HMS Hecla (1815)


HMS Hecla (1815)

HMS "Hecla" was a Royal Navy "Hecla"-class bomb vessel of 372 tons. Launched on July 15, 1815, she saw wartime service in an attack on Barbary pirates at Algiers in August, 1816. In 1819, she was converted to an Arctic exploration ship.

The "Hecla" made three journeys to the Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage and made one attempt on the North Pole, all under William Edward Parry or George Francis Lyon, and spent many winters iced in without serious damage.

On the first journey, "Hecla" was commanded by Parry. She and her companion ship, the gun brig HMS "Griper", reached a longitude 112°51' W in the 1819 before backtracking to winter off Melville Island. No ship was able to travel so far west again in a single season until the 940-foot icebreaker tanker "Manhattan" did it in 1969. The second year, the two ships reached longitude 113°46' W before returning to England.

On her second expedition, in 1821-1823, "Hecla" was commanded by Lyon while Parry led the overall expedition from her sister ship HMS "Fury". The furthest point on this trip, the perpetually frozen strait between Foxe Basin and the Gulf of Boothia, was named after the two ships: "Fury and Hecla Strait".

"Hecla"'s third expedition to the Canadian Arctic in 1824-1825, again in the company of "Fury", was frustrated by ice conditions. "Fury" was badly damaged and had to be abandoned.

In 1827, Parry used "Hecla" for an unsuccessful attempt to reach the North Pole from Spitsbergen by boat. Following this voyage, "Hecla" was withdrawn from Arctic service and dispatched as a survey vessel to the coast of West Africa. She remained in service there until 1831, when she was sold.

"Hecla", like many other bomb vessels, was named for a volcano, in this case Hekla in Iceland. For other ships of this name, see the main HMS Hecla article.

External links

* [http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/ships/html/sh_043500_hmshecla.htm Ships of the World: HMS Hecla]
* [http://www.pbenyon.plus.com/Naval_History/Index.html Naval History of Great Britain]
* [http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/mtq?doc=91098 Volume I of Parry's "Voyages"]
* [http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/mtq?doc=91097 Volume II of Parry's "Voyages"]


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