HMS Hesper (1809)

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Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Hesper
Ordered: 19 October 1805
Builder: Benjamin Tanner, later John Cock, Dartmouth
Laid down: June 1806
Launched: 3 July 1809
Completed: 30 September 1809 at Plymouth Dockyard
Commissioned: August 1809
Out of service: Sold 8 July 1817
Honours and
Naval General Service Medal - "JAVA"
General characteristics
Class and type: 18-gun Cormorant-class sloop
Tons burthen: 424 1/94 bm
Length: 108 ft 3.75 in (33.0 m) (overall)
90 ft 9.875 in (27.7 m) (keel)
Beam: 29 ft 8 in (9.0 m)
Depth of hold: 9 ft (2.74 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Sloop
Complement: 121
  • Upper deck: 16 x 32pdr carronades;
    Quarter deck: 6 x 18pdr carronades;
    Forecastle: 2 x 6pdrs and 2 x 18pdr carronades

HMS Hesper was a Royal Navy 18-gun ship-sloop of the Cormorant class, launched in 1809 at Dartmouth.[1] Her original builder, Benjamin Tanner, became bankrupt during her construction, so John Cock completed her. In 1810 she was reclassed as a 20-gun sixth rate ship (but without being re-armed); in 1817 she was again re-rated, this time as 26 guns. She served primarily in the Indian Ocean. In 1810 she participated in the Invasion of Ile de France. The next year Hesper participated in the capture of Java, which she followed in 1812 by capturing Timor. She was sold in 1817.


Hesper entered service in August 1809 under Lieutenant George Hoare and he sailed for the Indian Ocean on 9 October.[1] In October 1810 Cmdr. David Paterson took command.[1] Hesper was detailed for service with the squadron under Admiral Albemarle Bertie engaged in the Invasion of Ile de France. Following the successful invasion, Hesper was at the centre of a dispute between Admiral Bertie and Admiral William O'Bryen Drury whose commands overlapped. Bertie appointed Lieutenant Edward Lloyd to command Hesper but Drury appointed Barrington Reynolds. Although Drury died before the dispute was settled, Reynolds was confirmed in command of the brig.

Later in 1811, Hesper was attached to the squadron of Admiral Robert Stopford that captured Java. On 31 August the frigates Nisus, Président, and Phoebe, and Hesper were detached to take the seaport of Cheribon.[2] Reynolds received a promotion to Post-captain, confirmed the next year, for his role. In 1847 the Admiralty authorized the issuance of the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "JAVA" to all remaining survivors of the campaign.

In February 1812 command passed to Charles Thomas Thurston, who was blown by a storm to Timor, which had been out on contact with Europe for two years. Thurston was able to persuade the Dutch garrison there to surrender and captured the island without fighting.[3] Thurston was later invalided home and in October 1812 command passed to Cmdr. Henry Collier, and then Cmdr. Joseph Prior.[1]

In October Hesper was in the Persian Gulf, delivering despatches to Bushire for the British ambassador at Teheran. She then visited Abu Dhabi. Captain Charles Biddulph replaced Prior in August 1812 and served until 22 April 1815 when he died. Before he died he charted the four Biddulph's Islands (or Biddulph Group), which lie on the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf.

Hesper was without a captain for a while and then in September Cmdr. Michael M? or Cmdr. Robert Campbell was his replacement.


Hesper was sold in 1817.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Winfield (2008, p.360.
  2. James (1837), vol.VI, pp.38-9.
  3. Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine Vol. III, June 1818, article on pages 306-312, The Taking of the Island of Timor by the H.M.S. Hesper in 1811
  • James, William (1837). The Naval History of Great Britain, from the Declaration of War by France in 1793, to the Accession of George IV.. VI. R. Bentley. 
  • Michael Phillips' "Ships of the Old Navy"
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1861762461. 
  • Captain Robert CAMPBELL was assigned to the HMS Hesper and was also the dear cousin to Thomas CAMPBELL the poet.