HMS Forward (1805)

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United Kingdom
NameHMS Forward
OrderedJune 1804
BuilderJoseph Todd, Berwick
Laid downJuly 1804
Launched4 January 1805
CommissionedNovember 1804
FateSold 14 December 1815
General characteristics [1]
Class and typeArcher-class gun-brig
Tons burthen1783094 bm
  • 80 ft 0 in (24.38 m) (gundeck)
  • 65 ft 10+14 in (20.072 m) (gundeck)
Beam22 ft 6+34 in (6.877 m)
Depth of hold9 ft 5 in (2.87 m)
Sail planBrig
Armament10 × 18-pounder carronades + 2 × chase guns

HMS Forward was a 12-gun gun-brig of the Archer class of the British Royal Navy.


In December 1804 Lieutenant Daniel Shiels commissioned Forward for the Channel.[1]

On 7 February 1806 Forward was some six or seven leagues off Dunnose, Isle of Wight when she sighted and gave chase to a French privateer lugger. After a chase of half-an-hour and some firing, the lugger struck. She was Rancune, Captain Foliot, of Cherbourg and 12 hours out of there, having taken nothing. She was pierced for 12 guns but had only four mounted; she also carried swivel guns and small arms. Two of her crew had been wounded, one dangerously.[2]

On 17 April 1807 forward, Lieutenant Shiels, captured the Danish ship Sylt.[a]

In 1807 Lieutenant Richard Welsh replaced Shiels, but then in 1808 Shiels returned to command.[1]

On 23 April 1808, during the Gunboat War, Forward towed three boats from Daphne and two from Tartarus in an attack on ten laden vessels moored at Fladstrand in Denmark. Despite coming under artillery and musket fire from a fortification, the British successfully spirited away the vessels, with five men wounded in the action.[4]

On 2 July 1809, Forward, Lieutenant Shiels, captured the Danish fishing vessel De Hoop.[5]

On 26 September 1809, Forward captured Jomfrue Sinneve Christiene, L.F. Grave, master.[6]

On 1 October, Forward captured Elizabeth, Hans Olsen, master.[7][6]

On 5 October Forward captured Stadt Odense, S. Pederson, master.[6]

Circa May 1810, Lieutenant Richard Bankes transferred from the hired armed cutter Duke of York to Forward, on the Leith station.[8]

On 19 November 1811 Forward, commanded by Bankes, captured the merchant vessel Fortuna.[9][10]

During the War of 1812, Forward was present off the Gulf Coast. Forward and a transport were the last remaining vessels in the vicinity of the British post at Prospect Bluff. On 16 May they evacuated the last of the garrison there.[11] Edward Nicolls, Woodbine, and the Redstick Creek leader Josiah Francis, arrived at Amelia Island, in East Florida on 7 June 1815, where rumours circulated that the officers were seeking either to obtain British possession of Florida from Spain, or at least to arm and supply the Florida factions resisting American territorial expansion.[12] (In fact, Nicolls had been heading to the Bahamas, and had unintentionally ended up in Florida.[13]) Forward arrived in Bermuda, and disembarked her passengers on 28 June. Edward Nicolls embarked on the Forward on 29 June 'for passage to England', and disembarked at Portsmouth on 13 September 1815.[11]


The "Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy" offered the "Gun-brig Forward, of 179 tons", "lying at Woolwich" for sale on 14 December 1815.[14] Forward was sold on that day for £600 for breaking up.[1]


  1. ^ A seaman's share of the prize money was worth £5 9s 6d.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Winfield (2008), p. 342.
  2. ^ "No. 15897". The London Gazette. 8 March 1806. p. 313.
  3. ^ "No. 16122". The London Gazette. 23 February 1808. p. 289.
  4. ^ The Naval History of Great Britain. Vol. 5. London: Harding, Lepard & Co. 1826. p. 45.
  5. ^ "No. 16384". The London Gazette. 3 July 1810. p. 990.
  6. ^ a b c "No. 16375". The London Gazette. 2 June 1810. p. 811.
  7. ^ "No. 16374". The London Gazette. 29 May 1810. p. 793.
  8. ^ "LONDON, MAY 22." 26 May 1810 Jackson's Oxford Journal (Oxford, England) Issue: 2978.
  9. ^ "No. 16688". The London Gazette. 2 January 1813. p. 36.
  10. ^ "No. 16691". The London Gazette. 12 January 1813. p. 93.
  11. ^ a b "Royal Marines on the Gulf Coast". Archived from the original on 5 December 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2014. Extracted information from the muster of HMS Forward
  12. ^ "War Events". Niles' Weekly Register. Vol. 8. 15 July 1815. p. 347. It is proper your excellency [the Governor of Georgia] should know that on the 7th inst. a brig and transport arrived at Amelia Island, with col. Nichols[sic], Captain Woodbine, an Indian Chief, and his son.
  13. ^ Letter from Nicolls to Anthony St. John Baker, HM Chargé D'Affaires, Washington dated 12 June 1815, written at Amelia Island. This is within WO 1/143 folios 168-169, commencing on page 118 of 143 which can be downloaded for a fee from the UK National Archives website 'I had intended to write to you from the Bahamas ... but being obliged to put in here in distress'
  14. ^ "No. 17091". The London Gazette. 16 December 1815. p. 2506.