HMS Hydra (1797)

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Career (UK) RN Ensign
Name: HMS Hydra
Operator: Royal Navy
Ordered: 30 April 1795
Builder: William Cleverley's yard at Gravesend
Laid down: November 1795
Launched: 13 March 1797
Commissioned: 25 June 1797 after fitting out at Woolwich Dockyard
Fate: Laid up 1817. Sold 13 January 1820.
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 1,024 59/94 bm
Length: 148 ft 3 in (45.19 m)
Beam: 39 ft 6.5 in (12.052 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft 8 in (3.86 m)
Propulsion: Sail
Complement: 284 (raised later to 315)
Armament: UD: Twenty-eight 18-pounder guns
QD: Twelve 32-pounder carronades
FC: Two 12-pounder guns, two 32-pounder carronades

HMS Hydra launched in 1797 was a fifth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy, armed with a main battery of twenty-eight 18-pounder guns.

She was built to the design of the captured French frigate Melpomene (taken in 1794).


The Hydra was commissioned in April 1797 under Captain Sir Francis Laforey. She was present at the capture and destruction of the French 36-gun La Confiante on 31 May 1798 and was anchored at the Nore on Sunday 17 May 1801 (as recorded in the journal of Captain Matthew Flinders of HMS Investigator [1]. Under the command of Captain George Mundy, for eight years from October 1802 to September 1810, she had an active career in the Napoleonic Wars, including the Blockade of Cadiz 1805-1806, the capture of the French brig Furet on 27 February 1806 [2]. She took part in the Peninsular War in 1807, including the bombardment of the defences of the Catalonian port of Bagur (Begu) on 7 August 1807 [3]. She was then out of commission for nearly three years. During a refit at Portsmouth in 1813, she was fitted as a troopship and recommissioned in July 1813 under Captain Joseph Digby. From then until finally paying off in 1817 she was employed as a troopship and, in that capacity, for example, Captain Robert Lawson's Company, 8th Battalion Royal Artillery, left Spain on the 22 July 1814, on board HMS Hydra, bound for Plymouth [4]. The ship was sold in 1820.