French frigate Pomone (1787)

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File:Capture of Engageante Babet and Pomone 131144.JPG
Capture of Pomone, Engageante and Babet
Career (France) French Navy Ensign French Navy Ensign French Navy Ensign
Name: Pomone
Namesake: Pomona
Builder: Rochefort
Laid down: 20 February 1783
Launched: 16 November 1785
In service: May 1787
Captured: 23 April 1794
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Pomone
Acquired: 23 April 1794
Fate: Sold in 1802
General characteristics
Displacement: 700 tonnes
Length: 48.7 metres
Beam: 12.2 metres
Draught: 5.1 metres
Propulsion: Sail
Armament: 40 guns
Armour: Timber

Pomone was a 40-gun frigate of the French Navy built in 1783. The British captured her, along with Babet and Engageante, off the Île de Batz during the Action of 23 April 1794. She was subsequently recommissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Pomone mounting 48 guns. Her design inspired that of the Endymion-class frigates. She had a relatively brief but active career off the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of France before suffering sufficient damage from hitting a rock to warrant being taken out of service and then broken up in 1803.

British service

On 26 February 1795, Pomone, under Captain Sir John Borlase Warren, captured a 12-gun schooner off the Île de Groix, near Lorient. She was the American-built Coureuse and she was escorting a convoy of three brigs and two luggers from Brest to Lorient. The frigates Artois and Galatea, and the hired lugger Duke of York assisted Pomone in the capture. The British scuttled two brigs that were of little value, but took the other four vessels as prizes, with Coureuse being taken into service briefly as a dispatch vessel in the Mediterranean.[1]

On 15 April, Warren and his squadron captured the French privateer Jean Part, 26 guns and 186 men, off the Île de Ré. Off Belle Île, the squadron then caught up with a French convoy. The British were able to capture Expedition, a corvette of 16 guns and 120 men, and to burn, sink or capture a number of the other vessels.

In June, Pomone participated at the landing of the ill-conceived and ill-fated Royalist expedition to Quiberon Bay.

On 2 September, Pomone burnt the Rude, of 12 guns. On 15 October, HMS Melampus and HMS Latona, and later HMS Orion and HMS Thalia, and later still Pomone and HMS Concorde, chased two French frigates, the Tortue and Néréide, and the corvette Eveillé. The British ships had to give up the frigates due to weather and the closeness of the shore. However, Pomone and the 74-gun third rate HMS Thunderer, which had joined the chase, were able to take the Eveillé. Warren's squadron returned to England in December with the remnants of the expedition to Quiberon Bay.

On 13 March 1796 Pomone captured the French privateer Sans Peur, of eight guns, on the coast of France. Three days later, Pomone captured the 20-gun corvette Robuste, which was taken into service as HMS Scourge. Four days after that, Warren's squadron, including Pomone, engaged a French squadron escorting a convoy. The store-ship Etoile struck her colours, and 4 vessels were taken from the convoy and left in the care of the lugger Valiant.

On 25 May Pomone participated in the capture of the French privateer Fantaisie, of 14 guns, near Morlaix. Commodore Warren's squadron, including Pomone, ran the 44-gun French frigate Andromache ashore on August 23 near the river Gironde. The 18-gun brig Sylph then destroyed the French vessel with gunfire.

File:HMS Pomone off Greenwich.jpg
HMS Pomone off Greenwich, by Thomas Luny, 1797

In July 1797, Pomone was with a squadron that destroyed the French frigate Calliope and captured or destroyed a number of her convoy. A few days later, boats from the squadron destroyed two French merchant ships, the brig Fidelle and the sloop Henri, in Hodierne Bay. The next day the squadron captured the Boston. In August, the squadron destroyed one French vessel and captured another. On August 28, the squadron chased and captured vessels from a French convoy.

On 5 January 1798, Pomone, Captain R.C. Reynolds, captured the 26-gun French privateer Cheri, from Nantes, which sank shortly after surrendering. Six days later, Pomone captured the French privateer Emprunt Fossé, of two guns, in the Channel. On April 3, Pomone captured the French 18-gun privateer brig Argus.

In April Pomone and HMS Kangaroo accompanied a convoy to the Mediterranean. She returned to Portsmouth on 16 July and sailed with other ships for Lymington on 23 July to collect Dutch troops, which she took to Cuxhaven.

On 3 August 1801, while cruising off the west side of Elba, Pomone, Captain Edward Leveson-Gower[2] commanding, took another prize, the Carrère, of 44 guns and 356 men.[3] Pomone lost two men dead and three wounded, one of whom died of wounds shortly thereafter. Less than a month later, on 2 September, the frigates Phoenix, Minerve and Pomone recaptured Success and destroyed the 46-gun frigate Bravoure. (The French had captured Success, a 32-gun frigate, in February, off Toulon.) In the middle of the month, men from Pomone were involved in operations ashore at Portoferraio, Elba.


Towards the end of September 1801, Pomone struck a rock while beating into St. Aubin's Bay and sank. She was refloated and towed into Portsmouth in October but was found not worth repairing. A court martial on 27 October on Neptune in Portsmouth Harbour, tried the pilot, John Geram, for her loss. The court blamed him for attempting to enter the bay at night when he could well have waited until dawn. He was mulcted of all pay and allowances due to him for his services as pilot on Pomone and was sentenced to be imprisoned for three months in the Marshalsea.[4]

Pomone was broken up in 1803.


  1. Chapelle (1967; p. 154) reports that Coureuse only had eight guns, and 2-pounders at that. Coureuse was sold in 1799.
  2. p.133, Bebrett, Warren to Lord Keith
  3. p.648, Urban
  4. Grocott (1997), p.130.
  • Bebrett, John (1802) A Collection of State Papers Relative to the War Against France Now Carrying. London.
  • Chapelle, Howard Irving (1967) The search for speed under sail, 1700-1855 (New York: Norton).
  • Grocott, Terence (1997), Shipwrecks of the revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, Chatham, ISBN 1-86176-030-2 
  • Urban, Sylvanus (1849) The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol.XXXI January to June, (London: Johm Bowyer Nichols and Sons.

External links