HMS Sulphur

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Sulphur, 1826
Type: Sloop ; late Bomb ; Armament 10
Launched : 26 Jan 1826 ; Disposal date or year : 1857
BM: 375 tons ; Complement : 109 men

18 Nov 1828, Chatham, is reported to be preparing for service abroad.

Jul 1830, sloop, 8, on Particular Service.

31 Oct 1831, off Naturaliste Reef, Cape Naturaliste and Geographe Bay.

27 Mar 1832 arrived Hobart Town, from Swan River, Cdr. Dance, in command.

5 Jun 1832 arrived Hobart Town.

12 Aug 1832 departed Swan River for England with Gov. Stirling and family.

7 Oct 1832 departed the Cape of Good Hope for Spithead with ship for Ascension.

5 Dec 1832, arrived Spithead, from Swan River (12 Aug), and the Cape.

31 Dec 1832, paid off into ordinary at Portsmouth.

11 Jul 1835, Portsmouth, is to be prepared for survey duties in the Pacific.

25 Sep 1835, Portsmouth, was undocked yesterday and commissioned today for survey duties in the Pacific by Captain F.N. Beechey.

30 Oct 1835, Portsmouth, has been commissioned by Lt. H. Kellett as a tender to the survey vessel Sulphur. See Narrative of a Voyage Round the World: Performed in Her Majesty's Ship Sulphur in Googlebooks for fuller detail.

22 Dec 1835, departed Portsmouth for Plymouth and the South Seas, with her tender, the Starling, in company,

24 Dec 1835, departed Plymouth with the Starling for Madeira (7 Jan 1836) ; Teneriffe (12 Jan) ; Rio de Janeiro (19 Feb) ; St. Catherine's (28 Feb) ; Monte Video (6 Apr).

3 Mar 1836, is reported to have been at St Catherine's, being caulked and refitted in preparation for her passage around Cape Horn.

9 Jun 1836, arrived Valparaiso, with her tender, was reported to be sailing shortly for the Coast of California for survey duties. Capt. F.N. Beechey was invalided, and returned to England in the North Star, and replaced by Acting Commander Kellett, of the Starling, who, in turn, was replaced by Capt. Edward Belcher i.d.c. at San Blas.

7 Aug 1836, awaiting arrival of new commanding officer, but also some pages missing from the source. Having refitted and provisioned, headed north along the west coast of South America, calling at : Paita (7 Aug) ; Guayaquil (24 Aug) ; Gorgona (11 Jan) ; Panama (29 Jan), to await instructions from England.

15 Mar 1837, departed Taboga, for Realejo, via Baia Honda, where a sight was taken.

20-21 Mar 1837, took quarterly readings on an island off the mouth of the river leading to Pueblo Nueva.

28 Mar 1837, heading north passed the Island of Cano ; through the Gulf of Nicoya, and close to Cape Blanco ; and off Punta Santa Catalina and experienced gusts of wind known locally as the Papagayos, which can damage ships spars : experienced good fishing.

4 Apr 1837, during the next week the Sulphur was anchored within the island of Asserdores, with fresh water close by. This place, for a number of reasons, not least the mosquitos, was found preferable as an anchorage to Realejo, although the port could provide good supplies of provisions and rum etc., so probably wasn't the ideal place to let a ship's company ashore when they were supposed to be working.

13 Apr 1837, departed Realejo for Libertad, to rejoin the Starling.

Circa Apr 1837, whilst off Libertad, the captain's coxswain, using the ship's gig, drowned in the heavy surf when attempting to come ashore, despite being a good swimmer. No body found.

22 Apr 1837, departed Libertad, for San Blas, and separated from the Starling at night.

14 May 1837, rejoined the Starling, but parted again on the 19th.

20 May 1837, anchored off Manzanilla for about 24 hours, to see if water was available : yes, but brackish.

27 May 1837, arrived San Blas. Sent to the Starling, which had arrived here on the the 25th, to Mazatlan to buy provisions, which were running short, and to rejoin the Sulphur at Isabel Island.

10 Jun 1837, having departed San Blas after a brief call of a day or two, passed the Isabel, and was joined by the Starling today, with some of the provisions that were required.

19 Jun 1837, sent the Starling off for provisions, and to rejoin the Sulphur off Clarion, where the Starling was sent off on a course as directed by the Sulphur, which was going to follow an almost parallel course whilst looking for a group of islands reported by whalers in 1826-27.

7 Jul 1837, no trace of islands found as reported above, although, whilst there were no sightings, the presence of floating vegetation etc. suggested that one couldn't rule out the possibility entirely, but saw the outline of some of the Hawaiian islands today.

arrived Honululu, with a view to resolving some differences with the King, who was under the influence of a missionary, a Mr. Bingham, with doubtful views, involving French missionaries and the British vessel Clementine.

20 Jul 1837, the King arrived despite attempts to keep him away, and most of the problems appear to have been resolved with the presence of the commanding officer of the French vessel Venus, which arrived on the scene. It would also appear that an attempt on Captain Belcher's life was prevented by a guard provided to ensure his safe arrival back on board : which is when one realizes the seriousness of the problem.

27 Jul 1837, departed Honululu for Atooi, where the Starling had been sent, and where the Sulphur arrived a few hours later to provision and water and carry out a small survey, before departing for Vancouver.

17 Aug 1837 sent the Starling to Port Mulgrave to take the observations to confirm the position of Mount St. Elias, whilst the Sulphur went to Port Etches.

30 Aug 1837, departed Port Etches.

4 Sep 1837, took observations of Mount St. Elias, and then following the coast, made for the Starling at Port Mulgrave, and on the 7th sighted land near Cape Phipps and shortly afterwards found the Starling as expected and carried out astronomical observations and swung the ship to determine the local magnetic attraction etc.

8 Sep 1837, attempted to depart, but a lack of wind prevented the operation until the 9th inst.

27 Sep 1837, depart Norfolk Sound.

3 Oct 1837, arrived Nootka Sound.

19 Oct 1837, arrived Punta de los Reyes and the Farallones.

24 Oct 1837, started survey of the Rio Sacramento using the Starling and ship's boats.

24 Nov 1837, returned to the Sulphur following the survey of the Rio Sacramento.

30 Nov 1837, departed a sad San Francisco for a more cheerful Monterey, arriving 2 Dec.

6 Dec 1837, departed Monterey for San Blas.

16 Dec 1837, passed Cape San Lucas, and on the 18th joined up with the Sulphur off Tres Marias, and the following day landed on the Northern Maria.

20 Dec 1837, arrived San Blas, but no mail.

21 Dec 1837, news of the accession of Queen Victoria arrives via he latest papers from England. The FNS Venus arrived at San Blas, from Mazatlan, having been surveying the Bay of Magdalena. She reports having run out of wine, whilst the English ships have run out of rum, and purchases from ashore are exorbitant and the quality indifferent ! Scurvy had appeared amongst some members of the French crew, who were to be put ashore at Acapulco until they had recovered.

5 Jan 1838, departed for Acapulco, where they arrived on 12th inst.

12 Jan 1838, rejoined the Venus, who had rented a house as a hospital for her crew members who were suffering from scurvy.

19 Jan 1838, departed Acapulco for Realejo, via Sacrificios, Guatulco and the Gulf of Tehuantepec, and able to see volcanoes, probably 60 miles away.

2 Feb 1838, off Sonsonate, whilst heading for Libertad, arriving Realejo on the 4th, where the captain, surgeon, botanical collector and a mate prepared for and departed to the Viejo volcano and Managua.

20 Feb 1838, departed Realejo, to examine the Gulf of Papagayo, with the new tender Victoria, and the port of San Juan, which had been suggested as a terminal for the canal or railroad from Nicaragua in the Pacific.

14 Mar 1838, arrived at the island of Cardon, but the Starling had arrived and departed again.

20 Mar 1838, Starling returned to the island of Cardon with a few letters.

25 Mar 1838, off Viradores and Culebra.

27 Mar 1838, departed Culebra, for Cocos Island and Callao.

3 Apr 1838, arrived at the island of Cocos. In Chatham Bay marked a rock with the name Sulphur.

10 Apr 1838, sent the Starling to Guayaquil to pick up an officer and to Puna to pick up supplies left by the Cleopatra, and from thence to rejoin at Callao.

18 Apr 1838, passed within 2 miles of Abingdon Isle, in the Gallapagos. Starting to run short of bread and flour.

3 Jun 1838, arrived Callao, after a passage of 74 days, the last 4 being without bread and flour, where the Imogene and Harrier, along with the French vessels Andromede, 60, and brig Alacrité, and the US vessel North Carolina, 80, and corvette Lexington, who were all watching the motions of the belligerents, Peru and Chile, the Sulphur, Starling and Victoria undergoing a refit, and examined the possibly strategic Boqueron Passage.

7 Jun 1838, the flag ship for R.-Adm Ross, HMS President, arrived at Callao.

8 Aug 1838, completed refit and were ready for sea. Departed Callao, having refitted as far as local resources will permit to inspect the coast to the south as far as Lachira Bay.

25 Aug 1838, returned to Callao, and Lima had fallen into the hands of the Chileans.

Circa 29 Aug 1838, departed Callao for Hormigas ; Payta (2-4 Sep) ; Isle of Puna (6 Sep) ; and Guayaquil, where the refit was continued and stores from the Cleopatra embarked.

Circa 5 Oct 1838, departed for Panama, via Taboga.

17 Oct 1838, arrived Panama, and from thence to Taboga to complete water and back again. Midshipman D. Gordon, of the Starling, suffering from the climate, was sent home with the mail and official correspondence.

1 Nov 1838, departed Panama for Realejo, having been to see the pearl fishery on the Isle of Casalla.

14 Nov 1838, arrived Realejo.

17 Nov 1838, departed Realejo for Conchagua, where they arrived on the 19th inst.

30 Nov 1838, returned to Realejo, where the Imogene was in the process of departing for San Blas. Commenced the survey of the region around Realejo, and rated chronometers.

31 Dec 1838, went aground in shoal water, but a squall assisted in getting the ship afloat.

1 Jan 1839, whilst reefing the sails on board the Sulphur the Victoria was seen to let fly her sheets in a squall, following which the pinnace could no longer be seen. The Victoria later returned with bad news, reporting that the pinnace had capsized in a squall, leading to Mr. Speck, mate and assistant surveyor, and J. Grant, a seaman, being drowned, seamen Lamphier and White managing to swim ashore. The Starling, recovered the survivors and boat.

8 Jan 1839, departed Realejo for the Gulf of Nicoya, whilst the Starling was sent to look for a rock reported by an American vessel, which did not exist at the position given.

14 Jan 1839, anchored off islands of San Lucas, opposite Punta Arenas, aka Gulf of Nicoya.

17 Jan 1839, departed Punta Arenas for Panama, hoping to receive mail and perhaps news of instructions to return home? Surveyed the River Santiago and some of its tributaries, included in an area looked at in March 1837.

4 Mar 1839, departed for Baija Honda, where they had been 2 years previously, and from thence went on to Quibo and got aground, probably on a sandbank at the mouth of a small river, but came off easily with assistance from the Starling. There being nothing exceptional to look at departed for Taboga.

14 Mar 1839, arrived at Taboga, and moved on to Panama the following day, but receive no instructions to return to England. It being the rainy season colds and influenza went around the squadron, along with which many suffered from prickly heat, and have my sympathy.

6 Apr 1839,arrived at Cocos Island, and departed a day or so later for the Clipperton Rock, 1360 miles distant, where the rock is accompanied by a coral island and lagoon, with no trees, about 3 miles long, so not quite what a mariner might expect from the name.

19 May 1839, in lat. 13° 45' N. ; 124° 30' W. the Starling detached to search for a group of islands reported to lie between 16° and 17° N., and 136° to 138° W., whilst the Sulphur took a course to intercept former routes.

29 May 1839, sighted the island of Maui, and the following day Oahu., and arrived Honolulu.

It is noted that survey ships and scientific vessels are instructed to sound every 10 miles, or every hour, two hours, or the time her commander may think suitable.

10 Jun 1839, departed Honolulu, for Atooi, arriving on the 13th. 16 Jun 1839, departed Atooi for the N.E. In the event of the Starling separating, she was instructed to go to the Columbia River, and to make preparations for its survey.

24 Jun 1839, in long. 164° W., lat. 37° N.

5 Jul 1839, observed land and the following day stopped at Point Grenville, where the captain was informed that a Russian company's vessel was at St. Paul's. In the interest of discovering the local fish the ship's company were issued with lines and hooks and caught cod and halibut, presumably used for supper, and then departed for Sitka.

16 Jul 1839, made Mount Edgecumbe, and eventually a pilot arrived to take them into Sitka ? harbour.

19 Jul 1839, departed for the mouth of the Columbia where the Starling was waiting for them, and escorted them into the river, but nevertheless went aground briefly due to the strength of the tide, but got off on the next tide, meanwhile the Starling lost her rudder, and had to make a temporary one.

31 Jul 1839, Starling departed for Fort George, but now the fort has gone and only a small hamlet survives. With the aid of a pilot departed via the Tongue Point Channel, grounding occasionally, and discovered that the night time tides in the Columbia River were higher at night than in the day time.

5 Aug 1839, passed round the southern side of Puget's Island, en route for Oak Point.

9 Aug 1839, arrived at Fort Vancouver, like many of the places in this region at that time, outposts of the Hudson's Bay Company, before the so-called American "squatters," arrived on the scene. Once the Starling was repaired dropped downstream.

14 Sep 1839, departed Baker's Bay, and departed for Bodega, the port for Ross, where the Starling was left to survey, whilst the Sulphur eventually departed for San Francisco, but having arrived had to wait for the fog to lift before approaching the Bay, where provisions were embarked and confirmatory observations taken, before departing for Monterey.

5 Oct 1839, arrived at Monterey, but had parted from the Starling and so departed the following day for Santa Barbara, where the Starling was cruising and found her there on the 9th and anchored in the bay for the night, but there being nothing to detain them they moved on to San Pedro.

11 Oct 1839, arrived San Pedro in the evening, and anchored amongst several American vessels, who deal in hides and tallow, and having completed an inspection dispatched the Starling with a cutter to look at the island and anchorage of Santa Catalina.

13 Oct 1839, dropped down to San Juan.

17 Oct 1839, arrived at San Diego.

22 Oct 1839, departed San Diego to fix Cape Colnett, but the sea state precluded this, and it was done the following day by the Starling.

24 Oct 1839, anchored off Port San Quentin ; examined the flora and fauna, along with the marine life and suitability, or otherwise, as an anchorage and port etc., along with availability of water and supplies, as with most places visited, along with comments on what was found, and maybe how it compared with earlier visits, by the captain, and by others.

28 Oct 1839, called at St. Bartolomew (aka Turtle Bay), and the bay of Magdalena, where the Starling was sent to check out the Island of Cerros and the surrounding area, rejoining at Magdalena.

31 Oct 1839, arrived at the Gulf of Magdalena, where the Victoria was taken out and fitted for sea service, under the command of a Mr. Richards, Midshipman, and used in the examination of the Gulf.

18 Nov 1839, departed the Gulf of Magdalena for Cape San Lucas, where they arrived on the 20th inst., where the squadron provisioned with wood, water, bullocks, and fresh provisions, whilst the bay was surveyed etc., before departing for San Blas.

24 Nov 1839, arrived San Blas, where the mail was collected and it was learned that a transport was waiting at Mazatlan with stores and provisions, and departed accordingly. Instructions were also received, allowing the ship to return home by the westerly route, via Tahiti. 12 months stores were embarked, which filled the lower-deck, to the beams, which meant that the crew had to sleep on the main deck.

4 Dec 1839, departed Mazatlan, having sold the Victoria.

21 Dec 1839, departed San Blas, "homeward bound," for the Island of San Benedict, which wasn't readily visible, but was then found to exist 52 miles to the west of the initial recorded position. It has a mountain of 2,000 feet, but no woodland, or water see, although goats appear to live on the island, so it was assumed that there is a water source somewhere.

25 Dec 1839 departed for the islands of Socorro and Clarion, the Starling being dispatched to Clarion to check out reports of other reported islands, about which nothing was known.

28 Dec 1839, sighted Clarion island, and arrived off a large bay at sunset, and let go the anchor, but a heavy swell setting in attempted to raise the anchor which was lost, and stood off during the night and landed the following morning, and found plenty of birds and plants, but no steams noticed ; fish were also numerous, but broke the hooks. Described as a suitable landing place for vessels in distress, but no good for necessaries. Starling not finding any unknown islands, departed in that direction, but also found nothing and so departed for the Marquesas.

9 Jan 1840, a recently born calf jumped overboard through one of the ports, but couldn't be recovered.

14 Jan 1840, crossed the equator in long. 129° W.

20 Jan 1840, passed the island of Rooheoah, aka Riou's Island, and arrived at the island of Nuvuhivah.

30 Jan 1840, departed from the island of Nuvuhivah after spending a week or more attempting to stop the natives from going to war with each other.

3 Feb 1840, sighted land, but didn't stop.

5 Feb 1840, arrive at Bow Island. Boring to test for what lies below a coral reef, and other activities.

28 Mar 1840, departed Bow Island.

29 Mar 1840, passed by Melville ; Bird Islands ; the 30th, Croker Island ; and on 1 Apr stopped briefly at Chain Island.

4 Apr 1840, arrived at Tahiti, having crossed the date line and come to the end of my notes for volume I of a "Voyage of HMS Sulphur round the world".

5 Apr 1840, having obtained the data for securing the meridian distance moved on to Papeete, and started caulking and refitting the ship, whilst survey work was carried on ashore, where a new boat was being built once some of the whalers had gone their way. And the Captain became involved in attempting to sort out local diplomatic and legal problems and advising the various chiefs how he thought they should be acting.

8 Apr 1840, departed Tahiti for Raratonga, via Huaheine.

13 Apr 1840, observed the island of Mauki, and arrived at Raratonga the following morning.

15 Apr 1840, departed Raratonga.

18 Apr 1840, keeping eyes open for another new island reported, and warnings of shoal waters announced at the start of the Morning Watch, 4 am, although no land was visible, the extent of the shoal water was from lat. 20° 2' N., to 167° 49' W., and was given the name Lagoon Reef.

21 Apr 1840, arrived at Port Refuge, island of Vavao, departing on the 23rd, taking bearings on the Peak of the island of Latte the following day and Vavao was found to be 16 miles too far to the West in Arrowsmith's charts.

26 Apr 1840, arrived at the eastern most of the Fijis, and on the 27th, and came close in on the breakers on an unseen island and later in the day arrived at Nukulau, but on entering the anchorage with pilot and the captain watching from ashore the rudder was knocked off and the pintles broken.

15 Jun 1840, having repaired the rudder etc., and carried out the survey work, sent the Starling to fix the position of Banga, one of several islands in the group not yet on the chart, and departed later, to join her on Monday. Prior to leaving was joined by the commanding officer of the US Navy survey vessel Vincennes, Captain Wilkes, a part of a US squadron surveying the islands, and discussed, for some hours the work they were both doing etc.

18 Jun 1840, joined the Starling at Banga and assisted in completing the survey, and noting that cannibalism was still practiced when associated with warfare.

20 Jun 1840, departed for and passed the islands of Erronan, Annstom, and Tanna, where they anchored at Port Resolution.

24 Jun 1840, departed Port Resolution, and having been caught up in some contrary winds near land was eventually able to steer a course to pass Erromango, Sandwich and Mallicolo Islands, en route for Guadalcanar (sic).

1 Jul 1840, arrived Guadalcanar, but not being able to find a suitable anchorage, departed for New Ireland.

Circa 5/6 Jul 1840, having been delayed by variable winds and poor visibility, brought about by it being the rainy season, arrived at the port of Carteret, the Starling being sent around the island to Cape St. George, whilst the Sulphur was provisioned, watered and wooded, and also experienced a minor earthquake where the undulation was felt quite strongly ashore, and in the Starling felt as though the vessel was being dragged across rocks.

16 Jul 1840, departed Port Carteret by warping and being towed, and it took some hours before she was able to sail without assistance, and head for the Duke of York's Island where they arrived the following afternoon, and fresh provisions, such as fruit were purchased by barter, but the weather not being conducive to being too near the coast, continued on the passage.

I note that the Captain mentions that the weather also appears to be the cause of a long sick list, although one wonders if the work load and diet, and period away from England, may not have helped, plus having recently been in contact with native peoples, many of whom were sickly, although I appreciate that the reverse is normally supposed to be the case ?

23 Jul 1840, passed Elizabeth Island, and a part of the Admiralty Group, and the following day, Purdy's Island.

27-28 Jul 1840, anchored in a previously unnamed bay, named Victoria Bay, on an island in the Britannia Group, and set up tents etc. to carry out survey work, by which time some of the local natives had appeared on the scene, as was often the case, and the Island named Britannia, and the group of islands the Britannia Archipelago, which on departing were discovered to be far more numerous than previously thought. Subsequently probably re-named the New Britannia Archipelago, and then renamed by the Germans as the Bismarck Archipelago, which, after the war were administratively vested in Australia ?

1 Aug 1840, the contrary winds of the last few days having changed to a more favourable air it became possible to track a survey of the coast, about one mile distant. In the days following visited the "Los Crespos" Islands and remained amongst them until noon the following day when a fix was taken, before moving on in a westerly direction for Arimoa, having bartered with natives coming out in the boats.

6-16 Aug 1840, arrived Jobie and surveyed about 80 miles of that part of the coast etc.

22 Aug 1840, passed Long Island of Maclure, and the following day the mainland of New Guinea appeared ahead, but some of the maps appear to be at least 20 miles out at times, so it is difficult to be sure where they were, although some well described landmarks do help, especially when astro-sightings and fixes are at variance with the maps.

23 Aug 1840, went ashore in the boats to the islands of Amsterdam and Middleburg, and finding a convenient beach between the two took magnetic and astronomical observations and surveyed both.

26 Aug 1840, in mouth of Dampiers' Strait, and headed for Pigeon Island, where, the charts being at variance with observations, a rough survey was taken, along with a position within the Strait being fixed, and, it being at the change of the moon, the exact time of the hight tide was taken.

28 Aug 1840, as the rain cleared found themselves off the coast the island of Cëram, and had arrived in a region, unlike for the last few months, where, for the natives to see a vessel passing was no longer unusual, and they no longer came off in their canoes to tout their produce. The Starling was dispatched to Cajelo Bay, Bouro, to prepare the ground for the arrival of the Sulphur, and her need to take observations immediately on arrival, which probably meant moving equipment on shore and setting up a tented camp, without interference from the native population in the vicinity, and the vibration which their presence can often cause which upsets the chronometers etc.

31 Aug 1840, arrived Cajelo Bay, Bouro, at 3 a.m., and 1 Sep departed for Amboina.

3 Sep 1840, arrived Amboina, and shortly after arriving, the Captain of the Sulphur, with Lieut. Kellett, of the Starling, went to see the governor of the Moluccas, Col. de Stuars, where they dined later that day with the Col.'s wife, in a most civilised style.

13 Sep 1840, having refitted departed Amboina for Bouro, aka Boeroa, to return to Cajelo to survey the Bay properly, in view of the many stated dangers, and having carried out the survey by the 16th, headed south.

19 Sep 1840, the gunner, Mr. W. Holder, sadly died of dysentry, acquired at Tahiti, having been known to the captain, since 1819.

21 Sep 1840, passed Velthoens, but unable to confirm the position of this island and others to the hazy weather, but the next day, being fine, suggested that many of the islands were noted as being to the south of where they should have been on the maps.

24 Sep 1840, off the fort at Boele Comba, on the southern coast of the Celebes, where the Starling was sent to confirm its position and to survey the road, rejoining the Sulphur at Macassar.

Circa 26 Sep 1840, arrived at Macassar, where the Dutch frigate Rotterdam was present, and having exchanged customary visits with the captain, and local governor, in preparation for re-surveying the locality, the charts being "imperfect," departing on the 1st Oct for Great Solombo, and Singapore, the Rotterdam having departed for Batavia on the 29th.

3 Oct 1840, arrived off the island of Solombo.

7 Oct 1840, arrived off Pulo Mancap, but an easy landing not appearing available went on to Pulo Kampal, aka Rendezvous Island, where the usual observations and a simple survey were made before departing at sunset on the following day, shaping a course for Carimata, passing north of Bintang on the 14th inst., and to the north of Pedro Branca the day after.

16 Oct 1840, arrived Singapore, where instructions were received from the Admiralty that the Sulphur and Starling were not to go home, for the present, but were to go to China, in support of the military operations taking place there, as a part of what was known in some circles as the first of the Opium Wars, or the First China War, about which, perhaps the less said the better. It is of interest to note that similar instructions were also sent to San Blas, but were received after the departure of the Sulphur and her escort for their trans-Pacific passage, but that it was announced to the public back home that having departed San Blas she was on en route for China. It would also appear that after nearly 5 years in commission, and probably looking forward to be heading home, some of the ship's company were perhaps none too happy at the change in the programme, although the botanical collector who had been on board since leaving the UK, and some invalids, along with a Babyroussa hog were returned to England.

23 Oct 1840, departed Singapore, after making a brief acquaintance with the French Naval Ship Magicienne, and having commented on the considerable growth of the port / island, and the change from marsh to city.

23 Oct 1840, shortly after departing Singapore exchanged numbers with HM brig Cruizer and was briefed on the situation on the coast of China.

7 Nov 1840, 3 of her crew were injured as the Starling experienced much lightning and thunder, which shattered her foremast, topmast, and topgallant, and it was necessary to rig a jury replacements until something more permanent could be put in place.

15 Nov 1840, progress was slow, as only off the northern end of the island of Balabac.

18 Nov 1840, off the Royal Captain Shoal, and the following day off the Bombay Shoal.

27 Nov 1840, off the southern end of Palawan, and experienced fresh breezes and gusts of wind which split several sails.

1 Dec 1840, anchored off Manila. But, it being reported that the Commander-in-Chief intended to commence hostilities on 15 Dec., made a hasty departure for the Chinese coast once the Starling had stepped her mast, with instructions to catch up with the Sulphur when ready.

13 Dec 1840, off the Pratas reef observed the wreck of a junk, and on the 14th anchored off the rock on the western side of Lantao, and whilst talking to a pleasure boat it was learnt that the Flag Officer had resigned and gone home, leaving Commodore Sir J. Gordon Bremer in command of the aquadron at Chuenpee, and plans to attack the Chinese apparently put on hold. ISTR reading that confidence was lost in Admiral Elliott, both at home and on the station, and hence, at least in part, his reason for going home, whilst the Sulphur joined the squadron a day or so later, having been delayed by contrary winds and tide.

15 Dec 1840, having joined the squadron, they discovered that they weren't expected and that some thought they were interlopers, e.g. one can perhaps imagine that some commanding officers were seeing their take of any prize money being reduced accordingly by the presence of the Sulphur, being merely a survey vessel on detached duty, or particular service as it was termed in those days, when one wasn't part of any squadron, and thus not a part of the squadron on the China Station ?!!

23 Dec 1840, joined by the Starling, from Manila.

1840-42, engaged in the Operations in China. Officers and Men serving on this ship during this period may be eligible for a Medal. See p. 288 at

7 Jan 1841 off Anunghouy, RMs, detachments of the British and Indian army and men from the Wellesley, Blenheim, Melville, Calliope, Samarang, Druid, Sulphur, Larne, Hyacinth, Modeste, Columbine, Starling, and cutter Louise, and HEIC steamers Queen, Nemesis, Madagascar, and Enterprise, landed to attack and destroy the forts at Chuenpee and Tycocktow. See of 7 May 1841 and 14 May 1841.

13 Jan 1841 anchored in line off South Wangtong Island, with the Calliope, Modeste, Columbine and Starling, preparatory to raising a howitzer battery on the island, but operations were suspended on the 21st inst.

21 Jan 1841 departed Bocca Tigris for Lantao Island.

24 Jan 1841 instructed to proceed to the recently ceded island of Hongkong and commence a survey. Landing on the 26th, and being the first to take possession, drank her majesty's health ; later in the day the squadron arrived and the Royal Marines and officers were landed etc., accompanied by the various salutes.

26 Jan 1841 returned to Bocca Tigris.

2 Feb 1841 departed for Macao roads under the impression that the war was at an end.

19 Feb 1841 Macao roads, detached with the light squadron to Wangtong, to prevent any further defensive preparations.

20 Feb 1841 arrived Wangtong.

24-26 Feb 1841 operations to take North Wangtong Island, See of 11 Jun 1841.

27 Feb 1841 the advanced squadron proceeded up the river to attack the Fort, Camp, and Ship Cambridge and Chinese positions below Whampoa Reach. See p. 289-> at

1 Mar 1841 off Wantong. Sent up the river to Canton.

2 Mar 1841 with some ships' boats took a masked battery on the N.E. end of Whampoa island, occupied Howqua's fort amd then anchored in the stream between that fort and Napier island. See p. 289-> at

See also P. 140 Narrative of a Voyage Round the World by the Sulphur, Vol II, in Googlebooks for more detail regarding these operations.

28 Apr 1841 departed Macao, with the Starling and moved up river to the Wangtong Islands for Lieut. Kellett to survey further up the river. Continued with surveys of Fatshan and Faree Creeks.

1 May 1841 moved down river, arriving at Tiger Island on the 6th, surveying various backwaters, showing that it was possible to by-pass the various forts built to protect Canton.

10 May 1841 having been to Macao to rate the chronometers, returned to Hongkong, to rejoin the senior officer Sir Le Fleming Senhouse.

12 May 1841 preparations were made to move to Amoy, and the north, the squadron consisting of the Blenheim, Blonde, Sulphur, Hyacinth, Nimrod, Cruizer, Starling and Atlanta, and transports with troops, however, by the 18th orders for the move on Amoy were cancelled, in order to prepare for further action in and around Canton.

21 May 1841 Captain E. Belcher sent to find a suitable point for disembarkation.... See p. 291-> at

8 Jun 1841 towed down the river from Canton to Tiger Island by the Nemesis, and ordered to refit in preparation for the passage to Amoy.

3 Jul 1841 Lieutenant W. B. Monypenny, Sulphur, promoted to Commander.

20 Jul 1841 experienced typhoon at Hongkong and the captain being too ill to be on deck, when attempting to cut away the foremast it came down in board, instead of over the side, thus cutting the mainstay, causing all 3 masts to come down, however this settled the ship, and whilst close to Green Island, unlike some remained afloat. After the storm the Starling was found to be missing, but Lieut. Kellett was soon able to report that he had ridden out the storm in the lee of some high land.

Circa 24 Jul 1841 Sulphur taken in tow to Macao, where it would have been possible to hospitalize some of the sick crew members, but another typhoon delayed their arrival at their anchorage, eventually arriving on the 27th inst.

19 Aug 1841 whilst having had new masts fitted the Sulphur was still to be fully rigged, and at the same time, due to sickness amongst the crew was not fully manned and thus remained at Macao when the squadron departed to the north for Amoy. information was subsequently that Amoy fell on 26 Aug ; Chusan on 1 Sep ; Chinhae 10 Sep ; Ningpo 13 Sep.

8 Oct 1841 Lieutenant William Cotterall Wood, promoted to Commander.

8 Oct 1841 Mate R. M'Kinley Richardson, of the Sulphur (when passed for navigation), promoted to Lieutenant.

14 Nov 1841 Commander Belcher received instructions to return to England from the Flag Officer, and to pay off the Starling, her crew being transferred to the Sulphur, and Lieutenant Kellett having been promoted, was to take command, the Flag Officer seemingly paying no heed to the usual post survey routines and the need for her surveyors to work together to produce the charts etc., many of the calculations having been made by the Sulphur and many by the Starling, and thus the whole needed to be integrated. Normally, in say the UK, the surveying officers would have used the winter months to sort out their summer surveys, and in this instance little or no opportunity had arisen to set aside time to carry out this work. Not the sort of work where you can cut corners !

21 Nov 1841 departed Macao for Singapore.

5 Dec 1841 arrived Singapore.

17 Dec 1841 departed Singapore, having had to wait for supplies of bread.

20 Dec 1841 arrived Malacca, and was delayed by light winds. The survey work continued, thus not allowing them time to be involved in the usual social events that a visiting warship might enjoy on such occasions, and thus appears to have departed in the early hours of the following morning ie 4 a.m.

27 Dec 1841 arrived Penang.

3 Jan 1842 departed Penang.

6 Jan 1842 passed off the N.E. angle of Sumatra.

9 Jan 1842 stopped briefly at Pulo Bouro to take a fix, and the following day at Acheen, spent a couple of days, before returning to Bouro.

14 Jan 1842 departed for Point de Galle, Ceylon.

21 Jan 1842 arrived Ceylon.

27 Jan 1842 departed Trincomalee for the Seychelles, the Cape and England.

18 Feb 1842 arrived at Port Victoria, Seychelles, and carried out the usual fixes and measurements.

24 Feb 1842 departed the Seychelles.

5 Mar 1842 rounded Cape Sebastian, Madagascar, heading for Majamba Bay, and departing on the 15th inst.

8 Mar 1842 a young and promising lad by the name of G. Spry died from an illness contracted in China.

31 Mar 1842 in lat. 22° 11' S. ; long. 36° 31' E., and experienced a heavy swell from the S.E.

13 Apr 1842 arrived off Cape Hanklip, and saw the Southampton, Flag ship at the Cape through the haze and refitted and provisioned for the homeward bound journey up through the Atlantic, vis St Helena.

7 May 1842 arrived St Helena en route from China to England.

18 May 1842 departed Ascension having embarked all the invalids awaiting a passage home, mostly from the West Coast of Africa, and in this instance many of the Albert's ship's company following her recent expedition up the River Niger.

3 Jun 1842 experienced a tornado.

17 Jun 1842 passed Cape Blanco.

3 Jul 1842 off the Azores.

19 Jul 1842 (I) arrived at Spithead, via the Needles, and Captain departed for the Admiralty to make his report.

19 Jul 1842 (II) arrived Spithead after a 7 year expedition surveying on the West coast of North America, the South Sea Islands, and the Coast of China &c. She had on board a large number of vegetable, animal, geological and zoological specimens including plants for some 20 feet hight growing up her hatchways, and intended for some of the public gardens.

22 Jul 1842 departed Spithead for Woolwich to be paid off.

25 Jul 1842 arrived Woolwich.

2 Aug 1842 paid off at Woolwich.

10 Aug 1842 being used as an accommodation vessel for native seamen at Woolwich, who are shortly due to join the Queen, as a present to the Imaum of Muscat. It was rumoured that the Sulphur had been earmarked as a receiving ship for sick and diseased sailors, and will be attached to the Dreadnought Hospital ship, stationed at Greenwich, but this proved incorrect.

5 Nov 1842 to be fitted out for the use of the engineers' apprentices under instruction at Woolwich Dockyard. The are under the supervision of Commander George Smith, who has recently been appointed additional to the William and Mary yacht, with Mr. William Shaw, as the First Engineer. The boys are to be instructed by Mr. Shaw, who will also have control of the mess department &c. There are upwards of 30 boys at present receiving instruction in this branch of the naval service in the Dock and School, under the superintendence of Mr. John Dennin, one of the Engineer Foremen belonging to the factory.

1843 was used as an accommodation ship for trainees from the steam factory at Woolwich, with staff living in the adjacent William and Mary.

20 Dec 1848, Woolwich.