HMS Calliope was the name ship of the Calliope class of light cruisers, two ships very similar to the Caroline class cruisers but with geared turbine engines. During the First World War she served as flagship of the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron, fighting at the battle of Jutland.
In August 1915 the Calliope took part in the hunt for the German minelayer Meteor, patrolling off the Norwegian coast. In February 1916 she took part in the hunt for the raider Greif. Both hunts ended in success.
At the battle of Jutland the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron formed part of the anti-submarine screen for the Grand Fleet as it sailed towards the battle. During the main battle it took part in the destroyer battle between the two fleets (7.15-7.30pm).
After the German battleships had turned away for the second time, the Calliope was one of the few British ships to maintain contact, firing a torpedo from 6,500 yards before coming under heavy fire for ten minutes while retreating. During the battle she was hit by four shells, and suffered 10 dead and 9 wounded.
In October 1917 Calliope and the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron were amongst the ships deployed in an attempt to find German ships believed to be at sea. The effort failed, and the Germans were able to attack and destroy a Scandinavian convoy, before returning home safely.
Calliope took part in the last great fleet movement of the war in April 1918. This saw the High Seas Fleet attempt to destroy a British battle squadron known to be guarding another Scandinavian convoy. The Grand Fleet came out to sea in response, but the German timing was wrong. They reached the convoy route in a gap between sailings, and returned to Germany before the Grand Fleet could reach them
After the war HMS Calliope served on the North American and West Indies Station in 1919 and 1920. From 1924 until 1926 she was part of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron in the Atlantic Fleet. She then entered the Nore Reserve, emerging to act as a troop ship in 1927-1928. She was then recommissioned and served with the 3rd Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean Fleet from 1928 to 1930.
Armour – deck
- conning tower
Two 6in Mk XII guns
17 December 1914
Sold for break up
Commodore C. E. Le Mesurier
Books on the First World War |Subject Index: First World War
SAMOA HURRICANE & HMS CALLIOPE
In Apia Harbour, Upolu, Samoa, March 1889, were congregated the warships of 3 great nations: the United States, Germany and Great Britain. As they prepared for human conflict, they were assaulted by nature, when a terrible hurricane battered the little port with the fiercest storm ever known in the islands - either before or since.
The American vessels USS Trenton and USS Vandalia, and the German vessels SMS Adler and SMS Eber, were destroyed, whilst the USS Nipsic and SMS Olga were forced to beach severely damaged. The many merchant ships in the harbour were lost.
Only the British man-of-war HMS Calliope, commanded by Captain Henry Kane, Royal Navy, managed to escape the death trap that Apia had become. Click on the image of the ships to find out more.
HMS Calliope Launches New Boats For Reservist Training
The rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) have taken to the water for the first time.
Royal Navy reservists at HMS Calliope have marked a milestone as the unit's new rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) took to the water for the first time.
The boats were lowered into Royal Quays Marina, near the mouth of the River Tyne, and taken eight miles upriver to Calliope's headquarters at Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.
New Royal Marine Reservists Receive Royal Congratulations
They will be used to train reservists, enabling them to serve at sea with the Royal Navy fleet.
Commander Chris Bovill, HMS Calliope's Commanding Officer, said it was a "significant milestone in delivering maritime capability" to the Royal Navy's reserves.
Top Royal Navy Reservists Named In Inaugural Awards
"These RHIBs will play a significant part in shaping the future organisation and the future workforce of maritime reserves in the North East at HMS Calliope," he said.
The training will be based around the RYA Powerboat scheme and includes the essential skills of seamanship, navigation and radio communications.
Alongside HMS Calliope, HMS Cambria in Cardiff and HMS Eaglet in Liverpool will each receive two Gemini RHIBs.
Cover image: New RHIBs belonging to HMS Calliope will be used to train Royal Navy reservists (Picture: Royal Navy).
The Epic of HMS CalliopeRAN Ships None noted. Publication December 1974 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Banjo Paterson, the Australian poet, once deserted his dusty sunlit plains to write a poem of the navy. The subject he chose was the saga of HMS Calliope at Apia in 1889. Paterson succeeded in capturing the era of wooden ships and iron men as few poets have done before or after him.
‘By the far Samoan shore,
Where the league long rollers pour
All the wash of the Pacific on the coralguarded bay,
Riding proudly at their ease,
In the calm of tropic seas
The three great nations’ warships at their anchors proudly lay.’
Early in March 1889, the light cruiser HMS Calliope slipped away from her berth at the Naval Depot, Garden Island, and turned her ornamental bows towards Samoa. The skipper, Captain Kane, carried instructions to show the flag in Apia Harbour and forestall any annexation attempts by USA and German fleets known to be in the area.
The voyage was uneventful and no foreign warships were sighted until Calliope steamed through the narrow coral entrance to Apia Harbour. There were the USA and German fleets impudently riding at anchor. The lookout on Calliope called their names. Trenton, Vandalia and Nipsic of the US Navy and Adler, Eber and Olga of the German Navy.
Britannia ruled the waves and Captain Kane was not impressed by ‘wet behind the ears’ Yankees or stiff-necked Prussians. Streaming a black cloud of Westport coal smoke, Calliope steamed through the opposing fleets and dropped her anchor close to the beach.
‘When the gentle offshore breeze,
That had scarcely stirred the trees,
Dropped down to utter stillness, and the glass began to fall,
Away across the main
Lowered the coming hurricane,
And far away to seaward hung the cloud wrack like a pall.’
The barometer began to fall on Thursday 14th March. Skippers of the warships in Apia Harbour ordered steam to be raised. However, the shore authorities were unconcerned. ‘Just a few heavy showers – the normal weather pattern.’
Friday morning saw the barometer still lower. The sailors’ eyes were on the threatening skies, now a leaden black. Again the shore authorities chided them for worrying.
In the dark hours of Saturday morning a hurricane struck Samoa. The wind screeched across the low coral reefs and gusts of 80 miles per hour were registered aboard the ships. Enormous waves crashed down on the coral and blotted out the narrow escape channel. The twenty ships in Apia Harbour were caught in a boiling cauldron.
‘When the grey dawn broke at last
And the long, long night was past,
While the hurricane redoubled lest its prey should steal away,
On the rocks, all smashed and strown,
Were the German vessels thrown,
While the Yankees, swamped and helpless, drifted shorewards down the bay.
Then at last spoke Captain Kane,
‘All our anchors are in vain,
Give her steam and let her have it, lads, we’ll fight her out to sea’
Dawn didn’t break on the 16th. No light pierced the blackened skies, and sea and sky were joined by a fall of flying spume. Every ship in the harbour was in trouble. Buffeted by the punching fury of the 80 mile per hour hurricane, anchors dragged and slowly the ships closed with the maws of the waiting coral.
First to go was the German Eber. Lifted bodily by a monstrous wave, she was dashed in two on the reef. Five out of her crew of 80 were to survive.
Two hours later the second German ship, Adler, was picked up and tossed like a cork on to the coral. Her smashed hulk came to rest 100 yards inland. Thirty German sailors died in those brief minutes.
The American Nipsic did not wait her turn. Losing her cables, she turned and ran for the beach. Midway across the harbour she collided with the remaining German ship, Olga. Ordering her last reserve of steam, the skipper of Nipsic wrenched his ship clear of the Olga and ploughed high and dry on the sand between two reefs. By some miracle unexplained Nipsic suffered no casualties.
Midmorning found four warships still afloat. Most of the merchant ships were wrecked and the hurricane continued unabated.
The USS Vandalia followed the Nipsic. She turned and ran for the beach, but the sea gods weren’t to be cheated. A wave caught her beam on and smashed her on the reef. Forty three of her crew died and the survivors were to cling many hours on the rigging before rescue.
Three ships remained – Calliope, Trenton and the disabled Olga.
Late in the afternoon Trenton began to bear down on the Calliope which was closest to the reef. Captain Kane, far from beaten, was biding his time. All through the long day he had fed Calliope’s fires with the fine Westport coal. Steam was up and Kane waited.
The distance between Trenton and Calliope narrowed. The reef was only feet away. Captain Kane roared his red meat order down the engine voice pipe and Calliope pranced forward like a thoroughbred.
‘Like a foam flake tossed and thrown,
She could barely hold her own,
While the other ships all helplessly were drifting to the lee,
Through the smother and the rout,
The Calliope steamed out
And they cheered her from the Trenton that was foundering in the sea.’
The Britisher was the only ship in the harbour to challenge the sea. Kane was gambling on finding the treacherous channel in the reef and driving his ship through the foaming funnel before the cross-seas cast him up. Britannia ruled the waves and Calliope would teach those foreigners a lesson in skill and courage.
Plunging past the doomed Trenton, Kane drove his ship directly at the reef. From the Trenton came the Yankee cheers and then all was lost in a world of foam and spume.
Calliope found the opening in the reef and like a live creature squirmed her way through the crashing mountains of water. Clawing firstly deep water and then thin air, her propellers thrust her forward to freedom. One final surge and she was in the open sea, she had cleared the coral entrance by a bare sixty yards. The giant seas that broke on her now were nothing. Proudly she tossed them off and stood out to sea and safety.
Trenton, her fires washed out, awaited her doom. By a miracle a rag of sail was raised and she swung clear of the nearest reef. The skipper steered for the narrow beach and the crew prayed One wave, bigger than its predecessors, lifted Trenton and her bottom grated on the sand.
The helpless Olga, last of the fleet of twenty vessels, was waiting her destiny. Buffeted and broken, her crew clinging desperately to the remaining rigging, she grounded on a stretch of sand at the tip of the reef.
Apia’s black day came to a close. Nineteen good ships lay wrecked and the sea had claimed over 100 victims. The town of Apia and most of Samoa was devastated.
Out to sea the sole survivor Calliope, named after the Greek Goddess of heroic poetry, wallowed in the heaving waves. A wooden ship manned by iron men and fired with good Westport coal, the finest in the world, as the New Zealanders claimed.
When the weather moderated Calliope returned to Apia and brought relief to the stricken town. Emergency stores and medical supplies were landed and essential services restored.
On 4th April Calliope arrived at Sydney for a tumultuous welcome. When the ship berthed at Garden Island the harbour foreshores were lined with cheering crowds. It was a heroic welcome for the goddess of heroic poetry.
The fame of Calliope lived on for many years, particularly in New Zealand. Generations of New Zealand schoolchildren read in their school magazines of Calliope’s battle with the sea gods and how ‘the fine Westport coal, the best in the world,’ tipped the scales in her favour. (The Australian Auxiliary Squadron was bunkered in New Zealand in the late 19th century.)
The Cruise of HMS Calliope in China, Australian and East African Waters, 1887–1890
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Arthur Cornwallis Evans (1860&ndash1935) was chaplain on the steamship HMS Calliope on a three-year voyage to Asia and Australia (January 1887 to April 1890) that covered 76,814 nautical miles (88,395 miles), with more than 500 days spent at sea. He compiled this lively account of the voyage at the request of his shipmates, drawing information from several of their journals, and published it in Portsmouth in 1890 before the crew dispersed. It contains both brief factual entries about the progress of the voyage and more sustained descriptions of life on board ship and in port, including some naval culinary 'delicacies', an encounter with a robber in Hong Kong, the Russian foritifications at Vladivostok, fireworks in Sydney celebrating the centenary of New South Wales, the opening of Calliope Dock in Auckland (still in use today), visits to several Pacific islands, cricket matches and regattas, and an eclipse of the sun.
Joshua C. Stoddard of Worcester, Massachusetts patented the calliope on October 9, 1855,   though his design echos previous concepts, such as an 1832 instrument called a steam trumpet, later known as a train whistle. In 1851, William Hoyt of Dupont, Indiana claimed to have conceived of a device similar to Stoddard's calliope, but he never patented it. Later, an employee of Stoddard's American Music, Arthur S. Denny, attempted to market an "Improved Kalliope" in Europe, but it did not catch on. In 1859, he demonstrated this instrument in Crystal Palace, London. Unlike other calliopes before or since, Denny's Improved Kalliope let the player control the steam pressure, and therefore the volume of the music, while playing.
While Stoddard originally intended the calliope to replace bells at churches, it found its way onto riverboats during the paddlewheel era. While only a small number of working steamboats still exist, each has a steam calliope. These boats include the Delta Queen, the Belle of Louisville, and President. Their calliopes are played regularly on river excursions. Many surviving calliopes were built by Thomas J. Nichol, Cincinnati, Ohio, who built calliopes from 1890 until 1932. The Thomas J. Nichol calliopes featured rolled sheet copper (as used in roofing) for the resonant tube (the bell) of the whistle, lending a sweeter tone than cast bronze or brass, which were the usual materials for steam whistles of the day. David Morecraft pioneered a resurgence in the building of authentic steam calliopes of the Thomas J. Nichol style beginning in 1985 in Peru, Indiana. These calliopes are featured in Peru's annual Circus City Parade. Morecraft died on December 5, 2016. 
Stoddard's original calliope was attached to a metal roller set with pins in the manner familiar to Stoddard from the contemporary clockwork music box. The pins on the roller opened valves that admitted steam into the whistles. Later, Stoddard replaced the cylinder with a keyboard, so that the calliope could be played like an organ.
Starting in the 1900’s calliopes began using music rolls instead of a live musician. The music roll operated in a similar manner to a piano roll in a player piano, mechanically operating the keys. Many of these mechanical calliopes retained keyboards, allowing a live musician to play them if needed. During this period, compressed air began to replace steam as the vehicle of producing sound.
Most calliopes disappeared in the mid-20th century, as steam power was replaced with other power sources. Without the demand for technicians that mines and railroads supplied, no support was available to keep boilers running. Only a few calliopes have survived, and these are rarely played.
The pronunciation of the word has long been disputed, and often it is pronounced differently inside and outside the groups that use it. The Greek muse by the same name is pronounced / k ə ˈ l aɪ ə p i / kə- LY -ə-pee, but the instrument was usually pronounced / ˈ k æ l i oʊ p / KAL -ee-ohp by people who played it. [ citation needed ] A nineteenth century magazine, Reedy's Mirror, attempted to settle the dispute by publishing this rhyme: 
Proud folk stare after me,
Call me Calliope
Tooting joy, tooting hope,
I am the calliope.
This, in turn, came from a poem by Vachel Lindsay, called "The Kallyope [sic] Yell",  in which Lindsay uses both pronunciations. 
In the song "Blinded by the Light", written in 1972, Bruce Springsteen used the four-syllable ( / k ə ˈ l aɪ ə p i / ) pronunciation when referring to a fairground organ, and this was repeated by Manfred Mann's Earth Band in their 1976 cover.
The calliope is similar to the pyrophone. The difference between the two is that the calliope is an external combustion instrument and the pyrophone is an internal combustion instrument.
At 1998's Burning Man, a pyrophone referred to as Satan's Calliope was powered by ignition of propane inside resonant cavities. This device was incorrectly referred to as a "calliope", since a calliope is an external combustion instrument. 
The Calliaphone is an invention of Norman Baker. He developed an air-blown (versus steam) instrument that could be easily transported.
Lustre chantant Edit
The lustre chantant (literally "singing chandelier") or musical lamp, invented by Frederik Kastner, was a large chandelier with glass pipes of varying lengths each illuminated and heated by an individual gas jet. A keyboard allowed the player to turn down individual jets as the glass tube cooled, a note was produced. Kastner installed several such instruments in Paris.
The Beatles, in recording "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, used tapes of calliope music to create the atmosphere of a circus. Beatles producer George Martin recalled, "When we first worked on 'Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!' John had said that he wanted to 'smell the sawdust on the floor', wanted to taste the atmosphere of the circus. I said to him, 'What we need is a calliope.' 'A what?' 'Steam whistles, played by a keyboard. ' " Unable to find an authentic calliope, Martin resorted to tapes of calliopes playing Sousa marches. "[I] chopped the tapes up into small sections and had Geoff Emerick throw them up into the air, re-assembling them at random." 
The song "The Tears of a Clown" from Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, first released in 1967 and whose music was composed by Stevie Wonder and Hank Cosby, features a distinctive circus calliope motif, which inspired Smokey Robinson with the lyrical theme of the sad clown.
The art rockers of the United States of America used the instrument on several tracks of their eponymous 1968 album (recorded 1967).
American rock band Kiss used a calliope on their song 'Flaming Youth' from their 1976 album Destroyer.
Tom Waits' 2002 release Blood Money features a track written for trumpet and calliope.
Vernian Process' 2011 single "Something Wicked (That Way Went)" features a sampled calliope throughout.
In the Thomas & Friends episode "Percy and the Calliope", Percy the Small Engine saves a calliope from the scrapyard. 
In In the Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson, the main theme of the title song is played on a calliope towards the end of the piece.
During Madonna's The Girlie Show tour, during the encore for "Holiday", the credits include the statement, "contains excerpts from Holiday for Calliope," which was, in general, the hook for "Holiday" played with a calliope. Additionally, a generalized circus theme was played with a calliope sound through part of the song.
In the web series Bravest Warriors, there is a theoretical system (similar to string theory) humorously dubbed the "Space Time Calliope" in which an infinite number of universes and timelines exist. The name is possibly referencing the mechanical complexity of calliopes.
The Bruce Springsteen song more popularly covered by Manfred Mann's Earth Band "Blinded by the Light" contains the line "the calliope crashed to the ground".
The Barclay James Harvest song "Medicine Man" uses the lyric "And didn't anybody want to ask the calliope to call the tune". This song was a great concert favourite and concerned a sinister travelling fair and carousel.
At one point in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Free Samples", SpongeBob uses a calliope to lure potential customers to his free samples stand. Instead, the calliope does the opposite.
In The Red Green Show episode "Out of the Woods", Red makes a calliope using a v8 engine and an assortment of old exhaust pipes.
In Girl Genius, the main character Agatha Heterodyne is given a calliope to repair by a travelling circus that had been wrecked, and thought to be beyond repair, in volumes 4 and 5. In the climax of volume 6, it is revealed she had modified it to control an army of small robots.
The Italian alternative metal band Ravenscry released a song called Calliope on their 2009 self-titled album.
In Larry Niven's The Ringworld Engineers: "The puppeteer wasn't in sight, but presently Louis heard the sound of a steam calliope dying in agony."
In Terry Pratchett's novel Moving Pictures, the theater-owner's daughter who sells banged grains and sings between shows is named "Calliope", which may be used to evoke the ornate movie house as "temple" of ancient gods, or else a play on the daughter's singing abilities.
On Cream's Wheels of Fire album, Jack Bruce is credited as playing the calliope on the song Passing the Time.
The 2013 video game Bioshock Infinite features an audio track of an instrumental calliope cover of Cyndi Lauper's 1983 single "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", and is heard as the player progresses through the "Battleship Bay" area of the fictional city of Columbia. This song appears as one of a number of anachronisms that occur within the context of the game's story, as it takes place decades before the song was composed in the real-world timeline.
HMS Calliope at the Battle of Jutland
Morning everyone – I’m preparing a ‘Great Sea Fights’ special edition of the Mariner’s Mirror Podcast for the Battle of Jutland. My Great Grandfather was on board HMS Calliope – a light cruiser. But I know next to nothing about what Calliope got up to at the battle. Can anyone help?
Some great responses on Twitter – thanks guys:
– “Exceptional officer in all ways magnificent leader of men” and “extremely popular with all” it says. For the CGM see the Gazette of 15.09.16. Awarded the French MM 10.02.19. The log is at Kew: ADM 53/36691. The list of casualties is ADM 18458/127. Her movements in the battle are ADM 137/303/2. Cdre Le Mesurier’s report is in ADM 137/302/4. His service record is ADM 196/154/351 and ADM 188/669/11010.
Calliope was in the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron with the Iron Duke and was involved in supporting its ‘turn-away’. It came under fire from the Westfalen.
Up to 1925 and even later will be available in record series ADM 362 and ADM 363 at TNA in fact
At the risk of telling you something you already know there are several references to Calliope in John Campbell’s book Jutland. In the thick of it with 39 casualties including 10 killed.
Jutland, 1916: Death in the Grey Wastes by Nigel Steel and Peter Hart quotes some very graphic descriptions of what happened onboard HMS Calliope when she was hit. There is a suggestion that she was the fastest “man of war” in
From Battleships in Action Vol 2 by HW Wilson p159: In the pursuit Calliope suddenly sighted 3 German Dreadnoughts in the mist at 8.26, and was hit 5 times and somewhat badly damaged with a loss of 19 men before she could retreat. She fired one torpedo at 6,500 yards … … against the leading German battleship of the KAISER class, but missed.
During the period 1841-42 she served at Canton with Sir William Parker's ships in the First Anglo-Chinese War (1839–42), known popularly as the First Opium War. ΐ]
Calliope under Captain Edward Stanley, left Plymouth, England on 18 August 1845, sailing for Hobart, Australia, via Madeira and the Cape of Good Hope. Upon arrival at Hobart the ship was sent to New Zealand, where she was station for 2½ years. The ship's Royal Marines saw action in the Flagstaff War in the north of New Zealand. A Royal Marine was killed at the siege of Ruapekapeka Pā and two seamen were killed in the Hutt Valley campaign. From late February 1846 until October 1847 Calliope operated mainly between Wellington, Whanganui and Nelson. Α] The ship continues to be memorialised through the name of the Calliope Dock that was constructed in 1888 at Calliope Point, Devonport, New Zealand.
Sir James Everard Home was appointed captain of Calliope on 28 November 1850 and died in Sydney on 2 November 1853. Β] A memorial to him was placed in St James' Church. Γ] Captain Gennys of HMS Fantome took command as acting captain. Γ] Captain Fitzgerald was appointed to take over command. Δ]
The ship was converted to a floating chapel in 1855 and was broken up in 1883.
Present day [ edit ]
Currently located next to the Gateshead Millennium Bridge HMS Calliope is the principal Training Centre for the North and North East of England, and serves as the home base for some 150 reservists. Members take part in local representational activities and Remembrance Day parades in Newcastle and Gateshead. A number of tenders have been assigned to the unit over the years, including the River-class minesweeper HMS Orwell and the Archer-class patrol vessel HMS Example.
The Armed Forces Career Officer (AFCO) for all three services (RN incl. RFA, RAF & Army) is now housed within the building.
Example was built by Watercraft Ltd of Shoreham by Sea and launched in 1985. She was initially delivered to the Royal Navy Auxiliary Service (RNXS) as an auxiliary service vessel with the pennant number A153. She was the lead vessel of a batch of four vessels known as the Example class, but was identical in design to the Archer class of patrol boats being simultaneously built for the Royal Navy. 
Example and her sisters were transferred to the Royal Navy when the RNXS disbanded in 1994. She retained her existing name, but was reclassified as a patrol boat of the Archer class, and was given the new pennant number of P165. 
The ship played a prominent role in the 2004 Entente Cordiale celebrations, and escorted HMS Endurance in the 2005 International Fleet Review. In summer 2006 the ship celebrated its 21st birthday with divisions at HMS Calliope with the salute taken by N Sherlock, Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear. In 2008, Example took a prominent role in the Tyneside celebrations to mark the centenary of the Territorial Army centred on the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. 
In 2012, in the company of sister ships Explorer, Ranger and Trumpeter, Example undertook a 12-week deployment visiting Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany before transiting the Kiel Canal and attending Kiel Week. The deployment continued to Stockholm, St Petersburg and Tallinn before returning to the UK. 
In November 2016, Example rejoined the fleet after a prolonged refit during which she received new engines allowing the ship to reach speeds of up to 22 knots (41 km/h).