HMS 'Victoria' (1887), just prior to her loss [formerly misidentified as the 'Calliope']
The note at the bottom left appears to read 'Quere [?query] escape of the Caliope [sic]' , presumably from the Samoa hurricane of 1889. Is clearly is not that but (identified by Bob Todd) the battleship 'Victoria' (1887), shown after her funnels were lengthened in August 1890 and before her loss by collision in 1893. Throughout this period she served in the Mediterranean Fleet as flagship of the C-in-C, Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon. The vessel in the right distance resembles one of the Admiral class of barbette ships, of which three - the prototype 'Collingwood', the standard 'Camperdown' and the up-gunned 'Benbow' - served in the Mediterranean at the same time. The 'Camperdown' is the one that most nearly fits the bill.
The drawing may therefore be Wyllie's version of the situation immediately before the manouevre which resulted in the sinking of the 'Victoria' on 22 June 1893. Tryon was then leading the starboard division of the fleet with the 'Nile' immedately astern. The Second-in-Command, Rear-Admiral Albert Hastings Markham, was leading the port division in the 'Camperdown' with the 'Edinburgh' astern. At 15.27 Tryon ordered the signal to invert the columns by altering course 16 points inward to be hoisted. At 15.31 the signal was hauled down and both flagships put their helms over. Unfortunately they had different tactical diameters and the 'Camperdown' rammed the 'Victoria' on the starboard bow about ten feet abaft the anchor. The 'Victoria' sank within ten minutes and with massive loss, including Tryon, and the 'Camperdown' was badly damaged and required three months of repairs. The one discrepancy is that the 'Camperdown' had an additional mast, not shown here, fitted in late 1892 but it is possible that Wyllie did not know this, since it was fitted in the Mediterranean and she remained in that fleet for the next few years.
William Lionel Wyllie
Original size: Sheet: 481 x 617 mm
- Image reference: PW2275
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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