HMS Cerberus (1758)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Cerberus.
Bushnell mines.jpg
The tender of HMS Cerberus destroyed by Bushnell's mine
RN EnsignGreat Britain
Name: HMS Cerberus
Ordered: 6 May 1757
Builder: Pleasant Fenn, East Cowes
Laid down: 13 June 1757
Launched: 5 September 1758
Completed: 11 November 1758 at Portsmouth Dockyard
Decommissioned: May 1858
Fate: Abandoned and burnt to prevent capture at Rhode Island on 5 August 1778
General characteristics
Class and type: 28-gun Coventry-class sixth-rate frigate
Tons burthen: 593 14/94 bm
  • 118 ft 7.5 in (36.157 m) (gundeck)
  • 97 ft 2.125 in (29.61958 m) (keel)
Beam: 33 ft 10.5 in (10.325 m)
Depth of hold: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 200
  • Upper deck: 24 × 9-pounder guns
  • Quarterdeck: 4 × 3-pounder guns
  • 12 × ½-pdr swivels

HMS Cerberus was a 28 gun sixth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy.

She was ordered on 6 May 1757 from the yards of Pleasant Fenn, East Cowes and was laid down on 13 June 1757. She was launched just over a year later on 5 September 1758.[1][2]

Cerberus saw action in the American Revolutionary War. One of its first duties was to dispatch generals William Howe, Henry Clinton, and John Burgoyne to Boston after the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The American press likened the three generals to the three-headed dog that was the ship's namesake.[3] It provided naval reinforcement at the Battle of Bunker Hill.[3] The ship was the target of an early torpedo attack by David Bushnell's newly developed powder keg torpedoes in 1777. The attack killed four sailors[4] in a small boat, but did not severely damage the ship.

Cerberus was eventually burnt to prevent being captured by the French on 5 August 1778 during the American War of Independence, in Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island.[1][5] The remains of the Cerberus are now part of a site listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the "Wreck Sites of HMS Cerberus and HMS Lark."


  1. ^ a b Winfield. British Warships of the Age of Sail 1714-1792: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. p. 230. 
  2. ^ "Archaeological Sites Under Investigation at AUVfest 2008". Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Kathy Abbass and Rod Mather. "The History of the HMS Cerberus and HMS Lark". Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  4. ^ Battle of the Kegs
  5. ^ Marx, Robert F. (1987). Shipwrecks in the Americas. Dover Publications. p. 152. ISBN 0-486-25514-X.