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Author Topic: HMS Daphne (1776 - 1802)  (Read 5578 times)

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Offline Bilgerat

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Re: HMS Daphne (1776 - 1802)
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2016, 20:39:59 »
Some more stuff I found while researching something else:

HMS Sphinx starboard bow view. HMS Daphne was identical:

HMS Sphinx starboard quarter view.

Sphinx Class fore and aft hold platform plans:

Sphinx Class Upper, or Gundeck plan:

Sphinx Class forecastle and quarterdeck plans:

"I did not say that the French will not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Lord St Vincent

Offline Bilgerat

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HMS Daphne (1776 - 1802)
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2015, 11:05:48 »
HMS Daphne was a sixth-rate 20 gun post-ship of the Sphinx Class and was built by the Royal Dockyard at Woolwich, on the south bank of the River Thames in the County of Kent.

A Post-Ship was nothing to do with the Royal Mail. It was rather, a vessel which fell beween two stools. Bigger than a ship-sloop and carrying the 20 or more guns enabling it to be rated, but carrying less than the 28 guns required to be officially classed as a Frigate, the sixth-rate post-ship was the smallest vessel in the Royal Navy which would normally be commanded by an officer with the rank of Captain. They were, in effect, really just small frigates and many sources refer to them as such and like the smaller sloops, were often used in lieu of frigates because of the acute shortages the Navy's senior commanders often complained about. Post-ships were described as 'frigate-built', that is they had a quarterdeck and forecastle but no poop deck aft and the crew were accomodated on a berth deck located below the gun deck. Unlike a true frigate however, they were not built with an orlop deck between the hold and the berth-deck.

The Sphinx Class was a group of ten post-ships designed by Sir John Williams, Surveyor or chief designer of the Navy. Normally, Surveyors worked in pairs, but William's co-Surveyor, Sir Thomas Slade had died in 1771 and it wasn't to be until 1774 when his replacement, Mr Edward Hunt was appointed. Of the ten ships in the Sphinx Class, four were built in Kent shipyards including two at the Chatham Royal Dockyard and one at the Deptford Royal Dockyard.

HMS Daphne was ordered from the Royal Dockyard at Woolwich on 1st December 1773. At the time she was ordered, a dispute between the British Parliament and the Colonial Administrations in the American Colonies was beginning to escalate into a more serious conflict.Her first keel section was laid at Woolwich during August 1774 and she was launched into the Thames on 21st March 1776. Her construction was overseen by Mr Nicholas Phillips, Master Shipwright at Woolwich Royal Dockyard. After her launch, the ship was fitted with guns, masts and rigging at Woolwich and commissioned under Captain St. John Chinnery later in March of 1776. HMS Daphne was Captain Chinnery's first appointment at that rank, his previous three commands had all been in the position of Master and Commander.

On completion, HMS Daphne was a ship of 429 tons. She was 108ft long on her gundeck and 89ft 8in long at her keel. She was 30ft wide across her beams and her hold between her orlop and the bottom of the ship was 9ft 8in deep. The ship drew 7ft 8in of water at the bow and 12ft 6in at her rudder. HMS Daphne was armed with 20 9pdr long guns on her gundeck and about a dozen half-pounder swivel guns attached to her upper deck handrails and in her fighting tops. She was manned by a crew of 140 officers, men and boys. Her construction and fitting out at Woolwich had cost £10,600.10s.11d.

Plans of HMS Daphne

Hold Platforms:

Berth or Lower Deck plan:

Upper or Gundeck Plan:

Inboard Profile and Plan:

Sheer Plan and Lines:

Lines with details of the stern:

The Admiralty model of HMS Sphinx - Starboard Bow view. HMS Daphne was identical:

Starboard Quarter view:

The ship was declared complete on 25th May 1776 and in the autumn of that year, the ship sailed with a convoy to New York and joined the growing conflict in America. The ship was employed in maintaining the blockade of rebel-held ports along the east coast of what is now the USA. This proved to be work that Captain Chinnery and his crew were very good at. Between her arrival at New York in the autumn of 1776 and her departure back to the UK in the autumn of 1779, HMS Daphne took over 40 prizes including six enemy privateers.

What is remarkable about HMS Daphne is that her punishment book remains intact and was used as part of the source material for a paper entitled "The Tyranny of the Lash - Punishment in the Royal Navy during the American War, 1776 - 1783". This paper by A G Jamieson reveals that HMS Daphne during this period had a slightly higher incidence of floggings in that 11.2% of all the seamen and marines who went through the ship in the period from 1776 to 1780 were flogged against an average across the Navy of 9%. During this period, a total of 57 men received a flogging. Of those men, eleven were repeat offenders. Six men received two floggings over the period, four had three each and one man, John Mahoney received four floggings in the two years he was a member of the ships company. On all occasions, Mahoney's offences were drunkenness and neglect of duty. In July 1779 while in New York, Mr Midshipman McKinley was sent to the Kings Yard for some stores, in company with the ship's Boatswain and Carpenter. These men were senior and respected warrant officers in the ship. On their return, McKinley had complained to Captain Chinnery that the two warrant officers had behaved in a very disorderly and quarrelsome manner and had struck him. Both men were arrested and ordered to be confined to their cabins until a Court Martial could be organised. When this was eventually held aboard HMS Blonde in New York on 28th July, Captain Chinnery spoke up for both his warrant officers and although they were both found guilty, the Court Martial Board merely ordered that both men recieve severe reprimands.

In March 1780, HMS Daphne returned to the UK and entered the Royal DOckyard at Sheerness for a refit in April. On her return to the UK, Captain Chinnery had a chance to get his own back on the troublesome seaman John Mahoney. Instead of being paid off and allowed to leave the ship, Mahoney was transferred to another ship. Captain Chinnery handed over command of the ship to Captain John Augustus Hervey, the Lord Hervey, the second son of the Earl of Bristol. HMS Daphne was his first appointment after being posted; his previous appointment had been as Master and Commander in the snow HMS Viper of ten guns. The work at Sheerness was completed in June 1780 and the ship was put to work patrolling in the North Sea.

In May 1781, Lord Hervey was replaced in command by Captain William Carlyon. Lord Hervey had been appointed to command the 12pdr armed 32 gun frigate HMS Recovery. HMS Daphne was Captain Carlyon's first appointment after being posted, his previous appointment had been as Master and Commander in the brig-sloop HMS Lively of 14 guns. With her new commander, HMS Daphne also had a new base of operations. From May 1781, the ship was based in the Channel Islands and was tasked with hunting down and taking the many French privateers operating from the Biscay ports. On 6th June 1781, operating in company with the 12pdr armed 32 gun frigate HMS Cerberus, she took the French privateer ship Le Duc D'Estissac of 20 guns and 120 men. That ship was purchased into the Royal Navy and became the 18 gun ship-sloop HMS Duc D'Estissac. On 2nd July 1781, HMS Daphne captured the French privateer Le Petit Compare Mathieu.

Captain Carlyon remained in command until 24th May 1782, when he was replaced in command by Captain Matthew Fortescue. Captain Carlyle had been appointed to command the 12pdr armed 32 gun frigate HMS Syren. Captain Fortescue's previous appointment had been as Master and Commander in the fireship HMS Alecto of 12 guns. With her new commander, the ship returned to her previous station in the North Sea and was based in the Orkney Islands. In another incident recorded in her punishment book, on 20th June 1782, her surgeon, Mr Michael Cobby was suspended from duty. His offence was drunkenness, disturbance and insolence to a senior officer. In line with his status as a senior warrant officer, Mr Cobby was confined to his quarters. The Admiralty was slow to order his Court Martial because in March 1783, Captain Fortescue had to write to the Admiralty and remind them that Mr Cobby was still suspended from duty. The Court Martial was held aboard HMS Hermione (32) at Sheerness on 24th April 1783. Charged with being insolent and disrespectful to Lieutenant Williams James Stevens, Mr Cobby was found guilty and ordered to be dismissed from His Majesty's Service.

Later in April 1783, HMS Daphne paid off at Sheerness. HMS Daphne was Captain Fortescue's last sea-going appointment. The ship wasn't laid up for long, she recommissioned in December 1783 under Captain Brabazon Christian. He was an experienced commander who had held commands for virtually the whole war. With the war pretty much over, although the treaty which ended the war, the 1783 Treaty of Paris hadn't been signed yet, the fleet was being paid off and appointments were becoming like gold-dust. Captain Christian's previous appointment had been in command of the 9pdr armed 28 gun sixth-rate frigate HMS Cyclops. Although appointed as the ships commander, Captain Christian didn't actually take command until February of 1784, by which time the war had actually ended. The reason was that he had to wait until he had paid off HMS Cyclops at Deptford first. In the meantime, HMS Daphne entered the Royal Dockyard at Chatham in January 1784 for a refit, which was completed in May. Her refit at Chatham had cost £3,087.1s.9d. HMS Daphne then spent the period between May of 1784 and January of 1788 engaged in the peacetime role of a small frigate in the Royal Navy, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling work and showing the flag. In January 1788, Captain Christian paid off his ship at Plymouth. She was his last sea-going appointment. The ship remained in Plymouth until July 1790 when after undergoing minor repairs and maintenance, the ship recommissioned under Captain James Kinneer and sailed for Jamaica.

By this time, the French Revolution had occurred and HMS Daphne had been recommissioned and sent to the West Indies as part of the mobilisation of the fleet for the Spanish Armaments Crisis. The new Revolutionary Government was involved in an increasingly bitter and violent struggle for control of France against the King, Louis XVI. The Spanish Armaments Crisis had occurred when British traders established a settlement at Nootka on the coast of what is now Vancouver Island. This was in open defiance of a Spanish territorial claim over the entire western coastline of both American continents. After the new Government in France decided that it had enough on it's plate without getting involved in what would likely be a long and expensive war against the British, the Spanish were forced to negotiate and the crisis was settled peacefully. Captain Kinneer was replaced in command during 1791 by Captain Alan Hyde Gardner. She was his first appointment after being posted, his previous appointment was as Master and Commander in the 14 gun ship-sloop HMS Cygnet.

HMS Daphne remained in the Caribbean after the Crisis was over. She was recalled to the UK when things in France took a dramatic turn for the worse. Up until then, Britain had largely supported the French Revolution because it had seen the absolute power of the kings of France replaced by a Constitutional Monarchy similar to our own. Britain was supporting French Royalists with arms and money because she feared the rise of the arch-republican Jacobin movement which had taken control of the French National Convention and had begun attempts to export the Revolution to the rest of Europe, including Britain. In December 1792, the National Convention abolished the French Monarchy and in January 1793 the King and Queen of France were tried for treason and were executed. The British responded by expelling the French Ambassador and France responded on 1st February 1793 by declaring war on Britain.

In March 1793, HMS Daphne was taken into the Royal Dockyard at Deptford and was refitted. This work, in addition to refurbishing and repainting the ship, also saw her armament increased with the addition of a pair of 4pdr long guns each to her quarterdeck and to her forecastle. In addition to these guns, she was also fitted with a pair of 24pdr carronades on her forecastle and four more on her quarterdeck. The ship was reclassed as a 24-gun post-ship, despite actually now carrying 30 guns, because the Royal Navy for some bizarre reason did not count carronades unless they made up a vessel's main armament.

HMS Daphne recommissioned later in March 1793 under Captain Thomas Sotheby and joined the Channel Fleet, then under the command of Admiral Richard, the Lord Howe. Captain Sotheby remained in command until 9th August 1794 when he was replaced in command by Captain William Edward Cracraft. Captain Sotheby had been appointed to command the 74 gun third rate ship of the line HMS Bombay Castle and Captain Cracraft's previous appointment had been as Master and Commander in the 16-gun ship-sloop HMS Thorn. She was put to work enforcing the blockade of the French Atlantic ports.

In late December 1794, the French Atlantic Fleet under Vice-Admiral Villaret de Joyeuse had evaded the blockade and had put to sea. No sooner had they got to sea, the fleet was struck by a tremendous gale. The 80 gun ships Neuf Thermidor and Scipion and the 74 gun ship Superbe foundered in the storm. Neuf Thermidor was lost with all hands but the crews of the other ships were saved. The fleet suffered more losses as the storm raged on. The 74 gun ship Neptune was driven ashore and wrecked at Peros Bay about 35 miles from Brest. The 74 gun ships Temeraire and Convention made it with difficulty into St Malo and Lorient respectively and between the 1st and 2nd February, the fleet returned to Brest. The 120 gun ship Majesteaux was so badly damaged in the storm that her crew struggled to keep her afloat, even after she had anchored. Villaret's fleet had been at sea for 34 days and the cruise had not been a complete disaster, despite the French losses. Among the 100 or so British ships which had been captured was HMS Daphne. HMS Daphne had been taken by the French 12pdr armed 32 gun frigate La Tamise and the 36 gun frigate La Meduse. The French ship La Tamise had previously been HMS Thames.

HMS Daphne was taken into the French Navy and became the 30-gun frigate La Daphne. In late December 1797, La Daphne was tasked with carrying dispatches to the French governor of Guadeloupe. On the night of 29th December, sails were sighted which turned out to be the British 24pdr armed 44 gun razee frigate HMS Anson (previously a 64 gun ship of the line) and the 18 pdr armed 38 gun frigate HMS Phaeton. After a chase, the two British frigates opened fire on La Daphne and after a short firefight in which five of her crew were killed, La Daphne surrendered.

La Daphne was taken to Plymouth under a British prize crew and was taken back into the Royal Navy. In the meantime, the British had captured a large Dutch corvette, the Sirene and had renamed her HMS Daphne as there was already an HMS Syren in British service. The return of the original HMS Daphne had meant that the ex-Dutch ship had to be renamed again, this time to HMS Laurel.

HMS Daphne recommissioned into the Royal Navy's Channel Fleet under Captain Sir Charles Lindsay in February 1798 after a brief refit at Plymouth. She remained in the Channel Fleet until 1st November 1798 when she sailed for the West Indies. Captain Lindsay remained in command until his accidental death by drowning on 10th March 1799. He was replaced in command by Captain Richard Matson. HMS Daphne was his first appointment after being posted and his previous appointment had been as Master and Commander in the 14 gun ship-sloop HMS Beaver.

On 11th August 1799, HMS Daphne was part of a force commanded by Vice-Admiral Lord Seymour, flying his command flag in the 98 gun second rate ship of the line HMS Prince of Wales. The rest of the force in addition to HMS Daphne and HMS Prince of Wales, comprised HMS Invincible (74), HMS Tamar (18pdr 38), HMS Unite (12pdr 32), HMS Syren (12pdr 32), HMS Lapwing (9pdr 28), HMS Amphitrite (9pdr 28) and the gun-brig HMS Requin (10). This force arrived off the Dutch colony of Surinam  and Lord Seymour entered into negotiations with the Dutch Governor. On 20th, the Dutch agreed to surrender and the garrison at Fort Amsterdam were allowed to march out with colours and arms before ceremoniously laying down both colours and arms before the British troops assembled.

In August 1799, the ships boats of HMS Daphne and HMS Syren captured a French privateer, name unknown, on the coast near Cayenne. The enemy vessel was burned. On 28th April 1800, HMS Daphne captured the French privateer Risque Tout.

On 15th January 1801, HMS Daphne was laying at anchor in the Iles des Saintes in company with the 18 gun ship-sloop HMS Cyane, the 18-gun ship-sloop HMS Hornet and the tender-schooner HMS Garland when they sighted in the distance, a convoy of French coasters escorted by an armed schooner, standing in towards Vieux Fort on the French-held island of Guadeloupe. At midnight, HMS Garland together with two boats from each of the ships was dispatched towards Guadeloupe in order to capture or destroy the convoy. On arrival, they found that all the vessels except one had anchored under the protection of the powerful shore batteries at Basseterre. The one vessel was boarded and taken out under heavy fire, but suffered no casualties or damage.

On the afternoon of the 17th, the armed schooner escorting the convoy, by now identified as L'Eclair of 4 four-pounder long guns and twenty one-and-a-half pounder swivel guns with 45 men was seen to put into the port of Trois Rivieres under the protection of the shore batteries. The officers who had commanded the previous raid, Lieutenants Kenneth MacKenzie and Francis Peachey, volunteered to lead another raid to cut the schooner out. Lieutenant MacKenzie took 25 seamen and marines with him aboard HMS Garland and at 5am the following day, HMS Garland, the boats and HMS Cyane set out for Trois Rivieres to carry out the raid. The raid was a complete success and L'Eclair was taken, with a cost to the British of one seaman and one Marine killed with a sergeant of marines and two seamen wounded. They discovered that L'Eclair was a vessel of 145 tons and although only carrying four guns, was pierced for 12. The vessel was taken into Royal Navy service and renamed to HMS Eclair.

In early 1802, HMS Daphne returned to the UK and paid off at Sheerness. By now, the ship was 26 years old and a survey found her to be unfit for further sea service. She was sold at Sheerness and was broken up.
"I did not say that the French will not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Lord St Vincent


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