HMS Cameleon, 1860-1883
The Cameleon, occasionally spelled “Camelion”,1 and “Chameleon”,2 was a 17-gun corvette that was stationed at Esquimalt periodically between 1861 and 1874.3 It was built at the Deptford Dockyard and was 55 m long by 10 m wide.4
The Cameleon, along with the Grappler, investigated the alleged seizure of the schooner Trader by a group of Nootka First Nations and was also under orders to assess the group's threatening attitude.5
The Cameleon, captained by Hardinge, was one of several Royal Navy vessels that took part in the “Lemalcha Incident”, which was the search for the Lemalchi First Nations group from Kuper Island accused of the murder of a pair of Gulf Islands settlers:6 Frederick Marks and his daughter, Caroline Harvey. Marks and Harvey were on their way to Mayne Island from Waldron Island when wind blew their sloop off course to Saturna Island, where the murders took place. The Grappler, Forward, Topaze and Devastation were among the other notable vessels involved in the search.7
According to the 11 May 1863, edition of the British Colonist, the Cameleon, which was commissioned in 1861, [was] considered by all nautical judges to be a beautiful specimen of her class.8 The Cameleon was sold in 1883.9
  • 1. Peter Davis, HMS Cameleon, William Loney RN—Ships.
  • 2. G. P. V. Akrigg and H. B. Akrigg, British Columbia Chronicle, 1847-1871 (Victoria: Discovery Press, 1977), 277-278.
  • 3. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names, (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 101.
  • 4. J. J. Colledge, Ships of the Royal Navy (Devon: David & Charles: Newton Abbot, 1969), 1:114.
  • 5. Barry M. Gough, Gunboat Frontier: British Maritime Authority and Northwest Coast Indians, 1846-1890, (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1984), 114.
  • 6. Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names, 101.
  • 7. Gough, Gunboat Frontier: British Maritime Authority and Northwest Coast Indians, 1846-1890, 141-143.
  • 8. H. M. Screw Steam Sloop Chameleon, British Colonist, May 11, 1863.
  • 9. Davis, HMS Cameleon, William Loney RN—Ships.
Mentions of this vessel in the documents
The Colonial Despatches Team. HMS Cameleon, 1860-1883. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/cameleon.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)