HMS Boreas (1757)

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Career (Great Britain) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Boreas
Ordered: 18 April 1757
Builder: Woolwich Dockyard
Laid down: 21 April 1757
Launched: 29 July 1757
Completed: 6 September 1757
Fate: Sold on on 29 June 1770
General characteristics
Class and type: 28-gun Coventry-class sixth rate frigate
Tons burthen: 587 long tons (596 t)
Length: 118 ft 5.5 in (36.1 m) (overall)
97 ft 5 in (29.7 m) (keel)
Beam: 33 ft 8 in (10.3 m)
Depth of hold: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Complement: 200
  • Upper deck: 24 × 9 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 4 × 3 pdrs + 12 × ½pdr swivels

HMS Boreas was a 28-gun Coventry-class sixth rate frigate of the Royal Navy. Built in 1757, she saw service during the Seven Years War and took part in two actions at sea. Her most famous engagement was the capture of the French frigate Sirène in October 1760. Being built of fir she was not durable and was sold in 1770.

Construction and commissioning

Boreas was ordered on 18 April 1757 and laid down on 21 April that year at the Admiralty yards at Woolwich Dockyard.[1] She was launched on 29 July 1757 and completed by 6 September 1757.[2] She initially cost £6,314.9.10d, this rising to £9,193.18.3d when the cost of fitting her out was included.[1] Boreas was 118 ft long (36 m), 34 ft wide (10 m) and of 587 tons, by builders measurement.[3] She was one of five frigates of the class built of fir rather than oak. Fir was cheaper and more abundant than oak and permitted noticeably faster construction, but at a cost of a reduced lifespan; the four fir-built Coventry-class vessels that did not get captured lasted an average of only nine years before being struck off.


Boreas was commissioned for the first time in August 1757 under Captain Robert Boyle Walsingham, who was to command her for the next two years. Boyle sailed her to America in mid-1758 and was subsequently involved in the operations off Louisbourg that year.[1] During this time she assisted in the capture of the 36-gun French frigate Diane in April 1758.[1] A period of service in the English Channel with Admiral George Rodney's squadron followed in 1759, and the Boreas took part in the bombardment of Le Havre on 3 July that year.[1]

She came under the command of Captain Samuel Uredale in February 1760, who sailed to Jamaica the following month. On 30 August that year he chased the privateer St Michel ashore near Cape St Nicholas Mole and burnt her. Another action occurred on 18 October when Admiral Charles Holmes in HMS Hampshire (50 guns) took Boreas and HMS Lively (20 guns) to intercept a French convoy in the Windward Passage. After sighting the French, and their escort of five frigates on the morning of 17 October, the British gave chase. Light winds slowed the chase so it was evening before Boreas could engage the 32-gun frigate Sirène. French fire disabled Boreas aloft with the result that Boreas could not engage the Sirène again until the following afternoon.[1][4][a] The Boreas emerged victorious from the engagement, capturing Sirène, which suffered about 80 men killed and wounded; Boreas lost only one man killed and one wounded.[5] Another French ship, the 20-gun corvette Valeur, struck to Lively. Also during the battle, pursuit by Hampshire led the French to destroy by fire Prince Edouard and the Fleur-de-Lys, both of 32 guns.[6]

In late 1760, boats commanded by First Lieutenant Millar of HMS Trent and First Lieutenant Stuart of Boreas cut-out the privateers Vainquer and Mackau from Cumberland Harbour, Cuba. The French were forced to burn another, the Guespe, to prevent her capture.[7] The two British vessels lost a handful of men killed or missing, and a similar number wounded, while French casualties are unknown.[7][b]

Boreas then returned to Jamaica to undergo repairs, which lasted into 1761.[1] Boreas went on to capture the privateer Belle-Madeleine on 18 December 1761. Then from 6 June until 13 August 1762, she took part in the capture of Havana.[1] After this, she returned to Britain as a convoy escort along with HMS Centurion and HMS Viper, and was surveyed at Woolwich. A small repair followed, lasting until May 1763.[1] Captain Richard Hughes took over command in April 1763, serving off North Foreland until 1766. He was succeeded by Captain Constantine Phipps in 1767, who was himself replaced by Captain Digby Dent the following year. Both commanded Boreas in the Channel.[1]

Boreas was surveyed for a final time on 23 May 1770, and was sold a month later on 29 June for the sum of £280.[1][2]


a. ^ The Sirène was armed with 26 8 pounders on the gun deck and four 6 pounders on the quarterdeck. She had been built by Jacques-Luc Coulomb at Brest in 1744.[citation needed]

b. ^ The Vainquer was armed with 10 guns, 16 swivels, and 90 men; the Mackau had 6 swivels and 15 men; the Guespe had 8 guns and 86 men.[7]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Winfield. British Warships of the Age of Sail. p. 220. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Colledge. Ships of the Royal Navy. p. 44. 
  3. William James and Frederick Chamier. 1837. The naval history of Great Britain: from the declaration of war by France in 1793 to the accession of George IV. (London: R. Bentley), p. 31.
  4. John Charnock. Pre-1801. Biographia navalis; or, Impartial memoirs of the lives and characters of officers of the navy of Great Britain, from the year 1660 to the present time; drawn from the most authentic sources, and disposed in a chronological arrangement. (London: R. Faulder, 1794-98), pp. 419-420.
  5. Phillips. "BOREAS (28)". 
  6. W Laird Clowes, Sir; Clements R Markham, Sir; A T Mahan; Herbert Wrigley Wilson; Theodore Roosevelt, L G Carr Laughton. 1897-1903. The royal navy: a history from the earliest times to the present. (Boston: Little, Brown and Co.), p.313.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Phillips. "TRENT (28)".