HMS Naiad (1797)

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Naiad tows the Belleisle towards Gibraltar, 23 October 1805
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Naiad
Builder: Hall & Co., Limehouse
Launched: 1797
Commissioned: 1798
Out of service: 1826
Fate: Broken up 1898
Notes: Depot ship between 1846 and 1898
General characteristics
Class and type: fifth rate Frigate
Propulsion: Sails
Armament: 36 guns
Honours and awards:

Participated in:

HMS Naiad was a Royal Navy frigate that served in the Napoleonic Wars. She was built by Hall and Co. at Limehouse on the Thames, launched in 1797 and commissioned in 1798.

French Revolutionary Wars

Capt. Pierrepoint took command of Naiad in April 1797. On 5 March she captured the French 20-gun privateer Hereux Hazard, off the Loire.

On 11 Aug 1798 she captured the French privateer Tigre. Then on 22 Aug she and Magnanime chased and captured the French 36-gun frigate Décade, which was added to the navy as a 12-pounder, 36-gun frigate.

On 15 October 1799 Naiad sighted two Spanish frigates, the Santa Brigada and Thetis, which were returning from Mexico to Spain with sterling and gold worth £311,690. She gave chase with two other British frigates, Ethalion and Alcmene. Ethalion caught and captured the Thetis, whilst Naiad and Alcmene captured the Santa Brigada. The prize money was paid on 14 January 1800; captains received £40,730 each, and seamen and marines £182 each. This was not including prize money for the hulls, stores and rigging of the two ships.

Capt. the Hon. J. Murray took over from in December 1799 from Pierrepoint, who was ill. Naiad spent the following year cruising out of Plymouth.

In December 1800, Captain W. H. Rickets assumed command of Naiad. At the beginning of May she recaptured, some 500 miles west of Cape Finisterre, the Post Office packet ship Phoenix, Capt. Thompson, which had sailed from Falmouth on 15 April for New York and had been taken by a large French 40-gun privateer on 21 April. Thompson had been able to sink his mails before being boarded. While still a French prize, Phoenix was also boarded by the Concarde and the Corneille, two large French frigates taking troops and stores from Nantes to Egypt. Aftr her recapture, Phoenix arrived safely in Plymouth on 11 May.

On the night of 16 May 1801, boats from Naiad and Phaeton under the direction of Naiad's first lieutenant, entered the port of Marín, Pontevedra, in Galicia in north-west Spain. There they captured the Spanish corvette Alcudia and destroyed the armed packet Raposo, both under the protection of a battery of five 24-pounders. Alcudia, commanded by Don Jean Antonio Barbuto, was moored stem and stern close to the fort. Her sails had previously been taken ashore so the boats had to tow her out but soon after a strong south-west wind set in and it was necessary to set her on fire. Only four men from the two British ships were wounded.

Naiad returned to Plymouth on 25 May and sailed again on 6 June with bullocks and vegetables for the Channel fleet. Now commanded by Capt. Wilkinson she was back in Plymouth for two days at the end of August.

At the end of October, while off Rochefort, a violent gale nearly wrecked her near the Île de Ré. She sat for two days on shore under the guns of a French battery, which, much to the mystification of her captain and crew, did not fire on them. On the second day the French commander sent boats with spare cables and anchors and informed Wilkinson that England had signed the preliminaries of a peace treaty. Naiad returned to Plymouth on 1 November.

Napoleonic Wars

Throughout most of 1802 Naiad was in Ordinary but on 9 September orders came down for her to be commissioned in place of Fisgard which was to be paid off. Capt. James Wallis and the crew of 'Fisgard were to move to Naiad as soon as she was ready.

On 18 December Wallis was ordered to be ready to supply men to Belleisle, then fitting out for foreign service, if enough volunteers did not come forward. In the event they were not required.

In early 1803 Naiad succeeded in taking several prizes. Her boats, with those from Hazard, cut out a new brig from among the Penmark Rocks off Brest while under fire from French batteries. They also cut out and sank a chasse-maree. On 29 May she captured the French corvette Impatient of 20 guns and 80 men in the Bay of Biscay. Impatient was under the command of Lieut. Hypolite Arnous and was bound for Rochefort from Senegal. Two days later Naiad captured the French merchant ship Chasseur, Lieut. Lamar, taking sugar, cotton and coffee from San Domingo to Lorient.[1]

Next, Naiad and Doris, captured a French brig from the Straits and a Dutch sloop from the same place with a valuable cargo of drugs and medicines. They also took a French corvette from Gorée laden with gum and ivory. Then around late June, Naiad captured Napoleon, a French brig from Guadeloupe bound for Nantes with sugar and coffee.

On 4 July Wallis sent Naiad's boats to cut out a French schooner lying at anchor at the Saints. In spite of the strong tides and the many rocks and shoals they brought her out without loss as almost the entire crew had fled at their approach. The prize was the Providence, which had only two guns mounted but was laden with 36, 24 and 18-pounder cannon she was taking to Brest from a foundry near Nantes. Her cargo also included some choice timber.

Naiad returned to Plymouth from her cruise on 7 September and went in for a refit. This was completed on 2 October when she went from Barnpool out into the Sound to await orders. On 5 October she received six months of wages, and sailed the next day down the Channel, before anyone could spend any of their accumulated pay.

During the following fifteen weeks she was cruising off Ferrol and Corunna with Sir Edward Pellew's squadron and experienced severe gales. In spite of the weather blowing them off station on several occasions, the squadron succeeded in preventing the French squadrons from Ferrol and Corunna linking up.

Naiad left the squadron on 8 January 1804 when they were close in to Ferrol, to carry dispatches to Admiral William Cornwallis off Ushant. She left the Admiral on 10 January and arrived back in Plymouth four days later. Her next station was with the squadron off Brest and she brought back dispatches for the Admiralty on 10 May.

On 15 June 1804 a court martial ordered the Honorable Alexander Jones, then a lieutenant in Naiad, shot for striking Lieutenant Dean, the senior lieutenant, during a quarrel. Dean was dismissed from the service and Jones had to wait for 10 days to learn that he had received a pardon and was to be restored to his former rank. (Jones was promoted to Commander on 22 January 1806.) Naiad sailed for a cruise off the coast of Spain on 24 September.

On 27 November 1804 while Naiad was off Brest, Capt. Thomas Dundas saw some small vessels open musket fire on boats belonging to Aigle and wound two seamen. Naiad captured two of them, Gun-boats Nos. 361 and 369. Each mounted one long brass 4-pounder and one short 12-pounder and had on board a lieutenant from the 63rd. infantry regiment, 36 privates and six seamen. They had sailed with fourteen others from Dandiorne to Brest.

Naiad returned to Plymouth on 7 January 1805 from a cruise off the coast of Spain. She brought with her a large Spanish ship with 200,000 dollars on board plus a valuable cargo of dry goods. Naiad sailed again the next day on a cruise to the westward. She sent in a neutral ship flying Papenburg colours, suspected of carrying Spanish property.

Circa 1 October, the arrival of the frigates Naiad, Phoebe, Sirius, Juno, and Niger off Cadiz allowed Nelson to detach them to disrupt local shipping supplying provisions for the joint fleet in Cadiz. By 10 October Naiad was engaged in the tactical preparations etc. for the forthcoming battle. On 20 October the combined fleet departed Cadiz.

During the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October, Naiad was too small to take part in the battle itself. Instead, she lay to windward of the action. After the battle she towed Belleisle to Gibraltar.

On 16 Dec 1808 Naiad captured the French privateers Superb and Fanny on the Home station.

On 23 February 1809 Naiad was at anchor to the north-west of the Chassiron lighthouse with Defiance, Donegal and Emerald, the squadron being under the command of Rear Ad. Robert Stopford in Caesar. The next day they saw eight sail-of-the-line and two frigates flying French colours and standing into the Pertuis d'Antioche.

Stopford immediately sent Naiad to warn Admiral Lord Gambier that the French squadron from Brest had arrive but, before she had gone a few miles, Naiad sighted three French frigates heading for Les Sables-d'Olonne. Stopford left Amethyst and Emerald to watch the enemy and went in chase of the frigates with the rest of his squadron, now strengthened by the arrival of Amelia and Dotterel. The French anchored under the protection of batteries but the fire from the British ships soon drove them ashore. By 2 March one of the french frigates was abandoned by her crew, the other two were afloat at high water but on their beam ends at low water; a westerly swell was expected to destroy them. Stopford returned to blockade the main French force at the Ile d'Aix until 7 March when Gambier arrived to take command.

In 1810 Capt. Henry Hill assumed command of Naiad. On 26 and 27 March a court martial was held on board Salvador del Mundo in the Hamoaze for the trial of eight petty officers and seamen from Naiad. The charge was that they had made mutinous assemblies to try and induce the ship's company to request a draft from the ship and not sail under Capt. Hill because of his tyrannical treatment of the crew. Three were sentenced to death by hanging. One was sentenced to 150 lashes; one to 100; and two to 50 lashes each around the fleet. In June Capt. Wolley read a pardon to the men sentenced to death, and delivered a suitable admonition. Most of the rest of the men were also pardoned. The following year Hill left Naiad; being too senior to command a frigate, he was not employed again.

Naiad left Deal on 29 September 1811 to cruise off Boulogne. This cruise yielded two prizes. On 6 October she captured the French privateer Milan in the Channel. A week later she returned with the captured privateer Reinarde off Dieppe. On 27 October Naiad sailed again and by 6 November she had captured the French privateer Requin, which she brought in a few days later.

Later career

In January 1824, Naiad and Cameleon visited Algiers, following a violation of the British consul's offices, in order to demand satisfaction from the Dey. By 31 January it was apparent that British citizens living in Algiers were no longer safe so they were taken on board. On departing from the harbour, Naiad sighted the Algerine corvette Tripoli, which had recently committed depredations on Spanish trade, in contravention of the Treaty of 1816. Fire from Naiad reduced her to a wreck. A party from Cameleon boarded Tripoli before Naiad ordered them to abandon the vessel.

On 18 March Naiad captured Quattro Fratelli . Then on 23 May at Bona Naiad's boats burnt an Algerine brig of war which had sought refuge under the guns of the fortress.

On 23 February 1825 Naiad captured the Muni. On 28 May four seamen from Naiad were drowned off the coast of Italy. Naiad's captain had a monument erected for them in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. Naiad was paid off in 1826.

Naiad was sent to serve as a depot ship, first to Valparaiso, Chile in 1846. She then served at Callao, Peru, where she served from 1851 until sold to P.S.N.Co. for 2,000 dollars.

The Naval Review reported that she lasted until 1898. If so, when Naiad was broken up in 1898, she was the second longest survivor of any of the British ships at Trafalgar, after HMS Victory.


  1. [ His Majesty's Ship Naiad, 2d June 1803]

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