HMS Fleur de la Mer (1807)

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Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Fleur de la Mer ("Flower of the Sea")
Builder: Built in America
Launched: 1806
Acquired: 1807 by purchase of a captured vessel
Renamed: HMS Pike (briefly, before apparently reverting)
Fate: Foundered 1810
General characteristics
Type: Schooner
Tons burthen: 117 (bm)
Length: 72 ft 3 in (22.02 m) (overall)
58 ft 10 in (17.9 m) (keel)
Beam: 19 ft 4 in (5.89 m)
Depth of hold: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Schooner
Armament: 8 x 12-pounder carronades + 2 x 6-pounder bow chasers

HMS Fleur de la Mer was the French privateer Gipsey, captured in 1806, and which the Royal Navy bought in 1807. She foundered in 1810.

Royal Navy service[edit]

In early 1808 Lieutenant Thomas Huskisson commissioned Fleur de la Mer. He had come out to the Jamaica station on Melpomene, and once there Vice-Admiral Sir B. S. Rowley appointed him to Fleur de la Mer and put him to cruising off San Domingo. There he rescued a gentleman who had fallen afoul of Henri Christophe. Huskisson also visited Cartagena, where he was able to intercede and win the release of seven persons who had accompanied General Miranda’s British-supported and unsuccessful attempted invasion of the Captaincy General of Venezuela in 1806.[1]

In 1808 Fleur de la Mer was renamed HMS Pike after the loss of Pike the previous year.[2][3] However, in September 1808 Moselle recaptured Pike. The earlier Pike apparently regained or kept her name, and the then current Pike reverted to Fleur de la Mer.

Huskisson was promoted to Commander on 19 January 1809, but did not find out about his promotion until May, at which time he transferred to command Pelorus.[1] His successor in command of Fleur de la Mer was Lieutenant James Daly.[2] On 6 July 1809 Fleur de la Mer and Pike were among the vessels that carried out the blockade of the city of Santo Domingo that accompanied the siege, and they were both present at its surrender.[4][5][Note 1]

In 1810, Lieutenant John Alexander replaced Daly.[2]

Loss[edit]

In December 1810 Fleur de la Mer was escorting the merchant brig Cassius to Jamaica when they encountered heavy weather on 28 December that flooded the schooner. Her crew was barely able to pump her out and Alexander decided to head for shelter near Maracaibo. In the evening it was discovered that she had a leak and that the main beam was broken, causing the deck to sag. By midnight it was clear that Fleur de la Mer could not survive. During the night Cassius took off the entire crew and the next morning Fleur de la Mer sank shortly before 11am.[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In January 1826 prize money was paid for stores captured at Santo Domingo. A first-class share was worth £7 10s 11d; a sixth-class share, that of an ordinary seaman, was worth 2s 5d.[6] In October 1832, prize money was paid for the ordnance stores. A first-class share was worth £67 3s 5d; a sixth-class share was worth £1 1s 3d.[7]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ a b Marshall (1828), Supplement, Part 2, p.340.
  2. ^ a b c Winfield (2008), p.365.
  3. ^ "NMM, vessel ID 366880". Warship Histories, vol i. National Maritime Museum. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 16294. p. 1420. 2 September 1809.
  5. ^ Marshall (1825), Vol. 2, Part 2, pp.970-1.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 18209. p. 28. 7 January 1826.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 18986. p. 2330. 19 October 1832.
  8. ^ Hepper (1994), p.135.
Bibliography
  • Hepper, David J. (1994). British Warship Losses in the Age of Sail, 1650-1859. Rotherfield: Jean Boudriot. ISBN 0-948864-30-3. 
  • Marshall, John ( 1823-1835) Royal naval biography, or, Memoirs of the services of all the flag-officers, superannuated rear-admirals, retired-captains, post-captains, and commanders, whose names appeared on the Admiralty list of sea officers at the commencement of the present year 1823, or who have since been promoted ... (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown).
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1-86176-246-1. 

This article includes data released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported UK: England & Wales License, by the National Maritime Museum, as part of the Warship Histories project