were heavily-fortified sailing ships designed to carry explosive shells. The Hecla Class of bomb vessels
lived particularly interesting lives.HMS Hecla
(1815, named after one of Iceland's most active volcanoes
) served at the bombardment of Algiers
and then made three unsuccessful attempts under William Parry to find the Northwest Passage and one to find the North Pole. (voyages: volume I
, volume II
) Hecla survived her polar service and was sold in 1831 to be used for trading and whaling; she was finally wrecked in the Davis Straits in 1840
(1813) accompanied HMS Hecla to the bombardment of Algiers and on two of Parry's Northwest Passage journeys. On her second trip to the Arctic, in 1825, she was damaged by ice and abandoned on Somerset Island. The crew cached her supplies onshore, where they proved a lifeline for later troubled expeditions
(1815) also served at the bombardment of Algiers. She led an uneventful life thereafter and was sold off in 1831 to a Mr. Snook.
HMS Meteor (1819) was converted to a survey vessel and renamed HMS Beacon in 1832. She was used for survey work in the Mediterranean, contributing to early marine biology studies
, until 1846 when she was declared unseaworthy and laid off at Malta
HMS Aetna (1824) was converted to a survey vessel in 1826, and put out of commission in 1844. She was sold in 1846 to Bristol Seamen's Friendly Society, for use as a floating chapel: "The only thunders with which it will in future reverberate being those of the preacher who shall occupy its pulpit."
(1826) was converted into a survey ship in 1835 and sailed around the world by Edward Belcher
, contributing her name to Sulphur Channel
in Hong Kong. She returned to England in 1842, and was broken up in 1859.
(1829) was mainly used for survey work
in the West Indies, and was broken up in 1851.
(1826) went to Antarctica (along with HMS Terror) under James Clark Ross
and gave her name to Mount Erebus
. Despite damage, she survived her Antarctic service. However, both she and HMS Terror
were lost on Sir John Franklin's doomed expedition to find the Northwest Passage
) Despite numerous rescue
missions aimed at finding them, the final resting places of Erebus and Terror remain unknown. The search continues to this day
(The Northwest passage was finally navigated in 1903-1906 by Roald Amundsen
, prior to his journey to the South Pole. These days, the melting Arctic Ice means that the passage is sometimes easily navigable