French frigate Junon (1778)

Last updated
Junon vs HMS Fox.jpg
Capture of HMS Fox
Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg France
Laid downSeptember 1777
LaunchedMarch 1778
In serviceMay 1778
FateWrecked by the Great Hurricane of 1780 on 11 October 1780 in Kingstown Harbour, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
General characteristics
Class and type Charmante class frigate
Tons burthen540 tonnes
Length44.2 m (145 ft)
Beam11.2 m (37 ft)
Draught5.4 m (18 ft)
Armament32 guns

The Junon was a 32-gun Charmante class frigate of the French Navy



Junon took part in the Battle of Ushant under Admiral d'Orvilliers. She captured HMS Fox on 11 September 1778.

The Action of 17 August 1779, as depicted by Pierre-Julien Gilbert. Combat des fregates La Junon et la Gentille contre le vaisseau anglais l'Ardent (17 aout 1779).jpg
The Action of 17 August 1779, as depicted by Pierre-Julien Gilbert.

On 17 August 1779, under captain Charles de Bernard de Marigny and along with Gentille, she captured HMS Ardent. On 13 September, under lieutenant Kergariou Locmaria, she captured HMS Rover.

In October 1780, Junon sailed from Martinique to St. Vincent towing a schooner to deliver hospital supplies to the island, which had recently come under French control. Junon anchored beneath the cliffs in Kingstown Harbour and, due to a broken barometer, had no warning when the island was struck by a hurricane. The massive storm, known as the Great Hurricane of 1780, battered the frigate against the cliffs and caused her to sink on 11 October 1780, although her captain managed to lead the entire crew off the ship and up the cliffs in safety.

Archaeological Investigations

From December 1997 to January 1998 the Junon shipwreck was investigated by an archaeological team sponsored by the Institute of Maritime History and Florida State University and directed by David Johnson and Chuck Meide. The site was initially thought to be that of the British slave ship Africa , but after raising a cannon and finding it to be a French naval gun dated 1776, it was realized the ship was likely a late 18th-century French frigate. Confirmation that the wreck was that of the Junon came over twenty years later after the discovery of archival documents in France by archaeologist Jean-Sébastien Guibert of the University of the French Antilles. Guibert led a second archaeological expedition to the wreck of Junon in October 2021. The 2021 expedition consisted of a French team along with American archaeologist Chuck Meide from the original 1997-1998 investigation. Guibert plans to return to the site of the Junon to conduct additional excavation in 2023. [1] [2] [3]

  1. Johnson, David, Meide, Chuck (1998). "In Soufreries Shadow: An Introduction to an Historic Shipwreck in Kingstown Harbour, St. Vincent and the Grenadines". Underwater Archaeology. edited by Lawrence E. Babits, Catherine Fach, and Ryan Harris, pp.79-87.
  2. "The Kingstown Harbour Shipwreck Project". Retrieved 2020-02-14.
  3. "Team studies wreck of French frigate lost in Kingstown in 1780". 29 October 2021. Retrieved 2022-03-20.

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