The Warrior

The Warrior

A few days back (12 November) I posted a piece about an adventurous maritime past on my mother’s side of the family (my maternal great-grandfather was a ship’s captain and was shipwrecked in the Hudson Bay). Well, historically-speaking and for obvious reasons,¬†England has always been a maritime nation and so I shouldn’t be surprised that there was some contact with the sea among my ancestors. But now my aunt, the one doing genealogical research into our roots, has produced the service records of my paternal grandfather and great-grandfather and, lo and behold, they were both seadogs as well. In fact, within a few years of each in the 1870s and 1880s, they served on one of the British navy’s more illustrious battleships, the Warrior. It was Britain’s first iron-hulled and armoured battleship. It was powered by steam and sail and was the pride of Queen Victoria’s navy. The picture gives some sense of it but you can get a better sense than that, for the ship is now on permanent display in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard. I have already visited the ship, but I wasn’t then aware of this personal connection. You can take a virtual tour of the ship here. Going below decks, you can see where the crew (over 700 of them!) slept and ate, my forefathers among them. It’s a strange feeling.