HMS Volage (1807)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Volage.
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Volage
Ordered: 30 January 1805
Builder: Richard Chapman, Bideford
Laid down: January 1806
Launched: 23 March 1807
Completed: 8 September 1807 at Plymouth Dockyard
Commissioned: May 1807
Honours and
Naval General Service Medal with clasp "Lissa"[1]
Fate: Sold on 29 January 1818
United Kingdom
Name: Rochester
Owner: Hills & Co.
Acquired: 1818 by purchase
Fate: Last mention in lists 1831
General characteristics [2]
Class and type: 22-gun Laurel-class sixth-rate post ship
Tons burthen: 529 4794 (bm)
  • 118 ft 2 12 in (36.0 m) (gundeck)
  • 98 ft 9 in (30.1 m) (keel)
Beam: 31 ft 9 in (9.7 m)
Depth of hold: 10 ft 3 in (3.1 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 155
  • Upperdeck: 22 x 32-pounder carronades
  • QD: 6 x 24-pounder carronades
  • Fc: 2 x 6-pounder guns + 2 x 24-pounder carronades

HMS Volage was a Laurel-class sixth-rate post-ship of the Royal Navy. She served during the Napoleonic War, capturing four privateers and participating in the Battle of Lissa (1811). She was sold in 1818. She then served in a commercial capacity for another 12 years, sailing to India and the South Seas. She is last listed in Lloyd's List in 1831.


Volage was built by Richard Chapman, of Bideford, who launched her on 23 March 1807.[2] She sailed to the Mediterranean in October 1807, soon after commissioning in May 1807 under Captain Philip Rosenhagen.[2] On 6 November she was off Galita Island when she captured the French cutter Succès, of ten guns and 59 men, under the command of lieutenant de vaisseau Bourdé Villehuet. According to her captain, Succès had sailed from Toulon three days earlier on a cruise; Rosenhagen suspected that she was actually carrying despatches that Villehuet had had time to destroy. Rosenhagen also thought that Succès may have been in British service as the Sussex.[3][Note 1]

The next year, on 28 July 1808, Volage captured the French brig Requin just north of Corsica after a chase of nine hours during which Requin threw her boats, boom, and anchors overboard. Requin was only 14 months old, armed with 16 guns, though pierced for 18, and had a crew of 108 men under the command of capitaine de fregate Bérar, a Member of the Legion of Honour. She had just left Ajaccio where she had delivered prizes that she had taken on her way from Algiers to Toulon. Rosenhagen took his prisoners into Malta before returning to his station.[4] A French account reports that Requin endured two-and-a-half hours of fire, returning three broadsides, before surrendering to the English frigate Volage, of 40 guns.[5]

Earlier, in May, Wizard had chased and engaged Requin for some 88 hours and 369 miles before having to give up the chase when Requin was able to gain the protection of the guns of Fort Goleta in the bay of Tunis.[6] The British took Requin into service as HMS Sabine.

Almost a year later, Volage captured two more privateers. On 6 September 1809 she captured Annunciate, of two guns and 40 men. Then on 20 September, Volage captured Jason, of six guns and 69 men.[7]

In June 1810, boats from Volage and Bustard, under the command of Captain John Duff Markland of Bustard, entered a port a few miles south of Cortone. There they destroyed 25 vessels carrying stores and provisions for Joachim Murat's army in Sicily.[8]

In 1810 Captain Phipps Hornby took command and she served in the Adriatic,[2] fighting at the Battle of Lissa and driving off a much larger French ship during the action. The action cost Volage 13 men killed and 33 wounded.[9] Volage was badly cut-up in the battle. On 2 June she sailed from Malta for England in company with Amphion and the prizes from the battle. She carried with her Lord Byron as a passenger.[10]

In 1847 the Admiralty awarded all surviving claimants from the action the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "Lissa".

Following this victory, Volage came briefly under the command of Arthur Bingham in February 1812, or so. She then was sent to the East Indies under Captain Donald Hugh Mackay.[2] She was carrying Sir Evan Nepean, who was taking up his post as governor in Bombay, and escorting three cartel ships. On the way she arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on 24 June.[11] She then served under the orders of Sir Samuel Hood in the Eastern Archipelago and the China seas.[12] In June 1813, Volage was under the command of Captain Samuel Leslie when her sailors took part in the capture of the pirate settlement at Sambas, in Borneo. There they helped capture five batteries, one after another, in half an hour.[13] Then in September Volage participated in the operations in support of the restoration of the Sultan of Palembang. Leslie left Volage on 1 January 1814.[14] Then for while she came under the command of her first lieutenant (acting captain) John Allen.[15]

In March Volage next came under the command of Captain Joseph Drury, followed by Captain Charles Biddulph in April. However he died in April 1815.[2] In February 1816 she came under the command of Captain Johnathan Bartholomew Hoar Curran, who sailed her back to Britain.[2]


Volage was sold on 29 January 1818 for £1,600 to a Mr. Lackland for mercantile use. She then assumed the name Rochester.[2]

Commercial service[edit]

Lloyd's Register for 1819 shows a Rochester, "Bdefrd"-built, 10 years old, and 530 tons (bm). This vessel continues in commercial service for a number of years. The last year for this vessel is 1831.

Year Master Owner Trade Notes
1818 D. Duncan Data other than tonnage is illegible
1819 D. Duncan Hills & Co. London & India
1820 D. Duncan Hills & Co. London & India
1821 D. Duncan Hills & Co. London & India
1822 D. Duncan Hills & Co. London & India
1823 D. Duncan Hills & Co. London & India
1824 C. North Hills & Co. London & South Seas
1825 C. North Hills & Co. London & South Seas
1826 C. North Hills & Co. London & South Seas
1827 C. North Hills & Co. London & South Seas
1828 C. North Hills & Co. London & South Seas
1829 C. North Hills & Co. London & South Seas
1830 C. North Hills & Co. London & South Seas
1831 C. North Hills & Co. London & South Seas
1832 No entry

Notes, citations, and references[edit]


  1. ^ There is no record of a cutter, whether commissioned or a hired armed vessel, by that name. If she had been a cutter in "His Majesty's Service", she may have been a revenue vessel.


  1. ^ "no. 20939". The London Gazette. 26 January 1849. p. 243. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Winfield (2008), p.237.
  3. ^ "no. 16113". The London Gazette. 26 January 1808. p. 142. 
  4. ^ "no. 16194". The London Gazette. 22 October 1808. p. 1438. 
  5. ^ Troude (1867), Vol. 3, p.509.
  6. ^ James (1837), Vol. 4, pp.293-298.
  7. ^ "no. 16321". The London Gazette. 2 December 1809. p. 1932. 
  8. ^ Brenton (1837), p.357.
  9. ^ "no. 16485". The London Gazette. 14 May 1811. pp. 892–896. 
  10. ^ Byron (1854), p.765.
  11. ^ Naval Chronicle, Vol. 28, p.249.
  12. ^ Marshall (1827), Supplement - Part 1, p.54.
  13. ^ Marshall (1835), Vol. 4, Part 2, pp.329-30.
  14. ^ Marshall (1829), Supplement, Part 3, pp.91-3.
  15. ^ O'Byrne (1849), Vol. 1, p.11.


  • Brenton, Edward Pelham (1837) The naval history of Great Britain, from the year MDCCLXXXIII. to MDCCCXXXVI. (H. Colburn).
  • Byron, Baron George Gordon Byron (1854) The works of Lord Byron: embracing his suppressed poems, and a sketch of his life. (Phillips, Sampson, and company).
  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475. 
  • James, William (1837). The Naval History of Great Britain, from the Declaration of War by France in 1793, to the Accession of George IV. R. Bentley. 
  • Marshall, John (1823-1835) Royal naval biography, or, Memoirs of the services of all the flag-officers, superannuated rear-admirals, retired-captains, post-captains, and commanders, whose names appeared on the Admiralty list of sea officers at the commencement of the present year 1823, or who have since been promoted ... (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown).
  • 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), vol. 1.
  • Troude, O. (1867) Batailles navales de la France. (Challamel ainé).
  • Winfield, Rif. British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793-1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. 2nd edition, Seaforth Publishing (2008) ISBN 978-1-84415-717-4.

External links[edit]