No. 434 'Bluenose' Squadron (RCAF): Second World War

No. 434 'Bluenose' Squadron (RCAF): Second World War

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No. 434 Squadron (RCAF) during the Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.434 "Bluenose" Squadron was a RCAF heavy bomber squadron, formed in June 1943 as part of No.6 (RCAF) Group. It was named after the schooner "Bluenose", a successful racing ship and fishing boat, which became a symbol of Nova Scotia.

The squadron operated the Handley Page Halifax from 12 August 1943-18 December 1944, and the Avro Lancaster from 24 December 1945 until the end of the war. Originally the squadron converted to the Canadian-built Lancaster B.Mk X, but this was soon supplemented by a number of Lancaster B.Mk Is. The squadron returned to Canada in June 1945, and was disbanded on 5 September 1945 after the Japanese surrender.

June 1943 to April/May 1944: Handley Page Halifax B.Mk V
May 1944 to December 1944: Handley Page Halifax B.Mk III
December 1944-September 1945: Avro Lancaster B.Mk X
February-March 1945: Avro Lancaster B.Mk I

13 June 1943 to 11 December 1943: Tholthorpe
11 December 1943-15 June 1945: Croft

Squadron Codes: WL

June 1943 onwards: Bomber squadron with No 6 (RCAF) Group


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Naval/Maritime History 18th of June - Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History

The Admirable was a First Rank three-decker ship of the line of the French Royal Navy. She was initially armed with 96 guns, comprising twenty-eight 36-pounder guns on the lower deck, thirty 18-pounder guns on the middle deck, and twenty-eight 8-pounder guns on the upper deck, with ten 6-pounder guns on the quarterdeck. In 1699 the 8-pounders on the upper deck were replaced by twenty-six 12-pounders, and two pairs of 6-pounders was removed from the quarterdeck, reducing the ship to 90 guns one pair of 12-pounders was removed in 1704.

Length: 160 French feet
Beam: 45½ French feet
Draught: 23½ French feet
Depth of hold: 21 French feet
Complement: 725 men (550 in peacetime), + 11 officers
Armament: 96 (later 90, then 88) guns

Designed and constructed by Laurent Coulomb, she was begun at Lorient Dockyard in July 1692 and launched on 23 December of the same year. She was a replacement for the previous ship of the same name, destroyed by an English fireship at Cherbourg in June 1692. She took part in the Battle of Lagos on 28 June 1693 and in the Battle of Vélez-Málagaon 13 August 1704. In July 1707 she was sunk in shallow water at Toulon to avoid the fire from bomb vessels, but was refloated in October. She was condemned at Toulon on 11 March 1713, and was broken up in June/August 1716.

The action at La Hogue in May 1692 formed a crucial scene in the wider context of the Battle of Barfleur. This was a naval battle of the War of the League of Augsburg, 1689-97, fought between an Anglo-Dutch and a French fleet. It was not finally brought to a conclusion until 24 May in the Bay of La Hogue, in the course of which the French flagship ‘Soleil Royal’ as well as the ‘Triomphant’ and the ‘Admirable’ were burned by the English. The centre of this dramatic scene is occupied by a group of six French ships burning. A seventh is shown burning on the shore. They have been attacked by the boats of the Anglo-Dutch fleet which are also attacking another group of ships further round the Bay of La Hogue, one to the left which is also burning. On the extreme left in the distance the Allied fleet can be seen at anchor. In the right background a third lot of shipping is burning near a town. An odd feature of the picture is that two of the ships in the nearest group wear white flags with a blue cross, a flag associated with 17th century French merchant ships. The painting is signed ‘Diest fe.’

Admirable 84 guns (designed and built by Laurent Coulomb, launched 10 September 1691 at Lorient) – burnt by the English in an action at Cherbourg in June 1692


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
23 December 1756 - Pondicherry (or Pondichéry), a French East Indiaman, launched 1754 captured by HMS Dover

Pondicherry ( or Pondichéry) was a French East Indiaman, launched in December 1754, that the Royal Navy captured in 1756, early in the Seven Years' War with France. She was then sold and her new owners, who renamed her Pitt, proceeded to charter her to the British East India Company (EIC), for three voyages. During her first voyage she engaged a French warship, and then went on to chart a new route, Pitt's Passage, through the East Indies on the way to China. The EIC found this new route of the utmost importance as it was faster than their existing route, and was navigable in all seasons. After her return from her third voyage Pitt disappears from readily available online sources.

The action between the English East Indiaman the ‘Pitt’ and French ship ‘St Louis’ was a minor event which occurred off Fort St David, near Pondicherry. When Commodore Wilson, the captain of the ‘Pitt’ tried to engage the ‘St Louis’ in blowy weather he was unable to operate his lower tier of guns. So he was forced to break off the engagement after a brief exchange and escaped by out-sailing the Frenchman. The painting shows the two ships firing into each other, with the ‘Pitt’ on the left. The painting is inscribed ‘Commodore Wilson of the ‘Pitt’ engaging the ‘St Louis’ French ship of the line belonging to the Squadron of Monsieur de Ache on the 28th Septem 1759’, although the date written is incorrect.

  • Pondichéry: 11 officers and 154 men
  • Pondicherry: 220
  • Pitt (as warship): 250
  • Pitt (as merchantman): 120
  • Pondichéry: 20 × 8-pounder guns, pierced for 56
  • Pondicherry: 24 × 6 & 9-pounders
  • Pitt (as warship): 50-4 guns
  • Pitt (as merchantman): 30 guns

It is her first voyage for the EIC, under the command of Captain William Wilson, that is of the greatest significance. Wilson sailed Pitt to China via a route between Java and New Guinea. The EIC had avoided sailing through the East Indies since the 1623 Amboyna massacre. The Dutch East India Company was hostile towards the EIC, fearing that the EIC would compete with them in sourcing pepper and spices. Throughout his voyage via the East Indies, Wilson kept extensive notes, made charts, and on them corrected the location of several islands and other geographical features. When he arrived in Canton, he had two sets of his charts prepared, one for the EIC governor at Madras and one that the EIC representatives at Canton could copy for their vessels.

The direct route through the Sunda Strait to Macao is 1800 nautical miles the route via Pitt's Passage is 3725 nautical miles, but quicker. Furthermore, the route via the Sunda Strait depended on the southwest monsoon in the China sea.

Pondichéry sailed for China on 15 January 1755 under the command of Captain Pierre de Sanguinet.

HMS Dover, under the command of Captain Christopher Hill, captured "Pondicherry" on 23 December 1756 after an engagement of two hours. She lost her second captain and 11 men killed, and 18 wounded the British sustained no casualties. Pondicherry had been sailing from Canton when Dover intercepted her in "the Bay", and brought her into Cork. Dover then brought Pondicherry into the Nore. She was valued at £160,000, though given what she herself sold for, almost all the value rested in her cargo.

The EIC purchased Pondicherry on 5 October 1757 for £4525. Her new owner refitted her and renamed her Pitt. The EIC hired her in November 1757. On 23 December 1757, the EIC appointed Captain William Wilson, late of the Indiaman Suffolk, "commodore and commander of all the vessels in the Company's service". He took command of Pitt in January 1758.

She then went on to perform three voyages to Madras and China for the EIC, though only on the first was she under Wilson's command. The EIC had talked of a heavily armed merchantman for some two years and Pitt suited their plans. Pondicherry had had only 24 guns, so a lower tier of gunports had to be cut into her sides to accommodate a doubling of her cannons. The EIC classed her as a warship, and in addition to arming her heavily, gave her a larger crew than a merchantman of her size would normally carry. (Suffolk, Wilson's former command, of 499 tons (bm), carried 26 guns and 99 crew.)

Voyage #1 (1758–1760)
Captain William Wilson sailed from Portsmouth on 6 May 1758. Pitt left under escort by the 74-gun HMS Grafton and the 60-gun fourth rate HMS Sunderland.[Note 3] Pitt was carrying a cargo worth £31,832, Colonel Sir William Draper, and two companies of the regiment that Draper had raised, the 79th Regiment of Foot.

Wilson wanted to stop at St Jago, but the presence there of some French warships forced him steer to Fernando de Noronha, which he reached on 3 May. By 21 July Pitt was at St Augustine's Bay, where he stopped to get limes to treat scurvy. By 14 September she was at Madras.

At Madras the soldiers disembarked, though 28 of their number had died on the voyage. Pitt also discharged her cargo. The EIC's original plan had been that Pitt would accompany the China fleet through the East Indies. However, she had arrived too late and the fleet had left. She also could not remain on the Coromandel Coast as the hurricane season was approaching and she would be too exposed. Wilson decided to sail for China. He took with him a snow, the Surprize, that could act as a scout on the new route he wished to take.

After Pitt had left Madras and was off Fort St. David, near Pondicherry, on 29 September she encountered a large, armed French ship. Wilson decided to engage, and the two vessels exchanged broadsides. Wilson discovered that because the weather was unsettled, when Pitt opened her lower gun ports to fire water came in, and he had to close them. Wilson estimated that with his lower gun deck out of action, his opponent outgunned him by 13 guns, and decided to break off the action. Pitt then out-sailed her adversary. Later, it turned out that the French vessel was the St Louis, under the command of Captain Louis de Joannis, and belonged to the Indian Ocean Squadron under the command of Anne Antoine, Comte d'Aché.

On 20 October Pitt reached Quedah on the coast of Malaya. This was the rendezvous point that he had agreed with Surprize should they get separated.[5] From there Pitt reached Malacca on 10 November, and Batavia on 15 December.

At Batavia, Wilson took on provisions, while dissembling his intentions to the suspicious Dutch. Still, in a letter to the Dutch Governor-General, Wilson wrote ". the English had a right to navigate wherever it has pleased God to send water."

On 29 December Pitt reached the island of Palau Karimum Jawa and then sailed on to Palau Madura, where she turned north. On 2 January 1759 Pitt and Surprize encountered a Dutch vessel whose master provided helpful sailing information and a chart. Pitt then sailed between the Celebes and Selayar Island, before anchoring in the Boeteong Straits on 10 January. Wilson remained in the vicinity of Wowoni Island until the end of January. Pitt then sailed for the Ceram Sea in February.

Wilson sailed Pitt towards the Raja Ampat Islands and Dampier Strait, but decided to explore a channel to the east that he called Pitt Strait. The strait runs between Batanta and Salawati islands, whereas Dampier Strait proper separates Batanta from Waigeo to its west. Both connected the Ceram Sea to the Pacific.

The route from Palua Buton to the end of Pitt Strait became known as Pitt's Passage. From the strait, Pitt sailed due north, staying well east of Halmahera island and the Philippines. After she reached Batan Island on 25 March, Wilson sailed through the Bashi Channel and headed west. Pitt arrived at Whampoa on 15 April 1759.

For her return to Britain Pitt crossed the Second Bar on 15 May and on 6 June she was at Macao. Wilson decided to retrace his voyage through Pitt's Passage to ensure that it was usable in both directions. On 24 August Pitt was at Batavia and by 2 September she had passed through the Sunda Strait and reached Benkulen. From there she reached St Helena on 9 December and Kinsale on 23 Feb 1760. She arrived at the Downs on 8 April. Her arrival in London was six months earlier than expected.

On 26 June the EIC again gave Wilson a gold medal worth 100 guineas.[5] Wilson did not go to sea again and resigned his position with the EIC in 1762.

After the experiences of the first journey the EIC decided to use Pitt purely as a merchantman. They removed the lower tier of guns and reduced her crew.

Voyage #2 (1761–1762)
Captain Joseph Jackson sailed from Plymouth on 15 Mar 1761 and arrived at Madras on 23 July. Pitt then arrived at Whampoa on 24 October. For her return to Britain she crossed the Second Bar on 30 November, reached St Helena on 22 April 1762, and arrived at the Downs on 28 July.

Voyage #3 (1763–1765)
Jackson left the Downs on 21 March 1763.Pitt arrived at Rio on 25 July, Madras on 7 January 1764, and Fort St. Davis on 12 March. One week later she was again at Madras, and by 23 May she had reached Malacca. From there she sailed to Manilla, which she reached on 21 July, and Whampoa, where she arrived on 13 September. Homeward bound, she crossed the Second Bar on 27 December, and reached Benkulen on 5 March 1765 and St Helena on 18 July. She arrived at the Downs on 7 October.


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
23 December 1775 – Launch of HMS Sultan, a 74-gun third rate ship of the line

HMS Sultan was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 23 December 1775 at Harwich. Built to take part in the American Revolutionary War, her departure was delayed due to a shortage of crew and it was 9 June 1778 before she finally sailed as part of a squadron led by Rear-Admiral John Byron. In September she was with Richard Howe's fleet, blockading the French in Boston and in 1779, transferred to the West Indies, where she took part in the Battle of Grenada that July. Almost a year later, on 20 June 1780, she was involved in a short action off the coast of the Dominican Republic with a superior French force.

Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan with stern board outline, sheer lines, and modified longitudinal half-breadth proposed (and approved) for 'Royal Oak' (1810), and later for 'Hector' (1774), 'Sultan' (1775), and 'Vengeance' (1774), all 74-gun Third Rate, two-deckers.

Following a refit at Plymouth, Sultan was sent to join Sir Edward Hughes' fleet in the East Indies, arriving from England on 30 March in time to fight in the battles of Providien, Negapatam and Trincomalee. Her last action was at Cuddalore in 1783 and she returned to England in 1784 as Hughes' flagship.

In July 1794, Sultan was recommissioned as a hospital ship in Portsmouth harbour where, in January 1797, she was converted for use as a prison ship. Renamed Suffolk on 25 October 1805, she remained a prison ship until 1815 when she was laid up in ordinary and in 1816, broken up.

  • 74 guns:
  • Gundeck: 28 × 32 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 28 × 18 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 14 × 9 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 4 × 9 pdr

Sultan was ordered on 14 January 1771 and her keel was laid down in March at Harwich Dockyard. As built, her dimensions were: 168 feet 6 inches (51.4 metres) along the gun deck, 137 ft 11 in (42.0 m) at the keel, with a beam of 46 ft 11 in (14.3 m) and a depth in the hold of 20 ft 0 in (6.10 m). This made her 1,614 73⁄94 tons burthen (bm). Her build cost the Admiralty £33,621.9.1d plus a further £5,855.9.6d for finishing.

On her lower gun deck, Sultan carried twenty-eight 32-pounder (15 kg) guns. Her upper deck had twenty-eight 18 pounders (8.2 kg). There were four 9-pounder (4.1 kg) guns on the forecastle and fourteen 9 pounders (4.1 kg) on the quarterdeck. Royal Oak-Class ships were designed to carry a complement of 600 when fully manned.

Sultan was launched on 23 December 1775 and taken to Chatham Dockyard where she was completed between 23 February 1776 and 3 November 1777. First commissioned under Captain John Wheelock in August 1777, she was part of a fleet that sailed for New York on 9 June the following year. Comprising 13 ships-of-the-line and a frigate, these reinforcements for the war in America, under the command of Rear-Admiral John Byron, had been delayed for some months due to a shortage of manpower. It was only after the French fleet had left Toulon and thus ceased to pose an invasion threat, that the Channel Fleet could be stripped of its crews.

Byron's squadron was scattered by a storm and arrived in America piecemeal. His flagship, the 90-gun HMS Princess Royal, eventually made landfall off the south-coast of Long Island on 18 August. Most of his ships ended up in Halifax and only a few made it to New York. On 11 September 1778, Sultan joined Richard Howe's fleet, blockading the French in Boston.

Following the death of Captain Wheelock in 1779, command of Sultan passed to Captain Charles Fielding. The ship was in Antigua in February when Fielding was entrusted with delivering dispatches to England. Shortly after the Battle of St Lucia, the frigate HMS Pearl arrived, carrying details of the island's capture and the two ships left in company on 16 February. They arrived at Spithead on 22 March with papers and reports from Byron, Admiral Samuel Barrington and Major-General James Grant.

Battle of Grenada[
Main article: Battle of Grenada

Jean-François Hue's depiction of the Battle of Grenada

Fielding was later replaced by Captain Alan Gardner under whom Sultan fought at the Battle of Grenada on 6 July. The British ships were away on escort duty, when on 18 June, a French force under the Comte D'Estaing, attacked and captured the island of St Vincent. Admiral Byron had been notified of the island's loss and was moving to recapture it when he received word that the French had since taken Grenada. He immediately turned his convoy to meet them. Of his twenty-one ships-of-the-line, he initially left three to guard the convoy and, hoping to attack quickly before the French had time to assemble, sent the remainder on a general chase of the enemy fleet as it left its anchorage. Fifteen of the twenty-five French ships had already formed line-of-battle when Sultan, leading the charge, with HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Boyne arrived. Far ahead of their compatriots they were forced to endure the brunt of the French fire, without being able to bring their own guns to bear. The rest of the British fleet, while attempting to form line, engaged discontinuously and, outnumbered, was badly mauled in the disorganised attack. The British had 183 men killed and 346 wounded in the battle. The loss aboard Sultan was 16 killed and 39 wounded.

Action off Monte Cristi
In June 1780, Sultan was part of William Cornwallis's small squadron, comprising two 74s, two 64s, a 50-gun ship and a frigate, sent by the Commander-in-Chief of the Jamaica Station, Admiral Hyde Parker, to accompany a British merchant fleet bound for England. Having taken the convoy as far as Bermuda, Cornwallis was returning when, on 20 June, a fleet of French transports and its escort were seen off Monte Cristi. The French fleet, commanded by Admiral Charles de Ternay was on its way to Rhode Island with 6,000 troops. On seeing the British approach, de Ternay had his seven escort ships – An 80-gun, two 74s and four 64s, form a column which then bore down on the enemy. In response Cornwallis ordered his ships into a line-of-battle, with Sultan in second position. After a brief exchange of fire, the inferior British force broke off the engagement and the French continued on their way.

By December that year Sultan was back in England undergoing a refit and recoppering at Plymouth. The works took until April following and cost £11,914.2.10d. She was recommissioned in May 1781, under Captain James Watt, and in June, sailed for the East Indies. In 1782, having at some point returned to home waters, Sultan and Magnanime were sent back to the East Indies to join Sir Edward Hughes' fleet, arriving from England in time to fight in the battles of Providien, Negapatam and Trincomalee. During the journey, scurvy had taken its toll on the men from both ships. Encountering Hughes en route to Trincomalee, neither ship had an opportunity to land the sick and reinforce, and were thus forced to do battle with depleted crews.

Main article: Battle of Providien
Hughes in the 74-gun Superb, accompanied by the 74-gun Hero, the 68-gun Monarca, the 50-gun Isis, and the five 64-gun ships, Exeter, Burford, Monmouth, Worcester and Eagle, had left Madras on 12 March and was sailing with reinforcements for Trincomalee. On 30 March, he was joined at sea by Sultan and Magnanime, bringing his force up to eleven ships. Twelve French ships-of-the-line, under Admiral Pierre André de Suffren, having landed troops to assist in the siege of Cuddalore, was heading south when on 9 April the British fleet was seen. Hughes, considering his first priority to be the safe delivery of the troops, held his course for two days until an action became inevitable. When, on the morning of 12 April, it became apparent that he was going to be overhauled, Hughes had his ships form line-of-battle with Sultan and Magnanime at the rear.

At 11:00, the French, having been on a parallel tack, turned towards the British line with each ship steering for its opposite number. Suffren directed his extra ship to attack the rear from the other side. The French line was bowed however and it was the central British ships which bore the brunt of the attack. At 15:40, both fleets were running out of searoom and tacked to avoid running foul of the shore. After working his way clear, at 17:40 Hughes anchored his fleet to make repairs. The French anchored at 20:00, 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) away, to do likewise. Each side had had 137 men killed and, in addition, the British had 430 wounded and the French, 357. It was a week before either fleet was ready to sail again the French finished their repairs first and left on 19 April, the British a few days later. Hughes' ships put into Trincomalee on 22 April. On 23 June, they left for Negapatam.

The French and British fleets lined up on the same tack, at the start of the Battle of Negapatam. As envisaged by Dominic Serres

On arrival at Negapatam, the fleet learned that Cuddalore had surrendered on 4 April, and Suffren was a few miles north preying on British merchant vessels. While the British were deciding their best course of action, Suffren, who had heard of Hughes' location, turned up to offer battle. The French fleet, reinforced with its prizes, appeared at 13:00 on 5 July and at 15:00, with a monsoon approaching, Hughes' ships sailed out, heading south, to steal the weathergauge. When dawn came the following morning, the British were some 8 nmi (15 km) to windward of the French fleet, which had anchored during the night. At 06:00, Suffren ordered his ships to get under way but found that one of his 64s, Ajax, was unable to comply, having lost a mast during the previous night's storm. This made the fleets numerically equal.

With the wind from the south-west, both fleets lined up on the starboard tack with the French to leeward. Just before 11:00 the lines began to converge but as in the battle on 12 April, and indeed as was the case in most engagements, the opposing forces did not sail a parallel course and the ships in the van began a much closer action than those towards the rear. The fourth ship in the French line therefore was badly damaged in the opening exchanges and, with one of its masts brought down, was forced to retire.

Effect on belligerents of the dramatic wind shift at 12:30

At 12:30, the wind veered to south-south-east, sending the fleets into disarray. With the wind head-on, some ships turned to starboard and some to port. The majority turned away from the engagement but six ships, four British and two French turned in towards one another. Sultan, one of the ships in the ensuing melee, may have been responsible for bringing down the mast of Brilliant before joining two other British ships in an action against the 64-gun Sévère. Outnumbered, Sévère surrendered. The British ships ceased firing and Sultan turned away to rejoin her fleet. With Suffren now approaching in the 74-gun Héros, Sévère ran up her colours and fired into Sultan's stern, causing considerable damage. By 13:30 the battle was all but over each side regrouped and by 18:00 had anchored some 10 nmi (19 km) apart, to effect repairs. The British had 77 killed and 233 wounded in the engagement while the French had 178 killed and 601 wounded. On 7 July, the French fleet sailed for Cuddalore.

Main article: Battle of Trincomalee
Hughes had returned to Madras by 20 July but having anticipated an attack on Trincomalee, left on 20 August. The British reached the port on 2 September to find the place had fallen two days earlier. The next morning, as the British approached, Suffren's force of 14 ships-of-the-line, put to sea. Hughes had also been reinforced, by the 64-gun Sceptre, bringing his number up to twelve.

Battle of Trincomalee, painted for Hughes by Dominic Serres

By the time the French were in a position to attack, the fleets were 25 nmi (46 km) to the south-east. At 14:00, having come down on the British, line abreast, Suffren had his ships form line ahead and at 14:30, action ensued. Having poorly executed the manoeuvres, the French attack was disjointed. with a distant engagement occurring at the front and rear of the line. Towards the centre however, a heavy close-action took place, initially with Sultan, Superb, Burford, Eagle, Hero and Monarca against Héros, Illustre and Ajax. By the time Brillant and Artésien arrived in support of their French comrades, Ajax had been so badly damaged, she was forced to withdraw. At 17:30 the wind changed, allowing the French van to engage. The British ships at the centre, now outnumbered by a fresh enemy force, received heavy fire. The battle finished when it became too dark to continue. Both sides remained in the vicinity until the following morning when the French sailed for Trincomalee, and the British for Madras. At the end of the fight, the British were left with 51 dead and 283 wounded, the French 82 dead and 255 wounded. Watt was one of those killed at Trincomalee. He was replaced by Captain Andrew Mitchell who commanded Sultan at the Battle of Cuddalore on 20 June 1783.

The condition of the British fleet, following the Battle of Trincomalee, was such that Hughes did not think it would survive the monsoon in the open waters around Madras. After repairs and revictualing therefore, he moved his ships to Bombay. It was 15 November before the fleet was ready to leave and the journey took upwards of two months, during which time Hughes moved his flag to Sultan. In April 1783, Hughes' ships were sent in support of a land-based attack on Cuddalore.

Main article: Battle of Cuddalore (1783)

A depiction of the Battle of Cuddalore by French artist, Auguste Jugelet (1805–1875)

A British force marched from Madras and laid siege to Cuddalore on 7 June 1783. Hughes fleet of 18 ships-of-the-line, cruised to the south and covered the transports as they landed supplies. On hearing of the attack, on 10 June, Suffren set sail from Trincomalee with 15 ships-of-the-line and on 13 June, discovered the British fleet at anchor off Parangipettai. On seeing the French, Hughes had his ships get under way and set about trying to obtain the weathergauge in the light and variable wind. Suffren, battling the same conditions, spent the next four days getting to Cuddalore, where he supplemented his crews with 1,200 French troops before leaving on 18 June.

A steady wind on 20 June allowed the opposing fleets to engage. Both fleets formed a line on the port tack, heading north. At about 16:15 they opened fire. Sultan, fourth in the line, attacked the 74-gun Argonaute, opposite. The battle continued for three hours, during which time the British losses were 99 dead and 434 wounded and the French, 182 dead and 386 wounded. When darkness fell, the British hove-to while the French fleet continued on the same tack, anchoring the next morning, 25 nmi (46 km) north of the city.

In addition to the dead and wounded, Hughes had lost 1,100 men to scurvy. With crews depleted and several ships disabled, the British retreated to Madras on 22 June, arriving three days later. The siege continued without them until 29 June when a British ship brought news of peace.

After Sultan returned home in 1784 as Hughes' flagship, she was paid off. In July 1794, Sultan was recommissioned as a hospital ship in Portsmouth Harbour still there in January 1797, she was converted for use as a prison ship at a cost of GB£4,070 (equivalent to £386,831 in 2016). Renamed Suffolk on 25 October 1805, she remained a prison ship until 1815 when she was laid up in ordinary. She was broken up in 1816.


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
23 December 1779 – Launch of French Capricieuse, at Lorient – captured 1780 by British Navy.

The Capricieuse was a 36-gun frigate of the French Navy, lead ship of her class

Class and type: Capricieuse-class frigate
Displacement: 600 tonnes
Length: 44.2 m (145 ft)
Beam: 11.2 m (37 ft)
Draught: 5.5 m (18 ft)
Armament: 32 guns

She was launched in Lorient on 20 November 1786 and commissioned under captain de Ferrières the next year.
In 1788, she accidentally ran aground and was refloated the next year.
In February 1791, she took a station in Domingo, from which she returned in October 1792, ferrying Blanchelande to be tried in France.
In September 1793, she was renamed Charente and manned by the crew of Néréide. She took part in the Croisière du Grand Hiver and in the Expédition d'Irlande, where she shadowed Trajan.
In 1798, she was used to ferry detainees to Cayenne. In late March, under commander Bruillac, she battled a British division off Gironde.

Capricieuse was lost on 31 October 1799, when she ran aground at the entrance of Blavet river.

French frigate Cybèle and Prudente battling HMS Centurion and HMS Diomede

Capricieuse class, (32-gun design by Charles Segondat-Duvernet, with 26 x 12-pounder and 6 x 6-pounder guns).

Capricieuse, (i) (launched 23 December 1779 at Lorient) – captured 1780 by British Navy.
Friponne, (launched 20 March 1780 at Lorient) – condemned 1796.
Capricieuse, (ii) (launched 20 November 1786 at Lorient ( – wrecked January 1800.
Prudente, (launched 21 September 1790 at Lorient) – sold for service as a privateer 1798.


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
23 December 1808 - HMS Fama Sloop (18), Lt. Charles Toping, wrecked on Bornholm, Baltic.

HMS Fama was the Danish brig Fama, of fourteen guns, built in 1802, which the British captured in 1808. She was wrecked at the end of the year.

Danish origins
Fama was built in Copenhagen to a design by F.C.H. Hohlenberg. She was the second of three vessels of the Brev Drageren-class and was launched 1802.

  • Laden: 10'6"' (Danish)
  • Unladen: 8'2" (Danish)
  • Danish service (original): 8 x 4-pounder guns + 4 x 12-pounder carronades
  • Danish service (per later records): 12 x 12-pounder carronades 2 x 6-pounder guns
  • British service: 14 guns

When word of the uprising of the Spanish against the French in 1808 reached Denmark, some 12,000 Spanish troops stationed in Denmark and under the Marquis de la Romanadecided that they wished to leave French service and return to Spain. The Marquis contacted Rear-Admiral Keats, on Superb, who was in command of a small British squadron in the Kattegat. They agreed a plan and on 9 August 1808 the Spaniards seized the fort and town of Nyborg. Keats then prepared to take possession of the port and to organize the departure of the Spanish. Keats informed the Danish authorities that if they did not impede the operation he would spare the town. The Danes agreed, except for the captains of two small Danish warships in the harbour.

On 11 August Keats sent in the boats from Edgar, under the command of her captain, James Macnamara. The boats captured the Fama, of 18 guns and under the command of Otto Frederick Rasch, and the cutter Søormen, of 12 guns and under the command of Thøger Emil Rosenørn. Despite the odds Rasch and Rosenørn refused to surrender and put up a stiff resistance before they struck. British losses were an officer killed and two men wounded the Danes lost seven men killed and 13 wounded. In 1847 the Admiralty authorized the issue of the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "11 Aug. Boat Service 1808" to all surviving claimants of the action.

The British organized the evacuation of the Spanish troops using some 50 or so local boats. Some 10,000 troops returned to Spain via Britain.

The British commissioned Fama under her existing name and on 7 November appointed Lieutenant Charles Topping to command her.

On 22 December 1808, Fama left Karlskrona as part of the escort of the last British convoy of the year leaving the Baltic. She was in company with four other British warships - the frigate Salsette, the brig-sloop Magnet, the gun-brig Urgent, and the Salorman - three Swedish naval vessels and twelve merchant vessels. Unfortunately, the convoy left after an unusually severe winter had set in. Furthermore, a storm coming from the north drove already formed ice onto the convoy.

On 23 December Fama ran aground on the NE point of the island of Bornholm, in the Baltic. Lieutenant Topping, a crew man, and a woman died of exposure overnight. The next day the Danes passed lines to the brig. Although four men and a woman died trying to reach the shore, the Danes were able to rescue, and capture, the survivors. The subsequent court martial blamed the master for having altered course without notifying Topping and for having lost sight of Salsette. The board ordered that the master be reprimanded.

The convoy and its escorts were ill-fated, with Magnet and Salorman also being lost, as were most of the merchantmen, many of which the Danes captured or destroyed.

Danish origins
Brevdrageren was built at Nyholm Dockyard to a design by F.C.H. Hohlenberg and launched in 1801. She was the name-ship of a two-vessel class, and both she and her sister Fama had distinctive pinched or "pink" sterns, that is, sterns that were rounded rather than the more normal square stern. Another vessel, Fehmern, was built similarly to Brevdrageren and her sister, but was slightly heavier. These vessels were much smaller than the heavy brigs designed for combat and the Danes used them as despatch vessels Brevdrageren in Danish means "Despatch" or "Letter Carrier".

Her official Danish armament was eight 4-pounder guns and four 12-pounder carronades. Alternatively, she may have carried two 6-pounder guns, and sixteen 12-pounder carronades, since accounts differ


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
23 December 1809 – Launch of HMS Belvidera, a 36-gun Royal Navy Apollo-class fifth-rate frigate built in Deptford

HMS Belvidera was a 36-gun Royal Navy Apollo-class fifth-rate frigate built in Deptford in 1809. She saw action in the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 and continued a busy career at sea into the middle of the 19th century. In 1846 she was reduced to harbour service, in 1860 she became a receiving ship, and she was finally disposed of in 1906.

  • 145 ft (44 m) (gundeck)
  • 121 ft 9 3⁄8 in (37.119 m) (gundeck)
  • Rated at 36 guns:
  • Upper deck:26 × 18-pounder guns : 2 × 9-pounder guns + 10 × 32-pounder carronades : 2 × 9-pounder guns + 4 × 32-pounder carronades

Belvidera was commissioned in January 1800 under Captain Charles Dashwood. In March, Captain Richard Byron replaced Dashwood.

On 22 July 1810, Belvidera and Nemesis, Captain William Ferris, were sailing close to the shore of Studtland, Norway. That evening a boat from Belvedera sighted three Danish gun-vessels in a large bay. Next day, seven boats from the two frigates attacked the Danes. Two of the Danish vessels, Balder and Thor, commanded by Lieutenants Dahlreup and Rasmusen, were schooner-rigged. Each mounted two long 24-pounders and six 6-pounder howitzers and had a crew of 45 men. The third gun-vessel carried one long 24-pounder and a crew of 25 men. The British captured both Balder and Thor without suffering any casualties, though the Danes lost four men killed. The remaining vessel, Gunboat No. 5, ran up a fiord where her crew abandoned her the British then burnt her.

Main article: Battle of Silda
In 1811, Belvidera became the flagship of Admiral Herbert Sawyer on the Halifax station in Nova Scotia.

Belvidera and USS Constitution
Belvidera took part in one of the earliest actions of the War of 1812 when she encountered the American frigates USS President, USS Congress and USS United States on 23 June 1812, five days after the war had started. Belvidera had been shadowing Marengo captained by French privateer John Ordronaux. The British were not aware that war had been declared and after returning fire they managed to evade their pursuers during the night. Belvidera's course during the fight had led the Americans away from a British convoy from Jamaica, allowing the convoy to escape attack. Belvidera arrived in Halifax on June 27 with three prizes that she captured on the way.

Oil painting . Nine days after the outbreak of the American War of 1812, the British ship 'Belvider'a, commanded by Captain Richard Byron, was off New London, Connecticut. She was waiting for the French privateer 'Marengo' to come out, when at daybreak she saw the sails of five vessels to the south-west. They were the American frigates 'Presiden't, the 'Congress', the 'United States' and the sloops 'Hornet' and 'Argos', effectively the entire American navy in commission at the time. The Americans gave chase and the 'Presiden't closed on the 'Belvidera'. Commodore Rodgers of the 'President', himself fired the first shots. When a bow gun on her gun-deck was fired for the second time it blew up wrecking the fo’c’sle deck and killing and wounding sixteen people, including the commodore, who broke a leg. Captain Byron moved his guns so he could fire through the stern windows and aft from the quarter-deck. Although the 'President' could easily have moved to close action she chose instead to fire her broadside repeatedly at the 'Belivdera’'s retreating stern to little effect. Captain Byron meantime lightened his ship by cutting away his anchors, ships’ boats and dumping 14 tons of fresh water. Gradually the 'Belvidera' drew away from the 'President', which had lost much ground by repeatedly bearing up. On the left of the picture the 'Belvidera' runs on a very broad reach. She has shot holes in her sails and can be seen firing her stern guns. Astern of her the 'President' can be seen repeatedly firing her starboard broadside. To the right of her, and in pursuit, are the 'Congress', 'United States', 'Hornet' and 'Argus'. There is a French lithograph of this action by Auger.

On 16 July 1812, Belvidera was part of a British squadron that gave chase to USS Constitution, another of the United States' heavy frigates, which was on her way from Chesapeake Bay to New York. In the very light winds, both sides put out boats to tow the ships. Constitution gained an advantage by using her anchors to pull herself about four miles ahead of Belvidera. Captain Byron then copied the manoeuvre of Constitution and managed to bring the two ships within gunshot. They exchanged fire as a light breeze came up, and by daylight on 19 July Constitution, being newly out of port, was able to escape.

For the remainder of the war, Belvidera was active in the blockade of the American coast, capturing many American merchant ships and privateers. Between 1 June 1812 and 14 December 1812, Belvidera captured a number of merchant vessels:

  • brig Malcolm, of 197 tons, sailing from Madeira to Portland, carrying dollars and wine (24 June)
  • ship Fortune, of 317 tons, sailing from Cape de Verde to Newbury Port, carrying salt (25 June).
  • brig Minerva, of 256 tons, sailing from Liverpool to Boston with coals and salt (6 July with Africa, Aeolus and Shannon)
  • ship Oronoko, of 427 tons, sailing from Lisbon to New York, in ballast (11 July with Africa, Shannon, Aeolus and Guerriere)
  • brig Hare, of 246 tons, sailing from Naples to Boston, with brandy, silks, oil, &c. (1 August) and,
  • schooner Friendship, of 98 tons, sailing from Charleston to New York, carrying cotton (11 September). Also, they captured the
  • ship Eleanor (23 July).

On 21 August Belvidera captured the U.S. privateer 7-gun schooner Bunker's Hill, with 72 men. On 10 September Belvidera detained Citizen.[9] Two days later Belvidera captured the American schooner Hiram.

On 8 February 1813, nine boats and 200 men of Maidstone, Belvidera, Junon and Statira, which were at anchor in Lynhaven Bay, chased and captured the letter of marque schooner Lottery, of 225 tons, and pierced for 16 guns though only carrying six 12-pounder carronades. She had a crew 28 men and was sailing from Baltimore to Bordeaux with a cargo of coffee, sugar, and logwood. In the engagement the British had six men wounded, one of whom later died, but Belvidera herself suffered no casualties. The Americans suffered 19 men wounded, including their captain, John Southcomb, before they struck. Southcomb died of his wounds and his body was taken ashore.

A week later Lottery convoyed several prizes to Bermuda. The British took Lottery into service as the 16-gun schooner Canso.

Belvidera was among the numerous British warships that shared in the capture of the American ship St. Michael on 10 February.[14] On 25 September 1813, Belvidera, Statira and Morgiana were in company when they captured Ambition.

On 19 December Jaseur and Niemen captured Rising States. Belvidera and Narcissus shared in the proceeds of the capture by agreement with Jaseur. Then on Christmas Day, Belvidera captured the schooner USS Vixen, which was attempting to get from Wilmington, North Carolina, to Newcastle, Delaware. The US had purchased Vixen at Savannah, Georgia, in 1813 but when Belvidera captured her she had not yet received her armament of 14 guns nor naval stores.

On 7 March 1814, Belvidera, Endymion and Rattler captured the American privateer Mars. Mars was armed with 15 guns and had a crew of 70 men. A later report has them destroying her on 10 March. Belvidera was also among the vessels sharing in the proceeds of the capture of the brigs Christina and Massasoit on 3 and 14 March.

On 21 April 1814, Belvidera captured the US ship New Zealander, of 256 tons, armed with six guns and with a crew of 17 men. She was sailing from the Marquesas to Philadelphia carrying a cargo of spermaceti oil. New Zealander, a prize to USS Essex, had departed Valparaiso for the United States and was only one day out of New York when Belvidera captured her. In addition Belvidera captured the following American vessels:

  • schooner Nancy and Polly, carrying shingles (19 June)
  • sloop Alonzo (22 June)
  • sloop Hunter, of 60 tons and nine men, sailing from New Burn to New York, carrying tar and turpentine (24 June).[20]

In October 1846 Belvedera was fitted at Portsmouth as a store depot.

Extract from Tobermory, Isle of Mull Old Parish Records dated 23 August 1847 :- Robert Kerslake Royal Marine on board H M Ship Belvidera at Tobermory Bay and Ann McQuarrie servant or nurse to a Captain Wellington of H M Ship Belvidara Stationed at Tobermory were married by Revd David Ross Minister of Tobermory.

Belvidera was fitted as a receiving ship in between August and November 1852, and she served in that role at Portsmouth until 1890. She was sold on 10 July 1906 to J.B. Garham for £1,800.

The Apollo -class s ailing frigates were a series of twenty-seven ships that the British Admiralty commissioned be built to a 1798 design by Sir William Rule. Twenty-five served in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, two being launched too late.

Of the 25 ships that served during the Napoleonic Wars, only one was lost to enemy action. Of the entire class of 27 ships, only two were lost to wrecking, and none to foundering.

The Admiralty ordered three frigates in 1798–1800. Following the Peace of Amiens, it ordered a further twenty-four sister-ships to the same design between 1803 and 1812. The last was ordered to a fresh 38-gun design. Initially, the Admiralty split the order for the 24 vessels equally between its yards and commercial yards, but two commercial yards failed to perform and the Admiralty transferred these orders to its own dockyards, making the split 14–10 as between the Admiralty and commercial yards.


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
23 December 1935 Japanese aircraft carrier Sōryū launched

Sōryū (蒼龍 Sōryū, meaning "Blue (or Green) Dragon") was an aircraft carrier built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the mid-1930s. A sister ship, Hiryū, was intended to follow Sōryū, but Hiryū's design was heavily modified and she is often considered to be a separate class.[Note 1] Sōryū's aircraft were employed in operations during the Second Sino-Japanese War in the late 1930s and supported the Japanese invasion of French Indochina in mid-1940. During the first months of the Pacific War, she took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Wake Island, and supported the conquest of the Dutch East Indies. In February 1942, her aircraft bombed Darwin, Australia, and she continued on to assist in the Dutch East Indies campaign. In April, Sōryū's aircraft helped sink two British heavy cruisers and several merchant ships during the Indian Ocean raid.

Sōryū on trials, January 1938

After a brief refit, Sōryū and three other carriers of the 1st Air Fleet (Kidō Butai) participated in the Battle of Midway in June 1942. After bombarding American forces on Midway Atoll, the carriers were attacked by aircraft from the island and the carriers Enterprise, Hornet, and Yorktown. Dive bombers from Yorktown crippled Sōryū and set her afire. Japanese destroyers rescued the survivors but the ship could not be salvaged and was ordered to be scuttled so as to allow her attendant destroyers to be released for further operations. She sank with the loss of 711 officers and enlisted men of the 1,103 aboard. The loss of Sōryū and three other IJN carriers at Midway was a crucial strategic defeat for Japan and contributed significantly to the Allies' ultimate victory in the Pacific.

Design and description
Sōryū was one of two large carriers approved for construction under the Imperial Japanese Navy's 1931–32 Supplementary Program (the other being her near-sister Hiryū). In contrast to some earlier Japanese carriers, such as Akagi and Kaga, which were conversions of battlecruiser and battleship hulls respectively, Sōryū was designed from the keel up as an aircraft carrier and incorporated lessons learned from the light carrier Ryūjō.

The ship had a length of 227.5 meters (746 ft 5 in) overall, a beam of 21.3 meters (69 ft 11 in) and a draught of 7.6 meters (24 ft 11 in). She displaced 16,200 tonnes (15,900 long tons) at standard load and 19,100 tonnes (18,800 long tons) at normal load. Her crew consisted of 1,100 officers and ratings.

Sōryū at anchor in the Kurile Islands, shortly before the start of the Pacific War


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
Other Events on 23 December

1676 – Launch of French Palmier at Le Havre – sold 1709.

Palmier class, designed by Benjamin Chaillé with 18 x 8-pounder and 18 x 6-pounder guns:
Palmier, launched 23 December 1676 at Le Havre – sold 1709.
Adroit, launched 15 July 1677 at Le Havre – captured by the Dutch Navy in January 1689.

1686 – Launch of French Content 64, later 66 guns (designed and built by Blaise Pangalo) at Toulon – captured by the English 1695

1743 – Launch of Spanish San Felipe 70 at Guarnizo - Stricken 14 January 1762

1759 – Launch of Spanish Príncipe 74 at Guarnizo - Sold 15 May 1776

1765 – Launch of Spanish San Genaro 74 at Cartagena - transferred to France on 24 July 1801, renamed Ulysse, later renamed Tourville, stricken 1822

1777 - HMS Sprightly (1777) was a 12 gun cutter built in Dover in August 1777, that sank 23 December 1777 off Guernsey

1779 – Death of 1779 – Augustus Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol, English admiral and politician, Chief Secretary for Ireland (b. 1724)

Admiral Augustus John Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol, PC (19 May 1724 – 23 December 1779) was a Royal Navy officer and politician. He commanded the sixth-rate HMS Phoenixat the Battle of Minorca in May 1756 as well as the third-rate HMS Dragon at the Capture of Belle Île in June 1761, the Invasion of Martinique in January 1762 and the Battle of Havana in June 1762 during the Seven Years' War. He went on to be Chief Secretary for Ireland and then First Naval Lord. He was known as the English Casanova, due to his colourful personal life.

1787 - HMS Bounty sailed from Portsmouth on fateful yoyage.

1803 - The schooner Enterprise, commanded by Lt. Stephen Decatur, captures the Turkish ketch Mastico with a cargo of female slaves as it is sailing from Tripoli to Constantinople under Turkish colors and without passports. Renamed Intrepid, the former Mastico is taken into U.S. service.

1826 - Cptn. Thomas Catesby Jones of USS Peacock and King Kamehameha negotiate first treaty between Hawaii and a foreign power.

1862 – Launch of The first USS Sassacus, a wooden, double-ended, side-wheel steamer, was launched on 23 December 1862 by the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine

The first USS Sassacus, a wooden, double-ended, side-wheel steamer, was launched on 23 December 1862 by the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine, sponsored by Miss Wilhelmina G. Lambert. Sassacus was commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 5 October 1863, Lieutenant Commander Francis A. Roe in command.

USS Sassacus ramming CSS Albemarle

1910 - Lt. Theodore G. Ellyson becomes the first naval officer sent to flight training when he was ordered to report to the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Camp at North Island, San Diego, Calif.

1944 - USS Blenny (SS 324), despite an escort vessel close by, sinks the Japanese merchant tanker Kenzui Maru off San Fernando, Luzon, Philippines.

USS Blenny (SS/AGSS-324), a Balao-class submarine, was a ship of the United States Navy named for the blenny, a fish found along the rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Blenny (SS-324) was launched 9 April 1944 by Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn. sponsored by Miss Florence King, daughter of CNO Admiral Ernest J. King commissioned 27 June 1944, Lieutenant Commander W. H. Hazzard in command and reported to the Pacific Fleet.
Between 10 November 1944 and 14 August 1945 Blenny conducted four war patrols in the Java and South China Seas. Blenny sank eight Japanese vessels totaling 18,262 tons. In addition, she is credited with destroying more than 62 miscellaneous Japanese small craft by gunfire, and rescuing a boarding party lost by the Cod (SS-224) when that boat had to make an emergency dive to avoid strafing.
With the cessation of hostilities Blenny returned to San Diego, arriving 5 September 1945. She operated locally from the San Diego area during the remainder of 1945. Between 1946 and 1951 Blenny made one cruise to China (August–November 1946) participated in a midshipman cruise to Canada made two winter cruises in Alaskan waters (1947–48 and 1948–49) and participated in fleet maneuvers off Hawaii and local operations near San Diego.

In 1951 Blenny underwent conversion to a GUPPY submarine and spent the remainder of the year operating in the San Diego area. Between May and November 1952 she cruised in the Far East during which time she conducted a 35-day reconnaissance patrol in support of the Korean operations. The boat spent 1953 conducting local operations along the west coast.
On 24 May 1954 Blenny reported to the Atlantic Fleet. She operated out of New London, Conn., participating in Atlantic Fleet, NATO, and anti-submarine warfare exercises, in addition to operating with a submarine development group engaged in evaluating new equipment.
Blenny was reclassified an Auxiliary Submarine, AGSS-324, c. 1969. She was decommissioned, 7 November 1969 and laid up in the Reserve Fleet. Blenny was struck from the Naval Register, 15 August 1973. She was sunk to form part of an artificial reef about fifteen miles (24 km) off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland in June, 1989.
Blenny received four battle stars for her World War II service and one battle star for Korean War service.

1968 - The sailors of USS Pueblo (AGER 2) are repatriated following their release by the North Korean government. The crew had been captured off Wonson on Jan. 23, 1968.

USS Pueblo (AGER-2) is a Banner-class environmental research ship, attached to Navy intelligence as a spy ship, which was attacked and captured by North Korean forces on 23 January 1968, in what is known today as the "Pueblo incident" or alternatively, as the "Pueblo crisis".

The seizure of the U.S. Navy ship and her 83 crew members, one of whom was killed in the attack, came less than a week after President Lyndon B. Johnson's State of the Union address to the United States Congress, a week before the start of the Tet Offensive in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, and three days after 31 men of North Korea's KPA Unit 124 had crossed the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and killed 26 South Koreans in an attempt to attack the South Korean Blue House (executive mansion) in the capital Seoul. The taking of Pueblo and the abuse and torture of her crew during the subsequent 11-month prisoner drama became a major Cold War incident, raising tensions between the western powers, and the Soviet Union and China.

Pueblo in North Korea, 2012

North Korea stated that Pueblo deliberately entered their territorial waters 7.6 nautical miles (14 km) away from Ryo Island, and that the logbook shows that they intruded several times However, the United States maintains that the vessel was in international waters at the time of the incident and that any purported evidence supplied by North Korea to support its statements was fabricated.

Pueblo, still held by North Korea today, officially remains a commissioned vessel of the United States Navy. Since early 2013, the ship has been moored along the Potong River in Pyongyang, and used there as a museum ship at the Pyongyang Victorious War Museum. Pueblo is the only ship of the U.S. Navy still on the commissioned roster currently being held captive.


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
24 December every year - Christmas for a lot of people around the world

Wish you and your families all the Best for Christmas


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
24 December 1778 – Launch of French Andromaque, a 32-gun Nymphe-class frigate of the French Navy.

Andromaque was a 32-gun Nymphe-class frigate of the French Navy

Andromaque was commissioned in Brest in 1778 and took part in the American War of Independence. After an overhaul in which she was coppered in April 1780, she captured the British 20-gun post ship HMS Unicorn on 4 October 1780, off Tortuga. The French Navy took Unicorn into service as La Licorne.

On 21 April 1781, Andromaque landed troops for the Siege of Pensacola, in the squadron under Monteil.

On 20 April 1782, a 10-ship convoy departed Brest escorted by the 74-gun Protecteur and Pégase, and the frigates Indiscrète and Andromaque. At sunset, at the mouth of the English Channel, the convoy met a British force of three 74-gun ships of the line under John Jervis in the ensuing Action of 20–21 April 1782, Pégase and the 64 Actionaire, armed en flûte, were captured.

Andromaque was decommissioned in November 1791 and lied in reserve at Rochefort, until June 1793, when she was armed again. Then was then tasked with convoy escort duty between Rochefort and La Rochelle, under Captain Renaudin. She had a battle against a ship of the line and four Spanish frigates.

In 1794, Andromaque cruised in the Bay of Biscay under Lieutenant Guillotin. Lieutenant Farjenel took command later that year. In 1795, she crossed the Atlantic to Guadeloupe, and Lieutenant Morel took command.

On 22 August 1796, while cruising with a naval division, she sprang a leak and has to detach. She was then chased by the frigate HMS Galatea and the brig Sylph and beached herself in Arcachon Bay to avoid capture. The crew jumped overboard and swam to the shore, 20 men drowning to death. The British launched boats whose parties boarded took prisoner Andromaque's captain, Lieutenant Morel, and four officers, and rescued a number of Portuguese prisoners who had been the crews of two Brazilian ships that her squadron had captured. A boarding party from Sylph set fire to Andromaque as they left and she was completely burnt.[7][8] There are reports that after seizing the entire crew, the British kept only the officers and released the seamen, only to open fire on them as they attempted to return ashore.

Capture of the Thetis (sistership) by the Endymion Nov 10 1808 from a sketch by Captain Wm Hill page 199 (PAD8659)

The Nymphe class was a class of six 40-gun frigates of the French Navy, designed in 1781 by Pierre-Augustin Lamothe. The prototype (Nymphe) was one of the earliest 18-pounder armed frigates.


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
24 December 1779 – Launch of HMS Vestal , a 28-gun Enterprise-class sixth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy.

  • 120 ft 6 in (36.73 m) (overall)
  • 99 ft 6 in (30.33 m) (keel)
  • Upper deck: 24 × 9-pounder guns : 4 × 6-pounder guns + 4 × 18-pounder carronades : 2 × 18-pounder carronades
  • 12 × swivel guns

American Revolutionary War
Vestal was first commissioned in November 1779 under the command of Captain George Keppel.

On 3 September 1780, she captured Mercury which was transporting Henry Laurens, the United States' minister to Holland.

On 15 March 1783 the British frigates Astraea and Vesta, and Duc de Chartres captured the Massachusetts letter of marque Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar was a privateer of eighteen 9-pounder guns and carried a crew of 100 men under the command of Captain Thomas Benson, of Salem. Her captors sent her into New York City where the Vice admiralty courtcondemned her.

French Revolutionary Wars

Battle of Egero, 22 August 1795. Plan of the engagement between Isis, Reunion, Stag and Vestal and the Dutch frigate Alliante,

Vestal took part in the Action of 22 August 1795 between British and Dutch frigate squadrons off the Norwegian coast.

On 14 April 1797, Vestal, under the command of Captain Charles White, captured the French privateer schooner Voltiguer, formerly the lugger Venguer, some seven leagues off Flamborough Head. Voltiguer was armed with eight 3-pounder guns and eight swivel guns, and had a crew of 40 men, 14 of whom were away on prizes. She was 12 days out of Calais and had captured a brig and two sloops. White took Voltiguer into the Humber.

Next, Vestal captured Jalouse at about 5a.m. on 13 May near Elsinor after a chase of about nine hours and running about 84 hours. For an hour and a half during the chase Jalousefired her stern chasers (two long 12-pounder guns). White was able to bring Vestal alongside Jalouse and fired three broadsides before she struck, having suffered great damage to her masts and rigging. At the time of capture, Jalouse had 16 guns, though she was pierced for 20, and had shifted some guns to the vacant ports. The armament consisted of twelve "very long 12-pounders", and four 6-pounder guns. Her commander, "C. Plucket", had a crew of 153 men, two of whom were killed and five of whom were wounded. Vestal suffered no casualties. Vestal brought Jalouse into the Humber.

Because Vestal served in the navy's Egyptian campaign (8 March to 2 September 1801), her officers and crew qualified for the clasp "Egypt" to the Naval General Service Medal that the Admiralty authorized in 1850 to all surviving claimants

Scale 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, sheer lines and longitudinal half breadth as proposed and approved for building Siren [Syren] (1773) and Fox (1773), and later for building Enterprize (1773), and Surprize (1774), all 28-gun, Sixth Rate Frigates. The plan includes a table of the mast and yard dimensions. Signed by John Williams [Surveyor of the Navy, 1765-1784].

A painting showing a model of the frigate 'Enterprise' in starboard-quarter view. It has been depicted fixed to a table base, with a label on the side that reads 'Enterprise 28 Guns 200 Men'. The finely detailed painting was part of a commission of twelve perspective paintings, each of a different class, ordered by King George III. Each was accompanied by a memorandum describing the improvements in design that had been introduced since 1745. The work of producing these perspectives from the original Navy Board plans of the ships was divided between two draughtsmen, Joseph Williams and J. Binmer, whilst Joseph Marshall painted all the pictures. Their task was completed in August 1775. The model of the 'Enterprise' is positioned in a corner of a room, implied by the decorated wall behind featuring classical figures, and a wall frieze. The painting is signed and dated 'J Marshall pt. 1777'.

The Enterprise -class frigates were the final class of 28-gun sailing frigates of the sixth-rate to be produced for the Royal Navy. These twenty-seven vessels were designed in 1770 by John Williams. A first batch of five ships were ordered as part of the programme sparked by the Falklands Islands emergency. Two ships were built by contract in private shipyards, while three others were constructed in the Royal Dockyards using foreign oak.

A second batch of fifteen ships were ordered in 1776 to 1778 to meet the exigencies of the North American situation, and a final group of seven ships followed in 1782 to 1783 with only some minor modifications to include side gangways running flush with the quarter deck and forecastle, and with solid bulkheads along the quarterdeck.

    • Ordered: 25 December 1770
    • Built by: John Henniker and Company, Chatham.
    • Keel laid: April 1771
    • Launched: 2 November 1773
    • Completed: 5 October 1775 at Chatham Royal Dockyard.
    • Fate: Grounded and abandoned under fire off Point Judith, Connecticut on 6 November 1777.
    • Ordered: 25 December 1770
    • Built by: Thomas Raymond, Northam (Southampton).
    • Keel laid: May 1771
    • Launched: 2 September 1773
    • Completed: 12 February 1776 at Portsmouth Royal Dockyard.
    • Fate: Captured by the French off Brest on 11 September 1778.
    • Ordered: January 1771
    • Built by: Woolwich Royal Dockyard.
    • Keel laid: 5 September 1771
    • Launched: 13 April 1774
    • Completed: 15 April 1775
    • Fate: Sold at Woolwich Dockyard on 24 April 1783.
    • Ordered: January 1771
    • Built by: Deptford Royal Dockyard.
    • Keel laid: 9 September 1771
    • Launched: 24 August 1774
    • Completed: 20 June 1775
    • Fate: Taken to pieces at Deptford Dockyard in August 1807.
    • Ordered: 5 November 1771
    • Built by: Woolwich Royal Dockyard.
    • Keel laid: October 1772
    • Launched: 18 April 1775
    • Completed: 3 August 1775
    • Fate: Grounded off Fort Sullivan, South Carolina and burnt to avoid capture on 29 June 1776.
      • Ordered: 14 May 1776
      • Built by: John Barnard, Harwich.
      • Keel laid: June 1776
      • Launched: 7 July 1777
      • Completed: 23 September 1777 at Sheerness Dockyard.
      • Fate: Wrecked in the Elbe Estuary on 1 February 1799.
      • Ordered: 14 May 1776
      • Built by: James Martin Hillhouse, Bristol.
      • Keel laid: June 1776
      • Launched: 28 April 1778
      • Completed: 15 September 1778 at Plymouth Dockyard.
      • Fate: Fitted as hospital ship 1801. Sold 1805.
      • Ordered: 14 May 1776
      • Built by: Robert Fabian, East Cowes.
      • Keel laid: July 1776
      • Launched: 18 November 1777
      • Completed: 28 January 1778 at Portsmouth Dockyard.
      • Fate: Lost with all hands in a hurricane off Martinique on 11 October 1780.
      • Ordered: 3 July 1776
      • Built by: John Perry & Company, Blackwall.
      • Keel laid: July 1776
      • Launched: 7 June 1777
      • Completed: 9 August 1777 at Woolwich Dockyard.
      • Fate: Sold at Chatham on 3 November 1814.
      • Ordered: 24 July 1776
      • Built by: Henry Adams, Bucklers Hard.
      • Keel laid: 10 December 1776
      • Launched: 2 January 1779
      • Completed: 13 March 1779 at Portsmouth Dockyard.
      • Fate: Wrecked off Madagascar on 26 July 1798.
      • Ordered: 9 October 1776
      • Built by: Henry Adams, Bucklers Hard.
      • Keel laid: February 1777
      • Launched: 15 July 1779
      • Completed: 4 September 1779 at Portsmouth Dockyard.
      • Fate: Taken to pieces at Portsmouth Dockyard in November 1811.
      • Ordered: 7 March 1777
      • Built by: Thomas Raymond, Chapel (Southampton).
      • Keel laid: 8 May 1777
      • Launched: 22 September 1778
      • Completed: 17 December 1778 at Portsmouth Dockyard.
      • Fate: Taken to pieces at Portsmouth Dockyard in August 1811.
      • Ordered: 19 July 1777
      • Built by: James Martin Hillhouse, Bristol.
      • Keel laid: 19 August 1777
      • Launched: March 1779
      • Completed: 30 June 1779 at Plymouth Dockyard.
      • Fate: Captured by the French on 19 June 1781.
      • Ordered: 30 September 1777
      • Built by: Jolly, Leathers & Barton, Liverpool.
      • Keel laid: November 1777
      • Launched: 23 January 1780
      • Completed: 22 June 1780 at Plymouth Dockyard.
      • Fate: Sold for breaking up at Plymouth Dockyard on 9 June 1814.
      • Ordered: 30 September 1777
      • Built by: John Randall & Company, Rotherhithe.
      • Keel laid: November 1777
      • Launched: 10 August 1778
      • Completed: 2 October 1778 at Deptford Dockyard.
      • Fate: Renamed Enterprise on 17 April 1806. Sold at Deptford Dockyard on 28 August 1816.
      • Ordered: 22 January 1778
      • Built by: Peter Mestaer, Rotherhithe.
      • Keel laid: 25 March 1778
      • Launched: 9 December 1779
      • Completed: 24 February 1780 at Deptford Dockyard.
      • Fate: Taken to pieces at Woolwich Dockyard in January 1814.
      • Ordered: 21 February 1778
      • Built by: Deptford Dockyard.
      • Keel laid: 20 June 1778
      • Launched: 1 June 1779
      • Completed: 20 July 1779.
      • Fate: Sold at Deptford Dockyard to break up on 28 August 1816.
      • Ordered: 6 March 1778
      • Built by: James Menetone & Son, Limehouse.
      • Keel laid: 3 April 1778
      • Launched: 31 July 1779
      • Completed: 26 September 1779 at Deptford Dockyard.
      • Fate: Sold at Portsmouth Dockyard on 1 September 1814.
      • Ordered: 18 March 1778
      • Built by: Robert & John Batson, Limehouse.
      • Keel laid: 1 May 1778
      • Launched: 24 December 1779
      • Completed: 25 February 1780 at Deptford Dockyard.
      • Fate: Sold at Barbados in February 1816.
      • Ordered: 30 April 1778
      • Built by: Thomas Raymond, Chapel (Southampton).
      • Keel laid: 3 June 1778
      • Launched: 27 October 1779
      • Completed: 4 January 1780 at Portsmouth Dockyard.
      • Fate: Wrecked in a hurricane off Martinique on 11 October 1780.
        • Ordered: 23 February 1782
        • Built by: Thomas King, Dover.
        • Keel laid: September 1782
        • Launched: 25 November 1783
        • Completed: 19 April 1784 at Deptford Dockyard.
        • Fate: Sold to be broken up, 9 August 1815.
        • Ordered: 6 March 1782
        • Built by: Henry Ladd, Dover.
        • Keel laid: December 1782
        • Launched: 30 September 1785
        • Completed: 2 November 1790 at Woolwich Dockyard.
        • Fate: Wrecked off Great Yarmouth on 17 November 1803.
        • Ordered: 15 March 1782
        • Built by: Joshua Stewart & Hall, Sandgate.
        • Keel laid: June 1782
        • Launched: 1 July 1783
        • Completed: 23 October 1783 at Deptford Dockyard.
        • Fate: Wrecked off Jamaica on 28 June 1794.
        • Ordered: 26 March 1782
        • Built by: Fabian, Clayton & Willson, Sandgate.
        • Keel laid: June 1782
        • Launched: 1 September 1784
        • Completed: November 1787 at Deptford Dockyard.
        • Fate: Wrecked off Brittany 27 December 1796
        • Ordered: 7 May 1782
        • Built by: Philemon Jacobs, Sandgate.
        • Keel laid: December 1782
        • Launched: 18 April 1787
        • Completed: 18 July 1790 at Deptford Dockyard.
        • Fate: Sold at Plymouth Dockyard 21 July 1814.
        • Ordered: 5 June 1782
        • Built by: Joshua Stuart & Hall, Sandgate.
        • Keel laid: September 1782
        • Launched: 27 November 1784
        • Completed: October 1787 at Portsmouth Dockyard.
        • Fate: Sold at Portsmouth Dockyard on 3 April 1817.
        • Ordered: 22 October 1782
        • Built by: Thomas King, Dover.
        • Keel laid: February 1783
        • Launched: 21 September 1785
        • Completed: 19 May 1791 at Woolwich Dockyard.
        • Fate: Taken to pieces at Plymouth Dockyard in May 1828.

        Today in N aval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
        24 December 1779 – Launch of Spanish Purísima Concepción, 112 at Ferrol

        The Purísima Concepción , was a Spanish first-rate ship of the line of the Kingdom of Spain's Armada Real in service between 1779 and 1810

        The Second Battle of Cape St Vincent in which the Purísima Concepción took part.

        Class and type: First-Rate Ship of the Line
        Type: Ship of the Line
        Tonnage: 2771
        Displacement: 2,771 BM
        Length: 220' 6" Burgos Feet (Gundeck) and 186' 0" Burgos Feet (Keel)
        Beam: 58' 4" Burgos Feet
        Depth of hold: 28' 9" Burgos Feet
        Decks: 3
        Propulsion: Sail
        Capacity: 800 - 1,000 men
        Troops: 446 Infantry + 3 Infantry Officers, 91 Artillerymen, 127 Marines + 6 Marine Guards + 16 Marine Officers + 16 General Officers (In 1800, Brest)
        Complement: 34 Pajes + 109 Grumetes + 202 Naval Artillerymen + 48 Naval Officers (In 1800, Brest)
        Armament: 112-120 guns - 32 36 pounders, 30 24 pounders, 32 12 pounders and 18 8 pounders

        Commission and construction
        The name Purísima Concepción translates into English directly as Immaculate Conception, a religious reference to the veneration of the Virgin Mary. The names of contemporary Spanish ships commonly had religious undertones as with general Spanish naming traditions of the period.

        The Purísima Concepción was likely commissioned sometime in the mid 1770s though the exact date is unknown and was laid down and constructed at the Royal Dockyards at Ferrol, A Coruña, Galicia. She was designed by Spanish shipbuilder Francisco Gautier. She was launched in 1779 and handed over to the Armada Real.

        Print of San Josef (sistership) in Spanish service

        La Purísima Concepción was recorded as having been at Cádiz in 1780, her first action involved attachment to the 3rd Franco-Spanish fleet for the Campaign of the English Channel.

        On 9 August 1780, Purísima Concepción was part of the Spanish fleet that captured a British convoy of 52 ships under the command of Admiral Luis de Córdova y Córdova and Vice Admiral Jose de Mazarredo y Salazar.

        On 5 October 1781, Purísima Concepción was anchored at Cádiz.

        In 1782, Purísima Concepción supported Spanish actions at Gibraltar during the Great Siege of Gibraltar and was back at Cádiz on 15 April 1782.

        On 22 October 1782, Purísima Concepción was one of 38 ships of the line of the Spanish fleet at the Battle of Cape Spartel though she did not see any action that day.

        In 1784, Purísima Concepción was sailed from Cádiz to Cartagena where she was ordered set in commission. On 13 August 1784, she left Cartagena in a patrol squadron together with the Sixth-rate, 24 gun frigate Santa Gertrudis returning to Cádiz. The following day, 14 August, Purisima Concepción assisted the Gertrudis in the capture of a 14 gun Algerian vessel. The action lasted around a half-hour beginning when the Purísima Concepción opened fire on the Algerian ship at around 10 o'clock in the morning. The Algerian vessel was boarded around a half-hour later resulting in the smaller vessel's capitulation. The Algerian vessel had 4 heavy cannons, 2 deck mounted guns and 8 swivel guns. On 15 August, Purísima Concepción arrived in Cádiz together with the Gertrudis and their Algerian prize vessel.

        In early February 1793, Purísima Concepción arrived at Cartagena for commissioning and soon after returned to Cádiz. On 23 February 1793, she sailed from Cádiz with 6 other ships of the line to Cartagena where they would join the Siege of Toulon. On 2 October 1793, the fleet left Cartagena bound for Toulon, arriving in the theater on 21 October to join the combined British-Spanish fleet. After the victory at Toulon on 19 December, Purísima Concepción left on 25 December bound for Cartagena, arriving on 31 December 1793.

        On 3 March 1795, Purísima Concepción was at Cádiz.

        On 26 June 1796, Purísima Concepción was at Cartagena. While docked, a fire broke out on the ship but it was extinguished by the crew before causing significant damage.

        In 1797, Purísima Concepción was at Cádiz and was trapped there by the British blockade of the port. Spain eventually prevailed in the battle. On 14 February 1797, she took part in the Second Battle of Cape St Vincent. She was the flagship for the second Spanish squadron. Her commander was Lieutenant-General Francisco Javier Morales de los Ríos and her Flag Captain & Brigadier was José Escaño. The Spanish fleet was commanded by Admiral José de Córdoba y Ramos. During the action, she suffered 8 killed and 21 wounded. The Spanish defeat at Cape St. Vincent enabled the British Navy under Admiral Horatio Nelson back into the Mediterranean Sea.

        In 1800, Purísima Concepción was attached to the Spanish fleet in the Second Campaign of the English Channel. Later in the year she was blockaded by the British Fleet under Rear Admiral John Colpoys at Brest. She remained blockaded at Brest until 1801.

        In 1808, Purísima Concepción was careened at Ferrol and sailed from Ferrol to Cádiz later in the year when the process was complete.

        In 1809, Purísima Concepción was at Cádiz.

        In 1810, Purísima Concepción was at Cádiz. On 6 March, a big storm swept the harbor at Cádiz. On 7 March, Purísima Concepción lost her anchors and ran ashore on the French occupied Spanish coast. On 8 August 1810, Purísima Concepción was under heavy shot from French warships and land forces. On 9 August, she was burned by French troops and sunk off the coast. At the time of the loss, the ship was under the command of Rafael Mastre. Two other Spanish line ships, the Montañés and the San Ramón, a Spanish frigate Paz, a Portuguese warship, a British brigantine and 20 merchant ships were similarly lost as a result of the storm and subsequent French attacks.

        San Josef was captured by Nelson at the Battle of Cape St Vincent in February 1797. This occasion became known as 'Nelson's Patent Bridge for Boarding First-rates' as he captured San Josef from the deck of another captured Spanish vessel, San Nicholas. San Josef was refitted in 1801 at Plymouth as the only prize first-rate to serve in the Royal Navey. Due to her glorious capture and size - 114 guns - the ship merited a full colour plan, ususual for this era of Admiralty draughts.

        Purísima Concepción class

        Purísima Concepción 112 (launched 24 December 1779 at Ferrol) - Wrecked in storm 9 March 1810 and burnt by the French
        San José112 (launched 30 June 1783 at Ferrol) - Captured by Britain at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, 14 February 1797, renamed HMS San Josef, BU 1849

        HMS San Josef was a 114-gun first rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She was captured from the Spanish Navy at the Battle of Cape St Vincent on 14 February 1797 (when she was still named in Spanish San José). In 1809 she served as the flagship of Admiral John Thomas Duckworth

        Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, sternboard outline with decoration detail, sheer lines with inboard detail, quarter decoration and figurehead, and longitudinal half-breadth for San Josef (captured 1797), a captured Spanish First Rate, as fitted at Plymouth Dockyard for a 114-gun First Rate, three-decker. The alterations in pencil, dated April 1808, refer to how she was to be fitted during her Large Repair and refit at Plymouth Dockyard between May 1807 and June 1809. Any subsequent alterations were to be recorded on the plan and returned showing how the ship was exactly fitted. Signed by John Marshall [Master Shipwright, Plymouth Dockyard, 1795-1802]

        Early in 1797 a Spanish fleet of 27 sail of the line lay at Cartagena, with the intention of joining the French fleet at Brest. The British commander, Sir John Jervis, aimed to prevent this, and with 15 sail of the line, plus frigates, he repaired to rendezvous with Rear-Admiral William Parker off Cape St Vincent. The Spanish fleet left Cartagena on 1 February but were caught by a fierce Levanter, the easterly wind, blowing between Gibraltar and Cadiz. This pushed the Spanish into the Atlantic and by 13 February, close to the British fleet. Early on the 14th, Jervis learnt that the Spanish fleet was 35 miles to windward. After battle was joined with part of the Spanish force, Commodore Nelson in the 'Captain', 74 guns, unconventionally fell out of Jervis's line of battle and threw his ship across the path of the escaping enemy squadron against heavy odds, engaging and capturing by boarding the 80-gun 'San Nicolas'. When the latter ran foul of the 112-gun 'San Josef' in the process, Nelson boarded and captured her as well, the feat being quickly dubbed 'Nelson's Patent Bridge for boarding first-rates'. The painting interprets the dramatic climax when Nelson arrives, right centre, on the quarter-deck of the 'San Josef'. He is closely followed by Captain Berry, who points his pistol at the Spanish sailor about to attack Nelson. On his right a British sailor, cutlass in hand, echoes Nelson's pose. To his right a group of fighting boarders are visible, including Lieutenant Pearson of the 69th Regiment. To the right again, at the foot of the port companionway to the poop more fighting men are grouped. At the top of the companionway stands the Spanish Flag Captain, Don Jose Delkenna, holding his hat above his head and proffering his sword, hilt first in surrender, with his left hand. In the right foreground is a gun, its crew lying dead around it. Beyond the gunwale of the 'San Josef' are the decks of the 'San Nicolas', with the British taking possession, and beyond her part of the 'Captain'. Flags and sails are arranged to frame the painting and the empty deck in the foreground leads the eye into the action. Nelson is positioned right of centre, striking a dramatic pose and with a brilliance that eclipses the rest. Figures in the rigging heighten the sense of urgency and agitation, while the figures of the fallen underscore the cost of battle. This painting is one of four commissioned in the 1820s for £500 each by the Directors of the British Institution, as encouragement of contemporary British history painting and expressly for presentation to what was then the new Naval Gallery (est. 1824) at Greenwich Hospital. It was exhibited at the Institution in 1829 but apparently only delivered to Greenwich in 1835. There is a monochrome watercolour study for it in the British Museum. (Note: the Spanish 'San José', captured at Cape St Vincent, is generally if wrongly known in English as 'San Josef', the name under which she was taken into the Navy.)

        An interpretation of an incident during the French Revolutionary War, following the Battle of Cape St Vincent, 1797. The last decade of the 18th century was a period of extreme upheaval across Europe. Late in 1796, after Spain made peace with Revolutionary France, the British were forced to withdraw from the Mediterranean. Commodore Nelson organized the evacuation of Corsica, and Admiral Jervis, based at Gibraltar, concentrated on blockading the Spanish fleet in its Atlantic ports, especially Cadiz. When Spanish ships, aiming for Brest to join the French, were seen passing through the Straits of Gibraltar on 5 February 1797, on their way to Cadiz, Nelson set sail towards Cape St.Vincent, hoping to find Jervis. He found the British squadron off Cape St. Vincent on 13 February and immediately repaired on board 'Victory', 100 guns, to discuss with Jervis the preparations for the inevitable battle. The following morning, Jervis gave orders for the fleet to prepare for the coming action, which commenced at 11.30 am. The capture of the 'San Nicolas', 80 guns, and the 'San Josef', 112 guns, was the most dramatic incident of the Battle of St Vincent. Lord Nelson first boarded the 'San Nicolas' and then the 'San Josef', which had fallen foul of the 'San Nicolas'. The painting interprets the scene on the quarterdeck of the 'San Josef' as she surrenders. Nelson is standing centre right of the picture, his right hand held out to receive the sword of the captain of the ship.

        Battle of Cape St Vincent
        The San José was among the Spanish fleet during the battle, during which HMS Captain, under the command of Captain Horatio Nelson came out of the line to attack the San Nicolás. After exchanging fire, Nelson led his forces aboard the San Nicolás. While the English were fighting their way aboard the San José continued to fire upon the Captain and the San Nicolás. The San José then fell upon the San Nicolás and their rigging became tangled. Trapped, the men from the San José continued to fire on the British boarding parties with muskets and pistols. Nelson then took his men from the decks of the San Nicolás aboard the San José, forcing the Spanish to surrender, with their Admiral badly injured. The San Joséand the San Nicolás, both captured by Nelson, were two of the four ships captured during the battle. After their capture they were renamed HMS San Josef and HMS San Nicolas respectively. The feat of using one enemy vessel as a 'stepping stone' to capture another was afterwards known in the Royal Navy as "Nelson's patent bridge for boarding first rates".

        HMS San Josef in later Royal Naval service

        Later career
        From 1839 San Josef was used as a gunnery training ship. From 10 August 1841 she was commanded by Captain Joseph Needham Tayler, serving as a guard ship at Devonport (established gunnery school). Other captains who served in her include: Captain Frederick William Burgoyne, while serving as the flagship of Samuel Pym, Plymouth Captain Henry John Leeke and Captain Thomas Maitland, as the flagship of Admiral William Hall Gage, Devonport. She was broken up a Devonport in May 1849.

        Some small pieces of the San Josef still survive to this day. One is in the form of part of a wooden gun carriage called a Quoin. This quoin can be found among the Valhalla figurehead collection in Tresco Abbey Gardens in the Isles of Scilly. Another is a carved Triumph of Arms from the stern rail sold at Bonhams in London in October 2014. Parts of the ship were used in the re-building of St Nicholas' Church, West Looe in 1852.

        San Josef Mountain on the South Coast of British Columbia, on the south side of Estero Basin on Frederick Arm to the west of the mouth of Bute Inlet, was named in 1864 by Captain Pender for the San Josef, while Departure Bay and Nanaimo Harbour at the city of Nanaimo were originally named (in 1791) the Bocas de Winthuysen after Rear-Admiral Don Francisco Xavier Winthuysen. San Josef Bay in Cape Scott Provincial Park at the north end of Vancouver Island is also named after this ship.

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        Watch the video: Β Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος (July 2022).


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