H M S Firefly


Parliamentary Papers, Volume 21, Part 2, 1848, House of Commons, Great Britain

Gunvessel/survey vessel; wooden paddle ship, 5 guns

Woolwich Dockyard September 29, 1832

broken up Malta 1866

Nautical magazine and journal of the Royal Naval Reserve, Volume 3, 1833

page 59
Mediterranean Packets - Extraordinary Passage. - H.M.S. Firefly, Lieut. Baldock, R.N. Commander, arrived at
Falmouth on the 15th inst. with the mails from the Mediterranean. We have received the following communication
from one who went out, and returned in the ship. It is only forty days since she sailed from England, having left it
on the 5th of October; during her absence, she has twice visited Cadiz, Gibraltar, Malta, Patras, Zante, and Corfu;
her stoppages at these ports amount to thirteen days, thus having made a voyage of nearly six thousand miles,
encountering every variety of navigation and weather, in little more than five weeks, stoppages included. This is
the shortest space of time in which this voyage has yet been performed, the Firefly having been actually at sea
only twenty-seven days.
This wonderful performance completely shews the advantages attending steam navigation, and reflects great praise
on the builder of this beautiful vessel, the constructor of the engines, and the able management of her commander.

The steam vessels running to the Mediterranean have been established to supersede the old system of sailing packets,
by which the Mediterranean voyage was seldom performed under ninety days; and, by the facility of over-land
communication since the peace, the mails were reduced to a few duplicates by government return. The quick voyages
of the steamers have now completely set aside this method of correspondence, even in the case of Corfu, their most
remote point. This island is now generally reached in eighteen days, whereas, the mails via Italy take three weeks,
and that to Gibraltar, where the packet arrives in six days, usually occupied eighteen days. The correspondence has
thus returned to its old channel, as in time of war. The revenue arriving from the passengers and mails completely
defraying tile expense of coals, leaving an overplus fully competent to meet the repairs of machinery. Thus this
extraordinary rapid monthly communication with our Mediterranean possessions is reduced to an expense not
exceeding that of three gun brigs.

9 October 1839Commanded by Lieutenant commander William Robert Wolseley Winniett, North America & West Indies
(January 1843)Out of commission at Portsmouth
16 March 1844Commanded by Captain Frederick Willam Beechey, Irish channel

Captain Beechey in HMS Firefly having made an admirable survey of the northern portion of the Irish
Channel is rapidly drawing that of its southern division towards a conclusion
The Journal of the Royal Geographic Society of London, Volume 16, 1846
Royal Geographical Society, (Great Britain)

15 June 1848Commanded by Commander John Tudor, west coast of Africa
[Letter dated 1.3.1849, from Commander John Tudor of H.M.S. Firefly off the Benin reporting the disturbed situation of
affairs in the river to his Chief Commander A. Fanshawe of Constance at Ascension.]

3 September 1850Commanded by Commander George Alexander Seymour, west coast of Africa
15 February 1855Commanded by Captain Henry Charles Otter, the Baltic during the Russian War

In the Baltic, during the unsuccessful attempt of the Anglo-French fleet to seize Kronshtadt fortress in June 1855,
HMS Merlin was creeping in to inspect the approaches to Kronstadt when she exploded two contact mines, and the
smaller HMS Firefly, steaming up to help her, set off another. Merlin received serious damage, but Firefly got off
lightly with the destruction of her crockery! [various sources]

Handbook of 19th century naval warfare, Spencer Tucker, 2000, page 105

'. . . the paddle packet/survey vessel Merlin was the first ship to be mined in naval warfare.'

26 May 1856Commanded by Commander George Fiott Day, west coast of Africa
SALVAGE and other MONIES between the 1st April 1859 and the 31st March 1860

21 February 1860

6 November 1863
Commanded by Commander Arthur Lukis Mansell, Mediterranean


On the coast of Syria, Commander Mansell in H.M.S. Firefly, with his assistants Lieutenant Brooker and
Messrs. Hull, Skead, and Gray, have completed the survey of the northern portion of the coast from
Iskanderún to Markab, with plans of Euad, Tripoli, Beirút &c., all of which have been published. In connexion
with this nautical survey some travellers took advantage of the presence of a surveying vessel on the
coast, and made a journey to the more important spots in the interior, and determined several positions
and barometrical heights. The party consisting of Captain Washington, R.N., Commander Mansell, Dr. Joseph
Hooker, F.R.S., the Rev. George Washington, M.A., Mr. Hanbury and Mr. Gray, R.N., being provided with three
chronometers, a theodolite, six barometers (corresponding observations being carried on night and day
on board the Firefly on the coast), left Beir
út in September last, by way of the Nahr el Kelb, Akturah, Afka,
and Bisherreh, to the Cedars of Lebanon. [page 161]

Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London,

Volume 5, 1861, By Royal Geographical Society (Great Britain)

Title: Red Sea - Strait of Jubal.. [2838]
Published: London (1853) corrected for 1862
Large chart focused on the Strait of Jubal in the Gulf of Suez.

With the Juzur Tawilah Islands at the center and an inset plan of the Tur Harbour (At Tur, South Sinai) on top.

With latitude and longitude scales, villages, banks and soundings in fathoms. The Ashrafi Island lighthouse
highlighted in yellow and red.

At the bottom a set of four costal profile views taken from the Ashrafi Island lighthouse depicting the southwestern part of the Sinai Peninsula seacoast.

Drawn by Commander A.L. Mansell and engraved by E. Radclyffe.

Engraved by J. & C.Walker. The survey was made by Captain Moresby and Lieutenant E.F.T. Fergusson I.N.

Additions and corrections to 1862 by Commander A.L. Mansell assisted by Thos. A. Hull Master. H.M.S. Firefly.

Under the superintendence of Captain Washington, F.R.S. Hydrographer.

Commanded by Lieutenant commander George Robinson Wilkinson, Mediterranean, surveying


The journal of the Royal Geographic Society of London, Volume 16

 By Royal Geographical Society (Great Britain)