HMS Cormorant, 1842-1853
HMS Cormorant was a diminutive warship, relatively speaking, at 1401 tonnes, 6 guns, and complement of 145 men;1 it was 52 m long and 11m wide.2 This side-wheel paddle sloop was built at and launched from Sheerness dockyard in 1842 and would serve on the Pacific Station, Valparaiso, from 1844-49.3 It has the distinction of being the first naval steam vessel to ply British Columbia waters, when in 1846 it arrived with several other war vessels to strengthen British naval presence on the North Pacific coast, in light of growing sovereignty-tensions with the United States.4
The Cormorant is mentioned in several correspondence. For example, the transcribed enclosure in Pelly, Sir John Henry to Grey, Right Honorable Second Baronet Sir George 11 December 1846, CO 305:1, no. 1666, 83 mentions that the Rosalind had arrived at “Fort Victoria” on June 3rd, 1846, with a Cargo of Coals for the Cormorant.
  • 1. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 135.
  • 2. J. J. Colledge, Ships of the Royal Navy (Devon: David & Charles: Newton Abbot, 1969), 1:137.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. G. P. V. Akrigg and H. B. Akrigg, British Columbia Chronicle, 1788-1846 (Victoria: Discovery Press, 1975), 391.
Mentions of this vessel in the documents