HMS Alexandra was a central battery ironclad of the Victorian Royal Navy, whose seagoing career was from 1877 to 1900. She spent much of her career as a flagship, and took part in operations to deter Russian aggression against Turkey in 1878 and the bombardment of Alexandria in 1882.
She was commissioned at Chatham on 2 January 1877 as flagship, Mediterranean Fleet, and held this position continuously until 1889. She was the flagship of Admiral Hornby in his passage through the Dardanelles during the Russian war scare of 1878. She ran aground in bad weather at the narrowest part of the strait; she was towed off by HMS Sultan in time to lead the squadron to Constantinople. She was present at the bombardment of Alexandria in 1882; in this action the Admiral’s flag was shifted to HMS Invincible, as she was of shallower draught and could sail closer to shore. In 1886, the Duke of Edinburgh hoisted his flag on board, and Prince George of Wales, later King George V, joined as a lieutenant. During this action on 11 July 1882, Gunner Israel Harding flung a live 10-inch shell overboard, an action which led to the award of the Victoria Cross. She paid off in 1889 for modernisation.
In 1891, she was flagship of the Admiral Superintendent of Naval Reserves at Portsmouth, and remained so until 1901. Alexandra was featured in the first volume of the Navy and Army Illustrated in early c. April 1896 and was then described as a “coastguard ship at Portsmouth” with her principal armament being eight 18-tons guns, four 22-ton, six 4-inch and four six-pounder and six three-pounder quick firers. At this time, she had a complement of 408 officers and men and was commanded by Captain W.H. Pigott. Her last sea-time was as flagship of the “B” fleet in the manoeuvres of 1900. In 1903 she became a mechanical training ship, and she was sold in 1908. HMS Alexandra
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