The second Euryalus was a screw frigate, built at Chatham and launched on 5 October 1853. Built at the time when the Royal Navy was adopting steam power, she was one of the first ships designed to have an engine and screw (also known as a propeller), as opposed to being modified to take them. All these early steam warships retained their sails as the primary means of propulsion and the general form of Nelsonic era ships. Guns were developed rapidly during Euryalus’ life, and her armament was updated accordingly. Although she commissioned with 51 guns, by the time of the action at Kagoshima in 1863 (see below), she only had 31, albeit more efficient, guns.
When the Crimean War broke out between Russia and the allies Britain, France and Turkey in 1854, the Admiralty decided to put additional pressure on the Russians by sending a fleet to the Baltic, Sailing on 28 March 1854, this was the first all-steam British fleet and included Euryalus, commanded by Captain George Ramsey, The fleet of 88 steam vessels of various kinds, was commanded by Rear Admiral Sir George Napier with his flag in Duke of Wellington. . (Napier had been captain of the first Euryalus during the raid on Washington in 1814 - see History of First Euryalus). They were later joined by a French sailing fleet. On arrival in the Baltic Euryalus' first task was to lead a patrol into the Gulf of Finland to ensure that all Russian warships were in Kronstadt, outside St Petersburg, and stayed there. This they did without firing a shot. Thereafter the fleet operated a blockade while seeking targets ashore to raid. Targets were chosen more often for the effect they would have on public opinion at home rather than their strategic value.
The first real fleet action was the raid on Bomarsund in the Åland Islands. Bomarsund is probably best known as the scene of the first ever VC, won by Mate Charles Lucas of HMS Hecla. On 8 August 1854, Captain Ramsey led a landing party from Euryalus and two other ships. They dragged two ships' guns, four field guns and a rocket launcher over four miles of very rough terrain to set up a battery behind the enemy fortress at Bomarsund. Bombardment from ships and land, and a siege by French soldiers and British Royal Marines, led the Russians to surrender quickly and the fortress was then demolished.
On 9 August 1855, Euryalus was one of a force of 54 British vessels, which bombarded Sveaborg, a fortress protecting Helsinki. A number of French bomb vessels also co-operated in the attack which lasted until the morning of the 11th. Euryalus and other frigates, going as far inshore as possible, augmented the crews of, and provided support services and big gun protection to, the flotilla of bomb-, gun- and rocket-boats which had been constructed or adapted for this type of action. One group of rocket-boats was commanded by Lieutenant Charles Luckraft of Euryalus. The bombardment destroyed Russian stores and powder magazines and the fortress was put out of action for some months. Events in the Crimea led to peace early in 1856 and Euryalus participated in the subsequent Spithead Fleet Review in April.
In 1858, Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria’s second son, joined Euryalus, commanded by Captain John W. Tarleton. The prince served in her for just over two years from age 14, as a cadet and a midshipman. The Queen made a special allowance to the gunroom mess, and the ship cruised in the Mediterranean during 1858. In 1859-60 she sailed to South America and then South Africa. The Prince carried out occasional ceremonial duties in both continents. There is a story that whenever a Royal Salute was fired, the other midshipman would haul Prince Alfred over the gunroom table and beat him with a dirk scabbard to ensure he did not “give himself airs”. Prince Alfred did well in the navy, was captain of another frigate Galatea in 1866 and C-in-C Mediterranean Fleet 1886-89, before becoming Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, then a semi-independent German state.
By 1862, Euryalus was in the East Indies and China Squadron, under Rear Admiral Sir John Hope, and became involved in the civil war in China, during which the European powers were trying to protect their trading interests. In October Euryalus contributed to a Naval Brigade of 570 officers and men which landed to attack the town of Kahding to assist the Imperial Chinese Army in its operations against the Taeping rebels. On 24 October 1862, Kahding was bombarded for two hours and was then taken by storm, the Naval Brigade losing one man killed and ten wounded. Soon afterwards intervention in Chinese internal troubles was abandoned.
Attention turned to Japan, where the European powers (which then included Russia and USA) wanted to expand trade. The "divine" Emperor ruled Japan, but various factions competed for power. The Shogun, hereditary Prime Minister, made treaties with the Europeans, allowing limited trade with some advantages to Japan. Another faction, led by Prince Satsuma, hated this and harassed European traders and diplomats. After one Briton was killed and two wounded, a squadron of seven ships under the new C-in-C East Indies and China, Vice Admiral Augustus Kuper, flying his flag in Euryalus (Captain John J. Josling), was assembled to enforce demands for compensation. On 15 August 1863, the squadron seized three Japanese steamers off Kagoshima on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. Shore batteries then opened fire on Euryalus, so her band played "Oh dear, what can the matter be?” before the squadron passed along the line of batteries returning their fire, in some cases closing to as little as four hundred yards as a typhoon threatened. As the leading ship, Euryalus attracted much enemy fire; her Captain and the Commander (Commander Edward Wilmot) being killed by the same shot whilst standing beside the Admiral on the bridge. The weather (the ships’ decks were awash) and the extensive damage already inflicted led the C-in-C to break off the engagement and anchor out of range. Some British shot had fallen short and burnt down half the town's wood and paper houses together with a factory and a gun foundry. The British lost 13 men killed and 50 wounded, half of whom were from Euryalus.
Despite the Shogun reaching a satisfactory ceasefire agreement with Kuper, the Emperor was outraged at the damage and loss of life, and ordered preparations for war. These included a third faction, led by Prince Choshiu, building gun batteries in 1864 to close off the Straits of Shimonoseki, between the Japanese Islands of Kyushu and Honshu, in order to deny access to the Inland Sea.
In September 1864, Euryalus, now commanded by Captain John Alexander, but still flying the flag of the newly knighted Sir Augustus Kuper, was at the head of an allied fleet of 10 British, 3 French, 4 Dutch and 1 US ships. On 5 September 1864, the fleet began to force the passage of the Straits of Shimonoseki, by attacking the batteries of Toyour, and by evening a large number of the batteries had been silenced.
On the following day a joint British/French/Dutch naval brigade led by Captain Alexander, went ashore and, after overcoming some opposition, the guns of the principal batteries were dismounted and spiked, the magazines blown up and much of the fortifications pulled down.
After re-embarkation of the French and Dutch elements had started, a strong Japanese force attacked the Brigade. Fierce fighting was necessary to repel the Japanese, who eventually retreated, losing 7 small guns. In the course of the afternoon Victoria Crosses were won by Midshipman Duncan Boyes, Petty Officer Thomas Pride and Ordinary Seaman William Seeley all of Euryalus, for outstanding bravery during the action (see The Euryalus Victoria Crosses). On 8 September, Kuper shifted his flag to a small ship and with four other ships in company, bombarded and destroyed the two remaining batteries. Strong parties were then landed from the ships and no less than 62 heavy guns were brought off. The Japanese then sent an officer of high rank who promised to erect no more batteries and to keep the Strait open in future. In the course of the operation the allies lost 12 killed and 60 wounded including 8 killed and 48 wounded British, of whom Euryalus lost 5 killed and 18 wounded.
In 1865, Euryalus returned to Britain and paid off. She was sold on 14 March 1867 to Messrs Castle & Sons for £6,450 to be scrapped.
|The second Euryalus was built as a 51 gun screw frigate classified as a fourth rate ship:|
|Launched at Chatham||5 October 1853|
|Depth of Hold:||16ft 9ins|
|Armament:||On commissioning, Euryalus had 51 guns as shown below, but on paying off, only 31, albeit more efficient, guns.|
|Main Deck:||8 x 8ins (9ft long): 22 x 32 pounders (9ft 6ins long)|
|Upper Deck:|| 2 x 8ins (9ft long):
18 x 32 pounders (9ft 6ins long):
1 x 68 pounder pivot gun (10ft long)