HMS Amphion (1798)

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Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Amphion
Builder: Betts, Mistleythorn
Launched: 19 March 1798
  • Sunk as a breakwater in November 1820
  • Wreck sold in September 1823
General characteristics as built
Class and type: 32-gun fifth rate frigate
Tons burthen: 914 (bm)
Length: 144 ft (43.9 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 37 ft 6 in (11.4 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Armament: 26 x 18-pounder long guns + 6 x 24-pounder carronades + 6 x 6-pounder long guns

HMS Amphion was a 32-gun fifth rate frigate of the Royal Navy. She served during the Napoleonic Wars.

Amphion was built by Betts, of Mistleythorn, and was launched on 19 March 1798.


Amphion's first mission was to Jamaica in 1798, but by 1799 she was off Southern Spain under Captain Bennett. That year she captured a Spanish letter of marque, Nuestra Senora del Corvodorvya (alias Asturiana), on 25 November 1799. Asturiana was armed with eighteen 8-pounder and two 12-pounder guns, and four 36-pounder howitzers. She and her crew of 180 men were sailing from Cadiz to La Vera Cruz with a valuable cargo. She had been part of a convoy of five vessels.[1] Amphion shared with Alarm in the head-money that was finally paid in March 1829.[2]

Amphion remained in the Mediterranean until the Peace of Amiens. In 1802 Amphion was employed in attacking British smugglers in the English Channel and later conveyed the ambassador to Portugal to Lisbon.

In 1803 Amphion was paid off but later recommissioned and transported Horatio Nelson to the Mediterranean to take command. She remained in the Mediterranean under Captain Samuel Sutton, and was part of the fleet blockading Toulon. Amphion was one of the ships selected to hunt and capture the Spanish treasure fleet destroyed at the Action of 5 October 1804. In October 1805 the captaincy was given to William Hoste at Lisbon, and he sailed to Gibraltar and subsequently Algiers before operating off Cadiz and Sicily.

After the battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805, Amphion was at the blockade of Cadiz. On 25 November, Thunderer detained the Ragusan ship Nemesis, which was sailing from Isle de France to Leghorn, Italy, with a cargo of spice, indigo dye, and other goods.[3] Amphion shared the prize money with ten other British warships.[4]

In May 1808, Hoste was ordered to attack the French frigate Baleine off Rosas. Amphion succeeded in destroying the vessel without severe loss and in November joined HMS Unite off Trieste in the Adriatic. There Hoste operated against French and Italian shipping for the next three years, sailing from Lissa and periodically refitting at Malta. In this time, Hoste managed to capture or destroy huge quantities of French supplies and provoked the attention of a French squadron under Bernard Dubourdieu. In March 1811, Dubourdieu attacked at the Battle of Lissa and was heavily defeated, Amphion's fire killing Dubourdieu and wrecking his flagship. Two other ships were captured, but Hoste was wounded and the ship returned to Britain.

In 1813 Amphion was attached to the North Sea fleet and late in the year her crew landed on Schouwen-Duiveland in the Netherlands and captured the island. In early 1814 Amphion continued to attack French shore positions along the North Sea coast but with the end of the war returned to Britain. In 1818 Amphion sailed to Brazil and in 1820 she was decommissioned.

HMS Amphion, Cerberus, Volage, and Active attacking the United French and Italian Squadrons at the Battle of Lissa in the Adriatic, on 13 March 1811


In November 1820 year she was sunk as a breakwater at Woolwich. The wreck was subsequently sold in September 1823 to Joiliffe and Banks for breaking up.

Citations and references[edit]

  1. ^ "No. 15233". The London Gazette. 22 February 1800. p. 187.
  2. ^ "No. 18553". The London Gazette. 24 February 1829. p. 353.
  3. ^ "No. 15885". The London Gazette. 28 January 1806. p. 129.
  4. ^ "No. 16364". The London Gazette. 24 April 1810. p. 617.