HMS Alexandra (1875)

Alexandra off Malta in 1886. At the time, she was flagship of the Duke of Edinburgh, who had her repainted white. Postcard in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Ship Class
Laid Down

Laid down 5 March, 1873, HMS Alexandra was a central-battery ironclad, rigged for both sail and steam power. Commissioned 31 January, 1877, she served as the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet until 1889. In 1878, she led the Mediterranean Squadron up the Dardanelles to deter Russian aggression in Turkey, despite running aground part way. During the Bombardment of Alexandria in 1882, during the Anglo-Egyptian War, Alexandra traded flagship duty to the shallower of draft HMS Invincible. During the bombardment of the forts, Alexandra took moderate damage, and was saved from a shell that landed near her magazine by one of her gunners, Israel Harding, who grabbed the unexploded shell and threw it into some water to diffuse it. Harding received the Victoria Cross for the action. After being modernized from 1889-91, Alexandra became the flagship of the Admiral Superintendent of Naval Reserves at Portsmouth, and held that post until 1901. In 1900, she served as flagship for 'B' fleet during the annual maneuvers, which proved to be her last time at sea. Converted to a mechanical training ship in 1903, Alexandra was sold for scrap in 1908.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: The future King George V served aboard Alexandra as a lieutenant in the late 1880s.