See also

John Thomas HOLLANDS (1878-1936)

Name: John Thomas HOLLANDS
Sex: Male
Father: Frederick Alfred HOLLANDS (1849-1924)
Mother: Ruth Brown NORMAN (1854-1915)

Individual Events and Attributes

Birth Q1 1878 St. Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, England 1,2
Census (1) 3 Apr 1881 (age 3) Hollingbourne, Kent, England 1
Occupation (1) 3 Apr 1881 (age 3) Scholar; Hollingbourne, Kent, England 1
Census (2) 31 Mar 1901 (age 22) HMS Rupert 3
Occupation (2) 31 Mar 1901 (age 22-23) Able Seaman; HMS Rupert 3
Death 1936 (age 57-58) 4

Additional Information

Census (1) Thomas's Cotts

Individual Note

HMS Rupert was a battleship of the Victorian Royal Navy, whose principal weapon was designed to be her ram.


She was similar in design to HMS Hotspur, but unlike her carried a revolving turret similar to that carried in HMS Glatton. For reasons not recorded, it would appear that the belief prevalent at the time of the design of Hotspur that a ramming attack would damage the turret mechanism no longer held sway when Rupert was proposed.


As was Hotspur, she was designed at time, shortly after the battle of Lissa, when it was believed that ramming attacks would, in the event of naval conflict, be the most effective form of offensive action. Artillery power was therefore given second priority to handiness and to frontal armour, including a prolongation of the belt armour to reinforce the ram. She carried two guns in her single turret, as against the single piece in Hotspur, but there was no intention or expectation of achieving all-round fire. The guns would bear from the bow to just abaft the beam on either side, except for the obstruction of the foremast and associated shrouds.


The ship was fitted with a fore-and-aft rig on her two masts, which had been designed to allow progress in the event of engine failure. Her sail effort was, however, described by her first Captain as "not worth the inconvenience of keeping them up".


As the ram had only been seen to be effective against stationary targets, as at the battle of Lissa, and against friendly ships in the course of accidental collision, the high reputation it enjoyed is wholly understandable. A report by Capt. W.E.Gordon, submitted to the Board of Admiralty in February 1878 and referring to Rupert says: "she is a comparatively simple weapon within the capacity of an ordinary man to make the best use of, whereas the Captain of the Alexanda or Temeraire in action would be like a man armed with sword, rapier, rifle and pistol, trying to use them all at the same time. No manís faculties are equal to making the best use of such complicated machines." The unattributed comments to this report include the phrase "good in theory but not practicable supposing enemy has 14-15 knots and Rupert 11-12".


Unlike every other battleship, Rupert did not have a centre-line conning tower. Uniquely, she possessed two armoured pilot towers, one on either side just abaft the waist. These gave a good view on the beam, but very limited view over the bow, and her first captain described them as ""almost useless".


She was commissioned at Devonport for the Mediterranean, and served there from 1876 to 1880. She was thereafter held in reserve at Portsmouth until being assigned to service in the Particulat Service Squadron during the Russian war scare of April to August; 1885. She was then assigned as guard ship at Hull until 1890. After reconstruction and re-armament between 1891 and 1893 she was guardship at Pembroke until 1895. She was port guard ship at Gibraltar between 1895 and 1902, in Fleet Reserve until 1904, and finally guard ship at Bermuda until her sale in 1907.


1"Census 1881 Hollingbourne, Kent, England RG11/933". Assessment: Primary evidence.
      Source: Census 1881 Hollingbourne, Kent, England RG11/933, RG11/933/16 p26
2"BMD Index". Q1 1878. Cit. Date: 22 November 2008. Assessment: Secondary evidence.
Text From Source: Hastings 2b 29
3"Census 1901 HMS Rupert RG13/5332". Assessment: Primary evidence.
      Source: Census 1901 HMS Rupert RG13/5332, RG13/5332/168
4"Internet URL link". http://trees.an cestry.co.uk/tree/797829/person/-593256417. Cit. Date: 22 March 2010. Assessment: Secondary evidence.
Text From Source: John Thomas Hollands