HMS Boadicea (1797)

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Career (UK) RN Ensign
Name: HMS Boadicea
Namesake: Boudica
Operator: Royal Navy
Ordered: 30 April 1795
Builder: Adams yard, Bucklers Hard
Laid down: September 1795
Launched: 12 April 1797
Commissioned: 9 September 1797
Fate: 1854 hulked. 1858 broken up.
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 1052 bm
Length: 148 ft 6 in (45.26 m)
Beam: 39 ft 11.5 in (12.179 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft 8 in (3.86 m)
Propulsion: Sail
Complement: 284
Armament: UD: Twenty-eight 18-pounder guns
QD: Eight 9-pounder guns, six 32-pounder carronades
FC: Two 9-pounder guns, two 32-pounder carronades

HMS Boadicea was a frigate of the Royal Navy.


Boadicea was one of a batch of large frigates ordered in 1795, all of which were of largest of their type, and the majority of which were to the draught of captured French ships, the Navy then being under the sway of Middleton and the French school of thought, a school supposing that the design of warships in France was of a higher quality.[citation needed] She was built to the draught of Imperieuse, a 40-gun ship completed in 1787 and captured in October 1793. Changes were made to the shape of the topsides, and the scantlings and fastenings were strengthened to reflect British practice. She retained her shallow French hull form, and as a result the holds and magazines were considered cramped.


Boadicea was commissioned under Captain Richard Keats for service in the Channel Fleet. Under Keats she served on this station for several years during which time she captured at least two prizes. The first was the Spanish ship Union, of 22 guns, which she captured on 14 August 1797. On 9 December 1798 Boadicea captured the French privateer L´Invincible General Bonaparte, of 20 guns and 170 men. The Admiralty took this vessel into service as the 18-gun sloop Brazen.

In 1801 Captain Charles Rowley took command of Boadicea, in which he commanded a light squadron on the Atlantic coast of France and Spain.

In 1803 Captain John Maitland commanded the ship in the Channel. In company with HMS Dryad she fell in with four French line-of-battle ships off Ferrol which had escaped from the Battle of Trafalgar under Rear-Admiral Pierre Dumanoir le Pelley. The two ships tried to lead the enemy into the path of a Royal Navy squadron by firing rockets but lost them a short time after their signals had been seen by Sir Richard Strachan. Neither Boadicea nor Dryad therefore shared in the Battle of Cape Ortegal, in which all four French ships were captured. In the autumn of 1806 Boadicea was employed protecting the whale fishery in the Davis Strait followed by service on the Irish station in 1807.

In 1808 Captain John Hatley, sailed in the Boadicea from Portsmouth for the Indian Ocean. The ship served in the long campaign to capture Mauritius. In August 1809, off Mauritius, she lost her bowsprit and foremast in a collision. In September 1809 she served in a squadron of frigates and sloops in the expedition against St Paul's, on the Isle of Bourbon (Reunion), with Captain Josias Rowley the senior officer aboard Raisonnable, 64. The detachment landed without alarming the batteries which were stormed and carried. The rest of the squadron then stood into the bay and exchanged fire with the French frigate Caroline, 46. Soon the batteries, town and shipping were all in British hands for the total loss of 22 killed, 76 wounded and 4 missing.

Captain Rowley moved to Boadicea and on the 7 July 1810, and with three other frigates he escorted a force of 1,650 European soldiers and 1,600 Sepoys from Madras and 1,000 from Rodriguez to capture Réunion, with the island surrendering on 9 July. Under Captain Rowley ,Boadicea then took part in a series of separate actions against a number of French frigates and other vessels, during which a British squadron was defeated in a failed attack on Grand Port, Mauritius, the British HMS Africaine, 38, was damaged, the British Ceylon, 38, was recaptured, and the French frigate Vénus captured. Nearly four decades later the Admiralty recognized Boadicea by authorizing the clasp "BOADICEA 18 SEPT. 1810" to the Naval General Service Medal, awarded upon application to all British participants still living in 1847.[1]

On 21 November 1810 Vice Admiral Bertie led a large fleet of warships and transports to attack Mauritius, the French surrendering on the 7 December 1810. Captain Rowley and the Boadicea returned to England with Vice Admiral Bertie's dispatches.

Boadicea went on to serve for the remainder of the war, and in the East Indies from 1824 to 1827.

Sailing Qualities

"Average under sail, not recording more than 9kts close hauled and 11.5kts off the wind, good sea boat ... tolerably handy in staying and wearing." [citation needed]She received extensions to her gripe and another 4 inches onto her false keel, suggesting a lack of weatherliness as built.


Boadicea is Jack Aubrey's command in the book The Mauritius Command, which follows the events of the historical Mauritius campaign, with Aubrey replacing the historical commander of Boadicea, Josias Rowley.

See also


  1. London Gazette: no. 20939, pp. 236–245, 26 January 1849. Retrieved on 19 July 2009.

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