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Three ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Espion, meaning "spy". A fourth vessel was going to bear the name but was given ano0ther name instead:HMS Espion was a 16-gun French Levrette-class cutter launched in 1781, captured in 1782 and sold in 1784.
HMS Espion was the 16-gun French privateer sloop Robert that the British captured in 1793. The French recaptured her in 1794, before the British recaptured her in 1795. There being another Espion in service by then, the British renamed their capture HMS Spy and she served under that name until the Navy sold her in 1801. She then became a whaling ship, a privateer, and again a whaler, serving in the South Seas whale fisheries until at least 1813.
HMS Espion was the French frigate Atalante, which the British captured in 1794 and later converted to a store or troopship. She was wrecked, with no loss of life, in 1799.
Espion was the name initially chosen for Little Belt.