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History of HMS Ganges

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 Museum  
   

HMS Ganges was towed away soon after
4 a.m. on the first Thursday of July, 1906 by Government tugs in beautifully fine weather.

Ganges Museum

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 weeks.

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 the Museum.

 
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