"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep...He raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves...they reel to and fro and stagger like drunken sailors!" (psalm 107)

Other Warships "Curlew"

Other warships to bear the name "Curlew"

Sailing warships of the Royal Navy bearing the name "Curlew"

A British Brig-sloopThe first recording that is avaiable is of Curlew, an 8 gun Brig-sloop built in1795 at Rotherhithe, Thames River. Under the command of Cdr. Francis Ventris FIELD. Foundered in the North Sea on 31 December 1796, all hands lost.
Curlew, a Brig-sloop of 16 guns (Purchased 1803. Sold 1810) She was employed in the North Sea protecting trade to and from Malmo (Malmoe) and Gottenburg (Goeteborg) through the Sound and her boats captured seven Danish vessels carrying provisions to Norway. At the end of the season in 1810, Curlew was found to be defective and was paid off.
British BrigintineCurlew, built in 1812 at Bridport. An 18 gun 'Cruizer' class Brig-sloop. (Sold 1822) On 26 March 1813 Capt. HEAD captured the American privateer Volante, pierced for 22 guns but mounting ten 24 pounder carronades and four long 9 pounders. While on the Halifax station, Curlew, in company with Shannon, Nymphe and Tenedos, captured the brig Thorne armed with eighteen long 9 pounders and with a crew of 140 men, on a cruise from Marblehead on 31 October 1812 and recaptured the brig Friendship on 6 November. On 21 May 1813, Tenedos & Curlew captured the American privateer schooner Enterprise belonging to Salem, New Hampshire. The prize was returning from a 4 month cruise off the coast of Brazil during which she had made no captures. She was pierced for eighteen guns, but had only four mounted, and had a crew of 91 men. In December 1819 Curlew, Capt. WALPOLE, came under the orders of Capt. COLLIER in Liverpool, as part of an combined naval and military expedition against pirates in the Persian Gulf. They anchored off Ras-al-Khyma on 2nd. December and two days later debarked the troops, Curlew stood in near the shore and opened her fire on the town. When it was found that 12 and 18 pounders produced no effect on the walls, three 24 pounders were landed from Liverpool on the 8th and the following day the troops were able to enter a deserted town. Capt. WALPOLE brought home the prize ship, Seringapatam, of 46 guns.

An American privateer, the 18 gun sloop Curlew, captured by Acasta (48 gun frigate) in 1814 off Spithead bound for the East Indies. She was renamed Columbia and served in the Royal Navy until decommissioned at Chatham in 1816. She was sold in 1820

Curlew, built at Woolwich in 1829 as a 10 gun 'Cherokee' class Brig-sloop. In 1830 she dispatched to the Cape of Good Hope. On 4 June 1833 Curlew discovered the pirate ship Panda in the River Nazereth on the African coast. Panda, a Baltimore clipper, was wanted for the sack and attempted burning of the Salem ship Mexican on 20th. September 1832. Capt. TROTTER went in with 40 men in three boats and boarded Pander but most of the pirates escaped ashore where they were captured by a native chief. Twelve of the pirates were taken back to Curlew in irons. Panda was destroyed by an accidental explosion which killed the Purser, Gunner and two of her seamen and a boy from Curlew.
Tower BridgeThe captured pirates were sent to Massachusetts were they were tried in Boston on 11 November 1834 and on 11 June 1835 five of them, the master and four seamen, were hanged. Curlew operated round the Cape of Good Hope and Coast of Africa, before dispatching to South America in 1840, where the Fathe Elasmo and Zaruga were taken on 19th. and 21st. March and the Dom Pedro & Duque De Porto on 26th. March 1840. Curlew returned to Portsmouth in 1844 after being "out" for 14 years and paid off in 1848.

The next Curlew was a revenue ship (1848 to 1850) of 9 guns. She was followed by a Sloop/steam (wooden screw) Curlew of 9 guns (1854 to 1865). The wooden screw sloop Curlew (second in line) in the Thames River, passing through the Tower Bridge. Curlew, (9 guns) was built at Deptford in 1854 & served on the Mediterranean Station (and Black Sea during the Russian War) returning to Davenport in 1860. She then stationed in South America (South East Coast) from 1861 to 1865, thence sold to C. Marshall for breaking up at Plymouth.

Extract from the London Times Newspaper; 14th. December 1854:

On Tuesday morning a large number of volunteers for ships stationed in the Black Sea, the screw steam corvettes Esk, Curlew, and Tartar, and for the steam troopship Perseverance, fitting out for the Mediterranean at Woolwich, Chatham, and Portsmouth, were draughted from Her Majesty's ship Crocodile, receiving-ship, off the Tower, to the abovementioned posts.

Pirate sloop-o-war Curlew

Captain Jack Rackham was nicknamed "Calico Jack" because of the calico britches and coat that he usually wore. He was not one of the most infamous pirates in history, but is better known because of his connection to the two famous female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Rackham is first mentioned in pirate history as the quartermaster of the pirate ship Treasure in 1717 under the captain, Charles Vane. Rackham later deposed Vane as captain of the ship after Vane was ruled incompetent by the other crewmembers for neglecting to attack a French ship which seemed promising. Pirate CurlewRackham then sailed to a small deserted isle for some rest. While at the island 2 sloops from Jamaica surprised Rackham and his ship was seized. Rackham found his way to Providence Island where he asked for a pardon from Governor Rogers. He was granted his pardon in May 1719. It was while he was at Providence Island that he met Anne Bonny who was the wife of James Bonny. Calico Jack is best known for his relationship with Anne Bonny, whom he stole away (willingly) from her wastrel husband. Rackham and Bonny along with others stole a sloop-o-war called Curlew, in late 1719. The pirates sailed between Haiti and Bermuda taking several small ships. They fought side by side in battle, and eventually he turned over control of the ship to the two women, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. In late October, 1720, off the coast of Jamaica, a British Navy sloop, commanded by a Captain Barnet, came across Rackham's anchored ship. The pirate sloop, Curlew, shuddered convulsively under the tremendous volleys of cannon fire. Smoke billowed from the creaking deck; a twenty-foot section of the main mast cracked under a direct hit and crashed into the sea, sinking the once dreaded skull and crossbones of the black flag. Cannonballs, falling short of the ship, sprayed the already slippery deck with seawater, creating treacherous footing. Small fires flared and crackled everywhere, consuming bits of wooden barrels, ropes, and deck that had so far escaped the drenching sea. The pandemonium was deafening; shrill screams and curses from wounded, frightened men punctuated the air between the shattering thunderclaps of the cannons. Ship timbers snapped explosively. Calico Jack and his drunken crew, unprepared for the ferocious onslaught, scrambled into the lower hold of the ship and hid, cringing, beside the bulwarks. The only resistance the pirates put up was offered by Anne and Mary. Rackham and his crew were tried along with Anne Bonny and Mary Read in November, 1720. All were convicted and sentenced to hang. Read and Bonny were spared their lives as they were both pregnant to Rackham, but were hanged after the births of their babies. Rackham was hanged on November 28th. 1720.

Power driven warships to bear the name "Curlew"

CSS Curlew

CSS CurlewThe CSS Curlew was an iron-hull steamboat built in 1856 for passenger and freight service in North Carolina. It served as a gunboat for the Confederate Navy after being requisioned. It was sunk resisting the invasion of Roanoke Island in 1862. The Curlew is a case study of the progress of economic development in North Carolina, and a study of the role of the gunboat in the Confederate Navy. The Curlew also serves as an indicator of the state of iron shipbuilding technology in America during the 1850s. As an archaeological site, the Curlew remains are a rare extant example of early American iron shipbuilding.

The Steamboat

The steam tug/transport Curlew was built in 1856 by the Harlan & Hollingsworth Iron Shipbuilding Company of Wilmington, Delaware. It was 135 feet long, 23 feet wide, 8-foot depth of hold, and listed at 236 tons. Its average draft was 5 feet, which suited the shallow waters of North Carolina sounds. The steamboat had side paddle wheels that were 18 feet in diameter by 8 feet wide. The Curlew had no figurehead & a round stern. A walking beam engine with a 29-inch diameter cylinder and a 9-foot stroke powered the new steamer. This type of engine had a distinctive trapezoidal shaped rocker arm mounted between the paddle wheels, which transmitted power from the piston rod to the crank on the paddlewheel shaft. For improved efficiency, the engine of Curlew was equipped with the Sickle's patented cutoff valve. Steam was provided by a two furnace return flue boiler 18 feet long, 7 feet high, and 8 feet wide, and rated at 30 pounds of pressure. It started operating in North Carolina in July of 1856.


The Curlew was built for Thomas D. Warren, a doctor and plantation owner from Edenton, North Carolina. She operated as passenger and cargo transportation in the Albemarle Sound region, running between Edenton, Hertford, Elizabeth City and Nag's Head. Her first captain was Richard Halsey, who was later replaced by Thomas Burbage in 1858. After the Civil War broke out the Curlew was initially used as a Yankee troop transport, ferrying troops and supplies to various defensive works along the North Carolina coast . The Curlew was acquired by the Confederate Navy after Hatteras Inlet fell to Union forces in August 1861. It was outfitted with one rifled 32 pound cannon in the bow and one 12 pound smoothbore cannon in the stern. Under the command of Thomas T. Hunter it was involved in the capture of the supply boat Fanny at Chicamacomico on October 1, 1861. The Curlew alternately patrolled Pamlico sound and harassed Union shipping at Hatteras Inlet.
Report of Brig. Gen. Benjamin Huger, C. S. Army.
Norfolk, October 5, 1861.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and inspector General.
SIR: As I informed you by telegraph, Col. A. R. Wright, commanding Third Georgia Regiment, writes from Roanoke Island, dated 2nd instant, stating "We received information yesterday morning that the Yankees were about landing men near Chicamacomico, and immediately left this post, taking 150 men on board the steamers Curlew, Raleigh, and Junaluski, Commodore Lynch being in command of these vessels. At 5 p.m. we came in sight of a steamer (Federal), which proved to be the Fanny, having on board a quantity of quartermaster's and commissary stores for the Twentieth Indiana Regiment, in command of Captain Hart. After an engagement of thirty-five minutes the Fanny surrendered, and we made prisoners of the entire force--47 men, 2 officers, and 1 negro. Curlew on fire before explodingThe Fanny mounted two rifled cannon, and made a gallant resistance, but the superior weight of our guns gave us the advantage. The gun of the Curlew was manned by a crew from Captain McWhorter's company of this regiment, and worked their gun beautifully.

On February 7, 1861,the Curlew and 8 other Confederate gunboats attempted to repel the Union invasion of Roanoke Island. During this battle the Curlew was holed by a shell and run aground to keep from sinking. The next day it was set on fire when the Confederate forces on Roanoke Island surrendered. During the fire the ships battery (magazine of ammunition) exploded. The remaining Confederate gunboats withdrew to Elizabeth City, where all but 2 were destroyed or captured on February 10. The engine of the Curlew was salvaged in 1863, after which the wreck was allowed to decay. It was located in 1988 by a group of international divers working for the state of North Carolina. In 1994 the wreck was documented by state divers and students from East Carolina University and remains a research site.

British Beacon Class Gunboats

Beacon Class GunboatRoyal Navy Gunvessel Curlew, (Beacon Class) Laid Down: Chatham Dockyard, Launched: 1867, Completed: commissioned 20th August 1868, Dimensions:
Length: 155 feet,
Beam: 25 feet,
Draught: 8 feet to 9 feet 6 inches,
Engine Horsepower: 510 Indicated Horse Power,
Displacement: 603 tons,
Ship's Complement: 75.
Sister Ships: Avon; Boxer; Cracker; Dwarf; Elk; Flirt; Fly; Gnat; Growler; Hart; Hornet; Lynx; Midge; Pert; Rocket; Teazer; Thistle & then Magpie class gunvessels.

A number of this class including Curlew were later modified with the addition of a poop and larger masts. Much later a mizzen mast was added. This class was unarmoured. They mounted one 7 inch 'Woolwich' Muzzle-Loading Rifled (MLR) gun between the funnel and the mainmast, one 64-pounder MLR gun between the funnel and the foremast and two 20-pounder Breech-Loading guns as chasers, one being mounted at bow and stern.

The Beacon class were designated as composite gunvessels with iron frames and a timber shell. These were the first non-battleship vessels to have iron frames and to have watertight bulkheads. Originally built for service in China, but were used on several other stations. Curlew was deployed to the Persian Gulf to suppress the Arab slave trade. They carried horizontal direct acting reciprocal engines, powering twin two-bladed non-hoisting screws and giving a maximum speed of 9 to 10.5 knots. The first 18 vessels of this class were fitted with ten to twelve year old second-hand engines salvaged from scrapped gunboats. They carried 90 tons of coal bunkerage. Under steam, they handled well but due to their shallow draft and squared ends, they were poor performers under sail at low speed and with a following sea. Running free, they could make as much as 12 knots. Their lack of draught also caused them to suffer from wind drift (leeway) in moderate to high winds. They all carried a 'gunvessel rig' - a modified barque rig with pole topmasts and wider sails than usual for the mast height.

British Torpedo/Gunboats

Torpedo GunboatRoyal Navy "Curlew Class" Twin Screw Torpedo/gunboat built by Thorncroft & Co. around 1885. Fitted with two enclosed torpedo tubes recessed in the bow and carried 4 torpedoes. Armed with twin breech loading rifled .42 inch cannon in a small turret down aft. Crew of 18. Served on the West Africa Station then the Channel Squadron. Replacing a gunboat vessel of the same name, built in 1868, HMS Curlew (1885 to 1906) the first of five ships of the Curlew class: Blaze, Bulldog, Curlew, Kite & Landrail. Landrail was the last to be built and with modification became the new Landrail Class. Thorncroft & Co built similar ships for the Spanish navy. Twin screw, 1500 hp.

Canadian Gunboat/Minesweeper

Canadian Gunboat Canadian Gunboat
The first "modern" warship built in Canada in 1892, the CGS Curlew had a ram bow and a single small cannon forward of the bridge on the Taft rail. Sister ships: Constance and Petrel. A photo of HMCS Curlew in 1923. The Canadian Guard Ship Curlew renamed as Canadian Naval Ship Curlew, with sister ships Constance and Petrel were used as minesweepers in WW1.

Some more Curlews

HMS Curlew HMCS Curlew HMS Curlew-Minesweeper
HMS Curlew, a light AA cruiser of the Royal Navy. She was built in 1917 and sunk by the German Air Force in Lavang Fjiord, Norway on 26th. May 1940. HMS Curlew was the first ship in the Royal Navy to be fitted with radar. HMCS Curlew, built in Canada, refitted for minesweeping in Scotland. HMS Curlew, a minesweeper of the Royal Navy in 1914, lost soon after in WW1.

Curlew Class ships of the CSN

Blockade Runner

Curlew (Hull No. 177), Plover (Hull No. 178), Widgeon (Hull No. 179) & Snipe (Hull No. 180):
The Confederate Army needed to be supplied and so ships were used to run the Yankee blockade at night with equipment and food purchased in the West Indies capital of Havana. Typical cargo was British & Austrian made rifles, ammunition, army uniforms, blankets, shoes, medicines, salt, beef, paper, saltpeter, turpentine and tobacco intended for the Confederate Army.
The "Blockade Runners" were shoal draught and fast (12 knots) and on the return carried cotton and slaves. The Curlew Class ships ordered by the Confederate Navy were side wheel paddle steamers and built to be used as blockade runners. To minimize the ship silhouette, masts were lightly built and the funnels were able to telescope down within themselves. The hulls were painted white or light grey.
Curlew was ordered by the CSN in England from Jones, Quiggin Co.'s yard, being Hull No.177; she was laid down at Liverpool in 1864, and launched with her three sisters the same day in 1865, but is believed to have been delivered too late to serve the Confederacy.
Snipe was the last ship christened in what may have been the only quadruple launching for the Confederate Navy. She was Hull No.180 in the Jones, Quiggin yard at Liverpool on order for Comdr. J. D. Bulloch, CSN, and launched with her sisters the same day in 1865.

Curlew Class: Built by Jones, Quiggin & Co., Liverpool, Hulls 177-180, all launched same day, 1865; Dead weight: 645 tons, Length; 225ft., Beam: 24ft, Depth: 11ft, Draught: 6ft, 700 to 800 bale (cotton) capacity on 6' draft; Power: Steam, 2 wood burning furnaces, 180 hp.each side.

Warships "Curlew" of the United States Navy

USS Curlew I

Sternwheel CurlewThe first Curlew, a stern wheel paddle steamer, was built in 1862 at Pittsburgh, Pa., as Florence; purchased by the Navy 17 December 1862; converted to a light draft gunboat and renamed Curlew; commissioned 16 February 1863, acting Master G. Hentig in command. USS Curlew, mounting 8 x howitzers, part of the Mississippi Squadron, 1862 to 1865. Poorly built she was referred to as a "Tinclad". "Tinclad" was a popular name for a member of a group of seventy-six gunboats converted from small river steamers for use on the Mississippi and its smaller tributaries. They were often referred to in official Navy correspondence by the term "light-drafts." "Tinclad" is a misnomer. They weren't clad with tin; in fact, several had no metal armor at all, relying on wooden bulwarks for protection.
Sailing down river from Cairo, West Virginia, 17 February 1863, Curlew joined Admiral D. Porter's fleet for patrol and convoy duty in the Mississippi River and its tributaries. She had occasional skirmishes with the enemy on shore, including those during an expedition with army troops in June,1863 to engage Confederate troops on the Arkansas shore. From 12 to 20 July 1863 Curlew joined other vessels for an expedition into the Red, Black, Tensas, and Ouachita rivers during which they captured the steamer Louisville, one of the finest Mississippi packets, and the steamer Elmira, and destroyed stores, two smaller steamers, a large sawmill, and 30,000 feet of lumber.
Curlew served in the Ohio and Tennessee rivers from 23 December 1863 until 14 January 1864, when she arrived at Mound City, for repairs. She sailed on 12 March carrying a party from the U.S. Coast Survey for a survey of Grand Gulf, Miss., returning to Mound City 31 May. On 24 May she had a heavy engagement with a 12 gun battery at Gaines Landing, Ark., during which she was struck several times
. Curlew stood down the Mississippi again 30 June 1864 and cruised between Natchez and Vicksburg, Miss., having several encounters with enemy land forces. On 24 October she sailed up river to patrol the Ohio and Tennessee. From February to June 1865 Curlew conducted surveys in the river around Cairo and Mound City. Curlew was decommissioned 5 July 1865 and sold 17 August 1865

USS Curlew II

AM 8The second Curlew (AM 8) was launched 29 August 1918 by Staten Island Shipbuilding Co., N. Y.; sponsored by Mrs. G. C. Rhodes; and commissioned 7 January 1919, Lieutenant J. McCloy in command. Clearing Boston 5 April 1919 Curlew arrived at Inverness, Scotland, 20 April and was fitted out for experimental minesweeping out of Kirkwall, the Orkney Islands base for operations in the North Sea minefields. She sailed for home 2 October, calling at Chatham, England; Brest, France; Lisbon, Portugal; the Azores; and Bermuda, and reaching New York 19 November. Arriving at Portsmouth Navy Yard 26 November 1919, she was placed in ordinance 16 November 1920 without a crew.
SchoonerIn commission from 29 December 1920 to 7 February 1921, Curlew served with the Atlantic Fleet, then returned to reserve at Portsmouth. Recommissioned 29 October 1921, she cruised to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in the first 4 months of 1922 to give support to the ships training there, then sailed north to New London to serve as submarine tender until September. Between September and February 1923, she operated with submarines in Chesapeake Bay and off the Virginia coast.
Reassigned to the 15th Naval District, Curlew reported at Coco Solo, C.Z., 6 August 1923. Besides acting as tender for seaplanes, she carried out rescue and salvage operations from Coco Solo. On 15 December 1925, Curlew grounded on the rocks at Point Mosquito, Panama. Determined efforts were made to save her, but the heavy surf pounded her to pieces. She was decommissioned 28 February 1926, after all salvageable material was removed.

USS Curlew III

The 82 ft. schooner Curlew built in 1927 at Wiscasset, Maine, US; used as a sail training ship and was employed in coastal submarine patrol duty for the US Coast Guard in WW II The story of this beautiful schooner, with a overall length of 82 feet, begins in Wiscasset Maine in 1926. After successfully racing in the New York Yacht Club's Newport to Bermuda races, she was donated to the Merchant Marine Academy in 1940. Follower her military service, where she served as a training and submarine patrol duty vessel in World War II, Curlew gained recognition in 1962 by surviving a hurricane that claimed 144 other vessels.

USS Curlew IV

CatbirdThe fourth Curlew (AM 69) was a Catbird Class Minesweeper: Built in 1938 as the steel hull trawler M/V Kittiwake by the Charleston Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Charleston, SC for the Atlantoc Fisheries Co., Charleston; Acquired by the Navy 6 August 1940; Renamed USS Curlew 14 August 1940; Conversion to a Minesweeper began 6 September 1940 at the Quincy Dry Dock and Yacht Corp., Quincy, MA; Commissioned USS Curlew (AM 69), 7 November 1940; Conversion completed 10 May 1941.
Specifications: Displacement 570 t.; Length 147' 10"; Beam 28' 8"; Draft 12'; Complement, unknown; Speed 10 kts.; Armament one single 3"/50 gun mount; Propulsion Fairbanks Morse diesel engine, 575shp, one shaft.
Clearing Boston 10 May 1941, Curlew swept mines off Staten Island, N.Y., until 4 October when she put out for Cristobal, C.Z. She served in the 15th Naval District until 10 February 1944 when she reported to Section Base, Little Creek, Va., for patrol and mine sweeping operations until the end of the war. Re-classified IX 170, 1 June 1944, she arrived at Newport 14 November 1945. Curlew was decommissioned there 5 December 1945 and transferred to the Maritime Commission 27 September 1946 for disposal.

USS Curlew V

USS Curlew (AMS 8): These ships were YMS before the Korean war, the "Y" standing for prewar funding YMS 218 was reclassified AMS 8 and assigned the name Curlew on 17 February 1947.
"Where the fleet goes we've been" was her motto.
AMS 8, USS Curlew (1943 to 1956) recommissioned in June 1949. She was sent to the Western Pacific a year later to support Korean War operations. During most of that conflict, she was active in the combat zone, performing mine clearance and blockade missions. Ships of the class were tuna boat design with the sweep generator housed in the fish stowage area. Hull of white oak. They carried one 40mm and two 20mm guns. Operating close to shore on "Fly Catcher Op" Curlew blew up a train leaving a tunnel & picked up shot down fliers in Wonson. After the summer of 1952, work was mostly at night. On Thanksgiving Day 1952, at Wonson on a deep sweep had close aboard hits which almost sank the ship. Curlew remained in the Japan-Korea area after the war ended in mid 1953. Transferred to the Korean Navy 1956 to 1977. Renamed Kum Hwa.

AM 8 USS Curlew Raft of Minesweepers Kum Hwa
AM 8, USS Curlew Curlew rafted up in Korea with sisterships which included USS Gull AMS 8 USS Curlew, renamed Kum Hwa

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