HMS Grampus (1802)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Grampus.
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Grampus
Ordered: 9 December 1790
Builder: Portsmouth Dockyard
Laid down: October 1792
Launched: 20 March 1802
Commissioned: March 1803
Fate: Sold out of the Service, 1832
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 1114
Length: 151 ft (gundeck)
Beam: 41 ft
Propulsion: Sails
Complement: 343
Armament: 50 guns comprising:
Lower deck 22 x 24-pounders
Upper deck 22 x 12-pounders
Quarter deck 4 x 6-pounders
Forecastle 2 x 6-pounders

HMS Grampus was a 50-gun fourth-rate ship of the line of the Diomede Class of the Royal Navy. She was commissioned in March 1803 at Portsmouth by Captain Hugh Downman, but in the following month command passed to Captain Thomas Gordon Caulfield. The ship was completed on 11 April 1803 and was ordered to the Downs on 7 May. As soon as her complement of men was completed and her bounty paid she sailed to join Admiral Thornborough's squadron off Gorée. She returned to Portsmouth from Guernsey on 20 June to fit out for the East Indies and sailed with a convoy under her protection on 29 June. She carried £100,000 being shipped by the British East India Company to Bengal. She spent 1805 in the East Indies.

In March 1806 Captain James Haldane Tait took command of Grampus, leaving HMS Sir Francis Drake while she was employed in India. Later she was stationed at the Cape of Good Hope, and returned home in the summer of 1809, escorting a large convoy of East India Company ships which Captain Tait had taken under his protection at St. Helena. He was presented by the Court of directors with a sum of money for the purchase of a piece of plate. Grampus was paid off because of her poor condition at the end of 1809.

The Grampus underwent a repair and refit at Chatham between then and February 1810; in January 1810 she was recommissioned under the command of Captain William Hanwell. On 28 April 1811 Grampus joined an East India convoy to see them through to the coast of Africa. On 30 September, back at Portsmouth, a court martial was convened on board Raisonnable in Sheerness harbour to try Lieutenant John Cheshire of Grampus. Captain Hanwell accused him of insolence, contempt, and disrespect on 11 April and similar conduct, coupled with neglect of duty, on 15 April. The court found the charges unfounded and acquitted Lieutenant Cheshire.

In November 1811 Commodore George Cockburn hoisted his broad pendant on board Grampus, preparatory to proceeding as one of three commissioners (the others were Messrs. Sydenham and Morier) nominated by the Prince Regent to mediate between Spain and her colonies. They received final instructions on 2 April 1812, and arrived in Cádiz on 21 April to find the Spanish government and the majority of the Cortes resolved to retain absolute control over their South American possessions instead of taking a liberal view as proposed by the British government. He returned from his unsuccessful mission on 4 August.

In 1816 Grampus was taken out of commission at Woolwich, where she was converted to a troopship and then used as a hospital ship at Deptford from 1820 until being lent to the Society for Destitute Seamen at Deptford in 1824. She served as a hospital ship until 1831. The society relocated at this time to Dreadnought and in due course provided the foundation for the UK's Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the Seamen's Dreadnought Hospital at Greenwich Hospital, later relocated to St Thomas's Hospital.

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