Liverpool Mercury Mar 22nd, 1913

New Mersey training ship.

The PHAETON which is to take the place of the INDEFATIGABLE in the Mersey is at Devonport, where she has been lying for several months since her withdrawal from commission. She was last in use as an Admiralty training ship for stokers.

She is a 2nd class cruiser [steel] and was first on commission in the Mediterranean in 1882. She steamed 18 knots and was then reputed to be the fastest cruiser in service.

Her sister ship was the METHUSA on which, curiously enough, Captain BUTTERWORTH, the present Capt Supt of the INDEFATIGABLE served for several years.

Her tonnage is 4,350, much larger than the present INDEFATIGABLE and more suitable for the purposes of sea training, by reason of offering daylight classroom accommodation.

When in commission her armaments consisted of, 10, 6 inch breech-loading guns, 2, Gatling guns, 10, Nordenfeldt guns, 4, Gardner guns and 4 tubes for launching Whitehead torpedoes.

4 of the breech-loaders were fixed on turntables which projected beyond the sides of the ship. They were placed on either side of the upper deck, at the fore end of the poops and after end of the forecastle.

These bow guns could be trained from the cross-fire of 4 degrees forward to 45 degrees abaft the beam. The remaining 6 inch breech loading guns were fitted at the broadside ports on the upper deck.

The Nordenfeldt guns were fitted in projecting parts of the topsides, as so arranged to give great training and great depression, firing into boats alongside. The Whitehead torpedoes were discharged from broadside port in the lower deck, 2 forward, 2 aft.

At the annual meeting of the training ship INDEFATIGABLE the announcement was made that the vessel was to replaced by the 2nd class cruiser PHAETON, purchased from the Admiralty by Mr Frank BIBBY.

As soon as the engines and machinery have been removed the PHAETON will be sent to the Mersey where she will take the name and place of the INDEFATIGABLE, which has been stationed there for half a century.

The old warrior with her rows of portholes from which we can imagine guns peeping out, for generations a conspicuous watermark at Rock Ferry, will leave her moorings and be seen no more.

Wooden walls are no protection in this age of iron, so the picturesque old battleships, have had their day, and one by one are being broken up.


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