar.  Although she survived Lord Nelson's onslaught at that battle, she was captured two weeks later by Sir Richard Strachan and re-named the "Implacable".  In 1842 she came to Devonport and was laid up but in July 1855 she found a new use as a vessel for training Boy Seamen for service in the Royal Navy.  It is recorded that out of a complement of 440 boys there were only 328 undergoing such training in 1865.

HMS "Lion", left, and HMS "Implacable", right, moored off Torpoint.
Photo by Mr W M Crockett, Plymouth, published in The Navy and Army Illustrated, January 1897.

Royal Naval Training Ship HMS "Implacable".
This photograph may not have been taken at Devonport.
From  a postcard.

In December 1871 "HMS Implacable" was joined by "HMS Lion", and the establishment took the name of HMS "Lion".  The latter was left with all its masts and spars intact so that the sailors could be trained in drill aloft.  She dated from the 1840s.

Royal Naval Training Ship HMS "Lion" on her own.
This picture does not appear to have been taken at Devonport.
From a postcard.

 

During the massive gale on the night of Monday March 9th 1891 the "Implacable" (3,223 tons) and the "Lion" (3,842 tons), moored stern to stern off Torpoint, were blown off their moorings on to the mud off Thanckes.  At about 9.30pm the establishment signalled for help and all available tugs in the Royal Dockyard were despatched to take off the hundreds of boys on the two ships, if required.  By midnight the alarm was over although the storm was still raging and the tugs were ordered to stand by all night in case they were needed.

Under a large scheme of reorganisation brought about by the decision to build a barracks at Shotley, the "HMS Lion" establishment was closed in 1904.  The "Lion" itself was sold on July 11th 1905 while the former "HMS Implacable" was sold in 1908 to a Mr Wheatley Cobb, who used her for training Sea Scouts at Falmouth in Cornwall.  In 1931 she was moved to Portsmouth, where she survived until she was scuttled off Alderney in the Channel Islands on December 2nd 1949.