HMS Iphigenia (1808)

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File:Grand Port mg6981.jpg
HMS Iphigenia at the Battle of Grand Port
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Iphigenia
Namesake: Iphigeneia
Laid down: 1805
Launched: 26 April 1808
Captured: at the Battle of Grand Port, late August 1810
Fate: captured
Career (France) French Navy Ensign
Name: Iphigénie
Acquired: 24 August 1810
Captured: 3 December 1810
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Iphigenia
Acquired: 3 December 1810
Fate: Broken up
General characteristics
Class and type: Perseverance class fifth rate
Type: frigate
Displacement: 870 tons
Propulsion: Sail
Complement: 264
Armour: Timber

HMS Iphigenia was a Royal Navy 36-gun Perseverance class fifth rate. Master Shipwright Robert Seppings built this frigate at Chatham Dockyard.

The French captured her at the debacle of Grand Port and in their service she participated in the capture of several British vessels. The British recaptured her and she served on the West Africa Station in the "Preventative Service", combating the slave trade. She was broken up in 1851 after serving for many years as a training ship.

British service

Captain Henry Lambert commissioned Iphigenia and sailed her to the Indian Ocean to join the British squadron off Île de France (now Mauritius).[1] The squadron consisted of Iphigenia, Leopard, Magicienne and Néréide. The squadron blockaded Île de France from May, and started operations to attempt a take-over on 7 July. Iphigenia was present at the capture of Réunion the next day.

File:Grand Port mg6971b.jpg
The Battle of Grand Port; Iphigenia is second from the left. By Pierre Julien Gilbert

On 10 August, the squadron, under Samuel Pym, landed parties to capture the Île de la Passe and take control of Port-Impérial, initiating the Battle of Grand Port. From 23 August, the British squadron faced off against a French squadron under Guy-Victor Duperré, comprising Minerve, Bellone and Victor. The French had moved the buoys marking the passage through the reef, causing Magicienne and Sirius to run aground and leading the British to scuttle them by fire. Néréide was captured. Iphigenia, which had been kept in reserve, attempted to flee, but French reinforcements under Hamelin - (Vénus, Manche and Créole) - intercepted her, forcing Iphigenia to strike her colours.

French service

Iphigenia was taken into French service as Iphigénie, under Pierre Bouvet, who had assumed command of the French squadron at Grand Port after Duperré was wounded, and had been promoted to capitaine de frégate. She formed a squadron with Astrée and Entreprenant.

File:Africaine-Durand Brager img 3109.jpg
Africaine in French service

On 12 September 1810, Bouvet's squadron intercepted HMS Africaine (commodore Corbett) off Saint-Denis, as the frigate HMS Boadicea, the corvette HMS Otter and the brig HMS Staunch were sailing from the bay of Saint-Paul. Bouvet lured the British into pursuit until midnight; at this time, Astrée was sent forwards, as if Iphigénie would attempt to slow Africaine down to allow the rest of the squadron to flee. At three, Astrée regained her place at the rear of the squadron; the weather, which had been rough, improved somewhat, and in the moonlight Astrée suddenly found herself within gun range of Africaine. A gunnery duel followed immediately, in which Astrée had her rigging damaged; she closed in to Iphigénie, Africaine in close pursuit. She soon found herself under fire from Iphigénie at point black range, her guns still trained at Astrée. After exchanging broadsides and small arms fire for half an hour, during which the French had the upper hand, the British attempted a boarding. Iphigénie easily eluded Africaine, and gave Astrée an opportunity for raking Africaine's bow. At 4:30, Africaine struck her colours.

All Africaine's officers had been killed or wounded in the action, save for colonel Barry, and only 69 men were uninjured. Bouvet was given Corbett's dagger, which he kept thereafter.[2] The French abandoned Africaine and HMS Boadicea recaptured her the next day.[3]

On 3 December 1810, the Île de France fell to the British. The British took over the ships moored at the island, including Iphigénie, Bellone and Astrée. They recommissioned Iphigénie, returning her to service as Iphigenia. Captain Thomas Caulfield then sailed her home to Britain where she was paid off in April 1811.[1]

Return to British service

After fitting out at Portsmouth from November to February 1812, Iphigenia was recommissioned in January under Captain Lucius Curtis. On 25 March 1812 she sailed with a convoy for the East Indies.[1]

Later, under Captain Fleetwood Pellew, Iphegenia sailed for the Mediterranean on 6 December. In February 1813, while still in the Mediterranean, she came under the command of Captain Andrew King.[1] On 17 April 1814, a squadron consisting of Furieuse, HMS Aboukir, Iphigenia, HMS Swallow and HMS Cephalus supported the successful assault on Genoa. Afterwards, he convoyed a fleet of transports from Gibraltar to Bermuda.

Post war

She underwent repairs at Chatham between June and September 1815, and sailed for the East Indies again in October.[1] King returned home from the East Indies in command of the Third Rate Cornwallis.

In September 1816 Captain John Tancock took command of Iphigenia in [{Trincomalee]]. In December 1817 he sailed her back to Britain in company with Melville, whose fitting out in Bombay he had overseen.

Between January and June 1818 she was at Portsmouth having defects made good. Captain Hyde Parker took command on 15 March and eventually sailed Iphigenia for Jamaica.[1] She served also on the Quebec and Mediterranean stations before being paid off on 12 June 1821.

In 1821 Iphegenia was recommissioned under Captain Sir Robert Mends.[1] She then served in the anti-slave patrol off Africa with Mends as Commodore of the squadron. On 22 March 1822 she transported Sir Charles McCarthy, Governor of Sierra Leone, to Cape Coast Castle to assume the governorship of the Gold Coast.

On 15 April, her boats captured six slave ships on the Bonny River: Vigilante, Petite Betsey, Ursule, the Spanish Yeanam, Becaa and the French brigantine Utile. In June Yeanam foundered in a tornado, claiming the lives of two officers, 16 men and 400 slaves; seven of the Iphigenia's crew managed to survive on the wreckage of the Yeanam.


She was fitted at Woolwich between December 1832 and July 1833. Between 1833 and 1848, she was lent to the Marine Society as a training ship. She was broken up at Deptford in May 1851.[1]

Sources and references