HMS Thames (1758)

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File:Beau fait d'armes du capitaine Troude 3895.jpg
Fine deed of arms by Captain Troude, Antoine Léon Morel-Fatio. Thames is in the right foreground.
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Thames
Launched: 1758
Captured: 25 October 1793
Fate: captured
Career (France) French Navy Ensign
Name: Tamise
Acquired: 25 October 1793
Captured: 8 June 1796
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Thames
Acquired: 8 June 1796
Struck: 1803
General characteristics
Propulsion: Sail
Armament: 32 12-pounder long guns
Armour: Timber

HMS Thames was a 32-gun Richmond-class Fifth Rate of the Royal Navy that Henry Adams built and launched at Bucklers Hard in 1758. This frigate served in several wars, including for some four years in French service after her capture, and was broken up in 1803.

Thames was commissioned in April 1758 and paid off in March 1766 after wartime service, including deployment in the Mediterranean from August 1763. She was repaired and recommissioned in October 1770 for the Falkland Islands dispute. She participated in the Spithead Review of 22 June 1773, and in a mission to Morocco in 1774. Paid off in July 1775, she was recommissioned in August 1776, and then paid off again in September 1782 after wartime service. After several repairs at various times, she was recommissioned under Captain Thomas Troubridge in June 1790. She was again paid off, repaired and refitted.


On 24 October 1793, while on route to Gibraltar under Captain James Cotes, she met Jean-François Tartu's Uranie, off Gascony. In the ensuing engagement she lost her rigging and most of her starboard battery, yet killed Tartu and forced Uranie to disengage. The next day the frigate Carmagnole, under Zacharie Allemand, and accompanying vessels, captured Thames, which was essentially a defenseless hulk. She was brought into French service as Tamise.

Under French colours and Recapture

Tamise was entrusted to Captain Jean Marthe Adrien Lhermitte, who ordered some technical improvements. She went for two short campaigns in the Channel where she succeeded in taking 22 British merchant vessels of various sizes. She also escaped a British squadron that ignored her because of her British construction lines. She was then the admiral's frigate, repeating orders, in Villaret de Joyeuse's fleet. She was charged with the reconnaissance of Lord Howe's fleet in the morning of the Glorious First of June 1794.

Under the command of Captain Fradin, Tamise took part in the disastrous campaign of "Grand Hiver" while still with Villaret Joyeuse's fleet. She also was sent on three individual chasing campaigns making several seizures and taking part in three inconclusive individual fights.[1]

On 8 June 1796, cruising with the Tribune in the approaches to the Channel, a British frigate squadron comprising HMS Santa Margarita, Captain Thomas Williams, and HMS Unicorn chased the two French frigates. Unicorn captured Tribune, and Santa Margarita captured Tamise. The Royal Navy reinstated Tamise under her old name as HMS Thames. She was recommissioned in December 1796 under Captain William Lukin and in June sailed for Jamaica.

British service again

Between August and October 1797, Thames captured a French privateer, name unknown, on the Jamaica station.

On 12 May 1800, Thames, Clyde and the hired armed cutter Suwarrow captured a French chasse maree, name unknown. On 1 June, Thames was a part of a squadron detached from Channel fleet to Quiberon Bay and the Morbihan to aid the royalists. On 26 October she, together with Immortalite, captured the French privateer Diable à Quatre in the Bay of Biscay. A little over a month later, on 30 November she captured another French privateer in the Bay of Biscay, the Actif.

On 18 January 1801, she captured the French 16-gun privateer Aurore in the English Channel. Captain Askew Paffard Hollis took command of Thames in June. On 5 July she became becalmed while trying to recall Superb to join the squadron under Rear Admiral Sir James Saumarez. On 8 July she observed a Franco-Spanish squadron of six sail of the line prepare to sail on the 9th for Algeciras, and sailed to Gibraltar to warn the Admiral. Three days later Thames was part of Saumarez's squadron which left Gibraltar to chase a Franco-Spanish squadron observed sailing from Algeciras. Thames took a minor part in the Battle of Algeciras Bay while under the command of under Captain Askew Paffard Hollis. The engagement commenced resulting in the destruction of two First Rates, and the capture of a Third Rate.

In subsequent months, assisted by the sloop-of-war Calpe, which had also participated in the battle, she destroyed a number of the enemy's coasters in the bay of Estepona.[2]


Thames was paid off in January 1803 broken up at Woolwich in September.

Sources and references

  1. see: André Di Ré: La Tamise, une frégate légère dans la campagne de Prairial, in Chronique d'Histoire Maritime n°61, décembre 2006
  2. Obituary: Vice Admiral Hollis. The Gentleman's magazine (1844), 428-30.
  • Winfield, Rif (2008) British Warships in the Age of Sail, 1793-1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing, 2nd edition. ISBN 978-1-84415-717-4.
  • Naval database