Flamer

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A stamp depicting Flamer
Official accounts for Flamer in 1833-34 - click on image to enlarge

The Flamer replaced Meteor. Built in 1827 by Fletcher and Farnall of Limehouse at a cost of £7,190, of 165 tons, with 60 hp engines and 12 crew, Flamer was greatly superior to the other vessels.

Traveller's letter

An example of the conditions of travel on these early paddle boats can be imagined by reading an account of a voyage given in the newspaper, the Jersey Argus, of Tuesday 9 February 1836. Letter from a passenger on board HMS Flamer from Guernsey to Weymouth, to his father in Jersey:

"When we left Guernsey the wind was favourable, but in about two hours a sudden calm came on which was speedily followed by a white squall, the forerunner of a tremendous gale. About 4 pm we shipped a heavy sea which knocked in the larboard paddle box and sent the ship's bulwarks on that side and one of the boats adrift. The mate, Roberts, had his collar bone put out. I do not know what we should have done without Captain Symonds, who gave orders with great spirit. At 11 o'clock we shipped another heavy sea which filled the places forward, as well as the boat on the booms, in the bottom of which they had to make a hole to let the water out, and we were thus left quite unprovided with boats. The Captain found he could not reach Weymouth and took us to the Isle of Wight. We were very near landing at Lymington but finally reached this place (Weymouth) at two o'clock this day (Wednesday). Had we been a few hours longer we would have been out of coals. Neither the mail or stage coaches have come in yet as it has snowed more in the last two days than it has in the last six years".

Name change

The Flamer was renamed HMS Fearless in May, 1837, when the Watersprite was renamed HMS Wildfire. In addition to the commander, a master and pilot were attached to each vessel. In September, 1837, HMS Fearles left the station for a refit and HMS Pluto replaced her for five months only. HMS Fearless and HMS Wildfire were withdrawn in 1845 when the mail service was transferred to vessels of the South Western Steam Packet Company.

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