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No. 85 HBKQ


Cressy was a Royal Navy name. The 74-gun Third Rate Cressy of 1810 had been broken up in 1832.

The 46-gun Fifth Rate Unicorn, built at Chatham in 1824 was renamed Cressy in 1841. The ship owner Duncan Dunbar felt it appropriate to adopt the name for his new vessel being built at the Laing yard on the River Wear, Sunderland, in 1843 as a wooden, frigate-style cargo carrier.

Laings also built the 804-ton Hyderabad in 1843, the 756-ton Poictiers and 669-ton Agincourt in 1844, followed by the 715-ton Trafalgar, the 808-ton Blenheim and the 757-ton Ramilles in 1845. These were Blackwall frigates much favoured by Dunbar, although they were not sister ships. In 1850 Laings also built for Dunbar the 789-ton Canterbury.

Cressy of London, 128.8 x 29.8 feet; 720 register tonnage tons. In August 1843, the newly launched Cressy, from Plymouth via Cape of Good Hope under Captain James Molison, landed 295 male convicts at Hobart after a 112-day passage.

On her return voyage to London, she sailed via Colombo and Madras, berthing in the Thames in December 1851.

[ The Port Victoria Customs Department Ships Report Outwards No. 49 for January 1851 recorded the departure] 25 January Cressy, 720 tons, Bell, 28 crew, for Ceylon in ballast, Alport agent.



SIGNAL LETTERS: The Merchant Shipping Act 1854 came into force on 1 May 1855 with official numbers being allocated to registered ships from 16 April 1855. However the new Board of Trade Code of Signals did not become effective until 1857 and even then shipping registrars were not always able to provide four signal letters which corresponded with the official numbers.

By 1859, the practice of allocating signal letters to shps' official numbers had become fully effective. The Cressy, for example, was listed in the List of British Registered Vessels with their official numbers and the signal letters (1859) as No. 85, with the letters H.B.K.Q.

In 1850, the Charlotte Jane had a problem in identifying herself to other vessels at sea. Edward Ward noted that on 16 September when the master of the Antonietta, Rio to Palermo, compared longitudes with Captain Lawrence, 'our number does not appear in the last edition of the Signal Book, so if we speak any ship by signal, we shall be represented as the Charlotte or the Jane merely.'


Further 'Cressy' Information