Rahul Sharma (Editor)

HMS Swallow (1805)

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Name  HMS Swallow
Laid down  May 1804
Launched  24 December 1805
Ordered  27 November 1802
Construction started  May 1804
HMS Swallow (1805) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Builder  Benjamin Tanner, Dartmouth
Fate  Broken up November 1815
Type  Cruizer-class brig-sloop

HMS Swallow was a Cruizer-class brig-sloop launched in December 1805, nine months late. She served the Royal Navy through the Napoleonic Wars, capturing numerous privateers. After the end of the wars she was broken up in 1815.



Commander Alexander Milner commissioned Swallow in March 1806. On 30 October 1807 Swallow was in company with Plover some seven leagues NE of Scilly when Plover captured the French privateer lugger Bohemienne. Bohemienne was armed with two guns and had a crew of 44, 16 of whom were away as prize crews. She had sailed from Saint Malo two weeks earlier and had captured four British merchant sloops, the Hope, Favorite, and two others.

Then on 15 November Swallow captured another French two-gun privateer, the Friedland, seven or eight leagues south of The Lizard. Friedland had a crew of 41 men and had thrown her guns overboard during the chase. She was only a day out of Morlaix and had not captured anything.

On 14 June 1808 Swallow captured the Diana. Some 18 months later, on 7 November 1809, Swallow sailed for the Mediterranean.

Swallow was under the command of Commander John Bedford on 19 April 1810 when she captured the French privateer Général Ottaway. Général Ottaway was armed with 12 guns and had a crew of 50 men.

On 14 June Cerberus was cruising in the Mediterranean in company with Active and Swallow. Together, the three British vessels captured three French gun-boats: Vincentina, Modanese and Elvetica (or Elvetria).

Swallow's next capture occurred on 7 June 1811, at which time she was under the command of Commander Edward Reynolds Sibly. Euryalus and Swallow sent their boats in pursuit of a French privateer off Corsica. After a long chase the boats captured Intrepide, which had a crew of 58 and was armed with two 8-pounders.

A month and a half later, on 26 July, Swallow captured the privateer Belle Genoise off Sicily. Belle Genoise was armed with two guns and had a crew of 37 men.

Swallow was under Silby's command when a British squadron consisting of the 74-gun third rate America, the frigate Curacoa, and Swallow intercepted a French convoy that had left Genoa on 11 June, heading for Toulon. The convoy consisted of 14 merchant vessels, several gunboats, and most importantly, the brig-corvette Renard, of 16 guns, under the command of Lieutenant de vaisseau Charles Baudin, and the schooner Goéland, of 12 guns, under the command of Enseigne de vaisseau Belin. The British on 15 June drove the French to take shelter at the Île Sainte-Marguerite. The next day Swallow came close to reconnoitre, the other two British ships having to hold off because of shallow water. Although the French escorts came out when they saw Swallow becalmed, they then turned back when the winds picked up and took their convoy to Fréjus. There the French escort vessels took on board some reinforcements and then turned to engage Swallow.

A sanguine but inconclusive action ensued. Eventually, Swallow hauled off to rejoin the two larger British ships, which were coming up, while Renard and Goéland rejoined their convoy, now in the Bay of Grimaud. The action cost Swallow six men killed and 17 wounded, out of 109 men on board. Renard had a crew of 94, which had been doubled by the troops taken on at Fréjus. In all she lost 14 men killed and 28 wounded, including her captain, Lieutenant Baudin. Goéland had a crew of 113 men but her casualties are not known. She did not engage deeply in the battle, though she did exchange some fire with Swallow.

Swallow came under the temporary command of Commander Benjamin Crispin and then under that of Lieutenant George Canning (acting), in June. Silby had transferred to Blossom, but was superseded and returned to Swallow.

On 31 August 1813, Imperieuse and Swallow captured the French privateer Audacieuse off the Strait of Bonifacio. Audacieuse was armed with three guns and carried a crew of 40 men. She was two days out of Civitavecchia.

Silby and Swallow were involved in another notable action on 16 September 1813. Swallow observed a French brig and a xebec close inshore between herself and the port of D'Anzo. He sent in three boats which were able to bring out the brig Guerriere, of four guns. Guerrier was carrying 60 stands of small arms. The cutting out expedition cost Swallow two men killed and four wounded.

On 5 October Swallow joined a British squadron off D'Anzo. The squadron consisted of the 74-gun Edinburgh, the two frigates Imperieuse and Resistance, and the sloops Eclair, Pylades, and Swallow. The ships deployed against the port's defenses, Swallow engaging a tower of one gun, while a cutting out party of seamen and marines went in and brought out 29 vessels. The British suffered no casualties in the attack.

Silby received a promotion to post captain on 8 March 1814. Commander Lord Algernon Percy replaced Silby in command of Swallow. She was then part of the squadron that captured Lerici and the fortress of Santa Maria at the end of March, and Genoa on 19 April. Among the vessels captured at Genoa was the brig Renard, of fourteen 24-pounder guns and two long 9-pounder guns. In May Captain Edwin James replaced Percy.


In February 1815 the Admiralty offered Swallow for sale at Chatham. She was broken up there in November 1815.


HMS Swallow (1805) Wikipedia