HMS Latona (1781)

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RN EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Latona
Operator: Royal Navy
Ordered: 22 March 1779
Builder: Edward Greaves's yard at Limehouse
Laid down: October 1779
Launched: 13 March 1781
Commissioned: 21 April 1781 (after fitting out at Deptford Dockyard)
Honours and
Naval General Service Medal with clasp "Curacoa 1 Jany. 1807"[1]
Fate: 1813 hulked. 1816 sold.
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 944 2094 (bm)
Length: 141 ft 3 in (43.05 m)
Beam: 38 ft 11 34 in (11.881 m)
Depth of hold: 13 ft 6 in (4.11 m)
Propulsion: Sail
Complement: 270 (raised to 280 on 25 April 1780)

HMS Latona was a 38-gun, 18-pounder gun armed fifth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy, launched in 1781. She served in the American revolution, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars. Latona was hulked in 1813 and sold for breaking up in 1816.


She was designed by the senior surveyor John Williams. In this era it was common for each surveyor to produce independent designs for new ship types, and this design was a counterpoint to Edward Hunt's HMS Minerva; together the two draughts represent the prototype of the thirty-eight gun, 18-pounder armed frigate.

Fourth Anglo-Dutch War[edit]

She participated in the 1781 Battle of Dogger Bank under the command of Sir Hyde Parker. [2]:46

French Revolutionary Wars[edit]

Latona, under the command of F. Sotheron, on 29 November 1796 captured the French Bordeaux-based privateer schooner Aigle about 107 leagues N by W from Lisbon. She had left out of Passayes, near Bayonne, on 6 November, but had captured nothing. She was pierced for 14 guns but carried only 12 small carriage guns, and had a crew of 62 men under the command of Francis Harimendy.[3]

Then a few days later, on 3 December, Latona captured the French brig Intrepide 40 leagues WNW of Lisbon. She was pierced for 18 guns but carried twelve 6-pounders, an 18-pounder carrronade, and a brass 12-pounder gun. During the chase she threw all her guns overboard except for the 12-pounder and one 6-pounder, both of which she used as stern chasers, firing, but without effect, until Latona was almost alongside. She had a crew of 83 men aboard, under the command of M. Jean Candeau. On her cruise she had captured only one vessel, a galliot belonging to Bremen, which had been sailing from Faro to Liverpool with a cargo of fruit.[3]

Between 8 March 1799 and 12 May, Latona captured a large number of small Dutch vessels.[Note 1]

Napoleonic Wars[edit]

Latona, commanded by T.L.M. Gosselin, captured the Spanish ketch Amphion, armed with 12 guns and 70 men, at sea on 22 October 1805.

The capture of Curaçao, depicted by Thomas Whitcombe

On 1 January 1807 Latona, Arethusa, Anson, Fisgard, and Morne Fortunee captured Curaçao.[5] The Dutch resisted and Latona lost one men killed and two wounded; in all, the British lost three killed and 14 wounded. On the ships alone, the Dutch lost six men killed, including Commandant Cornelius J. Evertz, who commanded the Dutch naval force in Curaçao and seven wounded, of whom one died later. With the colony, the British captured the frigate Kenau Hasselar, the sloop Suriname (a former Royal Naval sloop), and two naval schooners. In 1847 the Admiralty authorized the issue of the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "Curacoa 1 Jany. 1807" to any surviving claimants from the action; 65 medals were issued.

Latona was part of the squadron under Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane that captured the Danish islands of St Thomas on 22 December and Santa Cruz on 25 December 1807. The Danes did not resist and the invasion was bloodless.

At the Action of 10 February 1809, Latona was involved in the capture of HMS Junon in the West Indies.[6]

In April 1809, a strong French squadron arrived at the Îles des Saintes, south of Guadeloupe. There they were blockaded until 14 April, when a British force under Major-General Frederick Maitland and Captain Philip Beaver in Acasta, invaded and captured the islands.[7] Latona was among the naval vessels that shared in the proceeds of the capture of the islands.[Note 2]

On 7 June 1809 Latona was under the command of Captain Hugh Pigot. On that day she captured the French 36-gun frigate Félicité.[9]

Notes, citations, and references[edit]

  1. ^ Prize money was paid in November 1811. A first-class share was worth £7 7s 8d; a fifth-class share, that of a seaman, was worth 5d.[4]
  2. ^ The prize agent for a number of the vessels involved, Henry Abbott, went bankrupt. In May 1835 there was a final payment of a dividend from his estate. A first-class share was worth 10s 2¾d; a sixth-class share, that of an ordinary seaman, was worth 1d. Seventh-class (landsmen) and eighth-class (boys) shares were fractions of a penny, too small to pay.[8]
  1. ^ "No. 20939". The London Gazette. 26 January 1849. p. 241. 
  2. ^ Ross, Sir John. Memoirs of Admiral de Saumarez Vol 1. 
  3. ^ a b "No. 14077". The London Gazette. 26 December 1797. p. 1231. 
  4. ^ "No. 16580". The London Gazette. 3 March 1812. p. 432. 
  5. ^ "No. 16003". The London Gazette. 22 February 1807. pp. 241–243. 
  6. ^ James, Chamier, 1859 pp.5-7.
  7. ^ "No. 16262". The London Gazette. 30 May 1809. pp. 779–782. 
  8. ^ "No. 19255". The London Gazette. 3 April 1835. p. 643. 
  9. ^ James, Chamier, 1859 p.23
  • Gardner, Robert, The Heavy Frigate, Conway Maritime Press, London 1994.
  • Winfield, Rif British Warships in the Age of Sail, 1793-1817, Chatham Publishing, London 2005.
  • James, William; Chamier, Frederick (1837). The naval history of Great Britain: from the declaration of war by France in 1793 to the accession of George IV.
    Richard Bentley, London. p. 568.