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Author Topic: HMS Renown (1798 - 1835)  (Read 692 times)

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Offline Bilgerat

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HMS Renown (1798 - 1835)
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2018, 21:17:11 »
HMS Renown was a Large Type, 74-gun, Third rate ship of the Line of the Northumberland Class, built under Navy Board contract for the Royal Navy at the shipyard of John Dudman at Deptford. Deptford was at the time in the County of Kent.

The 74-gun, Third Rate Ship of the Line was the largest type of vessel to be built under Navy Board contract in commercial shipyards. They were by far the most numerous ship of the line in the world and at the time of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, the Royal Navy alone had more of them than the rest of the world's ships of the line put together. Representing the best compromise between speed and agility on one hand and strength and firepower on the other, the 74-gun ship was the smallest vessel able to carry a battery of 28 or 30 x 32pdr long guns. The Large Type of 74-gun ship was not necessarily so-called because of their actual size although some were pretty much the same size as a First rate Ship of the Line, but because they carried a battery of 24pdr long guns on their upper gundecks rather than the 18pdr guns carried by the much more numerous Common and later Middling Types.

The two ships of the Northumberland Class were the largest and most powerful 74-gun ships in the Royal Navy and both were built in Kent shipyards. The lead ship of the class had also been built under Navy Board contract at Deptford, at the shipyard of William Barnard. Designed by Sir John Henslow, Co-Surveyor of the Navy, their design was based on that of the French Temeraire Class 74 gun ship L'Amerique, captured at the Battle of the Glorious First of June in 1794 by HMS Leviathan (74) and taken into the Royal Navy as HMS Impetueux. The French Temeraire Class was the most numerous class of capital ship ever built, with 120 ships built between 1782 and 1813. They were the standard French 74 gun ship. Many of them had ended up in British hands and they copied the evolving design several times. One of them, the Duguay Trouin, survived the Battle of Trafalgar and was captured by the British at the Battle of Cape Ortegal. Taken into the Royal Navy and renamed HMS Implacable, she survived until 1949 when she was towed out into the Solent and was scuttled.

The contract for the construction of HMS Renown was signed on the 30th April 1795 and her first keel section was laid at Deptford the following November. The completed hull was launched with all due ceremony into the River Thames on Wednesday the 2nd May 1798. Up to the time of her launch, the ship had cost 38,203 and immediately after her launch, the new ship was taken to the Royal Dockyard at Deptford to begin the process of being fitted with her guns, masts and rigging. On completion, HMS Renown was a ship of 1,899 tons. She was 182ft long on her upper gundeck and 150ft 3in long at the keel. She was 48ft 9in wide across the beams and drew 13ft 6in of water at the bow and 19ft 3in at the rudder. Her hold between the orlop and her bottom was 21ft 7in deep.

HMS Renown was armed with 30x32pdr long guns on her lower gundeck, 30x24pdr long guns on her upper gundeck, 4x18pdr long guns and 10x32pdr carronades on her quarterdeck, 2x18pdr long guns and 2x32pdr carronades on her forecastle and 6x18pdr carronades on her poop deck. She also carried around a dozen half-pounder swivel guns attached to her quarterdeck and forecastle handrails and in her fighting tops. This meant that although classified as a 74 gun ship, she actually carried 84 guns. HMS Renown was manned by a crew of 640 officers, seamen, boys and Marines. Fitting out the ship at Deptford Royal Dockyard added 17,980 to the bill for the ship and she commissioned into the Channel Fleet under Captain Albermarle Bertie in August of 1798.

Captain Albermarle Bertie was an experienced, distinguished and well-connected officer, being the illegitimate son of General Peregrine Bertie, the 3rd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven. He had been born on 20th January 1755 and had been appointed Master and Commander in the 18-gun ship-sloop HMS Merlin in May of 1781. Posted, or promoted to Captain, he had been appointed into the 24-gun 9pdr-armed post-ship HMS Crocodile on 21st March 1782 and his appointment prior to HMS Renown had been in command of 74-gun ship of the line HMS Thunderer in which he had participated in the Battle of the Glorious First of June.

Northumberland Class Plans

Orlop Plan:



Lower Gundeck Plan:



Upper Gundeck Plan:



Quarterdeck and Forecastle Plans:



Inboard Profile and Plan:



Sheer Plan and Lines:



The former HMS Implacable laying at Portsmouth, prior to being towed out to sea and scuttled. As a French Temeraire Class vessel, L'Amerique would have been identical and being based on that design, HMS Renown would have been very similar.



At the time the ship commissioned, the Channel Fleet was under the overall command of Admiral Sir Alexander Hood, the Viscount Bridport. By this time, the Royal Navy had gained complete control of the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean, so the Channel Fleet's war had become one of patrols and blockade duty. April 1799 saw the ship taking part in the blockade of Brest as part of a squadron of six ships of the line commanded by Rear-Admiral the Honourable George Cranfield Berkeley, flying his command flag in HMS Mars (74). On 16th April, the squadron chased a French convoy into Brest and on the following day, Berkeley's squadron was reinforced on station by the arrival of Lord Bridport in HMS Royal George (100) with five or six other ships of the line. On 25th, Lord Bridport looked into Brest before cruising off the port with the fleet. That evening, the French Vice-Admiral Bruix put to sea with a fleet of four first rate ships, two ships each of 80 guns and nineteen ships of 74 guns. Lord Bridport learned of this and returned to Brest with the fleet to discover that the reports were true. The French had put to sea in numbers and he had no idea where they were. The British eventually figured out that the French were bound to the Mediterranean and on 1st June, Lord Bridport sent Rear-Admiral Sir Alan Gardner with 16 ships of the line to the Mediterranean to reinforce the Mediterranean Fleet then under Vice-Admiral Sir John Jervis, the Earl St Vincent. News had also reached Lord Bridport of a Spanish squadron comprised of a 112-gun ship, an 80-gun ship, three 74-gun ships, a frigate and two corvettes having put into the French port of Rochefort. Lord Bridport decided that he would make sure they stayed there, so with his remaining ten ships of the line including HMS Renown, headed for the Basque Road, off Rochefort. On 4th June, Lord Bridport's force arrived, but on 8th, he returned to the UK in HMS Royal George, accompanied by HMS Atlas (98), HMS Achille (74) and HMS Agincourt (64).

See here for the stories of HMS Royal George:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=15749.msg130354#msg130354

HMS Achille:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=16386.msg137900#msg137900

HMS Atlas:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=19543.msg173096#msg173096

HMS Mars:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=18912.msg166060#msg166060

This left the blockading force off Rochefort as HMS Mars (flagship) together with HMS Venerable, HMS Renown, HMS Ajax, HMS Ramillies and HMS Robust (all of 74 guns). A few days later, the force was joined by the ex-French HMS Sans Pareil (80) and on 1st July, HMS Royal George returned as flagship of Vice-Admiral Charles Pole along with the 18pdr-armed frigates HMS Boudicea and the ex-French HMS Uranie (both of 38 guns), the ex-French HMS San Fiorenzo of 36 guns, HMS Unicorn of 32 guns, the 32pdr carronade-armed brig-sloop HMS Sylph of 18 guns, the bomb vessels HMS Sulphur, HMS Explosion and HMS Volcano and their respective tenders. Vice-Admiral Pole was under orders to launch an attack on the Spanish squadron now blockaded in Rochefort. It was considered that the operation only needed one flag-officer, so Rear-Admiral Berkeley returned to the UK in HMS Mars in company with HMS Ramillies. Early in the morning of 2nd July 1799, Vice-Admiral Pole ordered the squadron to close with the shore and at about 11:00, the ships of the line anchored in the Basque Roads while the frigates, bomb vessels and HMS Sylph proceeded onwards towards the Aix Road, off the Ile D'Aix, near to where the Spanish ships were moored in a line ahead. For their defence, the Spanish had moored a floating mortar battery between the Ile D'Aix and the Boyard Shoal and at about noon, this battery, together with shore batteries on the Ile D'Aix and the island of Oleron opened fire on the British. The British bomb vessels having anchored, returned fire, but while the Spanish mortar fire overshot the British bomb vessels and frigates, the British fire fell short. At 14:00, Captain Richard Goodwin Keats, commanding the bombarding force of frigates and bomb vessels sent HMS Sylph to inform Vice-Admiral Pole about what was going on. In the meantime, the wind fell to a flat calm, giving the Spanish the opportunity to send a force of gunboats, each armed with a 36pdr long gun. At 16:30, discretion got the better part of valour and realising their peril, the British bomb vessels and frigates weighed anchor and were chased out of the Aix Roads by the Spanish gunboats. In the Action of the 2nd July 1799, neither side suffered any casualties or damage. The British contented themselves with cruising off the Basque Roads. The Spanish squadron escaped from Rochefort in September and after finding the Brest was too well blockaded by the British, returned to Ferrol. HMS Renown returned to Plymouth for a short refit and to resupply on 6th August 1799 and spent the rest of the year engaged on the blockade of Brest.

In November 1799, Captain Bertie was appointed to command the 98-gun Second Rate Ship of the Line HMS Windsor Castle and was replaced in HMS Renown by Captain Thomas Eyles. Captain Eyles was a successful commander who's previous appointment had been in command of the 98-gun Second Rate Ship of the Line HMS Temeraire. Before that, he had become famous as a result of a string of successes during his term in command of the ex-French 24pdr-armed 44-gun Heavy Frigate HMS Pomone. At the same time that Captain Eyles took command of the ship, she became flagship to Rear-Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, 1st Baronet of Little Marlow in the County of Buckinghamshire. Rear-Admiral Warren was another agressive commander who had become famous while commanding the renowned Falmouth frigate squadron. The Rear-Admiral was in command of a squadron which in addition to HMS Renown, also comprised the 74-gun ship of the line HMS Defence, HMS Unicorn and the ex-French 18pdr-armed 44 gun frigate HMS Fisgard.

Sir John Borlase Warren, engraving by Daniel Orme, made in 1799:



On the 10th June 1800, the squadron was patrolling near the Penmarcks, off the Britanny coast, when Rear-Admiral Warren received intelligence about a convoy of French brigs and chasse marees lying in the harbour at St. Croix, within the Penmarck Rocks, which was carrying wine and provisions for the French Brest Fleet. The Rear-Admiral gave orders that the squadron's boats be sent on a raid to cut out or destroy the convoy. The raid was to be commanded by Lieutenant Henry Burke, First Lieutenant in HMS Renown. The raiding party was to be carried in eight boats, two from HMS Renown, two from HMS Fisgard, commanded by Lieutenant William Dean and Marine Lieutenant Mark Gerrard, two from HMS Defence commanded by Lieutenant Thomas Stamp and two from HMS Unicorn commanded by Lieutenant William Price. The force was to assemble at HMS Fisgard, anchored as close to the shore as her captain would dare and departed from the frigate at 23:00. Prevented from reaching their objective until the following morning by strong winds, the raiding party came under a heavy fire from a shore battery, armed enemy vessels and musket fire from the shore. Nevertheless, they captured a French gunboat, La Nochette armed with a pair of 24pdr long guns, a chasse maree of ten guns and another of six, plus eight merchant vessels. The rest of the convoy of about 20 vessels cut their anchor cables and ran ashore. This success cost the British three seamen and one Marine wounded. Rear-Admiral Warren's report of the raid singled out three particular officers for their bravery in addition to the ones already mentioned: Acting-Lieutenant Henry Jane of HMS Renown, Masters Mate Mr John Fleming and Lieutenant Killogrivov of the Russian Navy, serving on attachment to the Royal Navy.

Rear-Admiral Warren sent the prizes back to the UK with HMS Unicorn and in the frigate's absence, the Rear-Admiral ordered another raid, this time on a convoy along with their escort, a French corvette of 28 guns, a brig of 18 guns, a lugger of 16 guns and a cutter of ten guns. The convoy with their escorts were laying at anchor in the Quimper River. The raiding party was to be commanded by Captain Thomas Byam Martin of HMS Fisgard and was to comprise of three divisions, two of Marines and one of seamen. One division of Marines was commanded by Lieutenant Burke and was to land on the right bank of the river to secure that side of the mouth of the river. The other division of Marines under Marine Lieutenant Gerrard was to secure the other bank while the seamen under Lieutenant Robert Yarker was to attack the convoy itself. The squadron anchored off the Glenans in the mouth of the river on the night of the 23rd June. The boats set off at daybreak and the Marines were landed as planned. Lieutenant Yarker's party soon found that the French vessels were anchored too far up the river to be safely reached, so instead they landed, stormed and blew up a shore battery mounting two or three 24pdr long guns and destroyed two other small forts before the whole raiding party returned safely to the ships without suffering any casualties.

More intelligence reached Rear-Admiral Warren about another convoy and escort, from Sable d'Olonne bound for Brest with supplies for the fleet. The convoy was laying at anchor within the sandbanks off the Ile Noirmutier and the escort this time comprised the armed ship Therese of 20 guns, a lugger of 12 guns, a cutter and a pair of schooners, all of six guns. On the 1st of July, the squadron anchored in Boerneuf Bay on the eastern side of the island. Rear-Admiral Warren intended to send a raiding party in the boats of all three ships. The enemy were in a strong defensive position, under the guns of six shore batteries at the south-east end of the island with more guns on the many sandy headlands. Once more, the raiding party was to consist of three divisions totalling 192 officers, seamen and Marines. Once more, the force was under the overall command of Lieutenant Burke assisted by Marine Lieutenants John Thompson and Charles Henry Ballinghall of HMS Renown, Lieutenant Dean and Marine Lieutenant Gerrard of HMS Fisgard and Marine Lieutenants William Garrett and Hugh Hutton of HMS Defence. At midnight, in a co-ordinated attack, the British boarded and captured all four armed vessels and fifteen of the cargo vessels, finding them loaded with flour, corn, provisions, baled goods as well as ships timbers. Finding that it was impossible due to the falling tide to bring the vessels out, Lieutenant Burke ordered them all destroyed. Things went wrong with this raid when the British force went to return to their ships. In attempting to pass over the sandbanks, all the boats ran aground and soon found themselves high and dry. It was at this point that all the French shore batteries and about 400 French soldiers opened fire on the seeming helpless British. Lieutenant Burke ordered that his men attack the nearest vessels still afloat in the hope that they would find one big enough to carry the whole party. This they did, but the vessel they seized was partly aground and the British were forced to drag the vessel nearly two miles before it floated. By this time, the French troops had come out onto the sandbanks. The French took 92 men including Lieutenants Thompson and Ballinghall prisoner, but the remaining 100 officers, seamen and Marines forced the French troops to withdraw back to the shore and made it back to their ships in the vessels they had captured.

Between July and August of 1800, there were changes to the makeup of the squadron. Rear-Admiral Warren was ordered to mount an attack on the Spanish naval base at Ferrol and the squadron was reinforced. HMS Defence and HMS Fisgard returned to the UK and the squadron was joined by the 98 gun Second Rate Ship of the Line HMS London, the ex-French ships HMS Impetueux (formerly L'Amerique, as mentioned in the beginning of this article) and HMS Courageux, with HMS Captain (all of 74 guns). All the new 74-gun ships had famous commanders, Captain Sir Edward Pellew of HMS Impetueux, Captain Sir Samuel Hood of HMS Courageux and Captain Sir Richard Strachan of HMS Captain. In addition, the squadron was joined by the 24pdr-armed razee Heavy Frigate HMS Indefatigable, the 18pdr-armed frigates HMS Amelia (38), HMS Amethyst (36) and HMS Stag (32), with the 9pdr-armed 28 gun frigate HMS Brilliant, the 6pdr-armed ship-sloop HMS Cynthia (18) and the hired armed cutter Saint Vincent of 14 guns.

See here for the story of HMS London:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=19093.msg168486#msg168486

And HMS Amethyst:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=17628.msg152853#msg152853

In addition to the warships, there was a fleet of transport ships carrying troops under Lieutenant-General Sir James Pulteney. Bottled up inside the naval base at Ferrol were the Spanish ships Real carlos and San Hermenegildo (both of 112 guns), San Fernando of 96 guns, Argonauta of 80 guns and San Antonio and San Augustin (both of 74 guns). The plan was to seize the naval base and the ships in it.

On 25th August, the force arrived in the bay of Playa de Dominos and after the fort overlooking the bay had been silenced by gunfire from HMS Impetueux, HMS Cynthia, HMS Brilliant and the Saint Vincent, the troops, along with sixteen field guns were landed. Attacked on the beach by Spanish troops, the British soldiers with the assistance of seamen from the ships in the fleet, drove off their attackers. The following day, the British forced their way to the heights overlooking the city and harbour, but on gaining the heights, Pulteney saw that the port was too strongly defended and decided to withdraw back to the ships.

After the withdrawal from Ferrol, Rear-Admiral Warren's squadron in company with the transport ships was making its way along the Spanish coast when a large French privateer was seen to run into Vigo and anchor at a spot near the Narrows at Redondela. Captain Sir Samuel Hood of HMS Courageux put a suggestion to the Rear-Admiral that the vessel could be taken in a cutting out raid. Warren agreed and an audacious plan was drawn up. The letters of the officers commanding the mission tell the story:

Letter from Sir John Jervis, the Earl St. Vincent, Commander-in-Chief Channel Fleet to Evan Nepean, Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty:


"Dated on board the Royal George
Off Ushant
September 7, 1800

Sir,
I enclose letters from Rear-Admiral Sir John Warren, this moment received by the Brilliant.

I am &c

ST VINCENT"


Letter from Rear-Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren to Lord St. Vincent:

"Renown
Vigo Bay
2d September 1800

My Lord,
I beg leave to inform you that, on having ordered Captain Hood of the Courageux to lead into this bay, I received a letter from him on the same evening and immediately ordered two boats from this ship, the Impetueux, and London and refer your Lordship to a letter which accompanies this, for the account of a gallant action, performed by the boats of Captain Hood's detachment, under Lieutenant Burke's orders, whose merit on this, as well as former occasions, will I trust, induce your Lordship to recommend him to the favour of their Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, more especially as he has been severely wounded in the Service.
I have the honor &c &c &c

JOHN WARREN"


Letter from Captain Sir Samuel Hood to Rear-Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren

"His Majesty's Ship Courageux
Vigo bay
30th August 1800

Sir,
Percieving yesterday afternoon the French privateer in the Harbour had removed for security near the Narrows of Redondella, close to the batteries, where I thought there was a probability of her being attacked with success, I ordered two boats from each ship named in the margin
(HMS Amethyst, HMS Stag, HMS Amelia, HMS Brilliant and HMS Cynthia) with those of the Renown, Impetueux and London you sent me and four from the Courageux, commanded by Lieutenants volunteering their services, to be ready at Nine O'Clock, and placed them under the direction of Lieutenant Burke, of the Renown, whose gallant conduct has so often merited your commendation. About forty minutes past twelve they attacked her with the greatest bravery, meeting with desperate resistance, her commander having laid the hatches over to prevent her people from giving way and cheered as the boats advanced, but notwithstanding this determined opposition, she was carried in fifteen minutes.
I am sorry to add Lieutenant Burke has received a severe wound, but I hope not dangerous. Our loss has been as per enclosed list, the greater part occasioned by the desperate conduct of her commander, who was mortally wounded. Too much praise cannot be given to those deserving officers and men who so gallantly supported Lieutenant Burke, and towed her out with much coolness through the fire of the enemy's batteries. I need not, Sir, comment on the ability and courage of the commanding Lieutenant, his former services having gained your esteem, and I have no doubt the sufferings of his wound will be alleviated by that well-known attention shewn to officers who have so gallantly distinguished themselves, for which I beg leave to offer my strongest recommendation.
The privateer is a very fine ship, named La Guipe, of Bordeaux, with a flush deck, three hundred tons, pierced for twenty-two guns, carrying eighteen nine-pounders, and one hundred and sixty-one men, commanded by Citoyenne Dupan, stored and provisioned in the completest manner for four months. She had twenty-five killed and forty wounded.

I have the honor to be &c &c &c

SAMUEL HOOD

A report of the killed, wounded and missing in the boats employed in the taking of the French privateer La Guipe in Vigo Bay, in the evening of 29th August 1800:

Lieutenant Henry Burke of the Renown, Wounded
Lieutenant John Henry Holmes and Joseph Nourse of the Courageux, slightly wounded
Three seamen and one Marine, killed
Three officers, twelve seamen and five marines, wounded
One seaman, missing."


Rear-Admiral Warren's letter to his commander resulted in Lieutenant Burke being recommended for promotion and at the end of his term as HMS Renown's First Lieutenant, he was appointed Master and Commander in the 16-gun brig-sloop HMS Seagull in 1802. Sadly, Mr Burke was lost, along with the whole crew of HMS Seagull when she foundered in a storm in the English Channel in 1805.

In the meantime, Rear-Admiral Warren received orders to take his squadron with the transport ships and meet with Vice-Admiral Lord Keith's Mediterranean Fleet at Gibraltar. On 2nd October 1800, Lord Keith, with 22 ships of the line, 37 frigates, sloops and other warships with 80 transport ships carrying 18,000 troops under General Sir Ralph Abercromby sailed from Gibraltar and on the 4th, this armada anchored in the Bay of Cadiz with a view to attacking and capturing this, the largest and most heavily fortified Spanish port and naval base. Lord Keith sent a summons to the Spanish Governor of Cadiz, Don Thomas de Morla inviting him to surrender the city, the naval base and all the ships in it. Don Thomas' reply that the city of Cadiz and the surrounding area was in the grip of an outbreak of plague was enough to make Lord Keith, General Abercromby and the entire force to return to Gibraltar immediately.

With the failure of this mission, Rear-Admiral Warren and the squadron returned to the UK, where both he and Captain Eyles left the ship. Captain Eyles was appointed once more as captain of HMS Temeraire. He was replaced in command of HMS Renown by Captain John Chambers White, who's previous appointment had been in command of the 98 gun Second rate Ship of the Line HMS Windsor Castle. His term in command of the ship did not get off to a good start, when on the 9th November 1800, she broke free from her mooring off Plymouth during a storm and drifted towards the Bridge Rocks off St. Nicholas Island. While the ship was drifting, a boat was launched which towed her anchor cable to a nearby mooring buoy and was secured to it, allowing the ship to be warped up to the buoy.

See here for the story of HMS Windsor Castle:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=18212.msg158611#msg158611

In the meantime, although Rear-Admiral Warren had remained with the ship, HMS Renown becme flagship to a new squadron under Warren's command. In addition to HMS Renown, the new squadron also had the ex-Spanish 80-gun Third Rate Ship of the Line HMS Gibraltar (formerly named Fenix and captured during Vice-Admiral Sir George Rodney's victory over the Spanish in the First, or the Moonlight Battle of Cape St. Vincent in 1780), with the ex-French HMS Genereux, HMS Dragon and HMS Hector (all of 74 guns) and the ex-Dutch HMS Haarlem of 64 guns. In addition to the ships of the line, Rear-Admiral Warren had the ex-French 24pdr-armed 40-gun Heavy Frigate HMS Pomone, the ex-French 18pdr-armed 40-gun Frigate HMS Minerve, the 18pdr-armed 36-gun Frigate HMS Phoenix and the 9pdr-armed 28-gun Frigate HMS Mercury. The new squadron was tasked with mounting a close blockade of Cadiz and left Plymouth on the 26th November 1800.

Since Nelson's victory over the French Toulon Fleet at the Battle of the Nile in August of 1798, a French army had been stranded in the Egyptian desert. Although the French had attempted to supply and reinforce the army since, those attempts had been frustrated by British control of the Mediterranean Sea, which was a by-product of Nelson's victory. Despite the offer of rich rewards to the master of the first French vessel to reach Egypt with supplies for the army, the French continued to be unable to help their troops. After the failure at Cadiz, General Abercromby had been tasked with leading a campaign to engage and destroy this army and news of this reached Napoleon in late 1800. This made him even more determined to assist the army he had left stranded in the desert and he appointed the man most widely seen as being the most capable officer in the French Navy, Rear-Admiral Honore Ganteaume to lead an expedition. The expedition was to be prepared in the utmost secrecy and the ships under Ganteaume's command were to be the best in the French Brest Fleet. The French began to openly prepare ships for sea at various ports in the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay in order to distract the blockading British ships and on 7th January 1801, the ruse appeared to have worked when Ganteaume's force of seven ships of the line with a pair of large frigates broke out of Brest and put to sea, bound for Toulon. The French Rear-Admiral's force consisted of the 80-gun ships Indomptable, Indivisible and Formidable, the 74-gun ships Desaix, Constitution, Jean Bart and Dix-Aout, the frigates Creole of 40 guns and Bravoure of 36 guns with the armed lugger Vautour. On 27th January, the force was spotted by the 12pdr-armed 36-gun frigate HMS Concorde, which was chased and engaged by the Bravoure in an action wich left both ships badly damaged before the Bravoure broke off the action and returned to her squadron. On the 30th January, the French force fell in with, captured and destroyed the British fireship HMS Incendiary and between the 10th and 12th February, chased and eventually captured the British 12pdr-armed 32-gun frigate HMS Success. All the British officers and seamen were well treated by their French captors and were released on their arrival at Toulon and were allowed to proceed via a cartel-ship to the British naval base at Port Mahon on Minorca, where they arrived on the 26th February.

See here for the story of HMS Incendiary:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=18834.msg164667#msg164667

News of the French break-out arrived in the UK on 3rd February when HMS Concorde returned to Plymouth. At once, Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Calder was dispatched in chase with a force of seven ships of the line, including the Second Rate Ship of the Line HMS Prince of Wales, the 80-gun Third Rate Ships of the Line HMS Caesar and the ex-French HMS Malta, with two frigates and a brig-sloop. Unfortunately, the Admiralty wrongly assumed Ganteaume's destination to be the West Indies and that was where Rear-Admiral Calder and his squadron were sent.

In the meantime, the only other British squadron at sea and in a position to intercept Ganteaume's force was that of Rear-Admiral Warren, cruising off Cadiz and news of the French break-out reached them on the 8th of February. On receiving the news, Sir John Warren ordered his squadron to sail to Gibraltar and arriving on the 10th of February, he learned that the French squadron had passed the Rock on the day before. Leaving Gibraltar on the 13th February, Sir John Warren in HMS Renown took the squadron to Minorca arriving on the 20th. After making running repairs to their ships, the British left Minorca on the 24th February but were struck be a severe storm that night which left some of the ships damaged, requiring a return to Port Mahon to make more repairs, arriving again on the 27th. Having received intelligence about a possible Fraco-Spanish attack on Minorca, Rear-Admiral Warren ordered that HMS Genereux stay behind and left Port Mahon again on the 4th of March. While at sea, the squadron fell in with two merchant vessels who both passed on the same news that the King of Naples had concluded an armistice with the French and that the Kingdom of Naples, previously a British ally had fallen. Knowing that Sicily, a Neopolitan possession, contained significant British trade interests, Rear-Admiral Warren ordered that the squadron head for Palermo in order to protect British interests and if necessary, evacuate British citizens from the island. He also knew that HMS Alexander (74) and the ex-French HMS Athenien (64) were in Palermo and sent ahead orders that those ships were to join his squadron when he arrived. On finding that British interests in Sicily were already sufficiently protected, Warren and the squadron left Palermo bound for Toulon in order to blockade Ganteaume's force there. whilst en-route, on the 25th March, Rear-Admiral Warren's squadron fell in with the ex-French 6pdr-armed 16-gun brig-sloop HMS Salamine whose commander, Mr Thomas Briggs, had been sent by Captain Manley Dixon of HMS Genereux at Port Mahon with news that the French force had left Toulon on the 19th bound for Alexandria.

Rear-Admiral Gateaume had received orders while in Toulon that he was to sail immediately for Alexandria and if he found on arrival that the port was blockaded by a superior British force, that he was to land the troops at a convenient point not too far to the west of the city, between Tripoli and Rasat. On leaving Toulon, he too had run into a severe storm which also damaged some of his ships and had partly scattered his fleet. One of the transport ships had fallen foul of HMS Minerve and had been taken by the British frigate.

Shortly after receiving the news from HMS Salamine's commander, HMS Mercury spotted the battered French fleet and Rear-Admiral Warren immediately ordered a chase. The chase continued into the night when, in order to allow the slower-sailing HMS Gibraltar and HMS Athenien to catch up and prevent his force from becoming fragmented, Warren ordered the leading ships of the squadron including HMS Renown to shorten sail. This allowed the French to escape. Warren and his squadron continued in the direction of Alexandria expecting to catch up with Ganteaume's force, but the French Rear-Admiral on being chased by the British, had decided to return to Toulon.

On arriving at Toulon, the French admiral was ordered by Napoleon to make another attempt at resupplying the army in Egypt and departed again on the 27th April. On the 24th June, the French squadron, after having taken a roundabout route to Egypt, caught, overwhelmed and captured the British 74-gun ship HMS Swiftsure. In the meantime, after the fall of the Kingdom of Naples to the French, Napoleon forced the Naples to cede the port of Porto Longone and the Neopolitan-controlled part of the Isle of Elba. Elba, at the time, was split into two, with part of it belonging to the Kingdom of Naples and the other part belonging to Tuscany. Napoleon ordered that the Tuscan part of the island be captured, uniting the island and ordered General Tharreau at the head of 1500 men to capture it, including the port of Porto Ferrajo. Genral Tharreau and his men landed at Porto Longone on the 2nd May and shortly afterward, Porto Ferrajo was blockaded initially by the French 28-gun frigate Badine, which was later joined by the 38-gun frigate Carrere, the Bravoure and the former HMS Success, now named La Succes. Towards the end of July, the French General, with 5,000 more men arrived to succeed General Tharreau and began to prepare a seige of the fortress and town of Porto Ferrajo. On the 1st August, HMS Renown and the squadron arrived off Porto Ferrajo, chasing off the French blockading frigates. On the 3rd August, HMS Pomone, HMS Phoenix and the 12pdr-armed 32-gun frigate HMS Pearl captured the Carerre.

See here for the story of HMS Pearl:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=15085.msg123500#msg123500

On the 2nd September, the squadron's frigates sighted and chased the La Succes and the Bravoure. Both enemy frigates ran aground in their attempt to escape the British. La Succes was successfully refloated and was taken back into the Royal Navy, but the Bravoure was wrecked.

On 12th September, Captain Gordon, commanding the British troops manning the fortress at Porto Ferrajo, asked Rear-Admiral Warren for assistance from the squadron's Marines and Seamen in a planned attack on French batteries which were preventing the port from being used. The Rear-Admiral agreed and a force of 449 Marines and 240 seamen was assembled and placed under the command of Mr George Long, Master and Commander in the 18pdr carronade-armed, 18-gun ex-Spanish brig-sloop HMS Vincejo. At daybreak on the 13th September, HMS Genereux and HMS Dragon launched a diversionary bombardment of a tower at Marciana and the following morning, Commander Long's force, together with about 200 Tuscan troops were landed. The whole allied force came under the command of Captain White of HMS Renown. The combined force succeeded in destroying several of the batteries, but the force was not strong enough to destroy them all and were forced to withdraw by determined French resistance. Across the allied force, 32 men were killed, 61 wounded and 105 missing in action. The loss of seamen and Marines was also relatively heavy, with 15 killed, including Commander Long, 33 wounded and 77 missing. On 22nd September, Rear-Admiral Warren and the squadron were ordered to go to Malta, but the British troops in Porto Ferrajo were able to hold out until the Treaty of Amiens was signed on 25th March 1802, ending the war.

HMS Renown and the squadron remained at Malta, despite the end of the war. By October 1802, the squadron was in Gibraltar and on the 6th October, a mutiny broke out aboard HMS Gibraltar. This was soon put down by the ship's Marines and officers and the two ringleaders were arrested and convicted in a Court Martial held aboard HMS Dragon. They were hanged aboard HMS Gibraltar. The Peace of Amiens broke down on the 18th May 1803 and on the resumption of war, the squadron was ordered to blockade Toulon. At the end of the French Revolutionary War, Vice-Admiral Lord Keith gave up his position of Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean and with the resumption of war, his place was taken by Vice-Admiral Sir Horatio, the Viscount Nelson.

During the Peace of Amiens, Rear-Admiral Warren had finally left HMS Renown and when the ship joined the squadron blockading Toulon, she came under the orders Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Bickerton, flying his command flag in another large type 74-gun ship, HMS Kent. In addition to HMS Kent and HMS Renown, the squadron also comprised HMS Gibraltar with the ex-French ships HMS Donegal and HMS Belle Isle, plus HMS Superb (all of 74 guns), HMS MOnmouth and HMS Agincourt (both of 64 guns) and the frigates HMS Active (18pdr, 38) and HMS Phoebe (18pdr, 36).

In the summer of 1804, HMS Renown was reported to be in poor condition. She returned to the UK and was paid off at Plymouth. Captain John White was appointed to command the 80-gun ship HMS Foudroyant. In October of 1804, the ship recommissioned at Plymouth under Captain Pultney Malcolm and returned to the Mediterranean, where she was to spend the rest of her active service career.

By April 1808, HMS Renown was under the command of Captain Phillip Durham, while the Meditteranean Fleet by this time had come under the command of Vice-Admiral Sir Cuthbert, the Baron Collingwood, flying his command flag in the 110-gun First Rate Ship of the Line HMS Ville de Paris. By this time, the Peninsular War was in full swing and the French-held Spanish port of Barcelona was being beseiged by a combined Anglo-Spanish army.

See here for the story of HMS Ville de Paris:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=17732.msg154009#msg154009

In April 1809, a French force comprising of five ships of the line, two frigates and a corvette broke out of Toulon. The British force blockading Toulon were detained elsewhere, so were unable to prevent the breakout. The French force was commanded by Rear-Admiral Francois-Andre Baudin and had been tasked with escorting a convoy of 16 cargo ships to Barcelona to relieve the seige. They successfully completed this task and returned to Toulon in mid-May. They had been followed by Lord Collingwood's force which resumed the blockade with 11 ships of the line. By October, the French were ready to make a second run to Barcelona. Collingwood had received information to this effect, so moved his fleet to a position off Cape San Sebastian, to position himself between the French in Toulon and their intended destination of Barcelona. He had stationed the frigates HMS Pomone (18pdr, 38) and the ex-French HMS Alceste (18pdr, 38) off Toulon to keep an eye on the French. In the morning of 21st October 1809, Rear-Admiral Baudin again left Toulon bound for Barcelona. He was flying his command flag in the Robuste (80) and was in company with the Lion (74), Boree (74) and the frigates Pauline (40) and the Pomone (40), not to be confused with the British frigate of the same name. They were again escorting a fleet of transport ships. At noon, they were spotted by HMS Pomone. HMS Pomone made all sail to meet with Collingwood and at 9pm met with HMS Alceste and passed the news. HMS Pomone met with Collingwood, then cruising with the fleet off Catalonia at 9pm. Collingwood ordered his fleet to prepare for battle. At 8pm on the 23rd October, the ex-French HMS Volontaire (18pdr, 38), spotted the enemy. At 10am, HMS Pomone signalled the flagship that the enemy force consisted of three ships of the line and also reported that the enemy had altered course upwind. Collingwood ordered Rear-Admiral George Martin, flying his command flag in the ex-French HMS Canopus (80) to form a flying squadron of the fastest ships of the line in the fleet and intercept the enemy. Martin's flying squadron comprised his flagship, HMS Canopus as well as HMS Renown, the ex-French  HMS Tigre, HMS Sultan, HMS Leviathan and HMS Cumberland (all of 74 guns). At 3pm, the French warships separated from the convoy, hoping to split the British force. HMS Pomone intercepted part of the convoy and destroyed five vessels, but by the evening, the two forces had lost sight of each other. Rear-Admiral Martin guessed that the French warships would head for their own coast and ordered his ships to head north. The British ships made all sail and chased the enemy for all their worth. At 5pm on the 24th October, HMS Tigre, the leading ship, signalled that she had four ships in sight to the north-north-east. These were identified as the Robuste, Lion, Boree and the Pauline. Rear-Admiral Martin hoped to catch the enemy before dark, so ordered his ships to set every stitch of canvas they could carry. As darkness fell, Rear-Admiral Martin ordered his ships to reduce sail for the night as they were now closing to the shore and in shallow water. At 7am the next day, the French were sighted again, to the north and running along the shore. The British again gave chase. At 11:45am, the Robuste and the Lion deliberately ran themselves ashore. The Boree and the Pauline were being closely pursued by HMS Leviathan and HMS Tigre. HMS Tigre got to within firing range and opened fire, but the two French ships made it into the harbour at Cette. The British ships were in dangerously shallow water, so hauled off and began to patrol off Cette. The French admiral meanwhile, ordered the crews of the Robuste and the Lion to begin dismantling their ships to prevent them from falling into British hands. At 7.30pm, the Robuste and the Lion were set on fire by their crews and both ships blew up at about 10.30pm. Rear-Admiral Martin gathered his force together and headed away to the south. On 30th October, the squadron rejoined the main body of the fleet. They had caused the loss to France of a brand new 80 gun ship and one of their best 74 gun ships. They had left another brand new 74 gun ship and a fine frigate of 40 guns marooned in shallow water. The Boree and the Pauline eventually escaped from Cette and returned to Toulon.

See here for the story of HMS Leviathan:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=17025.msg144826#msg144826

In 1812, the ship was again reported to be in poor condition and this time, on her return to Plymouth, she was paid off into the Plymouth Ordinary. Beyond econimical repair, HMS Renown was converted into a hulk in January of 1814, with a roof being built over her upper decks.

HMS Renown was used as a hospital ship at Plymouth until July 1830. On the 30th August 1833, the ship was offered for sale by auction at Plymouth, but was withdrawn as there were no bidders. In May of 1835, HMS Renown 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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