HMS Lynx (1794)

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HMS 'Lynx' and 'Monkey' capturing three Danish luggers.jpg
HMS Lynx and HMS Monkey capturing three Danish luggers, 12 August 1809, oil on canvas, 19th century
Royal Navy EnsignUK
Name: HMS Lynx
Ordered: 18 February 1793
Builder: William Cleverley, Gravesend
Laid down: May 1793
Launched: 14 February 1794
Completed: 30 May 1794 at Woolwich Dockyard
Commissioned: April 1794
Struck: sold 28 April 1813
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: 16-gun Cormorant-class sloop
Tons burthen: 426 394 bm
  • 108 ft 4 in (33.0 m) (overall)
  • 90 ft 9 in (27.7 m) (keel)
Beam: 29 ft 8 12 in (9.1 m)
Depth of hold: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Sloop
Complement: 121

HMS Lynx was a 16-gun ship-rigged sloop of the Cormorant-class in the Royal Navy, launched in 1794 at Gravesend.[1] In 1795 she was the cause of an international incident when she fired on the USRC Eagle. She was at the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, and during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars took numerous prizes, mostly merchant vessels but also including some privateers. She was also at the second Battle of Copenhagen in 1807. She was sold in April 1813.

French Revolutionary War[edit]

Lynx was commissioned in April 1794 under Commander Charles Vinicombe Penrose on the Halifax Station.[1] Penrose was promoted to Post-captain on 7 October 1794 and Commander Charles Rowley replaced Penrose in November.[1]

On 17 November 1794, Lynx recaptured the Amphrite.[2] Cleopatra shared in the reward.[3] By agreement, these vessels also shared the prize money with Africa and Thisbe.[4]

On 31 January 1795, Rear-Admiral George Murray, the commander-in-chief on the North America station, sent Lynx, under the command of John Poo Beresford, and the newly-captured former French warship Esperance on a cruise out of Halifax. On 1 March the two vessels captured the Cocarde Nationale (or National Cockade), a privateer from Charleston, South Carolina, of 14 guns, six swivels and 80 men. Esperance and Lynx recaptured the ship Norfolk, of Belfast, and the brig George, of Workington.[5]

Lynx and Eagle[edit]

The United States Coast Guard records that in 1795, Lynx, under the command of Beresford, fired a shot across the bow of the United states revenue Cutter Eagle. Hendrick Fischer, Eagle's acting captain, attempted to heave-to, but he had on board Senator Pierce Butler, from South Carolina, who ordered him to sail on. Lynx then began to fire continuously as Eagle sailed towards the shoal waters on the north point of Jekyll Island. As Lynx drew too much water to continue the chase, Beresford sent his pinnace and cutter in pursuit, under the command of Lieutenant Alexander Skene, who four years later would command Lynx. The British quickly overtook the schooner and came on board, demanding to know why it hadn't come about in response to the shots. After learning the schooner was in fact a revenue vessel of the U.S. government, Skene and his men returned to Lynx.

In the ensuing international political furor, Beresford stated that Lynx had been beyond the 12 mile limit and noted that the schooner was not flying any flag. The Eagle had not in fact flown the national ensign; for unexplained reasons it was instead stored in the captain's cabin. Eagle did apparently display some sort of small pennant that was not visible to Lynx. Unfortunately, the Coast Guard history of Eagle represents the only record of the incident.

Prize taking[edit]

On 9 June 1795 Lynx captured the Bedford, which had some bullion amongst her cargo. Rowley was apparently again her captain.[6] On 3 July Commander Robert Hall was appointed to command Lynx, but apparently the Admiralty did not confirm the appointment until January 1796.[7]

In August 1795 Commander Thomas Tireman took command of Lynx.[1]

On 24 February 1796, Lynx captured the Hannah.[8] Commander John Rennie replaced Tireman in February 1797.[1] Then in October Hall replaced Rennie and finally took command.[1]

On 13 June 1798, Lynx captured the French privateer Isabelle, of two guns and 30 men.[9] Two weeks later, she captured the Mentor, also a French privateer, of 14 six-pounders and 79 men.[10] During the chase, Mentor threw six of her guns overboard to lighten her and thus, albeit insufficiently, improve her speed. Both privateers had set out from Puerto Rico to cruise the coast of the United States.[9] Around this time Lynx captured the privateer Solide. The merchants of St. Johns sent Hall a letter of appreciation for the protection this capture gave to the colony.[11]

On 6 July Lynx captured the American ship Pegasus.[12] Four days later Lynx recaptured the American ship Liberty, from Philadelphia and bound for Liverpool, which a French privateer had captured on 4 July, a few hours after Liberty had left the Delaware River.[9][10][13] On 8 August Lynx recaptured the Friendship.[14]

On 17 September 1799 Lynx captured the brigantine Columbia.[15] In October, Commander Alexander Skene took over command of Lynx.

On 31 August 1800 Lynx captured the Vernang. Then on 8 September she captured the Vrow Neltje.[16] The gun-vessel Swinger shared in the capture of Vrow Neltje.[17]

In June 1801 Lynx returned to Britain from Copenhagen carrying Captain John F. Devonshire and dispatches.[18] She does not appear to have participated in the Battle of Copenhagen in April as her name does not appear in the list of vessels whose crews qualified to share in the prize money stemming from the battle, nor in the list of vessels whose crew qualified for the Naval General Service Medal for the battle.

Shortly thereafter, on 15 April, Lynx captured the Dutch vessels Charlottenburg and Lucchesine.[19] Then on 31 July Lynx and Jalouse captured Brockmerlust, with the capture of Neptunus following on 1 August.[20] The next day Jalouse and Lynx captured the Vrow Caterine.[21] On 8 August Lynx and Squirrel captured the Vryheid.[22] Eight days later, Lynx and Driver captured Prosperitas.[23] On 6 September Lynx, Jalouse, Squirrel and Driver shared in the capture of three vessels, Snelle, Jager, and Engestede.[22] Six days later, Lynx, Driver and Aeolus shared in the capture of Cygnet.[24] The next day Lynx and Driver captured the Jussrow Harmyna.[24] On 17 September Lynx, Pylades, and Kite recaptured Pursuit.[25] On 11 November Lynx and Driver captured Norden.[26]

Commander John Willoughby Marshall took command of Lynx in June 1802.[1]

Napoleonic Wars[edit]

In the months before the resumption of war with France, the Navy started preparations that included impressing seamen. The crews of outbound Indiamen were an attractive target. Woodford and Ganges were sitting in the Thames in March 1803, taking their crews on board just prior to sailing. At sunset, a press gang from HMS Immortalite rowed up to Woodford, while boats from HMS Amethyst and Lynx approached Ganges. As the press gangs approached they were noticed, and the crews of both Indiamen were piped to quarters. That is, they assembled on the decks armed with pikes and cutlasses, and anything they could throw. The officers in charge of the press gangs thought this mere bravado and pulled alongside the Indiamen, only to meet a severe resistance from the crewmen, who had absolutely no desire to serve in the Royal Navy. The men from Immortalite suffered several injuries from shot and pike that were thrown at them, and eventually the marines opened fire with muskets, killing two sailors on Woodford. Even so, the press gangs were not able to get on board either Indiaman, and eventually withdrew some distance. When Woodford's officers finally permitted the press gang from Immortalite to board, all they found on board were a few sickly sailors.[27]

On 23 May 1803, Lynx and Immortalite captured the French ship Paix.[28] A year later, on 10 May 1804, Lynx and Ethalion captured Union.[29]

In July 1804 Lynx took numerous prizes. She took Four Brothers and Nike (or Nilea) on 10 July,[30] Jonge Pieter Casper Piersberg on 12 July,[30] and the brigs Jonge Jan and Jacobus Zeeper on 30 July.[31] Lloyd's List reported that Lynx was in company with the sloop Scorpion and the gun-brig Censor, and that together they captured 10 vessels that were sailing from Riga to Embden carrying masts. By this account the vessels they captured were: Vrow Hermina, Bowman, master; Juno, Gulzeet, master; Frau Margaretta, Roloff, master; General Van Bloucher, Ruyle, master; Jonge Oune & Brower, Ruyle, master; Four Brothers, Stemmings, master; Jonge Peter Caspar, Jobs, master; Gute Foffnung; and Piepersburg. The British sent their captives into Yarmouth.[32]

In April 1806 Lynx captured several Prussian vessels. These were Electrum, Romulus, Goode Intentie, and Vrow Mazka, on the 15th, 21st, and 26th.[33] Earlier, in company with Texel and Nightingale, Lynx captured the Prussian ship Einigkeit on 6 April.[34] They also captured Jonge Ebeling, Freundschaft, and Morgenstern off Lieth.[35]

On 21 April 1807, Lynx recaptured the brig Providence, Edward Fox, Master.[36] Then on 20 April Lynx captured another Prussian vessel, Fortuna.[37] Lynx, the hired armed cutter Lord Kieth, and Resolution shared in the proceeds of the capture of the Danish merchant-vessel Adjutor, on 6 August.[38] Eight days later Lynx, Resolution and Ariel shared in the capture of Aurora.[39]

Lynx shared with Ariadne in the capture of Catharina Frederika on 3 June.[40] That same day the two British ships also captured the Philip. On 13 July they captured Jussrouw Antje.[41] The gun-brig Constant shared with Lynx the capture, on 7 May, of Rebecca and Jonge Tobias.[42] Lynx also shared in the prize money for captures at Heligoland on 5 September in connection with the surrender of the Danish fleet at the Battle of Copenhagen.[43]

On 22 March 1808, Lynx, Falcon, and Quebec were present[44] at the Battle of Zealand Point, though they did not actually take part in the battle. In the battle the ships-of-the-line Stately and Nassau succeeded in destroying the Danish ship-of-the-line Prins Christian Frederik.

In May, Lynx shared with Salsette in the capture of a schuyt.[45] While sailing in company with the gun-brig Snipe, Lynx captured Jagten Sophia Cecilia on 12 July.[37] On 16 November Lynx captured three vessels: Neptune, Resolution, and Elizabeth.[46] In December, Lynx captured Achir, Kairn, Elizabeth, Haabert, Spimgeren, Venus, St. Andreas, Nicholay, and Ann, on the 11th, 13th, 14th, and 15 December.[47]

On 30 April 1809 Vanguard, in company with Lynx and Tartar, captured Charlotte.[48]

On 12 August, Commander John Willoughby Marshall and Lynx, in the company of the gun-brig Monkey under the command of Lieutenant Thomas Fitzgerald, discovered three Danish luggers off the Danish coast.[49] The water was too shallow for Lynx, so Marshall sent Monkey and boats from Lynx in to cut them out. The largest of the luggers, which had four guns and four howitzers, opened fire on Monkey before all three luggers ran ashore once Monkey and the launch's 18-pounder carronade returned fire. The British refloated the luggers and brought them out the next day, having taken no casualties. In their haste to quit the vessel, the Danes failed to fire the fuse on a cask of gunpowder they had left by the fireplace on the largest lugger.[50] Marshall thought the Danes' behaviour in leaving the explosive device disgraceful.[49] The largest lugger was Captain Japen (or Captain Jassen). She had had a crew of 45 men, who had fled, and during the engagement she had thrown two of her howitzers overboard. The second lugger, name unknown, had four guns and a crew of 20. The third lugger was Speculation, of three guns and 19 men. Her crew too had thrown two guns overboard.[49] At the end of the month, on 27 August, Lynx captured a Danish sloop that also bore the name Speculation.[51]

On 28 October 1809 Cheerful captured Destrigheiden, Rinaldine and a sloop, name unknown, while in the company of Tartar and Lynx. By agreement, Marshall and Commander Joseph Baker of Tartar pooled their share of the prize money with that due Lieutenant Daniel Carpenter, the commander of Cheerful.[Note 1]

Vanguard and Plantagenet were in company with Lynx on 2 November when they captured Ornen and another vessel.[53] Lynx was again in company with Vanguard on 4 November when they captured Frende Broder.[54] Five days later Lynx captured the Danish sloops St. Ole and Sterkadder.[55]

On 29 and 30 April Lynx, the gun-brig Flamer and the frigate Fisgard captured three privateers.[56] On the 29th they captured Juliana off Wismar. Juliana had six guns but a crew of only 23 men. The next day they captured Ziska off Trindelen. She was armed with six guns and had a crew of 40 men. At the same time they captured Omen, of one gun.[57]

On 30 May 1810, Lynx and Flamer captured the Danish vessel Hercules. By agreement, the British vessels shared the proceeds with Fisgard.[58] The three vessels also shared in Fisgard's capture of the French privateer Furet, of two guns, off Warnemünde.[57] Lynx again shared by agreement with Fisgard in the proceeds of the recapture of Margaretha Catarina and James Cook on 10 June. Fisgard also shared by agreement her portion with Flamer, as well as the proceeds of the capture of Gopa on 22 June.[59]

On 9 July 1810, Lynx captured the Danish sloop Wanderingsmannen.[60] Flamer shared in the prize.[61]

In October Commander Thomas Percival took command. Then on 20 December Lynx captured Fortuna.[62] Two days later, Lynx came across the derelict Providence at sea. Lynx took possession and in 1811 received salvage money for the vessel.[63]


Lynx was laid up at Deptford in May 1811. She was sold there for ₤1330 on 24 April 1813.[1]

Notes, citations, and references[edit]


  1. ^ As a result, each of the three received £29 5sd. Without the pooling Carpenter, because of his junior rank, would only have received £7 10s 5¾d.[52]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Winfield (2008).
  2. ^ "No. 15086". The London Gazette. 4 December 1798. p. 1173. 
  3. ^ "No. 15087". The London Gazette. 8 December 1798. p. 1185. 
  4. ^ "No. 15496". The London Gazette. 10 July 1802. p. 737. 
  5. ^ "No. 13799". The London Gazette. 28 July 1795. p. 780. 
  6. ^ "No. 15505". The London Gazette. 10 August 1802. p. 848. 
  7. ^ Burke, Edmund, Annual Register, Vol. 84, p.269.
  8. ^ "No. 15131". The London Gazette. 7 May 1799. p. 441. 
  9. ^ a b c "No. 15058". The London Gazette. 17 August 1798. p. 742. 
  10. ^ a b "No. 15061". The London Gazette. 15 September 1798. p. 880. 
  11. ^ The Gentleman's magazine, Volume 172, p.207.
  12. ^ "No. 15578". The London Gazette. 23 April 1803. p. 484. 
  13. ^ Kippis (1809), p.107.
  14. ^ "No. 15704". The London Gazette. 22 May 1804. p. 652. 
  15. ^ "No. 15315". The London Gazette. 29 November 1800. p. 1352. 
  16. ^ "No. 15503". The London Gazette. 3 August 1802. p. 822. 
  17. ^ "No. 15509". The London Gazette. 24 August 1802. p. 907. 
  18. ^ The United service magazine, Part 1, p.97.
  19. ^ "No. 15407". The London Gazette. 15 September 1801. p. 1145. 
  20. ^ "No. 15554". The London Gazette. 29 January 1803. p. 131. 
  21. ^ "No. 15721". The London Gazette. 21 July 1804. p. 892. 
  22. ^ a b "No. 15577". The London Gazette. 19 April 1803. pp. 464–465. 
  23. ^ "No. 15720". The London Gazette. 17 July 1804. p. 879. 
  24. ^ a b "No. 15742". The London Gazette. 2 October 1804. p. 1243. 
  25. ^ "No. 15467". The London Gazette. 30 March 1802. p. 1367. 
  26. ^ "No. 15871". The London Gazette. 10 December 1805. p. 1555. 
  27. ^ Crawford (1851), pp.103–7.
  28. ^ "No. 15624". The London Gazette. 27 September 1803. p. 1325. 
  29. ^ "No. 15794". The London Gazette. 2 April 1805. p. 441. 
  30. ^ a b "No. 15999". The London Gazette. 10 February 1807. p. 179. 
  31. ^ "No. 15968". The London Gazette. 21 October 1806. p. 1400. 
  32. ^ Lloyd's List, no.4474,[1] – accessed 16 October 2014.
  33. ^ "No. 16224". The London Gazette. 28 January 1809. p. 135. 
  34. ^ "No. 16393". The London Gazette. 4 August 1810. p. 1167. 
  35. ^ "No. 17185". The London Gazette. 26 October 1816. p. 2038. 
  36. ^ "No. 16031". The London Gazette. 23 May 1807. p. 697. 
  37. ^ a b "No. 16308". The London Gazette. 21 October 1809. p. 1674. 
  38. ^ "No. 16732". The London Gazette. 22 May 1813. p. 999. 
  39. ^ "No. 16860". The London Gazette. 19 February 1814. p. 393. 
  40. ^ "No. 16135". The London Gazette. 9 April 1808. p. 507. 
  41. ^ "No. 16345". The London Gazette. 24 February 1810. p. 290. 
  42. ^ "No. 16389". The London Gazette. 21 July 1810. p. 1083. 
  43. ^ "No. 17192". The London Gazette. 16 November 1816. p. 21753. 
  44. ^ Logbook of HMS Falcon held at National Archives, Kew, London – reference ADM51/4446.
  45. ^ "No. 16989". The London Gazette. 4 March 1815. p. 396. 
  46. ^ "No. 16484". The London Gazette. 11 May 1811. p. 877. 
  47. ^ "No. 16335". The London Gazette. 20 January 1810. p. 105. 
  48. ^ "No. 17038". The London Gazette. 11 July 1815. p. 1394. 
  49. ^ a b c "No. 16296". The London Gazette. 9 September 1809. pp. 1456–1457. 
  50. ^ Norrie (1827), p.202.
  51. ^ "No. 16410". The London Gazette. 2 October 1810. p. 1569. 
  52. ^ "No. 16960". The London Gazette. 26 November 1814. p. 2347. 
  53. ^ "No. 17038". The London Gazette. 11 July 1815. p. 1394. 
  54. ^ "No. 16494". The London Gazette. 8 June 1811. p. 1071. 
  55. ^ "No. 16457". The London Gazette. 19 February 1811. p. 340. 
  56. ^ "No. 16670". The London Gazette. 17 November 1812. p. 2327. 
  57. ^ a b "No. 16379". The London Gazette. 16 June 1810. p. 881. 
  58. ^ "No. 16544". The London Gazette. 23 November 1811. p. 2267. 
  59. ^ "No. 16493". The London Gazette. 4 June 1811. p. 1049. 
  60. ^ "No. 16463". The London Gazette. 27 October 1810. p. 483. 
  61. ^ "No. 16464". The London Gazette. 16 March 1811. p. 512. 
  62. ^ "No. 16492". The London Gazette. 1 June 1811. p. 1033. 
  63. ^ "No. 16507". The London Gazette. 23 July 1811. p. 14123. 


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