HMS Royal George (1809)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Royal George.
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Royal George
Builder: Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard
Launched: 1809
Renamed: Niagara in 1814
Honours and
War of 1812.
Fate: sold in 1837
Notes: Provincial Marine vessel,
General characteristics
Class & type: sloop of war
Tons burthen: 510
Complement: 200
Armament: 3 long 18-pdr
2 68-pdr carronade
16 32-pdr carronade
Notes: 20-gun wooden sloop

HMS Royal George was a British 20-gun wooden sloop of the Provincial Marine, and subsequently, the Royal Navy, operating on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812 with a crew of 200.


She was launched at the Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard in Kingston, Ontario, in July 1809.

The Flight of Royal George[edit]

In November 1812, Royal George was the largest warship on the lake, operating under the command of British Commodore Hugh Earl (or "Earle"). On November 9, 1812, an American fleet of seven ships under the command of Commadore Isaac Chauncey surprised the HMS Royal George as it passed near the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario. The Royal George eluded the American vessels by slipping into the North Channel between Amherst Island and the mainland as night fell, making her way into the safety of her home harbour at Kingston by 2 am.

The following morning November 10, the American fleet resumed the pursuit, burning a small commercial vessel near Bath and proceeding along the shore. As they approached Kingston, they came under lire from shore batteries. Chauncey directed his ship, the Oneida and the other American vessels to bombard and attempt to seize the Royal George within its harbour. Artillery fire from the shore batteries along the shoreline including two batteries on Point Henry prevented them from closing on their prize. Roundshot from the American vessels penetrated into the town but they were unable to capture the Royal George. At the end of the day, they anchored out of sight of Kingston, intending to resume their attack the next day. However, an approaching storm caused Chauncey to withdraw hack to the American base at Sackett's harbor without seizing their prize.

This would be the only American attack on Kingston during the War of 1812 as more personnel were sent to this important military and naval centre and strong, fortifications were built on Point Henry to defend the dockyards. It was the only time that shots were fired from Point Henry in its history.[1]


She was renamed Niagara in 1814 and was sold in 1837.


The crew of HMS Royal George is currently portrayed by a War of 1812 re-enactment group, under the HMS Richmond umbrella organization.

From June 30 to July 1, 2012, a 3 day reenactment of the flight of the Royal George was performed from Bath, ON to Kingston in recognition of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.[2] In an ironic twist, the role of the Royal George was played by the Brig Niagara, one of the last two remaining tall ships with an 1812 heritage.[3]

See also[edit]

HMS Royal George was one of the ships of the Provincial Marine base in Kingston:

External links[edit]


  • David Lyon & Rif Winfield (2004). The Sail & Steam Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy 1815-1889. London. ISBN 1-86176-032-9. 
  • Rif Winfield (2005). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793-1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. London. ISBN 1-86176-246-1. 
  • David Lyon (1997). The Sailing Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy, Built, Purchased and Captured, 1688-1860. London. ISBN 0-85177-864-X. 
  • Robert Malcomson (2001). Warships of the Great Lakes: 1754-1834. Annapolis. ISBN 1-55750-910-7. 
  • Robert Malcomson (1998). Lords of the Lake. Annapolis. ISBN 1-55750-532-2. 
  • Jonathan Moore (2006). Archaeological and Historical Investigations of Three War of 1812 Wrecks at Kingston, Ontario : HMS St. Lawrence, HMS Kingston and HMS Burlington : Report for Province of Ontario Licence to Conduct Archaeological Exploration or Fieldwork 1999-096 at Sites BbGd-6, BbGc-45 and BbGc-46. Ottawa. ISBN 0-9781712-0-9. 
  • The War of 1812 Magazine
  • George F.G. Stanley, Richard A. Preston (195-?). `A short history of Kingston as a military and naval centre`. Kingston, Ont.