HMS Himalaya
HMS Himalaya was ordered by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company
Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company
The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, which is usually known as P&O, is a British shipping and logistics company which dated from the early 19th century. Following its sale in March 2006 to Dubai Ports World for £3.9 billion, it became a subsidiary of DP World; however, the P&O...

SS Himalaya
. She was purchased by the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 in 1854 and served with them until 1920. She was sunk in 1940.

The SS Himalaya was a 3,438 gross register ton iron steam screw passenger ship
Passenger ship
A passenger ship is a ship whose primary function is to carry passengers. The category does not include cargo vessels which have accommodations for limited numbers of passengers, such as the ubiquitous twelve-passenger freighters once common on the seas in which the transport of passengers is...

. When launched she was the largest ship in the P & O fleet and was not exceeded in size until the SS Australia of 1870.

Design and construction

Himalaya had been planned as a paddle steamer but that design was becoming outdated and she was altered to screw propulsion while she was still on the stocks, and she was fitted instead with a single two-bladed propeller of 18 feet diameter. She was also fitted with sails on three masts for use when the wind was favourable. She was laid down at the yards of C. J. Mare & Co.
Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company
The Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company, Limited was a shipyard and iron works straddling the mouth of Bow Creek at its confluence with the River Thames, at Leamouth Wharf on the west side and at Canning Town on the east side...

, Leamouth
Leamouth is the area to the west of the mouth of the River Lea at the River Thames at . The northern part of the area lies within a meander of the Lea; the southern part is bounded in the west by the former East India Docks, on two sides by the Lea and by the River Thames to the south...

, London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 in 1852 and launched on 24 May 1853. She could carry 200 first class passengers and required a crew of 213.

Sale and commissioning

She proved to be a larger vessel than the passenger traffic demanded and coal was becoming more expensive with the advent of war in the Crimea in 1854, so P&O were happy to sell her to the British Government at her cost price of £130,000 in July 1854 for use as a troopship. The Royal Navy had built smaller vessels, so called frigates, during the 1840s, such as HMS Simoom, which had served as troopship
A troopship is a ship used to carry soldiers, either in peacetime or wartime...

s when the idea of iron warships was discredited by live-firing trials. Himalaya was purchased during the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 when there was a pressing need for troopships. The purchase was viewed with suspicion by naval experts. General Howard Douglas
Howard Douglas
General Sir Howard Douglas, 3rd Baronet, GCB, GCMG, FRS was a British military officer born in Gosport, England, the younger son of Admiral Sir Charles Douglas, and a descendant of the Earls of Morton...

 is reported to have predicted that she would have a short career.

Career and sinking

She served as a troopship for almost four decades, supporting operations during the Second Opium War
Second Opium War
The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860...

, and carrying troops to India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. She was retired from trooping service in 1894 and became a coal hulk
Hulk (ship)
A hulk is a ship that is afloat, but incapable of going to sea. Although sometimes used to describe a ship that has been launched but not completed, the term most often refers to an old ship that has had its rigging or internal equipment removed, retaining only its flotational qualities...

 at Portland Harbour
Portland Harbour
Portland Harbour is located beside the Isle of Portland, off Dorset, on the south coast of England. It is one of the largest man-made harbours in the world. Grid reference: .-History:...

 with the new name C60 in December 1895. She was sold out of the navy on 28 September 1920 to a private owner, E. W. Payne, and continued to be based in Portland Harbour
Portland Harbour
Portland Harbour is located beside the Isle of Portland, off Dorset, on the south coast of England. It is one of the largest man-made harbours in the world. Grid reference: .-History:...

, probably still as a coal hulk.

She continued in this role until the Second World War. She was sunk by air attack, by Junkers 87 dive bombers of the German Air Force, on 12 June 1940.
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