HMS Crocus (1808)

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Royal Navy EnsignUK
Name: HMS Crocus
Ordered: 30 March 1807
Builder: Plymouth Dockyard (M/s Joseph Tucker)
Laid down: November 1807
Launched: 10 June 1808
Fate: Sold 1815
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Crocus-class
Type: Brig-sloop
Tons burthen: 255 6294 (bm)
  • 92 ft 1 12 in (28.1 m) (gundeck)
  • 73 ft 5 14 in (22.4 m) (keel)
Beam: 25 ft 7 in (7.8 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft 8 in (3.9 m)
Sail plan: Brig rigged
Complement: 86

HMS Crocus was the nameship of the Crocus-class brig-sloops of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1808 and had an almost completely uneventful career until she was sold in 1815.


Commander Robert Merrick Fowler commissioned Crocus in August for the North Sea.[1][Note 1]

On 19 February 1809, Crocus, Trompeuse and the brig-sloop Rolla were in company when Rolla recaptured the American ship Factor.[3] Factor, of New York, Johnstone, master, had been sailing from Tenerife when the privateer captured her the day before between Beachy Head and Dungeness. The British sent her into Dover. The same privateer had also captured a brig, which the excise cutter Lively had recaptured and sent into the Downs.[4]

Crocus participated in the ill-fated Walcheren Campaign.[5] Starting on 30 July 1809, a British armed force of 39,000 men landed on Walcheren. However, the French fleet had left Flushing (Vlissingen) and sailed to Antwerp, and the British lost over 4,000 men to "Walcheren Fever", a combination of malaria and typhus, and to enemy action. As the strategic reasons for the campaign dissipated and conditions worsened, the British force withdrew in December. Prize money arising from the net proceeds of the property captured at Walcheren and the adjacent islands in the Scheld was paid in October 1812.[6]

Fowler transferred to Charybdis on 18 September 1809. Commander the Honourable William Walpole recommissioned Crocus in October. She then cruised the Channel. Three months later Commander Richard Buck replaced him. Buck sailed her for the Mediterranean on 19 December.[1]

On 19 January 1810, Crocus recaptured the Selberen.[7] By 11 June Crocus was back in Britain as on the 11th a midshipman from Crocus underwent court martial on board Salvador del Mundo in the Hamoaze. The charge was that he had deserted while Crocus was off Land's End when he had been sent with a boat's crew to retrieve sand for scrubbing the deck. The court sentenced him to two years' imprisonment in the Marshalsea, to be mulct of all his pay, to be declared unworthy and incapable of ever serving as an officer in his Majesty's navy and, at the expiration of his imprisonment, to serve before the mast.[8] The court ordered a seaman who had also seized the same opportunity to desert to 200 lashes. The seaman had made mutinous statements to the purser and First Lieutenant on Crocus when they caught him.[8]

Crocus captured the Triton, Thompson, master, in early January 1810. Triton had been sailing from New York to Tonningen before Crocus sent her into Plymouth.Crocus captured the Triton, Thompson, master, in early January 1810. Triton had been sailing from New York to Tonningen before Crocus sent her into Plymouth.[9]

Serbere, Tamansin, master, arrived at Falmouth on 20 January 1810. She had been sailing from Alicante to London when a 10-gun French privateer had captured her on the 18th. Crocus had recaptured her.Crocus captured the Triton, Thompson, master, in early January 1810. Triton had been sailing from New York to Tonningen before Crocus sent her into Plymouth.[10]

In November 1810 Commander John Bellamy recommissioned Crocus at Portsmouth, for the Mediterranean.[1] While Crocus was in Portsmouth, a 16-year-old Marine fell overboard on 14 November. His floating body was immediately retrieved but efforts to revive him failed.[11]

Although Bellamy had recommissioned Crocus, this apparently occurred while Buck was on leave. Buck remained in command until he was promoted to post captain on 3 April 1811.[12]

Commander Arden Adderley assumed command in May 1811 and recommissioned her in September.[1] On 4 September 1812 Crocus captured the French privateer settee Formica, of two guns and 25 men. She was three months out of Genoa but had not made any captures. Her crew escaped in the boats to the Barbary shore.[13] Later prize money reports gave the privateer's name as Fournie and the head-money count as 36 men.[Note 2]

On 2 January 1813, Crocus and Minorca captured the San Nicolo.[Note 3]

The Powhattan, Parrott, master, arrived at Malta on 3 February 1814. She was from New York and Crocus had detained her off Cagliari.[16]

Adderley received promotion to post captain on 19 July 1814.[17] However, on 7 June 1814 James Hanway Plumridge was promoted to commander in Crocus, but within a month was transferred to command of Philomel. Commander John Stoddard then recommissioned her in July.[1]


Crocus was paid off in November 1814.[1] The Admiralty then listed her for sale at Sheerness on 9 February 1815.[18] She finally sold on 31 August for £830.[1]

Notes, citations, and references[edit]

  1. ^ In 1804 Fowler had been returning home on an East Indiaman from Australia after the loss of his ship, HMS Porpoise. He distinguished himself in a variety of capacities during the Battle of Pulo Aura. The Company had rewarded him for his role with 300 guineas to purchase a piece of plate. Lloyd's Patriotic Fund awarded him a suitably inscribed sword worth 50 guineas.[2]
  2. ^ A first-class share of the proceeds was worth £36 18sd; a sixth-class share, that of an ordinary seaman, was worth £1 3s 1¾d.[14]
  3. ^ A first-class share of the prize money was worth £265 18s 8d; a sixth-class share was worth £7 10s 0d. Some costs were allocated equitably and were to be deducted at time of payment.[15]
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Winfield (2008), p. 309.
  2. ^ Marshall (1828), Supplement, Part 2, pp.377-8.
  3. ^ "No. 16258". The London Gazette. 20 April 1809. p. 720. 
  4. ^ Lloyd's List, 21 February 1809.[1]] - Accessed 10 November 2013.
  5. ^ Marshall (1832), Vol. 3, Part 2, pp.384-5.
  6. ^ "No. 16650". The London Gazette. 29 September 1812. pp. 1971–1972. 
  7. ^ "No. 16418". The London Gazette. 23 October 1810. p. 1697. 
  8. ^ a b Naval Chronicle, Vol. 24, p.82.
  9. ^ Lloyd's List 9 January 1810[2] - accessed 13 November 2013.
  10. ^ Lloyd's List 9 January 1810[3] - accessed 13 November 2013.
  11. ^ Naval Chronicle, Vol. 24, p.440.
  12. ^ Marshall (1828), Supplement, Part 2, pp.350-1.
  13. ^ "No. 16668". The London Gazette. 14 November 1812. p. 2296. 
  14. ^ "No. 17060". The London Gazette. 12 September 1815. p. 1861. 
  15. ^ "No. 17090". The London Gazette. 12 December 1815. p. 2481. 
  16. ^ Lloyd's List 9 January 1810[4] - accessed 13 November 2013.
  17. ^ Marshall (1829), supplement, Part 3, p.309.
  18. ^ "No. 16982". The London Gazette. 7 February 1815. p. 217. 
  • Marshall, John (1823–1835) Royal naval biography, or, Memoirs of the services of all the flag-officers, superannuated rear-admirals, retired-captains, post-captains, and commanders, whose names appeared on the Admiralty list of sea officers at the commencement of the present year 1823, or who have since been promoted ... (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown).
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1861762461.