HMS Glatton (1795)

HMS Glatton was a 56-gun fourth rate of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

. She was launched as the
Glatton, an East Indiaman, on 29 November 1792 by Wells & Co. of Blackwell. The Royal Navy bought her in 1795 and converted her into a warship. Glatton was unusual in that for a time she was the only ship-of-the-line the Royal Navy armed exclusively with carronades. (Eventually she returned to a more conventional armament.) She served in the North Sea and the Baltic, and then as a transport for convicts to Australia. She then returned to naval service in the Mediterranean. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 the Admiralty converted her to a water depot at Sheerness. In 1830 the Admiralty converted Glatton to a breakwater
Breakwater (structure)
Breakwaters are structures constructed on coasts as part of coastal defence or to protect an anchorage from the effects of weather and longshore drift.-Purposes of breakwaters:...

 and sank her at Harwich
Harwich is a town in Essex, England and one of the Haven ports, located on the coast with the North Sea to the east. It is in the Tendring district. Nearby places include Felixstowe to the northeast, Ipswich to the northwest, Colchester to the southwest and Clacton-on-Sea to the south...


East India Company service

Glatton made one round trip to China for the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 in 1793-4. Her captain was Charles Drummond and her First Lieutenant was William Macnamarra. Drummond had commanded an earlier
Glatton and would command a later one too; Macnamarra too would go on to command a later Glatton on a trip to China for the Company.

Glattons letter of marque
Letter of marque
In the days of fighting sail, a Letter of Marque and Reprisal was a government licence authorizing a person to attack and capture enemy vessels, and bring them before admiralty courts for condemnation and sale...

 was dated 22 August 1793. The letter of marque permitted her, while under Drummond's command, to capture the French brig

The next East Indiaman
Glatton, also sailing with a letter of marque, captured a Dutch prow in the Straits of Flores
Flores is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, an island arc with an estimated area of 14,300 km² extending east from the Java island of Indonesia. The population was 1.831.000 in the 2010 census and the largest town is Maumere. Flores is Portuguese for "flowers".Flores is located east of Sumbawa...

 in 1796, and the ship
Copenhagen in 1799.

Fitting out for Royal Navy service

Captain Henry Trollope
Henry Trollope
Admiral Sir Henry Trollope, GCB was an officer of the British Royal Navy.-Early career:He entered the navy at the age of 14. In the American Revolutionary War he served aboard HMS Captain and HMS Asia. He fought at the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston...

 commissioned her in April 1795 and he was responsible for arranging that her original armament consisted entirely of carronades instead of the standard mix of long gun
Long gun
The term long gun is used to describe classes of firearm and cannon with longer barrels than other classes. In small arms, a long gun is designed to be fired braced against the shoulder, in contrast to a handgun, while in artillery a long gun would be contrasted with a howitzer or carronade.-Small...

s and carronades that other warships carried. His previous command, some eight years earlier, had been the 44-gun
Rainbow, which too had been armed entirely with carronades. With her Trollope had in 1782 taken the Hébé, which the British would go to use as the model for the Leda-class frigate
Leda class frigate
The Leda-class frigates, were a successful class of forty-seven British Royal Navy 38-gun sailing frigates. The design of Leda was based on the Sané-designed Hébé, a French Hébé class frigate that the British 44-gun fifth rate HMS Rainbow captured in 1782...


Carronades had short, relatively thin barrels and so were half the weight of the equivalent cannon. They did not need as large gun crews and could also fire much heavier shot for their weight than a gun of the same overall weight, but at the cost of the accuracy, velocity and range of the shot. This extremely heavy armament meant that the fourth rate
Glatton could discharge a heavier broadside than the first rate Victory
HMS Victory
HMS Victory is a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, laid down in 1759 and launched in 1765. She is most famous as Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805....

. But, in combat
Glatton would have to endure the fire of the enemy's long guns while closing the gap to point-blank range before she could effectively return fire — if indeed the enemy would allow her to approach so close.

Glatton was originally armed with twenty-eight 68-pounder carronades on the lower deck and twenty-eight 42-pounder carronades on her upper deck. All were non-recoil, which is to say that they were fixed to the deck. Within a month 32-pounder carronades replaced the 42-pounders. However, Glatton's ports were too small to allow the larger guns to traverse properly, and she had no bow or stern chasers. Her guns therefore could only be pointed straight out the side. The month after the action in July 1796 (see below), she received two 32-pounders and two 18-pounder carronades for her forecastle. Later, the Navy replaced the twenty-eight 68-pounder carronades on the lower deck with twenty-eight 18-pounder long guns, ending the experiment.

North Sea and Baltic

Under Trollope, Glatton first served in the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 where she engaged a French squadron on 15 July 1796. The French squadron consisted of a 50-gun ship, five frigates (two of 36 guns and three of 28), a brig
A brig is a sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts. During the Age of Sail, brigs were seen as fast and manoeuvrable and were used as both naval warships and merchant vessels. They were especially popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries...

, and a cutter.
Glatton drove the French vessels into Flushing
Flushing, Netherlands
Vlissingen is a municipality and a city in the southwestern Netherlands on the former island of Walcheren. With its strategic location between the Scheldt river and the North Sea, Vlissingen has been an important harbour for centuries. It was granted city rights in 1315. In the 17th century...

, having lost only two men wounded, one of whom died later, and despite having at times been surrounded by the enemy and exchanging fire at less than 20 yards. The French vessels may have included
Brutus (a 74-gun cut down to 46-50 guns), Incorruptible
French frigate Incorruptible (1795)
The Incorruptible was a Romaine class frigate of the French Navy.On 15 July 1796, under captain Bescond, she fought against the 56-gun HMS Glatton.In 1800, she was involved in the battle of Dunkirk....

 (50 guns),
Magicienne (32 guns), and Républicaine, and one French vessel apparently sank in Flushing harbour. (It was in this action that Captain Strangeways of the Royal Marines sustained the wound of which he died shortly thereafter, and which the illustration above commemorates.)

In March–April 1797, Trollope kept
Glattons crew from joining the Nore mutiny
Spithead and Nore mutinies
The Spithead and Nore mutinies were two major mutinies by sailors of the Royal Navy in 1797. There were also discontent and minor incidents on ships in other locations in the same year. They were not violent insurrections, being more in the nature of strikes, demanding better pay and conditions...

. By threatening to fire on the 64-gun
Overyssel and the 40-gun Beaulieu, which were in open mutiny, he convinced their crews to return to duty. In August Captain Charles Cobb took command.

In April and May 1798
Glatton participated, with many other vessels, in the capture of sundry Dutch dogger
Dogger can mean:-*A sea area in the North Sea, noted in shipping forecasts, named after:**The Dogger Bank, a large shallow area in the North Sea between Britain and Denmark...

s, shuyts, and fishing vessels. On 4 and 5 May
Glatton was among the vessels that captured 12 outward-bound Greenland ships. The other vessels included the hired armed cutters Fox and Marshall Coburg, though most were much larger and included , , , , among others. On 28 May Glatton, , Ganges, America, , , Director, , the hired armed
Hired armed vessels
right|thumb|250px|Armed cutter, etching in the [[National Maritime Museum]], [[Greenwich]]During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Royal Navy made use of a considerable number of hired armed vessels...

Fox the First and Rose when they captured the Janus. All the British vessels were part of the fleet under the command of Admiral Lord Duncan. Next, many of the same vessels, including Glatton, , Fox the First and Rose, captured several more Dutch vessels:
  • Hoop (6 June);
  • Stadt Embden (11 June);
  • Neptune (12 June);
  • Rose and Endrast (14 June);
  • Hoop (15 June); and
  • Vrow Dorothea (l6 June).

On 18 August 1798, Glatton, Veteran, Belliqueux, Monmouth, , Ganges, , , the sloop , and the hired armed cutter Rose captured the Adelarde.

Glatton was with other ships from Duncan's fleet, including , , , and the hired armed lugger Rover, and cutters Liberty and Hazard, when they captured the Harmenie on 21 April 1799. Glatton was in company with Kent, , and when they captured the Dutch hoy
Hoy (boat)
A hoy was a small sloop-rigged coasting ship or a heavy barge used for freight, usually displacing about 60 tons. The word derives from the Middle Dutch hoey. In 1495, one of the Paston Letters included the phrase, An hoye of Dorderycht , in such a way as to indicate that such contact was then...

 Johanna on 16 May 1799.

One year later, in August 1799, Glatton participated in the Anglo-Russian Invasion of Holland
Anglo-Russian Invasion of Holland
The Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland refers to the campaign of 27 August to 19 November 1799 during the War of the Second Coalition, in which an expeditionary force of British and Russian troops invaded the North-Holland peninsula in the Batavian Republic...

. The expedition was under the command of Admiral Adam Duncan and the Duke of York
Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
The Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany was a member of the Hanoverian and British Royal Family, the second eldest child, and second son, of King George III...

. Some 250 craft of all sizes transported 17,000 troops from Margate
-Demography:As of the 2001 UK census, Margate had a population of 40,386.The ethnicity of the town was 97.1% white, 1.0% mixed race, 0.5% black, 0.8% Asian, 0.6% Chinese or other ethnicity....

 Roads and the Downs across the Channel on 13 August. Due to bad weather it was 21 August before they anchored off Kijkduin
Kijkduin is a seaside resort on the North Sea coast of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. It is one of the two seaside resorts of the city of The Hague, the other one being Scheveningen....

. The next day Vice Admiral Mitchell
Andrew Mitchell (Royal Navy officer)
Sir Andrew Mitchell KB was an Admiral of the Blue in the Royal Navy. Married to Mary Uniacke in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 3 May 1805.-Career:...

 sent a summons to Vice Admiral Samuel Story
Samuel Story
Samuel Story was a vice-admiral of the navy of the Batavian Republic. He commanded the squadron that surrendered without a fight to the Royal Navy at the Vlieter Incident in 1799.-Early life:...

, calling on him to surrender his fleet. When he declined, the Duke of York landed his army near Den Helder
Den Helder
Den Helder is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Den Helder occupies the northernmost point of the North Holland peninsula...

 on 27 August under covering fire from the fleet. Den Helder was occupied the following day when the garrison evacuated the town. The expedition then took possession of 13 old warships laid up in ordinary
Reserve fleet
A reserve fleet is a collection of naval vessels of all types that are fully equipped for service but are not currently needed, and thus partially or fully decommissioned. A reserve fleet is informally said to be "in mothballs" or "mothballed"; an equivalent expression in unofficial modern U.S....

. On 30 August, Glatton, , , Veteran, , Belliqueux, Monmouth and Overyssel, the Russian ship Mistisloff and the frigates, anchored in line ahead in the Vlieter and Mitchel again summoned Story. This time Story agreed to surrender his squadron of 12 modern warships. The Royal Navy purchased 11 of these. The Dutch surrender, without any resistance, became known as the Vlieter Incident
Vlieter Incident
The Vlieter incident was the surrender without a fight of a squadron of the navy of the Batavian Republic, commanded by Rear-Admiral Samuel Story, during the Anglo-Russian Invasion of Holland to the British navy on a sandbank near the Channel known as De Vlieter, near Wieringen, on August 30,...

. As a result of the surrender, Duncan's fleet was awarded prize money, in which Glatton shared.

On 15 January 1800 a court martial on board the Glatton, in Yarmouth Roads, tried the surviving officers and crew for the loss on the Cockle Sands of the 12-gun brig Mastif as she left Yarmouth Roads via the Northern Passage for Leith. Her captain, Lieutenant James Watson, and eight of his crew had been lost in the incident. The court absolved the accused for the loss of the vessel.On 7 April 1800 the Lords of the Admiralty awarded 150 guineas to the fishermen from Winterton
- England :*Winterton, Lincolnshire, a small town in North Lincolnshire, England*Winterton Hospital in County Durham*in Norfolk:**Winterton Dunes, a nature reserve**Winterton Ness, an area of foreland on the North Norfolk coast of England....

 who risked their lives to save 30 crew men. The first two men who volunteered each received 25 guineas.

In November, Captain George Stephen took command of Glatton, followed in 1801 by Captain William Bligh
William Bligh
Vice Admiral William Bligh FRS RN was an officer of the British Royal Navy and a colonial administrator. A notorious mutiny occurred during his command of HMAV Bounty in 1789; Bligh and his loyal men made a remarkable voyage to Timor, after being set adrift in the Bounty's launch by the mutineers...

, formerly of HMS Bounty. Bligh was only captain for about a month, but during that month he sailed her to the Baltic where Glatton participated in the Battle of Copenhagen
Battle of Copenhagen (1801)
The Battle of Copenhagen was an engagement which saw a British fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker fight and strategically defeat a Danish-Norwegian fleet anchored just off Copenhagen on 2 April 1801. Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson led the main attack. He famously disobeyed Parker's...

 on 2 April 1801. The battle cost her 17 killed and 34 wounded. In 1847 the Admiralty would award the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "Copenhagen 1801" to all surviving claimants from the action.

Glatton was next under Captain William Nowell and then under Captain William Birchall. In August 1801 she was fitted at Sheerness for a guardship in protected waters. Captain John Ferris Devonshire took command that same month.

Convict transport to Australia

Captain Nathaniel Porlock recommissioned her in May 1802 as a convict ship. Commander James Colnett
James Colnett
James Colnett was an officer of the British Royal Navy, an explorer, and a maritime fur trader. He served under James Cook during Cook's second voyage of exploration...

 then assumed command and on 23 September Glatton left England, carrying over 270 male, and 135 female prisoners; of these, seven men and five women died on the journey. She also carried some 30 Free Settlers. She sailed via a resupply stop at Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

 to the penal settlement at Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, where she arrived on 13 March 1803. When Glatton arrived about 100 of the people on board her were suffering to varying degrees from scurvy
Scurvy is a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C, which is required for the synthesis of collagen in humans. The chemical name for vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is derived from the Latin name of scurvy, scorbutus, which also provides the adjective scorbutic...


She then returned to England, arriving on 22 September 1803, that is, after an absence of 364 days. Because she returned via Cape Horn
Cape Horn
Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile, and is located on the small Hornos Island...

, she had circumnavigated the world; her actual time at sea for this transit was 277 days.

Return to naval service

Between November and December 1803 she was refitted at Woolwich for service as a man-of-war. Still under Colnett's command, she then served briefly as flagship for Rear Admiral James Vashon
James Vashon
Sir 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...


In 1804 Glatton was reduced to a 44-gun fifth rate. On 11 November she, together with , , , , , , the hired armed
Hired armed vessels
right|thumb|250px|Armed cutter, etching in the [[National Maritime Museum]], [[Greenwich]]During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Royal Navy made use of a considerable number of hired armed vessels...

 cutter Swift and the hired armed lugger Agnes, shared in the capture of the Upstalsboom, H.L. De Haase, Master.

Captain Thomas Seccombe recommissioned Glatton in March 1806 and sailed for the Mediterranean on 22 November. On 19 February 1807, Glatton captured the Turkish vessels San Giovanni Pidomias and Codro Mariolo. That same day Glatton and captured the San Michelle. Four days later, Hirondelle captured the vessel Madonna, with Glatton sharing by agreement. On 26 February Hirondelle captured the San Nicollo, and Glatton again shared by agreement.

On 1 March, boats from Glatton and Hirondelle cut out a former French corvette in Turkish service from the port of Sigri
Sigri is a small fishing village near the western tip of Lesbos Island. Its name derives from the Greek word for security, based on the fact that it has a safe harbour. Sigri has a Turkish castle, built in 1746 during the Ottoman occupation, which looks over the bay and the long island of...

 on the island of Mitylene. The vessel was pierced for 18 guns but only 10 were mounted. The British boarding party lost five officers and men killed and nine men wounded.

The next day Glatton and Hirondelle captured three other Turkish vessels, names unknown but with masters, Statio, Constantine and Papeli. On 4 March Glatton and Hirondelle captured another Turkish vessel. One week later, Glatton captured yet another Turkish vessel, name unknown, Ibrahim, Master.

Then on 29 November Glatton captured several transports off Corfu
Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the edge of the northwestern frontier of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu regional unit, and is administered as a single municipality. The...

 that were transferring troops from Otranto to Corfu. Glatton removed some 300 troops before she destroyed the nine vessels they had been on. Two vessels escaped back to Otranto.

Glatton and the brig-sloop  had received information that the French had captured four Sicilian gunboats and taken them into Scylla, near Reggio
Reggio Calabria
Reggio di Calabria , commonly known as Reggio Calabria or Reggio, is the biggest city and the most populated comune of Calabria, southern Italy, and is the capital of the Province of Reggio Calabria and seat of the Council of Calabrian government.Reggio is located on the "toe" of the Italian...

, Calabria
Calabria , in antiquity known as Bruttium, is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital city of Calabria is Catanzaro....

. On 31 January 1808, as Delight approached the port, a strong current pushed her towards the shore and she grounded. Seccombe went on board Delight to supervise the recovery effort. As they were trying to free Delight, her boats and those of Glatton came under intense fire from the shore. They were unsuccessful in freeing Delight, and Delights captain, Commander Phillip Crosby Handfield, late of , and many of his crew were killed. Although the crew took to the boats, not all were able to escape and a number of the men on her, including Seccombe, became prisoners of war. The French paroled Seccombe, who had been severely wounded, to Messina, where he died on 3 February 1808.

Glatton came under the command of Commander Henry Hope (acting) and in March 1808 under Commander Charles Irving (acting). Captain George Miller Bligh
George Miller Bligh
George Miller Bligh was an officer of the Royal Navy, who saw service during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, eventually rising to the rank of Captain. He was present aboard at the Battle of Trafalgar, and was badly wounded during the action...

then took command around December. He brought a convoy home from Malta in July and then sailed her to Sheerness for laying up in October. She sailed briefly to the Baltic in 1811.


From 1812 to 1814 Glatton was under R. G. Peacock (master) at Portsmouth. In 1814 she was converted to serve as a water depot at Sheerness. Between April and June 1830 she was fitted at Sheerness as a breakwater, and in October Glatton sailed for the last time, to Harwich, where she was subsequently sunk.
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