HMS Pigeon (1805)

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Royal Navy EnsignUK
Name: HMS Pigeon
Ordered: 11 December 1805
Launched: 1801
Acquired: ex-mercantile Fanny purchased 28 May 1805
Commissioned: May 1805
Fate: Wrecked 30 November 1805
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Despatch cutter
Type: Schooner
Tonnage: 75 bm
Length: 57 ft 7 in (17.55 m)
Beam: 17 ft 6 in (5.33 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Complement: 17
Armament: 4 x 12-pounder carronades

The Admiralty purchased HMS Pigeon on 28 May 1805 for use as a despatch cutter.[1] She was wrecked, though without loss of life, in November.


After her purchase, Pigeon was fitted for foreign service at Deptford between 25 May and 10 August. She was commissioned in May under Lieutenant John Luckraft.[1] One of his first tasks was to pick up Dudley Ryder, 1st Earl of Harrowby, from Tribune and to convey him up the Elbe River to Hamburg on a diplomatic mission.


Pigeon was wrecked off the Texel on 30 November while carrying despatches for Lieutenant General George Don at Bremerlehe.[2][Note 1] Her crew was saved, but became prisoners of the Dutch. Luckraft was freed the next year.

The court martial on 20 February 1806 found that it was pilot Robert Barron's inexperience that caused the wreck. However, the court also condemned the behavior of Luckraft before the ship was abandoned.[3]

Notes, citations, and references[edit]

  1. ^ Gossett (1986) has the wreck occurring on a sandbank three quarters of a mile from the town of Rysum in East Frisia. However, this is less consistent with accounts that put the wreck off the Texel and that she was carrying despatches to Bremerlehe and that the crew became prisoners of the Dutch.
  1. ^ a b c Winfield (2008), p.370.
  2. ^ O'Byrne (1849), pp. 682-3.
  3. ^ Gossett (1986), p. 51.
  • Gossett, William Patrick (1986). The Lost Ships of the Royal Navy, 1793-1900. Mansell. ISBN 0-7201-1816-6. 
  • O'Byrne, William R. (1849) A Naval Biographical Dictionary: comprising the life and services of every living officer in Her Majesty's navy, from the rank of admiral of the fleet to that of lieutenant, inclusive. (London: J. Murray).
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1-86176-246-1.