Waterbodies & Maritime => Vessels => Topic started by: Bilgerat on April 07, 2013, 23:05:50

Title: HMS Leonidas (1807 - 1897)
Post by: Bilgerat on April 07, 2013, 23:05:50
HMS Leonidas was a 38 gun Leda class 5th rate frigate, built under contract by John Pelham at his shipyard in Frindsbury.

The Leda class were a group of 47 sailing frigates built for the Royal Navy between 1800 and 1826, 17 of which were built in Kent shipyards, nine at the Royal Dockyard at Chatham, including the lead ship of the class. Two ships of the class, including the Chatham-built HMS Unicorn are still in existence, the other being the Bombay-built HMS Trincomalee. Their design was copied from that of a French frigate, the Hebe, captured by the Royal Navy in 1782. Fast, powerful and manoeuvrable, their design was very successful.

HMS Leonidas was ordered from the shipyard of John Pelham at Frindsbury on Friday 19th July 1805. Her keel was laid in November 1805 and the ship was launched into the River Medway, her hull complete, on Friday 4th September 1807. After her launch, she was taken to the Royal Dockyard at Chatham to be fitted with her guns, masts and rigging. Her construction at John Pelham's yard cost 21,610 and her fitting out at Chatham cost a further 13,041. On completion, HMS Leonidas was a ship of 1,066 tons. She was 150'1" long on her gundeck and was 39'11" wide across her beam. She was armed with 28 18pdr long guns on her gundeck, 6 32pdr carronades and 8 9pdr long guns on her quarterdeck with a further 2 32pdr carronades and 2 9pdr long guns on her forecastle. Although the ship was officially rated as a 38 gun 5th rate frigate, she actually carried 46 guns. She was manned by a crew of 284 men, officers and boys.

Leda Class Plans.

Orlop Plan:


Lower or Berth Deck Plan:


Upper or Gundeck Plan:


Quarterdeck and Forecastle Plans:


Framing Plan:


Inboard Profile and Plan:


Sheer Plan and Lines:


Sail plan of a Leda Class frigate.


HMS Trincomalee as she is at Hartlepool. HMS Leonidas was identical:


HMS Leonidas commissioned on Thursday 10th December 1807 under Captain James Dunbar. She sailed for the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday 10th February 1808 and joined the Mediterranean Fleet then under the command of Vice-Admiral Lord Collingwood and was engaged in the duties of a frigate - those of patrolling and enforcing the blockade of French and Spanish ports.

Collingwood by this time was a sick man and his health began to deteriorate rapidly in 1809. He was forced to request his replacement in command of the Mediterranean Fleet. The Admiralty eventually granted his request but tragically Collingwood died from cancer aboard his flagship, the First Rate ship HMS Ville de Paris (110) off Port Mahon, Menorca on 7th March 1810 whilst on passage back to England.

Meanwhile, Rear-Admiral George Martin had temporarily taken command of the Mediterranean Fleet. Also, in July 1809, HMS Leonidas received a new commander, Captain Anselm Griffiths. During his tenure in command, an expedition was launched against the Ionian island of Santa Maura, which was still in French hands. A force was assembled at Zante which comprised HMS Magnificent (74), HMS Montagu (74), the ex-French frigate HMS Belle Poule (38) , HMS Leonidas plus three gunboats and five transport ships. HMS Leonidas was sent ahead to blockade the island and prevent the enemy from resupplying their garrison there. HMS Montagu was forced to join the operation later after having suffered accidental damage to her rudder.

The rest of the force left Zante early in the morning of March 21st 1810 and arrived off Santa Maura that evening. Commanded by Brigadier-General Oswald, the troops landed early in the morning of 22nd March and quickly established strong positions ashore. On 8th April, the fortress overlooking the harbour came under seige and surrendered to the British eight days later, on 16th. The British force had suffered 24 dead, 127 wounded and 17 missing presumed dead during the operation to take the island.

In 1812, HMS Leonidas was reassigned to the Irish Station. On Sunday 16th February 1812, HMS Leonidas in company with the 18 gun ship-sloop HMS Dasher took the 14 gun French privateer La Confiance. Later the same day, the French privateer Gazelle of 14 guns also surrendered to HMS Leonidas. Further success evaded HMS Leonidas until after the war with the United States had broken out on 18th June 1812. In January 1813, command of HMS Leonidas passed to Captain Sir George Seymour. Seymour's first command had been the Dover-built ship-sloop HMS Kingfisher. Seymour was only in command for a month and in February 1813, handed over command to Captain Sir Frederick Aylmer. On Sunday 23rd May 1813, HMS Leonidas captured the 16 gun American privateer USS Paul Jones.

By 1814, HMS Leonidas was in Jamaica. On 6th April 1814, Napoleon abdicated and surrendered to the British aboard HMS Bellerophon. On 11th April 1814, the war against France was ended by the Treaty of Fountainebleau. HMS Leonidas was ordered to return to the UK and in June 1814 paid off at Sheerness. Between May 1815 and December 1816, HMS Leonidas underwent repairs at Sheerness at a cost of 30,472 and in November 1818, was laid up in the Ordinary at Sheerness. She remained there with her hatches and gunports sealed shut, guns, yards, sails and running rigging all removed for the next 54 years.

In 1872, HMS Leonidas was converted to a Powder Hulk and was moored off Upnor, opposite the Royal Dockyard, Chatham.

HMS Leonidas as a Powder Hulk at Upnor in 1888.


On Tuesday 23rd November 1897, HMS Leonidas was sold for breaking up to Henry Castle & Sons Ltd of Anchor and Hope Wharf, Charlton.
Title: Re: HMS Leonidas (1807 - 1897)
Post by: Sentinel S4 on April 07, 2013, 23:13:16
Fantastic, nice one Bilgerat. The RN certainly got their money back on that ship, 90 years of service from a wooden ship. Nothing lasts that long now.

Title: Re: HMS Leonidas (1807 - 1897)
Post by: petermilly on April 08, 2013, 09:17:37
Once again thank you Bilgerat.  :)
Title: Re: HMS Leonidas (1807 - 1897)
Post by: Bilgerat on September 25, 2017, 20:03:03
Updated with plans....
Title: Re: HMS Leonidas (1807 - 1897)
Post by: StuarttheGrant on September 25, 2017, 21:45:06
My word Bilgerat you have had a very productive day!!!

Much enjoyed by yours truly.