HMS Otter (1805)

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HMS Otter was a Royal Navy 18-gun Merlin-class ship sloop, launched in 1805 at Hull.[1] She participated in two notable actions in the Indian Ocean and was sold in 1828.


Otter entered service in 1805 under Commander John Davies and was attached to the Channel Fleet.[1]

She sailed for the Cape of Good Hope on 18 August 1807. From there Otter sailed to Montevideo to support the British attack on the Spanish colony. On arrival it was discovered that the British army had been defeated and surrendered, Davies sailing to the Cape of Good Hope, where he was replaced by Commander Nesbit Willoughby.[1]

Otter was then attached to the squadron under Commodore Josias Rowley that was ordered to blockade the French colonies of Île Bonaparte and Île de France in the Indian Ocean.

Otter raided anchorages on the islands, for instance on 14 August 1809 her boats were in action at Riviere Noire, Île de France.[1] In September she took part in the Raid on Saint Paul. Willoughby led the naval landing party that captured the harbour, for which he was promoted. Command initially passed to Lieut. Edward Benge (acting).[1]

Command then passed to Commander James Tompkinson who remained in command throughout the campaign, including operating in a supporting role in the Action of 13 September 1810 and the Action of 18 September 1810, providing towlines to the battered British frigates Africaine and Ceylon. Tompkinson was promoted into Ceylon and command passed to Lieutenant Cator during the Invasion of Île de France in December 1810. Cator took Otter back to Britain in the aftermath of the campaign.

Nearly four decades later her service in the battle was among the actions recognised by the clasp "OTTER 18 SEPT. 1810" to the Naval General Service Medal, awarded upon application to all British participants still living in 1847.[2]

Command passed to Lieut. Thomas L.P. Laugharne (acting).[1]


Otter was fitted for Ordinary at Plymouth in April 1811. She was then fitted for quarantine service at Plymouth as a lazaretto for Pembroke between February and April 1814. She was finally sold, to J. Holmes for ₤610, on 6 March 1828.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Winfield (2008), p.259.
  2. London Gazette: no. 20939, pp. 236–245, 26 January 1849. Retrieved on 19 July 2009.