Warrior was obsolete within a decade. She was relegated to the reserve Fleet ranks and in 1883, withdrawn from sea service. She was now little more than a floating hulk, although still officially classed an armoured cruiser.
Her masts and guns were stripped when she was used as a depot ship for two years. Her name became Vernon III, the Navy's torpedo training school. Her role was supplying steam and electricity to neighbouring hulks. A year later, another armoured cruiser called Warrior was launched.
Nobody wanted the old battleship when she went up for sale in 1924. Five years on, she inherited the name Oil Fuel Hulk C77 when starting life as a ship keeper's home and floating oil jetty at Pembroke Dock in Wales.
Some 5,000 ships refuelled alongside her in her 50 years at Pembroke. However, the Royal Navy kept her in reasonable condition with occasional maintenance trips into dry dock keeping her hull intact. Warrior was the only example of the 45 iron hulls built between 1861 and 1877 to survive.
In 1883 Warrior had been superseded by newer, better armed and protected ships. On May 14th she entered Portsmouth for the last time under her own steam. In her 22 years of service, six of them in full commission and eight as a first line reserve, Warrior had sailed some 90,000 sea miles without ever seeing an enemy ship or firing a shot in anger. She had now been withdrawn from sea service - her engines, boilers and guns stripped out and, for several years she languished in 'Rotten Row', a remote corner of Portsmouth Harbour. Now little more than a floating hulk, although still officially classed an armoured cruiser Warrior was progressively forgotten.
In 1902, Warrior took on a new lease of life as she was fitted out to become mother ship to the Portsmouth flotilla of small torpedo boats. But this role was only a brief one. In 1904 she became part of the Royal Navy's Torpedo Training School at Portsmouth and was renamed Vernon III. It was hardly a return to glory as she was used to supply steam and electricity to other hulks moored alongside. A new armoured cruiser, launched in 1905, took Warrior's name.
In 1923 Vernon moved ashore and once more Warrior was paid off. But again she survived at a time when her sister ship Black Prince and many others went to the scrapyard. She was offered for sale - but there were no takers. Finally because the hull was still in excellent condition, Warrior was converted and in 1929 towed to Milford Haven for use as a floating oil jetty.
Nobody wanted the old battleship when she went up for sale in 1924. But 1929 saw another change and another name. Rescued from possible destruction - a fate suffered by her sister ship Black Prince - she was towed to Pembroke Dock in Milford Haven to begin a new life and served for 50 years as an oil jetty under the name of Oil Fuel Hulk C77. Warrior acted as home to a shipkeeper and his family.
Some 5,000 ships refuelled alongside Warrior and her armoured hull showed little sign of deterioration. She was kept in reasonable condition by the Royal Navy who dry docked her regularly. As a result Warrior was the only example of the 45 ironclads built between 1861 and 1877 to survive.
When in 1960, HMS Vanguard submitted to the cutting torch, Warrior remained as Britain's last surviving battleship - a fact not lost on several influential people