Commissioned in 1884, Defiance was formed at Wearde Quay on the River Lynher, near Saltash, built around two wooden naval hulks moored off the northern bank. Defiance was a training station. Its deadly courses taught wholesale maritime destruction, using some of the most lethal weapons of their day: torpedoes and enormous sea-mines.
Mine-laying practice and recovery drills, using dummy weapons, were generally carried out in Whitsand and Cawsand Bays. But live mine and torpedo firings even took place on the Lynher itself. Along the shore Cornish people would gather to watch the explosions, as colossal gouts of water were flung high into the air.
My book, 'Cornwall In The First World War', is published by Truran. With 112 pages and 100 images, you'll find it in bookshops across the Duchy. It's also available through Amazon: http://amzn.to/19JbtZm