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One of the earliest recorded Arctic expeditions was that of 1613 when a Tyger of 260 tons, with William Baffin as pilot, took Captain Joseph on a voyage of exploration.

In 1647 a new Tiger of 38 guns was completed at Deptford and she served with the fleet for almost 100 years, during which time she saw varied and active service. Her first captain, James Peacock, brought her fame when, during the Civil War, he commanded her during the siege of Colchester. She was with Admiral Blake in his pursuit of Prince Rupert in 1650, when he took Rupert’s Guinea and Charles as prizes. In 1652 she took a Dutch ship, the Morganstar without a single British casualty.

After taking part in the battle of the North Foreland under a new captain, Gabriel Sanders, she recommissioned for service in the Mediterranean. In 1666, early in the Second Dutch War, the Tiger, under the command of Phineas Pert, met a Zeeland privateer of 40 guns and although Pett was killed by the enemy’s first broadside, his Lieutenant continued the fight for a further six hours, by which time the Tiger was too heavily damaged to catch the escaping enemy ship. Later that year Sir Robert Holmes flew his flag in the Tiger and sailed into the Terschelling Roads. With fire ships and a number of smaller vessels he raided the Dutch Fleet, destroying 170 vessels and severely damaging some shore installations. In 1672 Captain Thomas Harman took over the Tiger from John Turner under whom she had fought in the Battle of Solebay, and Captain Harman’s first action was in defence of a fleet of colliers he was escorting along the east coast to the Thames during which he fought off eight Dutch privateers.

The first recorded Tyger was a galleas of 200 tons, which was built at Deptford in 1546. She had a crew of 120, and was armed with four brass and 39 iron guns. In 1588 she was part of Lord Henry Seymour’s squadron which pursued the Armada, a chase which took her as far north as Newcastle where the pursuit was abandoned because of unfavorable winds. Her master was Captain William Caesar and the ship herself was broken up in 1605.

There was another Tyger at sea during this period, one of four privateers under John Hawkins which sailed for Africa and the West Indies. Sadly, it is thought that this vessel took part in the slave trade. In 1585 a hired ship, the Tyger, in company with the Lion, Elizabeth, Dorothy and Roebuck sailed under Sir Richard Grenville for Virginia where members of the ship’s company, together with soldiers, were landed in an effort to colonies the area. It was whilst she was in these waters that she boarded and captured a Spanish ship, the boarding parties, having no boats, making their way alongside the Spanish ship on rafts made out of ship’s chests.


One of the earliest recorded Arctic expeditions was that of 1613 when a Tyger of 260 tons, with William Baffin as pilot, took Captain Joseph on a voyage of exploration.


In 1647 a new Tiger of 38 guns was completed at Deptford and she served with the fleet for almost 100 years, during which time she saw varied and active service. Her first captain, James Peacock, brought her fame when, during the Civil War, he commanded her during the siege of Colchester. She was with Admiral Blake in his pursuit of Prince Rupert in 1650, when he took Rupert’s Guinea and Charles as prizes. In 1652 she took a Dutch ship, the Morganstar without a single British casualty.


After taking part in the battle of the North Foreland under a new captain, Gabriel Sanders, she recommissioned for service in the Mediterranean. In 1666, early in the Second Dutch War, the Tiger, under the command of Phineas Pert, met a Zeeland privateer of 40 guns and although Pett was killed by the enemy’s first broadside, his Lieutenant continued the fight for a further six hours, by which time the Tiger was too heavily damaged to catch the escaping enemy ship. Later that year Sir Robert Holmes flew his flag in the Tiger and sailed into the Terschelling Roads. With fire ships and a number of smaller vessels he raided the Dutch Fleet, destroying 170 vessels and severely damaging some shore installations. In 1672 Captain Thomas Harman took over the Tiger from John Turner under whom she had fought in the Battle of Solebay, and Captain Harman’s first action was in defence of a fleet of colliers he was escorting along the east coast to the Thames during which he fought off eight Dutch privateers.

On 22 February 1674 the Tiger entered Cadiz Harbour close on the heels of a Dutch ship, the Schakerloo (Captain De Witte). Having been criticised for not having attacked the Tiger, De Witte borrowed 70 officers and men from his flagship and set sail, and soon he was engaged by Harman at close quarters. Each ship repelled boarders and after a long battle the Schakerloo was boarded by the victorious ‘Tigers’ as she began to sink. The Dutch had suffered 50 killed and 70 wounded, while the British suffered nine killed and 15 wounded, including Captain Harman who was hit below his left eye by a musket ball.

Records show that another Tiger was in commission in 1678; an Algerine prize captured by the Rupert and the Mary, but she was subsequently sunk at Sheerness.

The Tiger of 1647 was rebuilt four times, the first in 1681 before operations against Guadeloupe and Martinique. The second time in 1701, before sailing for the Mediterranean and assisting in the defence of Gibraltar and the third time in 1705 when, commanded by Captain Charles Fotherby, she played her part in the destruction of de Pointi’s squadron near Gibraltar. In 1721 she was rebuilt for the last time and she subsequently saw service in the defence of Gibraltar and, in 1726, with Admiral Francis Hosier, she served in the West Indies and took part in the blockade of Cartagena.

In 1743, under Captain Edward Herbert, this ship ended her long career by foundering off Tortugas in the West Indies, but her crew managed to make the shore in boats having loaded stores and 20 of the ship’s guns to fortify the island. The Spaniards sent a 60-gun ship, the Fuerte, to capture the crew but she was lost in bad weather and in the event the Tigers crew captured a Spanish sloop and sailed their prize to Jamaica.

. The next Tiger was launched on the Thames in 1747, and she was a 60-gun ship commanded by Captain Thomas Latham. She sailed out to India where she remained throughout her service, playing a part in the capture of Calcutta, and in actions at Cuddalore, Negapatam and Pondichery. She was made a hulk in 1761 and sold in Bombay four years later.

In 1762 the Spanish ship Tigre was captured at the surrender of Havana, but little is known of her subsequent career except that she was a hospital ship at Plymouth from 1783 until she was sold in 1788.

Another vessel, the Ardent, was captured by British forces at the Battle of the Saintes and she was renamed Tiger, but she was sold in the following year.

In 1794 an 80-ton gunboat was named Tiger and she was used as part of the anti-invasion flotilla, but was sold in 1816.

In 1795 a second Tigre was taken from the French and she became the flagship of Sir William Sydney Smith, and was present at the bombardment of Alexandria. In 1799, with the French forces being held down in the Nile Delta, a delegation boarded the Tigre to conclude a treaty, but bad weather forced the ship to sea with the delegation still on board and the treaty was not concluded until she returned to Alexandria a month later. In 1805 the Tigre was blockading Cadiz under Nelson, but she missed the Battle of Trafalgar in October that year because she was taking on stores at Gibraltar. Her captain at this time was Benjamin Hallowell who, with HMS Cumberland, lay off Rosas Bay and sent in a force of brigs under the command of the Tigre’s First Lieutenant. They destroyed 11 French men-of-war. A small tender of 31 tons that was built in 1808 and named Tiger was employed on the south coast until 1829, when she was broken up.

By 1849 another Tiger had been launched and fitted out at Chatham. She was a sloop of 1,221 tons, and armed with 16 guns and a number of 24pounder rockets she sailed for the Mediterranean three years later, commanded by Captain Henry Gifford. Together with HM Ships Sampson, Furious, Terrible, Retribution and Arethusa, she bombarded Odessa in 1854. One shot from the Terrible blew up a magazine on the Imperial Mole and the resulting fire destroyed several Russian ships. In the subsequent confusion a number of captured British merchantmen were able to escape to sea. Later, on patrol off Odessa in thick fog, the Tiger lost contact with her consorts and ran aground five miles southeast of the port. When the fog cleared the shore batteries opened fire and within minutes the ship was ablaze. Having dumped most of the guns in an effort to lighten the ship only one gun could return the fire and her captain was killed in the action. The ship was eventually blown up by Russian gunfire.

The next Tiger was launched at Clydebank in 1900, a torpedo boat of 383 tons, but she was lost after a collision with the cruiser HMS Berwick off St Catherine’s Point in 1908.

The most famous Tiger of all was the 35,160-ton battlecruiser which was launched from John Brown’s Clydebank shipyard in 1912. She was completed in October 1914, and with eight 13.5-inch and 12, 6-inch guns, she was the largest and fastest capital ship in the fleet. She was the only battlecruiser to mount 6-inch guns, and she was also the last coal-burning capital ship.

She served throughout the Great War of 1914-18 and saw action at the Battle of Dogger Bank and Jutland. In the latter battle she received 17 hits. The 6-inch magazine had to be flooded after the action when a shell was found to be jammed between the barrels of X turret. It was said of her, ‘Speed and beauty were welded into every line of her. Wherever she went she satisfied the eye of the sailorman and I have known them to pull miles just that the sweetness of her lines might delight the eye. Besides any other ship she made them look like floating factories.’

From 1919 to 1922 she served in the Atlantic Fleet Battlecruiser Squadron, and from 1924 to 1929 she was employed as a sea-going gunnery training ship. She finally paid off at Devonport on 30 March 1931 and in the following year she was sold for breaking up.

Battleship

Actions: 1914, 1st BCS. 1915, Dogger Bank. 1916, Jutland. 1919, Atlantic, etc. Sale and scrapped 1931-32.

Cruiser 1959 – 1978

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