HMS Doterel (1808)

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Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
Class and type: Cruizer class brig-sloop
Name: HMS Doterel
Namesake: Eurasian dotterel
Ordered: 31 December 1807
Builder: John Scott and Richard Blake, Bursledon[1]
Laid down: April 1808
Launched: 6 October 1808
Fate: Broken up 1855
General characteristics [1]
Type: Cruizer-class brig-sloop
Tons burthen: 3861194 (bm)
  • 100 ft 2 in (30.5 m) (overall)
  • 77 ft 2 14 in (23.5 m) (keel)
Beam: 30 ft 8 in (9.3 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft 10 in (3.9 m)
Propulsion: Sail
Complement: 121

HMS Doterel (or Dotterel), was an 18-gun Cruizer-class brig-sloop of the British Royal Navy. Launched on 6 October 1808, she saw action in the Napoleonic Wars and in the War of 1812. In February 1809 she took part in the Battle of Les Sables-d'Olonne, then in April the Battle of Basque Roads. She was laid up in 1827 at Bermuda, but not broken up until 1855.


Doterel was first commissioned under Commander Anthony Abdy in October 1808.[1] By February 1809 she was in the Basque Roads and had become attached to a squadron under Robert Stopford when on 27th of that month she took part in the Battle of Les Sables-d'Olonne.[2]

Stopford in the 80-gun Caesar had been accompanied by the seventy-fours Defiance and Donegal, and the 36-gun frigates Emerald, Amethyst and Naiad, when he had chased a French force comprising eight ships of the line and two frigates, into the Pertuis d'Antioche.[3] Stopford immediately sent Naiad to appraise Admiral James Gambier of the situation but Naiad had not gone too far when she signalled that there were three other vessels to the north-west. Stoppard ordered Amethyst and Emerald to remain while he and the rest of the squadron set off in pursuit.[3]

When daylight came, the vessels sighted by Naiad were revealed to be the three French frigates, Calypso, Italienne and Sybille, being chased by Doterel and the 36-gun frigate Amelia. Doterel and Amelia had drawn so close to Sybille, the nearest French ship, that her two companions shortened sail in preparation for battle but on seeing Stopford's approaching squadron, all three French ships took off with Doterel and Amelia in close pursuit. At 10:00 the French frigates arrived at Sable d'Olonne where they anchored with springs, in the shallow water beneath the town's batteries.[3][4] Caeser, Donegal, Defiance and Amelia stood in and engaged. Two of the French frigates were obliged to cut their cables and run ashore in order to escape before the British were forced to withdraw by the falling tide.[3] However, all three French frigates were destroyed in the action.[3][5]

Doterel was part of Gambier's fleet when it fought the Battle of the Basque Roads in April 1809.[6] The French ships were anchored under the protection of the powerful batteries on the Isle d'Aix[7] when on 11 April Lord Cochrane led an attacking force of fireships and explosive vessels.[8] At this time, Doterel was employed in a passive role, providing a diversion to the east of the island with the brigs Beagle, Conflict and Growler, and the 36-gun frigate Emerald.[8] The fireships were a partial success; the French, having suspected such an attack, had rigged a boom across the channel[9] but this was breached by one of the explosive vessels. The French cut their cables and drifted on to the shoals.[10] Later on 13 April, Doterel, Foxhound and Redpole, carrying letters from Gambier, arrived in the Maumossen Passage where Cochrane had retired from attacking the grounded French fleet due to the falling tide.[11][12]

In October 1810 Doterel was commissioned for service in the West Indies, and in December command passed to William Westcott Daniel.[1] Daniel was still in command in early October 1812, when Doterel was back in home waters, part of a squadron under Alexander Cochrane.

On 25 April 1812 Dotterell and Niobe encountered two French frigates and a brig, steering NE. Dotterell arrived at Lisbon on 3 April and left the next day with Impeteux in search of the enemy.[13]

On 4 October Dotterell arrived at Plymouth with the French privateer Elconore of 14 guns and 80 men. Dotterell had captured Elconore the day before off the Isles of Scilly. Elconore had captured the transport Bush & Dreghorn, from Lisbon.[14] Official records reported that Doterel had been in company with Raven and Marlborough, that the privateer's name was Eleonore (or Leonore), and that she had been armed with 10 guns.[15][16]

In 1814 Dotterel served on the North American Station in the war against the United States, capturing the 14-gun American privateer Dominica on 22 May.[1][17]

On 22 March 1813 Dart, a prize to Dotterell, arrived at Portsmouth. Dart had been sailing from New Hampshire to Bordeaux.[18]

On 14 November 1814 the American privateer Saucy Jack captured Hasard, Dunford, master, as Hasard was sailing from Matanzas to Bermuda. Dotterell recaptured Hasard and sent her into Bermuda.[19]

On 24 August 1814, Dotterell chased the privateer Pike, of Baltimore, on shore and destroyed her.[20][Note 1]

In January 1815, Doterel was part of an invasion force under George Cockburn, which looted St Simons and its neighbouring islands in Georgia, carrying away cotton and freeing slaves who were later resettled on Bermuda.[22][23] In August 1815 she returned to England where she was laid up at Chatham.[1]

Doterel was recommissioned in February 1818 and served out of Cork under Lieutenant John Gore.[1] On 16 November 1820, Doterel seized the American schooner Volunteer.[24]

William Hendry assumed command in July 1821 and sailed for Halifax on the North American Station.[1] In July 1822, Richard Hoare took command. Hoare spent just over three years in charge before he was superseded by Henry Edwards in August 1825. Doterel's last commander was William Hamilton who arrived on board in August 1826.


The Admiralty found Doterel to be in such a defective state, she was ordered to be laid up in Bermuda on 4 April 1827, where she was used as a residence for workmen there. On 28 August 1848, Doterel was ordered to be broken up but the order was not carried out until some seven years after.[1]

Notes, citations, and references[edit]


  1. ^ Pike was a schooner of 275 tons (bm), six guns, and 37 men under the command of Captain H. Bolton.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Winfield (2008), pp. 299-300.
  2. ^ James pp.96–97
  3. ^ a b c d e "No. 16234". The London Gazette. 4 March 1809. p. 289.
  4. ^ James p.97
  5. ^ "No. 16337". The London Gazette. 27 January 1810. p. 139.
  6. ^ "No. 17458". The London Gazette. 9 March 1819. p. 450.
  7. ^ James (Vol. V) pp. 103–104
  8. ^ a b James (Vol.V) p.105
  9. ^ James (Vol.V) p.104
  10. ^ James (Vol.V) pp. 108–109
  11. ^ James (Vol.V) p.120
  12. ^ Clowes (Vol.V) p.267
  13. ^ Lloyd's List (LL) 15 May 1812, №4665.
  14. ^ LL 9 0ctober 1812, №4709.
  15. ^ "No. 16983". The London Gazette. 11 February 1815. p. 239.
  16. ^ "No. 16656". The London Gazette. 6 October 1812. p. 2040.
  17. ^ "No. 16925". The London Gazette. 13 August 1814. p. 1640.
  18. ^ Lloyd's List 23 March 1813, №4775.
  19. ^ LL 28 January 1814, №4841.
  20. ^ 21 October 1814.
  21. ^ Emmons (1853), p. 188.
  22. ^ "No. 18015". The London Gazette. 3 April 1824. p. 541.
  23. ^ Dale Cox (20 December 2013). "War of 1812 Raid on St. Simons Island, Georgia". ExploreSouthernHistory.Com. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  24. ^ "No. 17741". The London Gazette. 28 August 1821. p. 1765.


  • Clowes, William Laird (1997) [1900]. The Royal Navy, A History from the Earliest Times to 1900, Volume V. London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 1-86176-014-0.
  • Emmons, George Foster (1853) The navy of the United States, from the commencement, 1775 to 1853; with a brief history of each vessel’s service and fate ... Comp. by Lieut. George F. Emmons ... under the authority of the Navy Dept. To which is added a list of private armed vessels, fitted out under the American flag ... also a list of the revenue and coast survey vessels, and principal ocean steamers, belonging to citizens of the United States in 1850. (Washington: Gideon & Co.)
  • James, William (2002) [1827]. The Naval History of Great Britain, Volume V, 1808–1811. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-909-3.
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. London: Seaforth. ISBN 1-86176-246-1.