RECORD OF HMS ACHILLES
HMNZS Achilles was the seventh ship of that name to serve in the
Royal Navy. Her ship's badge bore the helmeted head of Achilles
and the motto Fortiter in Re, Unyielding in Action'.
The first Achilles was a wooden schooner, purchased in 1747 for
service in the West Indies. In the following year she was taken
by two Spanish privateers between Jamaica and Martinique in a fierce
action in which she lost a large number of her crew killed and wounded.
The second Achilles, launched in 1757, was a Fourth Rate of 1234
tons and 61 guns. In 1758 she helped to capture the French Raisonnable,
which was taken into the Royal Navy and which Nelson joined as his
first ship in 1771. The Achilles, in 1759, flew the flag of Rear-Admiral
Rodney in the squadron which bombarded Le Havre during the operations
of the Seven Years' War. In 1761 the Achilles was one of the squadron
which captured Belle Isle. She was sold out of the service in 1784.
The third Achilles was a small storeship, built in 1781 and sold
a few years later.
The fourth Achilles, launched at Gravesend in 1798, was a ship
of 1930 tons and 74 guns. She was present at Trafalgar, under the
command of Captain Richard King, and was the sixth ship in the lee
line led by Vice-Admiral Collingwood. The French fleet at Trafalgar
included an Achille, of 74 guns, which was blown up during the action.
The fourth Achilles had a long life of 66 years, being finally sold
out of the Navy in 1864.
The fifth Achilles, launched in 1861, was notable as being one
of the first ironclads in the Royal Navy. She was one
of the squadron, commanded by Sir Geoffrey Hornby, which in 1871
forced its way through the Dardanelles to Constantinople. The Achilles
was present at the bombardment of Alexandria in 1882.
The sixth Achilles, launched in 1905, was an armoured cruiser of
13,350 tons displacement, mounting six 9·2-inch and four
7·5-inch guns. She was not present at the Battle of Jutland
on 31 May 1916 as she was away refitting at the time. On 16 March
1917, in company with the armed boarding steamer Dundee, the Achilles
sank the German raider Leopard, which was disguised as a Norwegian
tramp steamer, north of the Shetland Islands. The Achilles was broken
up in 1919.
The seventh Achilles was a light cruiser of 7030 tons displacement,
554 ft 6 in in length, and 55 ft 3 in in breadth. She was built
by Cammell Laird and Company Ltd. at Birkenhead, being laid down
on 11 June 1931, launched on 1 September 1932, and completed on
10 October 1933. Her original armament consisted of eight 6-inch
and four 4-inch guns, but she was rearmed in 194344 with six
6-inch guns, eight 4-inch anti-aircraft guns, and fifteen 40-mm
anti-aircraft guns. She also had eight 21-inch torpedo-tubes in
two quadruple mountings. She was fitted with geared turbines driving
four propeller shafts and developing 72,000 horsepower for a speed
of 32 knots. The Achilles was on loan to New Zealand from March
1936 to September 1946. She was purchased by India in 1948 and renamed
Delhi and has since served in the Indian Navy under that name.