French frigate Diane (1796)

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French Navy EnsignFrance
Name: Diane
Namesake: Diana
Builder: Toulon
Laid down: July 1794
Launched: 10 February 1796
In service: March 1796
Captured: 27 August 1800
Great Britain
Name: HMS Niobe
Namesake: Niobe
Acquired: 27 August 1800 by capture
Fate: Broken up in 1816
General characteristics [1]
Displacement: 1,466 tons (French)
Tons burthen: 1,1421594 (bm)
Length: 47.6 m (156 ft)
Beam: 12 m (39 ft)
Draught: 5.7 m (19 ft)
Propulsion: Sail
Armament: 38 to 44 guns
Armour: Timber

Diane was a 38-gun frigate of the French Navy, launched in 1796. She participated in the battle of the Nile, but in August 1800 the Royal Navy captured her. She was taken into British service as HMS Niobe, and broken up in 1816.

French career[edit]

Diane at the Battle of the Nile 1798

She took part in the Battle of the Nile, managing to escape to Malta with Justice. During the battle Rear-Admiral Denis Decrès was on board Diane in his capacity as commander of the frigate squadron. He would go on to become Napoleon's Minister of Marine.[1]

In 1800, as she tried to escape from Malta, HMS Success, HMS Northumberland, and HMS Genereux captured her. At the time she had only 114 men on board,[1] having left the remainder at Malta to assist in its defense.[2]

British career[edit]

The Royal Navy commissioned her as HMS Niobe,[3] there already being an HMS Diana in service.

On 28 March 1806,[4][5] Niobe captured the 16-gun Néarque off Groix, which had just separated from Leduc's division.

On 13 November 1810, off Le Havre along with Diana, Niobe sighted the 40-gun Amazone and the 44-gun Elisa. HMS Donegal and Revenge joined the chase, attacking the French squadron when it was anchored at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue at the Action of 15 November 1810. Eventually, Elisa was wrecked near La Hougue, while Amazone escaped to Le Havre. Four months later at the Action of 24 March 1811, Niobe participated in the destruction of the French frigate Amazone near the Phare de Gatteville lighthouse, Normandy.[6]

On 24 March 1811, she sailed with a squadron comprising HMS Berwick, Amelia, Goshawk, and Hawk again chased Amazone, which they trapped near Barfleur. Her crew scuttled Amazone to prevent her capture.


HMS Niobe was eventually sold on 31 July 1816.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Winfield & Roberts (2015), p. 141.
  2. ^ "No. 15300". The London Gazette. 7 October 1800. p. 1155.
  3. ^ a b Winfield (2008), p. 164.
  4. ^ Troude (1867), p. 436.
  5. ^ Roche (2005), p. 323.
  6. ^ "No. 16469". The London Gazette. 26 March 1811. p. 573.