HMS Pompee (1793)

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Achille mp3h9307.jpg
Scale model of Achille, sister ship of HMS Pompee (1793), on display at the Musée de la Marine in Paris.
Flag of French-Navy-Revolution.svg Civil and Naval Ensign of France.svgFrance
Name:La Pompée
Namesake: Pompey
Builder: Toulon shipyard
Laid down: January 1790
Launched: 28 May 1791
Commissioned: February 1793
Captured: 29 August 1793
Naval Ensign of Great Britain (1707-1800).svgGreat Britain
Name: HMS Pompee
Acquired: 29 August 1793
Reclassified: Prison hulk in Portsmouth in 1816
Fate: Broken up in January 1817
General characteristics
Class and type: Téméraire-class ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1,901894 (bm)
  • 182 ft 2 in (55.52 m) (gundeck)
  • 148 ft 7 34 in (45.307 m) (keel)
Beam: 49 ft 0 12 in (14.948 m)
Depth of hold: 21 ft 10 12 in (6.668 m)
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Complement: 640
Armament:French service:
British service:
  • Lower deck: 30 × 32-pounder guns
  • Upper deck: 30 × 18-pounder guns
  • QD: 12 × 32-pounder carronades
  • Fc: 4 × 32-pounder carronades
  • Roundhouse: 8 ×18-pounder carronades
British Pompee-class ship of the line plan based on Pompee Achille (1798); Superb (1798).jpg
British Pompée-class ship of the line plan based on Pompée

HMS Pompee was a 74-gun ship of the line of the British Royal Navy. Built as La Pompée, a Téméraire-class ship of the French Navy, she was handed over to the British at Spithead by French royalists who had fled France [1] after the Siege of Toulon (September-December 1793) by the French Republic, only a few months after being completed. After reaching Great Britain, La Pompée was registered and recommissioned as HMS Pompee and spent the entirety of her active career with the Royal Navy until she was broken up in 1817.

Seventy-four (ship) type of two-decked sailing ship of the line which nominally carried 74 guns

The "seventy-four" was a type of two-decked sailing ship of the line which nominally carried 74 guns. It was developed by the French navy in the 1740s and spread to the British Royal Navy where it was classed as third rate. From here, it spread to the Spanish, Dutch, Danish and Russian navies. The design was considered a good balance between firepower and sailing qualities, but more importantly, it was an appealing ideal for naval administrators and bureaucrats. Seventy-fours became a mainstay of the world's fleets into the early 19th century when they began to be supplanted by new designs and by the introduction of steam powered ironclads.

Ship of the line type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through to the mid-19th century

A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through to the mid-19th century. The ship of the line was designed for the naval tactic known as the line of battle, which depended on the two columns of opposing warships maneuvering to fire with the cannons along their broadsides. In conflicts where opposing ships were both able to fire from their broadsides, the side with more cannons—and therefore more firepower—typically had an advantage. Since these engagements were almost invariably won by the heaviest ships carrying the most powerful guns, the natural progression was to build sailing vessels that were the largest and most powerful of their time.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.



During the Siege of Toulon, Captain Poulain, her commanding officer, joined the British. La Pompée fled Toulon when the city fell to the French Republicans and sailed to Britain under the temporary command of Lieutenant John Davie. She arrived at Portsmouth on 3 May 1794, and was registered on the navy list under an Admiralty order dated 29 October 1794. [2]

Siege of Toulon siege

The Siege of Toulon was a military operation by Republican forces against a Royalist rebellion in the southern French city of Toulon during the Federalist revolts.

Portsmouth City & unitary authority area in England

Portsmouth is a port city in Hampshire, England, with a total population of 205,400 residents. The city of Portsmouth is nicknamed Pompey and is mainly built on Portsea Island, a flat, low-lying island measuring 24 square kilometres in area, just off the south-east coast of Hampshire. Portsmouth is the only island city in the United Kingdom, and is the only city whose population density exceeds that of London.

Admiralty British Government ministry responsible for the Royal Navy until 1964

The Admiralty, originally known as the Office of the Admiralty and Marine Affairs, was the government department responsible for the command of the Royal Navy first in the Kingdom of England, later in the Kingdom of Great Britain, and from 1801 to 1964, the United Kingdom and former British Empire. Originally exercised by a single person, the Lord High Admiral (1385–1628), the Admiralty was, from the early 18th century onwards, almost invariably put "in commission" and exercised by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, who sat on the Board of Admiralty.

She commissioned as HMS Pompee under her first commander, Captain Charles Edmund Nugent, in May 1795 and entered service with the Channel Fleet after a period of refitting. From August 1795 she was under Captain James Vashon, and she was later one of the ships involved in the Spithead mutiny in 1797. [2]

Charles Edmund Nugent Royal Navy admiral of the fleet

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Edmund Nugent was a Royal Navy officer. He saw action as a junior officer in the 50-gun Bristol at the Battle of Sullivan's Island during the American Revolutionary War. He was held as a prisoner-of war for a day by Spaniards shortly before the Battle of San Fernando de Omoa later on in the War.

Channel Fleet strait

The Channel Fleet and originally known as the Channel Squadron was the Royal Navy formation of warships that defended the waters of the English Channel from 1854 to 1909 and 1914 to 1915.

James Vashon British officer of the Royal Navy

Admiral James Vashon was a British officer of the Royal Navy. He saw service during the Seven Years' War, the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He was first captain of HMS Dreadnought, between 1801 and 1802. Previously, he had commanded Alert (1781), Europa (1786), and Formidable.

Leviathan, Pompee, Anson, Melpomene, and Childers shared in the proceeds of the capture on 10 September of Tordenshiold. [3]

HMS <i>Leviathan</i> (1790) ship

HMS Leviathan was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the British Royal Navy, launched on 9 October 1790. At the Battle of Trafalgar under Henry William Bayntun, she was near the front of the windward column led by Admiral Lord Nelson aboard his flagship, HMS Victory, and captured the Spanish ship San Augustin. A flag said to have been flown by the Leviathan at Trafalgar is to be sold at auction by Arthur Cory in March 2016 - Bayntun is thought to have given it to his friend the Duke of Clarence, who then gave it to Arthur Cory's direct ancestor Nicholas Cory, a senior officer on William's royal yacht HMS Royal Sovereign, in thanks for helping the yacht win a race and a bet.

HMS <i>Anson</i> (1781) Intrepid-class ship of the line

HMS Anson was a ship of the Royal Navy, launched at Plymouth on 4 September 1781. Originally a 64-gun third rate ship of the line, she fought at the Battle of the Saintes.

HMS <i>Childers</i> (1778)

HMS Childers was a brig-sloop of the British Royal Navy, initially armed with 10 carriage guns which were later increased to 14 guns. The first brig-sloop to be built for the Navy, she was ordered from a commercial builder during the early years of the American War of Independence, and went on to support operations in the English Channel and the Caribbean. Laid up for a time after the end of the American War of Independence, she returned to service shortly before the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars. She had an active career in both the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, capturing numerous French privateers and during the Gunboat War participated in a noteworthy single-ship action. The navy withdrew her from service at the beginning of 1811, at which time she was broken up.

Under Captain Charles Stirling, she fought at the Battle of Algeciras Bay in 1801. In 1807 the ship, under the command of Captain Richard Dacres served in the Mediterranean squadron under Rear-Admiral Sir Sydney Smith, [4] as part of the Vice-Admiral Duckworth's Dardanelles Operation and later the Alexandria expedition of 1807.

Charles Stirling vice-admiral, Royal Navy

Sir Charles Stirling was a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy.

Sir Richard Dacres was an officer of the British Royal Navy who saw service during the American War of Independence, and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. A member of a substantial naval dynasty, he eventually rose to the rank of vice admiral.

Alexandria expedition of 1807

The Alexandria expedition of 1807 or Fraser expedition was an operation by the Royal Navy and the British Army during the Anglo-Turkish War (1807–1809) of the Napoleonic Wars to capture Alexandria in Egypt with the purpose of securing a base of operations against the Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean Sea. It was a part of a larger strategy against the Ottoman-French alliance of the Ottoman Sultan Selim III. It resulted in the occupation of Alexandria from 18 March to 25 September 1807. The people of Alexandria, being disaffected towards Muhammad Ali, opened the gates of the city to the British forces, allowing for one of the easiest conquests of a city by the British forces during the Napoleonic Wars. However, due to lack of supplies, and inconclusive operations against the Egyptian forces, the Expedition was forced to embark the transports again, and leave Alexandria, not having reached any specific goals towards influencing the Ottoman Empire's improving relations with France.

In late 1808 Pompee was in the Caribbean, captured the brig Pylade on 20 October 1808. She shared with Captain, Amaranthe, and Morne Fortunee in the prize money pool of £772 3s 3d for the capture of Frederick on 30 December 1808. This money was paid in June 1829. [5]

HMS <i>Captain</i> (1787) Canada-class ship of the line

HMS Captain was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 26 November 1787 at Limehouse. She served during the French revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars before being placed in harbour service in 1799. An accident caused her to burn and founder in 1813. Later that year she was raised and broken up.

HMS Amaranthe was an 18-gun Royal Navy Cruizer-class brig-sloop built by John Dudman at Deptford Wharf and launched in 1804. She served in the Caribbean, taking part in an action and two campaigns that gained those members of her crew that survived until 1847 the NGSM. She was sold in 1815.

£sd pre-decimal currency system of the pound, shilling, and penny

£sd is the popular name for the pre-decimal currencies once common throughout Europe, especially in the British Isles and hence in several countries of the British Empire and subsequently the Commonwealth. The abbreviation originates from the Latin currency denominations librae, solidi, and denarii. In the United Kingdom, which was one of the last to abandon the system, these were referred to as pounds, shillings, and pence.

Pompee participated in the capture of Martinique in January 1809. Later, she and Hautpoul took part in an action on 17 April 1809.

In April 1809, a strong French squadron arrived at the Îles des Saintes, south of Guadeloupe. There they were blockaded until 14 April, when a British force under Major-General Frederick Maitland and Captain Philip Beaver in Acasta, invaded and captured the islands. [6] Pompee was among the naval vessels that shared in the proceeds of the capture of the islands. [Note 1]


Pompee was fitted out for service as a prison hulk between September 1810 and January 1811. She was finally broken up at Woolwich in January 1817. [2]

The acquisition of Pompée allowed the British to design a copy of the Téméraire class, the Pompéeclass.

Notes, citations, and references

The Portsmouth nickname "Pompey" may have its origins from HMS Pompee, which served as guard ship and prison hulk within Portsmouth Harbour, although there are several other coincidental and possible explanations for the "Pompey" nickname.


  1. The prize agent for a number of the vessels involved, Henry Abbott, went bankrupt. In May 1835 there was a final payment of a dividend from his estate. A first-class share was worth 10s 2¾d; a sixth-class share, that of an ordinary seaman, was worth 1d. Seventh-class (landsmen) and eighth-class (boys) shares were fractions of a penny, too small to pay. [7]


  2. 1 2 3 Winfield (2008), p. 62.
  3. "No. 15704". The London Gazette . 22 May 1804. p. 652.
  4. pp.15-20, Howard
  5. "No. 18571". The London Gazette . 28 April 1829. p. 784.
  6. "No. 16262". The London Gazette . 30 May 1809. pp. 779–782.
  7. "No. 19255". The London Gazette . 3 April 1835. p. 643.


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