HMS Surprise (1812)

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Career (UK) RN Ensign
Name: HMS Surprise
Operator: Royal Navy
Ordered: 10 April 1809
Builder: Milford Dockyard
Laid down: January 1810
Launched: 25 July 1812
Completed: 1 December 1812
Commissioned: September 1812
Fate: Sold 2 October 1837
General characteristics
Class & type: Leda-class frigate
Tons burthen: 1072.35 bm
Length: 150 ft 4 in (45.82 m) (gundeck)
125 ft 8.875 in (38.32543 m) (keel)
Beam: 40 ft 0.5 in (12.205 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft 9 in (3.89 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 284 (later 300);
Armament: Upper deck: Twenty-eight 18-pounder guns
Forecastle: Two 9-pounder guns and two 32-pounder carronades
Quarter deck: Eight 9-pounder guns and six 32-pounder carronades
For other ships of the same name, see HMS Surprise.

HMS Surprise was a 38-gun frigate of the Leda class of the Royal Navy, although all these fifth-rate frigates were re-classed as 46-gun under the general re-rating of February 1817, from when carronades on the quarter deck and forecastle were included in the rating. She carried a complement of 284 officers and ratings, and a primary armament of 28 eighteen-pounder guns on her upper deck, with 8 nine-pounder guns (and 6 32-pounder carronades) on her quarterdeck and 2 nine-pounder guns (and 2 more 32-pounder carronades) on her forecastle.

The Surprise was ordered on 10 April 1809 at Milford Dockyard in Pembrokeshire where her keel was laid down there in January 1810. She was launched on 25 July 1812, and sailed round to Plymouth Dockyard to be completed. Fitting out took place between 9 August and 1 December 1812, and she was commissioned in September 1812 under the command of Captain Sir Thomas John Cochrane, sailing for the West Indies on 19 December 1812. She measured 150 feet 4 inches on the gun deck, with a breadth of 40 feet and a half-inch, and a depth in hold of 12 feet 9 inches, giving a tonnage of just over 1,072.

Under Cochrane's command, she served initially on the Leeward Islands, where she captured the American 12-gun privateer Decatur on 16 January 1813, and subsequently on the North American station during the War of 1812. From June 1814, she was commanded by Capt. George Knight and was present at the bombardment of Fort McHenry in September 1814. She paid off out of commission into ordinary in August or September 1815. By 1822, she had been reduced to a hulk at Milford, but was then fitted out at Plymouth as a convict hulk to be stationed at Cork, where she remained until sold (for £2,010) there in 1837.

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