HMS Alexander (1778)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Alexander.
John Cleveley the Younger, Launch of HMS Alexander at Deptford in 1778.jpg
Launch of HMS Alexander at Deptford in 1778 (BHC1875), by John Cleveley the Younger (NMM) - HMS Alexander is the ship still on the slipway, centre background
Career (Great Britain) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Alexander
Ordered: 21 July 1773
Builder: Deptford Dockyard
Laid down: 6 April 1774
Launched: 8 October 1778
Captured: 6 November 1794, by French Navy
Career (France) French Navy Ensign
Name: Alexandre
Acquired: 6 November 1794
Captured: 22 June 1795, by Royal Navy
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Alexander
Acquired: 22 June 1795
Honours and
awards:

Participated in Battle of the Nile

Naval General Service Medal with clasp "Egypt"[1]
Fate: Broken up, 1819
General characteristics [2]
Class & type: Alfred-class ship of the line
Type: Third rate
Tons burthen: 1621 (bm)
Length: 169 ft (52 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 47 ft 2 in (14.38 m)
Depth of hold: 20 ft (6.1 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Armament:

Gundeck: 28 × 32-pounder guns
Upper gundeck: 28 × 18-pounder guns
QD: 14 × 9-pounder guns

Fc: 4 × 9-pounder guns

HMS Alexander was a 74-gun third-rate of the Royal Navy. She was launched at Deptford Dockyard on 8 October 1778.[2] During her career she was captured by the French, and later recaptured by the British. She fought at the Nile in 1798, and was broken up in 1819. She was named after Alexander the Great.

British service and capture[edit]

On 13 March 1780, Alexander and HMS Courageaux captured the 40-gun French privateer Monsieur after a long chase and some exchange of fire. The Royal Navy took the privateer into service as HMS Monsieur.[citation needed]

In 1794, whilst returning to England in the company of HMS Canada after escorting a convoy to Spain, Alexander, under the command of Rear-Admiral Richard Rodney Bligh, fell in with a French squadron of five 74-gun ships, and three frigates, led by Joseph-Marie Nielly.[3] In the Action of 6 November 1794 Alexander was overrun by the Droits de l'Homme, but escaped when she damaged the Droits de l'Homme's rigging. Alexander was then caught by Marat, which came behind her stern and raked her. Then, the 74 gun third-rate Jean Bart closed in and fired broadsides at close range, forcing Bligh to surrender Alexander. In the meantime, Canada escaped.[3] The subsequent court martial honourably acquitted Bligh of any blame for the loss of his ship.[3]

The French took her to Brest and then into their French Navy under the name Alexandre.[3] On 22 June 1795, she was with a French fleet off Belle Île when the Channel Fleet under Lord Bridport discovered them. The British ships chased the French fleet, and brought them to action in the Battle of Groix. During the battle HMS Sans Pareil and HMS Colossus recaptured Alexander.[3] After the battle, HMS Révolutionnaire towed her back to Plymouth.

Return to British service[edit]

The Alexander took part in the Battle of the Nile in 1798, under the command of Captain Alexander Ball. She was the second ship to fire upon the French fleet, engaging the flagship, L'Orient. The Alexander sank three French ships before she had to withdraw due to a small fire on board. The Alexander was one of the few ships not carrying a detachment of soldiers.[citation needed]

Northumberland, Alexander, Penelope, Bonne Citoyenne, and the brig Vincejo shared in the proceeds of the French polacca Vengeance, captured entering Valletta, Malta on 6 April.[4]

Alexander served in the navy's Egyptian campaign between 8 March 1801 and 2 September, which qualified her officers and crew for the clasp "Egypt" to the Naval General Service Medal that the Admiralty issued in 1847 to all surviving claimants.

Fate[edit]

From 1803 she was out of commission in Plymouth, and was finally broken up in 1819.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21077. pp. 791–792. 15 March 1850.
  2. ^ a b c Lavery, Ships of the Line, vol. 1, p. 180.
  3. ^ a b c d e Gossett (1986), p.6.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 15717. p. 842. 7 July 1804.

Citations

External links[edit]