The HMS Thunder Child was the torpedo ram warship of the British Royal Navy that is famous for sacrificing itself in order to protect the mass of refugee shipping evacuating people from the Essex coast as the attacking Martians approach. Her valiant efforts result in the destruction of two Tripods and allow the refugee fleet to escape, including the paddle-steamer carrying the narrator's brother and his two female traveling companions.
In Novel Edit
The Thunder Child was initially guarding the evacuation along with the other ships of the Channel Fleet when three Martian Tripods appeared and threatened to prevent the evacuation. Thunder Child drove directly at the Martians but the fact that she did not fire her guns, coupled with the Martians' unfamiliarity with armed warships, meant that they did not not initially view her as a threat and thus did not destroy her instantly with their Heat Rays - instead releasing their Black Smoke which bounced harmlessly off her metal hull. She was able to get right in amongst the Tripods and rammed one of them, destroying it. She was then struck and set ablaze by a second tripod's Heat Ray, however her engines and steering gear remained functional was able to turn and charge the Tripod that attacked her. A second shot from the Heat Ray destroyed Thunder Child but various flying debris from the exploding ship struck the second Tripod and destroyed it. The fate of the third Tripod is unknown although the other ironclads of the Channel Fleet soon arrived to cover the departing evacuation ships, allowing them to escape.
Real Life Counterpart EditThe inspiration for the ThunderChild was a Danish Torpedo Ram (:http://www.navypedia.org/ships/denmark/dk_bb_tordenskjold.htm ) named Tordenskjold (ThunderSHIELD) .(after Peter Tordenskjold).. The name is too close to Wells' invention for there not to have been a connection. People have quoted HMS Polyphemus as the inspiration, but this is doubtful, since unlike Tordenskjold and the ThunderChild, Polyphemus carried no guns...
In Movies Edit
The Thunder Child has only appeared in the Pendragon Pictures version of the War of the Worlds. The film wrongly portrays the vessel as a Havock-class destroyer. The battle is reversed, much like the Jeff Wayne's version, where the ship fires its cannon before ramming the tripod.
The 1953 and 2005 versions completely omit any mention of the Thunder Child. The only War of the Worlds adaptation other than the Pendragon Pictures film to feature the Thunder Child was the Jeff Wayne's Musical Adaptation .
Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War Of The Worlds Edit
In Jeff Wayne's musical version of the novel, the attack of the Thunder Child is reversed from the book. In the musical the Thunder Child fires her guns as she approaches the tripods, instead of ramming them first. (The Pendragon Pictures' film also portrays this). The Thunder Child successfully rams one of the three fighting machines, cutting it down, but is sank by the Heat ray of the other two.The Thunder Child successfully protects the steamer which is evacuating the population; including the narrator's wife, Carrie.
The Album cover of the 1978 version does not accurately portray the novel's description. The cover portrays a Canopus-class battleship engaging the Martian tripod.
In Games Edit
In the 1998 PC game Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds, the Thunder Child can be constructed as an Ironclad warship. It's primary function is off-shore bombardment and can deliver heavy damage to all units (including airborne units) and structures. It is constructed from a Shipyard in-game.
In the 1999 Playstation game Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds, the 7th Level involves the player taking control of the HMS Thunder Child. While part of the level briefly involves the Thunder Child protecting the steamer from Flying Machines, the rest of the level follows the game's alternate version of the story - with the Thunder Child taking down multiple Martian machines - such as Drones, Scouting Machines and Bombarding Machines - as well as Martian structures such as Suspension Field Sites and Telepathic Training Centres.Because of the number of Martian Defenses the Thunder Child has to take down, it is notably much more durable than in the novel/musical as it is able to take multiple hits from enemies and still carry on. Finally, the Thunder Child faces the Tempest in a Boss Battle at the end of the level - successfully bringing the machine down after destroying its Black Smoke Chemical Launcher and Twin Heat Rays - with a humorous touch been that the level includes the song "Thunderchild" from the Jeff Wayne Musical, although the lyrics claim that the Thunder Child is destroyed by the Martians while in the level the Thunder Child survives and it is the Martian machines that are destroyed.
In ComicsEditAlthough the Thunder Child does not appear in the movie War of the Worlds: Goliath , the comic book story "The Captain" from Heavy Metal Magazine - which ties into the film - declares that the captain of the Thunder Child was called Captain Eric Wodensen, while the ship itself was referred to as a Minotaur-Class Ironclad Battleship that was already outdated when it was called into battle.
15 years on from the sinking of the ship, Captain Eric Wodensen's son would follow in his father's footsteps and become a Naval Captain working for A.R.E.S - with his son's ship (upon which a portrait of Eric Wodensen hung) taking part in the battle of New York against the Martian's Flying and Fighting-Machines; his son's ship been named the 'HMS Thunder Child II'.
- Wikipedia:HMS Thunder Child
- Wikipedia: HMS Polyphemus (1881), the only historical Royal Navy warship which could accurately be described as a "torpedo ram," though without the large-caliber naval guns used by Thunder Child.