Naval Battle of Hyères Islands

Naval Battle of Hyères Islands
Naval Battle of Hyères Islands
Part of the French Revolutionary War
Date 13 July 1795
Location Hyères Islands, French Mediterranean
Result British-Neapolitan victory
France France  Great Britain
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies Naples and Sicily
Commanders and leaders
Rear Admiral Pierre Martin Vice Admiral Hotham
17 ships of the line and 6 frigates[1] 23 ships of the line, about 15 frigates and corvettes (6 ships of the line engaged)
Casualties and losses
ca 300 men killed,
1 ship of the line lost
11 killed,
28 wounded

The Naval Battle of Hyères Islands was fought on 13 July 1795 off the Hyères Islands, a group of islands off the French Mediterranean coast, about 25 km east of Toulon. The battle was fought between the van of a British fleet chasing the French squadron, and the French rear. The rear-most French ship, Alcide, surrendered before exploding.



After the Battle of Genoa at Cape Noli, and the capture of Ça Ira and Censeur, the damaged French fleet retreated to the Hyères Islands.

The Victoire, Timoléon, and HMS Berwick, as well as the frigates Alceste and Minerve were dispatched to Toulon for repairs, leaving the squadron with only 11 ships of the line.

On 4 April 1795, a squadron of six seventy-fours supported by four frigates, under counter-admiral Renaudin, arrived from Brest.

In May, a mutiny broke out in the Toulon squadron, while Renaudin's ships remained loyal. Renaudin moored his ships at the entrance of Toulon road to cover the harbour against a possible English attack. Meanwhile, Conventional Deputy Joseph Niou, formerly a naval engineer, restored order by setting the sailors against the English, and having them pledge to "wash their crimes in the blood of the enemies of the Republic".

On 7 June, the French fleet set sail.


In the afternoon of the 7th of June, HMS Agamemnon made contact. By the evening, the French were in pursuit, and the next morning, Agamemnon signaled the British fleet by means of cannon fire. At 9:30, the 17-ship French squadron found the 22-ship Royal Navy squadron anchored in Fiorenzo bay, including six three-deckers.

Finding himself out-numbered and out-gunned, Martin attempted to avoid battle by escaping to Fréjus bay, with the British giving chase. In the evening of the 12th, the British squadron received intelligence from two corvettes, HMS Flêche and HMS Cyclops, that the French were South of the Hyères Islands.

Contact was made again the next morning and the chase continued. The French squadron became becalmed and the rear guard was soon overtaken by the British van, comprising HMS Victory, HMS Culloden, and HMS Cumberland. Without assistance from the main body of the squadron, an artillery duel broke out, battering the rear-most French ship Alcide, damaging HMS Culloden's rigging, and almost de-masting HMS Victory. Despite the best efforts of her sister ships in the French line to protect her against overwhelming odds, Alcide struck her colours at 2:00pm. The frigates Justice and Alceste attempted to take her in tow to safety, but were repelled by gunfire from HMS Victory.

As the main body of the French squadron prepared to intervene to rescue Alcide, a fire broke out on her fore-top. She was consumed by an explosion half an hour later causing the loss of about 300 of her crew, while 300 survivors were rescued by the British squadron.

After the explosion of Alcide, the fighting died out, with the French retreating to Toulon and the British retreating to Leghorn, via San-Fiorenzo.

Orders of battle

Admiral Martin' squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
Orient 120 Vice-Amiral Pierre Martin
Capitaine de vaisseau Lapalisse
Tonnant 80 Contre-amiral Jean-Louis Delmotte
Capitaine de vaisseau Julien Cosmao
Victoire 80 Capitaine de vaisseau Savary
Généreux 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Louit
Heureux 74 Capitaine de vaisseau La Caille
Barra 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Maureau
Guerrier 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Louis-Antoine Infernet returned to harbour
Mercure 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Lindet-Lalonde returned to harbour
Alcide 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Leblond-Saint-Hilaire Burnt with the loss of 300 men
Timoléon 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Charbonnier
Duquesne 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Lallemand
Peuple Souverain 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Lindet-Lalonde
Berwick 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Pierre Dumanoir le Pelley
Junon 32 Amand-le-Duc
Friponne Villeneuve
Minerve 40 Delorme
Artémise 32 Décasse
Alceste Hubert
Sérieuse 32 Saulnier
Brune Nieuport
Badine Trulet
Alerte Le Mèle
Hasard Dumay
Scot Dumeny
Source: Granier, p. 108
Admiral Renaudin' squadron
Ship Guns Commander Notes
Jemmapes 74 Contre-amiral Jean François Renaudin
Capitaine de vaisseau Lafon
Tyrannicide 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Alain-Joseph Dordelin
Jupiter 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Richery
Révolution 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Faye
Aquilon 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Laterre
Républicain 74 Capitaine de vaisseau Gantheaume
Justice 40 Dalbarade
Alceste 36
Embuscade 32 Emeriau
Félicité 32
Source: Granier, p. 108

British-Neapolitan Fleet

Vice Admiral Hotham commanding
British ships
Britannia, 100 guns, Admiral William Hotham, Captain John Holloway
Victory, 100 guns, Rear-Admiral Robert Man, Captain John Knight
Princess Royal, 98 guns, Vice-Admiral Samuel Goodall, Captain John Purvis
St George, 98 guns, Vice-Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, Captain Thomas Foley
Windsor Castle, 98 guns, Vice-Admiral Robert Linzee, Captain John Gore
Blenheim, 90 guns, Captain John Bazely
Gibraltar, 80 guns, Captain John Pakenham
Captain, 74 guns, Captain Samuel Reeve
Fortitude, 74 guns, Captain William Young
Bombay Castle, 74 guns, Captain Charles Chamberlayne
Saturn, 74 guns, Captain James Douglas
Cumberland, 74 guns, Captain Bartholomew Rowley
Terrible, 74 guns, Captain George Campbell
Defence, 74 guns, Captain Thomas Wells
Egmont, 74 guns, Captain John Sutton
Culloden, 74 guns, Captain Thomas Troubridge
Bedford, 74 guns, Captain Davidge Gould
Benjamin Hallowell
Audacious, 74 guns, Captain William Shield
Agamemnon, 64 guns, Commodore Horatio Nelson
Diadem, 64 guns, Captain Charles Tyler
Meleager, 32 guns, Captain George Cockburn
Cyclops, 28 guns, Captain William Hotham
Robert Plampin
Charles Brisbane
edit] References

  • Smith, D. The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book. Greenhill Books, 1998.
  • Contre-amiral Hubert Granier, Histoire des marins français (1789-1815), Marines éditions, 1998

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