History of HMS
The name HMS Ganges came into service in 1779 when 3
vessels were presented to the navy by the Honourable East India company. One of
them was the Bengal built on the Thames at Blackwall which was re-named HMS
Ganges. She was broken up in 1816.
Her successor built in Bombay was launched on 10th
November 1821, subsequently arriving at Portsmouth in October 1822.
After various commissions HMS Ganges was commissioned
as the flag-ship of Rear Admiral R L Bayes on the Pacific Station and left for
the Pacific in September 1857. On return to England in 1861 HMS Ganges entered
the history book as being the last sailing ship to be a sea going flag-ship
In 1866 HMS Ganges became the boys' training ship
anchored in Falmouth harbour where she remained until August 1899. In November
1899 HMS Ganges was transferred to Harwich harbour.
HMS Ganges remained in Harwich harbour as a boys'
training ship and in 1905 the boys moved ashore for their training, which
continued at Shotley until 1976.
HMS Ganges was towed away soon after
4 a.m. on the first Thursday of July, 1906 by Government tugs in beautifully
When the boys first moved ashore the
numbers under training were in the region of 500. As the establishment
developed so the number of boys increased so that at the end of the 1940's
those under training numbered 2000. Approximately 200 joining every five
Originally training was restricted to seamanship but
in 1911 this was extended to include signals training and, in the late 1950's
further extended to other branches of the Royal Navy.
The Museum now houses memorabilia from the old shore
establishment including the ship's figurehead, honours board and clocks.
The Museum is also home to a very large collection of
photographs and original documents relating to life at Shotley, which are of
value to both casual visitors and researchers alike. In addition a small number
of documents relating to old 'Ganges' when afloat are now becoming available to