HMS Defiance: The Floating Torpedo and Submarine Mining School of the Royal Navy, near Plymouth in the early 1900`s.

(click to enlarge)

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These photos have remained unseen for many, many years in an old photograph album. All taken by this man. believed to be a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy they provide what may be a unique insight in to the day to day workings of the British Royal Navy from the sole viewpoint of one individual. I believe that I have found an early photo of him, before he took most or all of these photos here. This is a photo of the Photographic Club of the Royal Naval Engineering College, Keyham in 1891. It looks to me if our man is seated, hands clasped, and second from left. How I would like to know his name! One man we do know however is also in this photo, standing in the back row, second from right, next to the camera. At this time seemingly a student, or a junior instructor, a youthful Henry Bradwardine Jackson, who one day would become Captain of HMS Defiance. I am not good with faces, but Henry appears in many of the photos on this page and in many others on this other page too: Victorian Navy & Army in Old Photos

Ships and Submarines

an unknown vessel 1

refit of HMS Temeraire

an unknown vessel 2

an unknown vessel 3

an unknown vessel 4

an unknown vessel 5

an unknown vessel 6

an unknown vessel 7

an "Arun" Class vessel 8

HMS Ferret?? 9

a small steam vessel 10

an unknown vessel 11

HMS Albion firing a salute

an unknown vessel 12

a Torpedo Boat 13

a Torpedo Boat 14

a Torpedo Boat 15

a small Torpedo Boat 16

another small Torpedo Boat 17

a Picket Boat...looking at the headgear, not Plymouth! 18

HMS Defen..????? 19

HMS Leander

an unknown vessel 20

the Admiral`s Flagship HMS Exmouth

HMS Monmouth?

HMS Sentinel on torpedo trials

a vessel of the "Furious" class 21

HMS Triumph firing a salute...not Plymouth looking at hills in distance

an unknown vessel 22

an unknown vessel 23

HMS Patrol

looks like a "Dhow" in this shot, must be overseas 24

mines, not yours...being towed by a tug, and a tug on it`s own

a sea view up the Hamoaze

HMS Confiance carrying "libertymen"..that is men going on leave

"Spitfire" Class vessel off Saltash


this photo is entitled "Spick and Span Sunday"

up before the Captain`s Table

HMS Defiance - afloat

HMS Defiance - afloat...different

Mine!!...not yours!

this is a LIVE!! mine exploding in the Lynher estuary, what would Heath and Safety Exec. make of this now?

hauling in practice mines: the fourth man (dark dressed) standing from the left features in a lot of these photos and in the photos on my Victorian Navy & Army in Old Photos web page. He rose to become the C.O. of HMS Defiance. Captain Henry Bradwardine Jackson appears in a lot of naval images of this time.

Henry again

Henry adjusts a torpedo, or "Kipper" as nick named


torpedo on the road note nose ring for retrieval


and BANG! as it hits the rocks between Rame Head and Penlee Point and explodes (if live) but makes a splash anyway!

hauling inboard a retrieved practice torpedo 1........2..........3........4.....

Quoits - a throwing game using a coil of rope

Quoits - a throwing game using a coil of rope close up

on that our photographer in the middle wearing waders?

the figurehead of HMS Defiance

three on board photographer in the middle

sailors love their clay pipes, see also Plymouth, Forder & Trematon and it's Town Dung

the crew of Defiance, our photographer is sitting in front row, third from left with hands clasped

on parade

hanging up canvas

a busy deck scene

ship divers and air pumps, look at all that gear, would look great polished and on my mantelpiece! 1......2........3.......4.....

the view from the sea off Bullpoint

Row, row, row the boat! 1....2....3...

a lot of men in a boat

lowering the boat it a race?

getting in to the boat...the easy way?

"A" Class submarine

"A" Class submarine

"A" Class submarines tied up alongside depot ship in tidal River Lynher, the submarine boat on the outside is the ill fated A 8

a tug tows a load of wooden barrels attached to mines as floating buoys after a submarine mining warfare exercise

three men in lifejackets, our photographer on right

men, or boys aloft in this shot of a "hulk" moored close to Defiance

the "Terra Nova" Shackleton`s vessel for his polar expeditions


the Admirals "seat" - Hamoaze House at Mt. Wise

"oars up" as this cutter comes alongside the quay as a watertaxi from HMS Defiance moored just offshore

a 1927 plan of HMS Defiance

view from the shore, this area is known as Wearde Quay today

this way!!!!!

a view of Barn Pool and the entrance to the tidal Tamar and Hamoaze from Mt. Edgecumbe

rolling the grass pitch

in dock

the landing jetty at the shore side of Defiance at Wearde Quay, close to Saltash, note large dummy sea mine on quayside

sailors wait for the "Saltash Motor" train at St. Budeaux Victoria Road station

the train pulls in at "Defiance Platform", the railhead for those joining HMS Defiance

sailors walking up the lane from Defiance to the rail station

a large group of sailors pose for the camera by the railings close to the station


a picnic for two...I believe the photographer is the man in this shot. Note the Codd bottle with the label on. See my site Plymouth, Forder & Trematon and it's Town Dung

Site of HMS Defiance in 1998

site of railhead of Defiance Platform

perhaps these flowers are all that now remains of the station`s or signalman`s garden

the gate from the road down to the old station "platform" and the steps down

the path up from HMS Defiance to the rail stop, as seen in one of the old photos above, and where it crosses the railway line

the shore side of Defiance today.....1......2......3.....4......

this small slipway on extreme right is visible in one of the old photos above

all the sea is empty now, once this would have been jam packed with craft of all sizes and the dominating hulk of HMS Defiance. The small low island in the distance is "Rat" or "Beggars" Island and is seen in one of the photos above as being "Ground Zero" for the explosion of a live mine!

this cave seems to be man made, it could well have been used as a range observation post as live!! torpedoes and mines were used in this estuarine area

this is an Admiralty Boundary stone, that marked the limit of "War Department" or Admiralty land, it has an anchor cut into it

in earlier times the original "broad gauge" railway ran behind the area of Defiance, this hidden pathway and after running through dense vegetation leads you to this superbly constructed retaining wall that once would have carried the old broad gauge railway. At the end of the path, a tunnel leads under the trackway enabling pedestrians to walk under the railway and get back up via the stairway at the end. This must have been the track of an ancient "right of way" that those who built the railway had to respect and preserve.

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Using Steve Johnson "Cyberheritage" web sites, American living history re-enactors have been able to fashion accurate replica naval uniforms from the contemporary photos contained in them. The item shown here came from this web site: Victorian Navy & Army in Old Photos and shows a sailor of the late 19th. or early 20th. century in "Sunday Best" PHOTO 1, ....PHOTO 2 They can be contacted here and the contact is Donald Kittmer in San Diego

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