HMS Amethyst (1799)

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Capture of the Thétis by HMS Amethyst on 10 November 1808, by Thomas Whitcombe
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Amethyst
Builder: Deptford Dockyard
Launched: 24 April 1799
Honours and

Clasps to the Naval General Service Medal

  • "AMETHYST 5 APRIL 1809"
Fate: Wrecked on 16 February 1811
Wreck broken up in April 1811
General characteristics
Class and type: 36-gun fifth rate frigate
Tons burthen: 1,046 long tons (1,063 t)
Length: 150 ft (46 m)
Beam: 39 ft (12 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
  • 36 guns

HMS Amethyst was a Royal Navy 36-gun fifth rate frigate, launched in 1799 at Deptford. Amethyst served in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars, capturing several prizes. She also participated in two ship actions that won her crew clasps to the Naval General Service Medal. She was broken up in 1811 after suffering severe damage in a storm.


Amethyst entered service in 1799, under the command of Captain John Cooke, and operated in the Bay of Biscay during the final years of the French Revolutionary Wars. In late 1799 she captured the privateers Aventure and Huzelle and in February 1800 took the large privateer Valiant. The following month the privateer Mars was captured along with a valuable American ship attempting to dock in a French port. In June Cooke was engaged in a successful large scale raid on Morbihan and later captured a French East Indiaman worth £36,000.

In 1801, Amethyst operated off Spain, capturing two Spanish privateers and the French corvette General Brune. During the Peace of Amiens, Amethyst was deployed against smugglers in the English Channel.

In 1803, when war broke out again, command passed to Captain Alexander Campbell. In June 1804, Campbell was dismissed for misconduct and command transferred to Captain John Spranger and then Captain Michael Seymour. In 1807, Seymour captured the privateer Josephine and in November 1808, she captured the French frigate Thétis at the Action of 10 November 1808. In 1847 the Admiralty authorized the issue of the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "AMETHYST WH. THETIS" to the still living survivors of Amethyst's battle.

In 1809, Amethyst was engaged in the early stages of the Battle of Brest Roads and in April captured the French frigate Niémen at the Action of 6 April 1809. In 1847 the Admiralty authorized the issue of the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "AMETHYST 5 APRIL 1809".

Later in the year, Seymour participated in the Walcheren Expedition, providing naval support to the transports. He left the ship in 1811; his replacement was Captain Jacob Walton.


On 15 February 1811, while Amethyst was anchored in Plymouth Sound, a heavy storm caught her and blew her on shore. Although no men were lost in the wreck and many of the ship's stores were salvaged, the ship was too badly damaged to ever sail again. The subsequent court martial found Walton and a number of the crew negligent.

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