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The HMS Swiftsure was an iron armoured battleship of 6910 tons built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company at Jarrow in 1870. She was engaged against the Spanish Intransigentes in 1873 and with Hornby at the Dardanelles in 1878. She became a Pacific Station flagship from 1882-1885, and again from 1888 to 1890. She was the largest of the ships in the Pacific Squadron, which also included the HMS Sappho and HMS Mutine, both sloops. She was commanded by Captain R.C. Atchinson, and was a part of expeditions commanded by Admiral Algernon McLellan Lyons. From 1901 to 1908, she served as a stores hulk under the name Orontes. She was sold for scrap in 1908.
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The Pacific Station, or Pacific Squadron, was one of the geographical divisions by which the Royal Navy of Britain divided its troops. Before 1837 it was called the South America Station, being at that point located in Valparaiso, Chile. Several factors, including boundary disputes between the United States and Britain,and the large amount of resources located on Vancouver Island, led to the move of the station headquarters from Valpariso to Esquimalt in November 1859.