Saturday, 11 April 2020

All at Sea - On the Stocks in JJ's Dockyard, New British Builds, Part Two

JJ's Royal Dock Yard has been hard at work with nine new hulls launched recently and now busily being worked on to get them fitted out for sea trials before joining the fleet.

This post follows All at Sea - On the Stocks in JJ's Dockyard, New British Builds, Part One which introduced my model of HMS Victory together with some other British naval and Nelsonian ephemera.

The nine new builds just recently built and painted awaiting fitting out.

I tend to work in batches of the same class as familiarity with just the right amount of thread to rig each mast becomes unconsciously-competent with each model completed and so the first additions to the collection cabinet are three new named British frigates.

The respective fleets are growing with each build completed and I will look to do a video and photo shoot of the collection on completion of these latest models.

My three new British named frigates, HMS Euryalus, Naiad and Indefatigable

HMS Euryalus

One of my sources for painting my version of HMS Euryalus was the Profile Prints illustration showing the 1803 36-gun Apollo Class frigate in classics checkerboard pattern.

Master British ship builder Henry Adams 1713 - 1805 

HMS Euryalus was an Apollo Class 36-gun frigate built by Henry Adams at Bucklers Hard in Hampshire on the banks of Beaulieu River and launched on the 6th June 1803.

Named after Euryalus (pronounced Yuri-alus) the son of Mecisteus and one of the crew of the mythical band of heroes who crewed the Argos, accompanying Jason in his quest for the Golden Fleece, her first captain was Sir Henry Blackwood who rose to fame for his dramatic part in the capture of the French 80-gun Guillaume Tell whilst commanding another 36-gun frigate HMS Penelope on blockade duty off Malta in 1800.

Captain Sir Henry Blackwood, 1770 - 1832
John Hoppner RA

Blackwood and his crew successfully closed on the French 3rd rate which was trying to escape the blockade in darkness and, through a process of luffing under reduced sail, managed to maintain station under the stern galleries of the much larger French ship reducing her to mastless state by daybreak by which time she was joined by the 64-gun HMS Lion and the 80-gun HMS Foudroyant who forced the Frenchman to strike.

Captain Blackwood's 36-gun frigate HMS Penelope delivers another crashing stern rake against the 80-gun Guillaume Tell, as day breaks to reveal the support of HMS Lion and Foudroyant

The action caught the attention of Blackwood's commander Rear Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson aboard the Foudroyant who was enthusiastic in his praise for him and his crew's action, concluding his remarks by asking him to 'say everything kind for me to your brave officers and men'.

Blackwood was appointed command of Euryalus in April 1803 and following her launch spent the next two years operating in the Channel and off the coast of Ireland until being sent in July 1805 to observe the movements of the Franco-Spanish fleet under Vice Admiral Villeneuve following his clash with Vice Admiral Sir Robert Calder's fleet at the inconclusive Battle of Cape Finisterre on the 23rd July 1805, when the former retired with his allies to the Spanish ports of Vigo and later Corunna to make repairs.

A suitably armed Greek warrior figure behind a golden hopolon shield and with sword drawn, captures the look of Euryalus as the figurehead of this British frigate. 

He reported back to the Admiralty when Villeneuve retired to Cadiz traveling back to the Admiralty to deliver his news and meeting Nelson there, and joining the admiral as part of his fleet destined to intercept the Combined Fleet in the October at Trafalgar with Blackwood in command of the inshore squadron aboard Euryalus.

Turning down the offer of command of a ship of the line by Nelson on the eve of the battle, he would meet him for the last time aboard the Victory and together with Captain Hardy witness Nelson's pre-battle will before returning to Euryalus in command of the British frigates; ordered to assist in supporting and recovering damaged British ships of the line, whilst also given the latitude to instruct the rear most British ships on how they might best conduct themselves in the latter part of the battle.

At battle's end Euryalus became the temporary flagship for Admiral Collingwood overseeing the recovery of the fleet and its prizes as the weather closed in on the damaged ships, with Euryalus and Blackwood sent off back to England ten days later carrying Villeneuve's dispatches to the Admiralty in London, thus ensuring Blackwood was in the capital for Nelson's funeral at St Paul's Cathedral on the 8th January 1806.

Post Trafalgar, Euryalus returned to the Mediterranean under Blackwood in February 1806 and at the end of the year would see the appointment of a new commander of the ship, Captain George Dundas with Euryalus involved in convoy escort work and cruising against enemy privateers and merchantmen.

In 1807 she returned to the UK to join the North Sea squadron in operations against the Danes and operating on clandestine duties rescuing members of the French Royal family from Prussia and delivering them to Sweden.

In 1809 she was part of the squadron tasked with supporting the failed British expedition to the Walcheren in Holland, followed at the conclusion of the month long expedition with anti-privateer patrols in the Channel.

In the years 1810-14 Euryalus was back in the Mediterranean intially joining the British inshore squadron under the command of her old captain, Blackwood, escorting convoys and blockading French forces in Toulon, whilst cruizing against French privateers.

In April 1813 Euryalus came under the command of Captain Charles Napier and whilst still operating in the Mediterranean the following year, almost to the day Napier and his crew received news of Napoleon's defeat and abdication when entering the port of Marseilles, later sailing to Frejus Bay to embark Napoleon and take him to Elba.

This remarkable ship still had a final episode to play in as it set sail from Gibraltar to Bermuda in June 1814 to join a British squadron under Captain Andrew King escorting British troops destined to fight in the American War of 1812, later taking part in the bombardments of Fort Washington in the August of that year operating on the River Potomac in support of British forces.

In September she took part in the bombardment of Fort McHenry in operations against Baltimore and on the 28th January 1815 Captain Napier issued a challenge to Captain Charles Gordon commanding USS Constellation to meet in single combat, which was accepted by Gordon, but the meeting was postponed with Euryalus directed to support operations against New Orleans, before the conclusion of the war that year brought Euryalus service career to a close

Traditionally HMS Euryalus would have been armed with 26 x 18-pdr guns on her gun deck, 2 x 9-pdr guns and 10 x 32-pdr carronades on her quarter deck and 2 x 9-pdr guns and 4 x 32-pdr carronades on her forecastle.

HMS Indefatigable

Perhaps one of the most famous British warships in the age of sail period is the frigate HMS Indefatigable forever linked to one of the most famous captains of his age, Sir Edward Pellew, which is saying something, in a time for the Royal Navy when its ranks glittered with successful and talented commanders.

HMS Indefatigable was designed and built as an Ardent class 64-gun ship of the line by the talented British ship designer Sir Thomas Slade whose career was covered in part one of this series of posts for his design of another famous British warship HMS Victory.

By the time she was built, also at Bucklers Hard, and rolled down the slipway in early July 1784, Slade was long dead and the 64-gun ship of the line was obsolete as a class, replaced by the 74-gun ship as the standard line of battle vessel and so the brand new Indefatigable went straight into the mothballed 'in-ordinary' collection of ships, with no decision on how she would be deployed.

In 1794, along with two other former 64-gun ships of the line, HMS Magnanime and HMS Anson, Indefatigable was 'razeed' which saw the vessel cut down from two decks to one creating a very sturdy, with its ship of the line timbers supporting the gun deck, 44-gun frigate.

Her new arrangement saw her deck able to support and maintain the use of her twenty-six 24-pdr long guns and her punch was further increased with the addition of six 42-pdr carronades to her upper quarter deck and forecastle 12-pdrs, making her a fifth rate frigate but with a significantly heavy broadside compared with the 18 pounder frigates starting to become the standard in European fleets.

Commissioned in December 1794 under Sir Edward Pellew, she would be under his command up to early 1799 during which Pellew led his Channel based frigate squadron on prize capturing spree which was shared out between him, his officers and ships crews netting them a fortune in prize money and helping to clear the home waters of enemy privateers and men-of-war.

Captain Sir Edward Pellew

The culmination of this highly profitable and successful 'cruizing' reached a significant high point when on the 13th January 1797 following the failed French invasion of Ireland in December 1796, Indefatigable in company with the 36-gun frigate, HMS Amazon encountered the 74-gun ship Droits de l'Homme off the rocky Brittany coast as the French ship was attempting to return to port in rough seas that meant the French ship was unable to open the lower gun ports.

In a fifteen hour engagement in winds increasing to gale force, the damage the two British ships managed to inflict on their larger adversary meant the French crew lost control of the vessel and it was swept onto a sandbar and destroyed with heavy loss of life among its crew and the 700-800 French troops she was carrying for the aborted invasion attempt.

The loss on the French ship was truly horrific with, it is estimated, just over 100 killed in the battle with the two British frigates but another 800 lost from the 1,300 men aboard, when the ship broke up.

The weather was the victor overall as HMS Amazon failed to pull off in time and was herself wrecked on another sandbar, but with much less loss of life as all but nine of her crew made it to the shore including the fifteen wounded from the battle, later being taken prisoner by the French.

Incredibly HMS Indefatigable didn't loose a single casualty during the battle and suffered just eighteen wounded.

Destruction of Le Droits de l'Homme ... Frigates in Hodierne  Bay near Brest, with the Indefatigable ... throwing up rockets ... 13th January 1797, coloured aquatint engraved by Robert Dodd after his own original  published by I Brydon February 1798 - National Maritime Museum 

After Pellew left the ship, her remarkable career against enemy ships continued under several other commanders with numerous small and similarly sized cruisers, together with enemy merchantmen captured from the Channel to the Portuguese coast, which saw Indefatigable able to return to the UK in April 1802 for repairs and a return to the In-Ordinary fleet with the Peace of Amiens signed.

However her prolific activities would soon recommence with war against Napoleonic France declared she was back at sea by October 1803 under the command of Captain Sir Graham Moore, the younger brother of General Sir John Moore.

Captain Graham Moore c. 1792 - Sir Thomas Lawrence
It was under his command that Indefatigable would take part in an unusual action against Bourbon Spain, neutral at the time, but expected soon to make a declaration of war and ally herself with Napoleonic France.

On the 5th of October 1804 Indefatigable, with Moore as Commodore, commanding and in consort with HMS Medusa (32-guns), Lively (38-guns) and Amphion (32-guns) intercepted a squadron of four Spanish frigates Medee, the flagship (44-guns, 18pdr), Fama, Clara and Mercedes each 36-gun 12-pdr frigates  under Rear Admiral Don Joseph Bustamente carrying bullion from Montevideo, South America

Battle of Cape Santa Maria, from right to left HMS Lively vs Clara, an exploding Mercedes with the stern gallery of HMS Amphion beyond, HMS Indefatigable vs Medea and beyond them HMS Medusa vs Fama - Francis Sartorious

Moore offered Bustamente the opportunity to surrender, but on his refusal, action commenced in what would become known as the Battle of Cape Santa Maria, that would see one of the Spanish ships, Mercedes, blow up and be destroyed taking with her all but forty-one of her 281 man crew, and the other three captured together with an immense amount of gold.

The controversy of attacking a neutral without a formal declaration of war impacted on the unprecedented decision of the Admiralty not to grant normal Prize distribution to the captains and crews involved in the battle which caused uproar among them, having acted under orders from the Admiralty and with the enormous sum involved generated by the bullion and captured ships.estimated at over £69 million in modern value, with the eventual settlement agreed granting the four captains involved just over £1 million.

Needless to say Spain duly declared war just over a month later, on the 14th December 1804, less her gold bullion and four frigates.

After being attacked by British fire-ships and ending up grounded in their attempt to escape, the stranded French ships are engaged by HMS Imperieuse in the Basque Roads - Thomas Whitcombe

Indefatigable would continuing her traditional cruising role against enemy cruisers and merchants, taking part in April 1809 in the attack on the French fleet in the Basque Roads off Rochefort that was not as successful as perhaps it could have been.

She would end her war with the final peace in 1815 and be broken up at Sheerness in August 1816

The standard armament for HMS Indefatigable would have been 26 x 24-pdr guns on her gun deck, 8 x 12-pdr guns and 4 x 42-pdr carronades on her quarter deck and 3 x 12-pdr guns and 2 x 42-pdr carronades on her forecastle.

HMS Naiad

HMS Naiad was a 38-gun Amazon class frigate designed by Sir William Rule, built and launched at Limehouse on the River Thames in London in 1797.

The frigate took her name from the naiad or water nymphs, demigoddess in Greek mythology associated with the vital element of water.

HMS Naiad with HMS Belleisle, 23rd October 1805, in tow to Gibraltar after the Battle of Trafalgar - National Maritime Museum

Commissioned in 1798, she would serve throughout the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, being finally paid off in 1826 after her last actions against the Barbary States in the Mediterranean spending her lattter years as a coal depot ship in Latin America before being broken up in 1898, one-hundred and one years after her launching and making her the second oldest survivor of the Battle of Trafalgar after HMS Victory.

Naiad's first commander was Captain William Pierrepont and operated against French privateers and warships throughout 1798 and 1799.

HMS Ethalion in action against the Spanish frigate Thetis off Cape Finisterre, 16th October 1799

In October 1799 Naiade was Pierrepont's flagship as the the Commodore of a squadron of British frigates, HMS Ethalion (38-guns), Alcmene (32-guns) and Triton (32-guns) on blockade duty off the Spanish harbour of Vigo, when he spotted two Spanish frigates who were carrying silver specie and luxury trade goods back from the Spanish South American colonies.

Giving chase to the two Spanish ships, he was unable to catch them and they parted company in an attempt to lose their pursuers only to be intercepted by other ships in the squadron before they could make it safely into port, netting the British crews an astonishing amount of over £61 million in today's money requiring sixty-three wagons to transport the cargo from Plymouth to London on the  squadrons return home.

From that time until 1802 when Naiad was put in ordinary the frigate was in continuous action patrolling out of Plymouth in company with other frigates and involving itself in capturing enemy privateers and merchantmen and cutting out a Spanish corvette from the little port of Marin in Galicia, Spain, in fact her work at that time reads like a series of adventures straight out of Hornblower.

By early 1803, Naiad was recommissioned with the captain and crew of HMS Fisgard crewing the ship, after Fisgard was decommissioned, allowing the Naiad to recommence her patrol duties out of Plymouth, picking up where she left off the year before, with a series of actions capturing and cutting out enemy vessels along the length of the French coast, returning to Plymouth for a much needed refit in the September before sailing in the October to join Sir Edward Pellew's squadron cruising off Corunna and Ferrol preventing two French squadrons operating out of both ports from joining force and in one clash driving the French frigate Bayonnaise aground in Finisterre Bay on the 29th November.

By January 1804 Naiad was back at Plymouth spending the next year on blockade and patrol duties off Brest, which saw her in action against French gunboats that attacked the boat crews of HMS Aigle 36-guns, and the capturing of two of the gunboats being operated by a party of French sailors and officers and men of the French 63rd Infantry Regiment.

HMS Aigle involved in the action with French gunboats and HMS Naiad off Brest, 27th November 1804 - Thomas Whitcombe

The gunboats were each armed with a long brass four and twelve pounder gun and were sent back to Britain with the 18-gun Brig-sloop HMS Dispatch.

The following year, 1805 would see a climactic moment in the history of this particular frigate when in early October in consort with four other frigates (HMS Phoebe 36-guns, Sirius 36-guns, Juno 32-guns, and Niger 32-guns) she arrived off Cadiz with orders to disrupt local shipping seeking to supply the combined Franco-Spanish fleet under Vice Admiral Villeneuve.

Under her commander, Captain Thomas Dundas, she would join HMS Euryalus in consort with Phoebe, Sirius, the 10-gun cutter HMS Entrepenante and the 8-gun schooner HMS Pickle as part of the light squadron supporting Vice Admiral Nelson's British fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar on the 21st October 1805 taking action at the end of the battle with her guns to ensure the destruction of the grounded Spanish 74-gun Monarca and taking in tow the dismasted 74-gun HMS Belleisle and taking her to Gibraltar.

Post Trafalgar, HMS Naiad continued her work in home waters operating from her base in Plymouth finally being paid off in Portsmouth in 1813 undergoing major repairs the following year and held in ordinary until her return to service in 1823 with her recommissioning for action in the Mediterranean that would be her last active service before being laid up in 1828 .

HMS Naiad concluded her life as coal depot ship in Chile and Peru through the mid and later decades of the nineteenth century, a sad end for a warship with such a long record of successful service, and with amazing stories no doubt held within her old timbers. The Admiralty sold her in 1866 to the Pacific Steam Navigation Company and she was finally broken up in 1898. One can only imagine, if she had remained in home waters, if the public might have demanded her saving alongside Victory and what a comparison the two Trafalgar veterans would have made side by side.

The lines of the British frigate HMS Naiad of 1797 - National Maritime Museum

The standard armament of HMS Naiad would have been 28 x 18-pdr long guns on the main gun deck and 2 x 9-pdr long guns and 4 x 32-pdr carronades on the forecastle.


Finally a postscript to Part One of this series of posts, in which I mentioned the estranged wife of Lord Nelson living and dying in my home town of Exmouth and her final resting place being at my local church where Carolyn and I were married.

Francis Herbert Viscountess Nelson, Duchess of Bronte 

On an afternoon walk to exercise during the hours of lock down we took a detour via the church at Littleham and I grabbed a photograph or two of Lady Nelsons grave.

As you can see the grave site is well looked after and cared for, declaring the great Lady's titles, Viscountess Nelson, Duchess of Bronte.

Work continues with the rest of my ship builds and my next post in this series will take a look at the three British third rates and their history.

In addition to the All at Sea project, I have a new Age of Sail book to review that I am in the last chapters of reading, plus another scenario from Tonnage Solitaire to play through and D+1, the next stage in Steve M and my play-through of Break out Normandy using Vassal.


  1. All of your ships are simply stunning, masterful work! Very impressive.

    1. Hi Anton,
      Thank you for your comment, glad you like them.

  2. Awesome and super informative post!
    Do you know they are talking about you over on the SOG Anchorage?

    1. Hi,
      Thank you, and no I didn't know the chaps on the Sails of Glory forum were interested, but happy to share what I'm doing here with any who are interested in the period and theme.

      I have seen some amazing conversion jobs done using the SOG models so I can imagine there is a lot of crossover with them and the Warlord range.