HMS Conway - Click here to return to the menu HMS Conway 1859 - 1974

Alfie Windsor 1998
HMS Conway - Click here to return to the menu

The First HMS Conway 1859 - 1861


9 June 1825
She was designed by Sir Robert Seppings as a broader version of the earlier HMS Tyne with a traditional wood construction, although iron braces and trusses were used for increased longitudinal strength.
Dec 1829
Laid down at Chatham Royal Naval Dockyard London.

She was a sixth rate man of war of 652 tons, with 26 guns (twenty 32–pound carronades on the upper deck and six 18-pound carronades on the quarterdeck). She was one of what were called Jackass Frigates - a slight on thier sailing performance.
Her full complement was 175 men and boys.
2 Feb 1832 Launched. Under Command (from commissioning until paying off on 31 Oct 1835) by Captain Henry Eden, North Sea, Lisbon, and South America.
11 May 1832 Departed on her first voyage to Plymouth, Port Royal, Jamaica and back.
1832 Aug
Departed  Port Royal, Jamaica where she had been mooored with the Winchester, Conway 2
1832/33 Ship's log shows that bewteen 20 Sep 1832 and 26 Jul 1833 Conway was in harbour in Lisbon. Log also kept by Edward Harenc
1835 From 23 Jul to 13 October the log of Edward Harenc records the travels of the Conway around the South pacific. (logs for sale in 2001 from US $4,000!)
Late June 1835

HMS Conway departed Valparaiso Chile for England. Charles Darwin wrote to J S Henslow on 12 July 1835:

"To J. S. Henslow 12 [August] 1835
July6 12th . 1835
My dear Henslow
This is the last letter which I shall ever write to you from the shores of America. -- and for this reason I send it -- In a few days time the Beagle will sail for the Galapagos Isds -- I look forward with joy   interest to this, both as being somewhat nearer to England,   for the sake of having a good look at an active Volcano. -- Although we have seen Lava in abundance, I have never yet beheld the Crater -- I sent by H.M.S. Conway two large boxes of Specimens. The Con-way sailed the latter end of June. -- With them were letters for you. -- Since that time I have travelled by land from Valparaiso to Copiapo   seen something more of the Cordilleras. -- Some of my Geological views have been subsequently to the last letter altered. -- I believe the upper mass of strata are, not so very modern as I supposed. -- This last journey has explained to me much of the ancient history of the Cordilleras. -- I feel sure they formerly consisted of a chain of Volcanoes from which enormous streams of Lava were poured forth at the bottom of the sea. -- These alternate with sedimentary beds to a vast thickness: at a subsequent period these Volcanoes must have formed Islands, from which have been produced strata several thousand feet thick of coarse Conglomerate. -- These Islands were covered with fine trees; in the Conglomerate I found one 15 feet in circumference, per-fectly silicified to the very centre. -- The alternations of compact crystalline rocks (I cannot doubt subaqueous Lavas)   sedimentary beds, now upheaved, fractured   indurated from the main range of the Andes. The formation was produced at the time, when Ammonites, several Terebratulae, Gryphites, Oysters, Pectens, Mytili  c  c lived. -
In the central parts of Chili, the structure of the lower beds are rendered very obscure by the Metamorphic action, which has rendered even the coarsest Conglomerates, porphyritic. -- The Cordilleras of the Andes so worthy of admiration from the grandeur of their dimensions, to rise in dignity when it is considered that since the period of Ammonites, they have formed a marked feature in the Geography of the Globe. -- The geology of these Mountains pleased me in one respect; when reading Lyell, it had always struck me that if the crust of the world goes on changing in a Circle, there ought to be somewhere found formations which having the age of the great European secondary beds, should possess the structure of Tertiary rocks, or those formed amidst Islands   in limited Basins. Now the alterations of Lava   coarse sediment, which form the upper parts of the Andes, correspond exactly to what would accumulate under such circumstances. In consequence of this I can only very roughly separate into three divisions the varying strata (perhaps 8ooo ft thick) which compose these mountains. I am afraid you will tell me to learn my A.B.C.-to know quartz from Feldspar before I indulge in such speculations. -- I lately got hold of ( ) report on M. Dessalines D'Orbigny's labors in S. America. I experienced rather a debasing degree of vexation to find he has described the geology of the Pampas,   that I have had some hard riding for nothing; it was however gratifying that my conclusions are the same, as far as I can collect, with his results. -- It is also capital, that the whole of Bolivia will be described. I hope to be able to connect his Geology of that country, with mine of Chili. -- After leaving Copiapo, we touched at Iquique. I visited, but do not quite understand the position of the Nitrate of Soda beds. -- Here in Peru, from the state of Anarchy, I can make no expedition....
Believe me, dear Henslow, Yours affectionately obliged
Charles Darwin"

31 Oct 1835 Paid off at Portsmouth.
9 Sept 1836 Commissioned under command of Captain Charles Ramsay Drinkwater-Bethune, until paying off on 15 Jan 1842. East Indies (including the first Anglo-Chinese war)
From Sep 1836 Surveying role on the Australasian and Chinese stations.
1837 In the Pacific.
19/21 Oct 1837 Off Kapiti Island, New Zealand (for a detailed description see Bibliography - The Old Whaling Days)
21/25 Oct 1837 Moved to Cloudy Bay, New Zealand
1838 RN vessels visiting New Zealand were encouraged to chart harbours to assist in the development of the colony. HMS Conway produced a chart of Port Underwood, a whaling port in the South Island. After completing this charting Conway sailed to the Rewa River (near Suva), Fiji, calling at Tonga en route. Whilst there she charted the Conway Reef (21 44 S 174 38 E) - today more often known by its Fijian name Ceva-I-Ra.
1838 Captain Bethune was in command and he visited Samoa to negotiate a commercial treaties -- between Samoan chiefs and the UK. This set the pattern for European relations with Samoa. As a result Great Britain appointed the first foreign consul in 1847 and European settlers and commercial agents began to concentrate around Apia. Visit the Samoan web site just to listen to their national Anthem - beautiful tune, fellow Welshmen will love it!
7/8 Apr 1838 Sydney, Australia
16/23 Apr 1838 Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia
Subsequently sailed for Hobart, Tasmania carrying the Lord Bishop of Australia
7 Jul 1838 Newspaper reports "HMS Pelorus in company with HMS Conway running out of Sydney, Port Jackson."
August 1838 Called at Lakeba, from Tonga and later visited the port of Rewa, from where a boat was sent to explore the Rewa river. the party reached an elbow of the river just below the town of Viti.
4 Oct 1838 The Sydney Morning Herald, on 5th October reported:
"The Royal Navy ship HMS Conway arrived in Sydney on the 4th October 1838 after sailing around the South Seas area. When she arrived, she brought with her a number of rescued American and British seamen, and several runaway convicts, one of whom had been missing for a number of years and was involved with the taking of the schooner Culedonia."
22nd July 1839
Departed Madras for Negapatam
28th July 1839
Arrived Madras from Negapatam
31st July 1839
Departed Madras for Vizagapatam and Calcutta
11th Aug 1839
Arrived Madras from Trincomalee
1840 In this year she made the first examination of the River Yangtze as far up river as Fushan, in company with her surveying tender HMS Algerine a 235 ton sloop. During the year Conway was involved in many engagements in the Chinese War including a small boats action on the River Yangtze.
27th April 1840
Arrived Singapore from sea
4th May 1840
Departed Singapore for China
5 June 1840 Involved in the capture of Tinghai Chusan with HMS Wellesley (later TS Wellesley).

13 March: Captured the Macao Fort between Gough and Hunam Islands. This opened the passage to Canton.

18 March: Attacked last forts on approaches to Canton.

22 May: Destroyed junks and fire radfts on approaches to Canton.

25 May: Finally captured last forts on approaches to Canton.

30 May: Captured Canton (see Second Ship 29 Oct 1856)

1842 Returned from China to the UK. She departed the Pearl River (before other ships) carrying that part of the indemnity money $ 6,000,000 paid by Canton as was destined for UK. The balance of the Indemnity was carried by Calliope to Calcutta, presumably for the Hon. East India Company.
15 Jan 1842 Paid off at Portsmouth.
18 May 1843 Commissioned under command of Captain Captain Robert Fair, moved to Cape of Good Hope where he died in March) At some point in 1843 she was Flagship Portsmouth.
5 Apr 1844 Captain William Kelly assumed command at the Cape.
1845 landing parties form HMS Conway and two French ships repulsed attack on Tamatave, Madagascar.
15 July 1847 Paid off at Portsmouth.
23 Feb1854 Commissioned under command of Captain ohn Fulford, flagship of Rear-Admiral William Fairbrother Carroll, Queenstown
6 Apr 1857
to 20 May 1857
Commanded by Captain Henry Chads, Queenstown
20 May 1857 Commanded by Captain John NcNeill Boyd, Coast Guard, Queenstown
31 Jan 1858 Paid off at Plymouth.
date not known Awarded battle honours for service in China.
1858 Coastguard vessel Devonport. Then offered up for School Ship service.
1860-61 Harbour service Chatham
21 August 1861 The first ship was replaced by HMS Winchester and the two vessels exchanged names. The original HMS Conway, now HMS Winchester moved to Aberdeen where she became the UK's first RNR Drillship.

The whole South side of the Upper Dock in Aberdeen Harbour was once occupied by shipbuilding yards. Winchester was moored in the south-east corner of this Dock for the training of the Royal Naval Reserve. She was approached by a floating gangway which ran westward from Regent Bridge. When a launch took place the Winchester had sometimes to be moved to make way for it. Source
1 Jul 1862 Commanded by Commander Charles John Balfour, while Aberdeen RNR drill ship
18 October 1867 George Macintosh Balfour was her Commander - I found details of a life insurance policy issued to him in that capacity!
1871 She was broken up at Sheerness in 1871, a process that was completed on 3 June 1871.

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