HMS Sir Isaac Brock

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Career (UK) RN Ensign
Name: HMS Sir Isaac Brock
Builder: Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard
Launched: 1817
Notes: Provincial Marine vessel
General characteristics
Class and type: sloop of war
Tons burthen: 637
Complement: 220 (if finished)
Armament: 24 guns (if finished)
Notes: unfinished, burned on stocks

HMS Sir Isaac Brock was a warship which was destroyed before being completed at York, Upper Canada during the War of 1812. The ship was named after the famed hero of the war, Major General Sir Isaac Brock.

At the end of 1812, the British learned that the Americans were building warships at Sackett's Harbor, New York, and laid down two sloops of war in response. Construction of the Sir Isaac Brock began at York.

The new ship was a sister ship to HMS Wolfe, which was constructed at Kingston. Although construction on both ships began around the same time, as the end of April 1813 approached, the Wolfe was very nearly ready to be launched while the Sir Isaac Brock was still many weeks away from being complete.[1]. It had been partially planked on its starboard side but was not even close to that far along on its port side. Most of the responsibility for the delay in readiness could be laid on the shoulders of shipyard Superintendent, Thomas Plucknett.

The ship had a registered weight of 637 tons, and was rated as having 24 guns. In fact, the rating system often omitted carronades, and the Sir Isaac Brock would have had 30 guns or even more in service. (The Wolfe was completed with a medley of whatever guns were available).

Late in the afternoon 26 April 1813, the American flotilla was sighted off York, with a strong embarked force of infantry and artillerymen. The next day, the Battle of York was fought. The outnumbered British regulars and militia were forced to fall back. The Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, Major General Roger Hale Sheaffe, ordered his regulars to retreat to Kingston, but also dispatched Captain Tito LeLièvre of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment[2] to set fire to the Sir Isaac Brock to prevent it falling intact into enemy hands. Ironically, LeLièvre may have been assisted in this task by Thomas Plucknett,[3] the man most responsible for the Sir Isaac Brock being in its partially-built condition.

The Americans were enraged to find that ship had apparently been set ablaze while negotiations for surrender with the local militia were still taking place. When eventually, a surrender was arranged, the Sir Isaac Brock had been reduced to charred timbers.

See also

Engagements on Lake Ontario


  1. Malcomson, Capitol in Flames, p.162
  2. Malcomson, Capitol in Flames, p.215
  3. Malcomson, Capitol in Flames, p.225


  • Lyon, David (1997). The Sailing Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy, Built, Purchased and Captured, 1688-1860. London. ISBN 0-85177-864-X. 
  • Lyon, David; Winfield, Rif (2004). The Sail & Steam Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy 1815-1889. London. ISBN 1-86176-032-9. 
  • Malcomson, Robert (2008). Capitol in Flames: The American Attack on York, 1813. Toronto: Robin Brass Studio Inc.. ISBN 1-896941-53-2. 
  • Malcolmson, Robert (2001). Warships of the Great Lakes: 1754-1834. Annapolis. ISBN 1-55750-910-7. 
  • Malcolmson, Robert (1998). Lords of the Lake. Annapolis. ISBN 1-55750-532-2. 
  • Winfield, Rif (2005). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793-1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. London. ISBN 1-86176-246-1. 

External links