HMS Mermaid (1782)

HMS Mermaid (1782)

HMS "Mermaid" was a 32-gun fifth rate frigate of the Royal Navy .

Design and construction

"Mermaid" was one of the eight ship "Active" class, designed by Edward Hunt. She was initially ordered from the shipwright George White, of Woolwich Dockyard Shipwright on 27 August 1778, and laid down in September 1778, but the order moved to John Jenner in April 1779. On 21 March 1782 the order was cancelled and moved instead to Thomas Pollard, at Sheerness Dockyard, and the frigate was again laid down, on 29 July 1782. She was launched on 29 November 1782, and commissioned for the Ordinary on 30 December 1784. She was commissioned again between June and August 1790 for sea. She had cost £12,854 to build, with another £2,539 paid for her fitting out in 1790. The Woolwich work had cost £1,807.


Early career

"Mermaid" was commissioned in June 1790 during the Spanish Armament under Captain Cuthbert Collingwood. She sailed to the West Indies, but returned in April 1791, and was then paid off. She wasagain fitted out, this time at Portsmouth for £3,446, between February and May 1793, commissioning in March that year under Captain John Trigge. She was assigned to the Mediterranean, departing Britain on 22 May 1793. On 27 May she and HMS "Tartar" captured the 20-gun privateer "Le Général Washington", and on 30 May 1793 "Mermaid" and HMS "Castor" captured the 16-gun privateer "L’Angélique". "Mermaid" also captured a 14-gun privateer in June that year. "Mermaid" then joined Admiral Samuel Hood's fleet at Toulon.

The Caribbean

She came under the command of Captain Henry Warre in June 1794, and then sailed to the Leeward Islands on 5 May 1794. She and HMS "Zebra" captured the 10-gun "Brutus" off Grenada on 10 October 1795, followed by the 18-gun "Républicaine" on 14 October 1795. In February 1796 she briefly came under the command of Captain Charles Davers, but by April he had been succeeded by Robert Otway. "Mermaid" fought an action with the 40-gun "La Vengeance" off Guadeloupe on 8 August 1796. She and HMS "Resource" captured the 16-gun "Le Général Leveau" off San Domingo on 10 December 1796, followed by the privateer "La Liberté Générale" on 7 March 1797.

English Channel and the Mediterranean

She came under the command of James Newman-Newman in 1797, helping to capture the 12-gun privateer "L’Aventure" off Belleisle on 31 December 1797. On 29 June that year, "Mermaid", HMS "Pique" and HMS "Jason" attacked the French frigate "Seine", driving her onto the Penmarcks. The "Seine" was subsequently captured, but "Pique" was wrecked. "Mermaid" was then involved in the capture of the French frigate "Loire" in the aftermath of the Battle of Tory Island. "Mermaid" was detached to operate off Corunna and together with HMS "Sylph", captured the Spanish packet "Golondrevia" on 24 March 1799. In April 1799 she was taken over by Captain Dudley Oliver, who commanded her off France and Italy in the Western Mediterranean. "Mermaid" captured the 16-gun "La Cruelle" off Toulon on 1 June 1800. She then returned to Britain and was paid off into Ordinary at Woolwich in August 1802.


"Mermaid" was fitted out again between June and September 1803, commissioning in August that year under Captain Askew Hollis. She spent the period between 1804 and 1807 at Jamaica. She was at Havanna when war with Spain was declared and successfully brought the British owned ships in the harbour to safety. She was then on the Halifax Station, finally being paid off again in August 1807. She was refitted at Woolwich between September 1808 and March 1809, recommissioning in February 1809 under Captain Major Henniker. She then sailed on 12 June 1809 with a troop convoy bound for Portugal. She was recommissioned as an 18-gun troopship in January 1810, and was fitted out as a troopship at Chatham Dockyard between October 1810 and February 1811. She came under the command of Commander William Percy in 1811, and by April 1812 was under Commander David Dunn, serving in the Mediterranean. She was broken up at Plymouth in November 1815.


* Winfield, Rif, British Warships of the Age of Sail 1714-1792: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates, pub Seaforth, 2007, ISBN 1-86176-295-X
* [ Ships of the Old Navy]

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