|H.M.S. Victoria Survivors
BLACKSMITH Charles MOIST R.N.
He was born 1 Dec 1856 in Plymouth & was by
trade a Blacksmith when he entered the R.N. in
that trade on 17 Jan ’78 at just over 21 years
of age. He entered on HMS Indus & from there
was drafted briefly to HMS Simoom prior to his
next draft to HMS Thetis in which he served
from May ’79 to July ’83. Next finds him on
HMS Asia then HMS Emerald from Mar ’86 to
Apl ’89. Whilst serving on HMS Emerald he
gains his Naval LS medal on 28 Feb ’88 – the
only medal he earned during his 20 years RN
service. He then serves on HMS Indus,
Cambridge, & again at sea on HMS
Agamemnon from Dec ‘90 to Sep ’92.
He then gets drafted on 14 Sep ‘92 to HMS
Camperdown, a new Battleship of July ’89 &
Flagship of Rear Admiral Hastings Markham,
2nd in Command of the Mediterranean Fleet.
HMS Camperdown was a Turret B/S armed
with four 13.5 inch, 67 ton breech loading
guns housed in double barbettes – formidable
armament for that day. She also possessed an
underwater bow ram, which was to play a very
important part in HMS Camperdown’s “day in
history” which was to occur on 22 June 1893
at approx 1531 in the afternoon.
Charles Moist was on board her that fateful afternoon when she rammed & sunk HMS Victoria,
Flagship of Adm Geo Tyron Commander in Chief of the Med Fleet.
He likely would have known his shipmate Antonio Pepe who’s group medal is shown in this showcase.
Camperdown struck HMS Victoria's bows on her starboard (right) side, her ram penetrating deeply
into Victoria’s interior – the swinging motion of both locked ships only exacerbated the hole
rupturing bulkheads & allowing a vast quantity of seawater to pour into Victoria. When Camperdown
went astern to withdraw from Victoria, Victoria sunk very quickly. Camperdown sustained heavy
damage to her bows, settling quickly, "........the sea was well over bow & half way up to her forward
barbette... her after gangways were well out of the water........seven (bow) compartments were still
flooded .... she looked a pitiful sight as she led the Med fleet towards Tripoli....diving parties left for
the flagship(Camperdown)& all night the men worked on the Camperdown's bows to repair the
twisted, broken stem piece & patch the six foot by ten foot jagged hole."
As a Blacksmith he would have very very busy for the rest of the afternoon & all night when
Camperdown finally made Tripoli. Camperdown underwent a refit from July to Sept ’93 & continued
to serve in the RN afterwards as a Coast Guard ship at Lough Swilly, then as a Sub Depot ship ’08
to ’11, & finally sold in July 1911 for break up.
Chas Moist left her on 19 July 94 after her refit was complete, & was drafted to Vivid where he
finished out his remaining time at HMS Cambridge & again to Vivid before going to pension on 23
Jan 98. He was a good sailor, always having his conduct assessed at Exemplary or Very Good.
His LS medal is typical of many Victorian era sailors – it was the only medal they earned for their
service. He saw no campaigns or active service during his career.
I expect the highlight of his 20 yr career was on the afternoon of 22 June 1893 & no doubt he
spoke of it many times in the subsequent years.
Artisan Rate Badge Extract from Moist's Service Record
HMS Camperdown HMS Camperdown Listing
HMS Camperdown in Malta drydock undergoing repairs after the collision.