Aréthuse (36)

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Origin and History

The frigate was built by Jean-Joseph Ginoux at Le Havre from January 1757 and launched in December 1757 as the “Pélerine”. On January 21 1758, she was bought by the “Marine Royale” and renamed “Aréthuse”.

During the Seven Years' War, the ship was under the command of:

  • in the French service:
    • in 1758: captain Vauquelin
    • in 1759: Vaudreuil
  • in the British service
    • from September 4 1759 to ???: captain Raby Vane
    • from April 1761: captain Robert Keeler

The frigate foundered on March 19 1779 after an engagement against French “Aigrette” near Molène.

Service during the War

In June 1758, the frigate was part of Beaussier's squadron which was left at Louisbourg for the defence of the place by du Chaffault when he sailed for Québec. Later in June, while the British conducted preliminary works for the siege of Louisbourg, the frigate occupied a perilous position but, so long as she could maintain it, she could sweep with her fire the ground before the works, and seriously impede the British operations. She then forced the British blockade and sailed for France.

On May 18, while in transit between Rochefort and Brest, she was attacked and captured by 3 British vessels: the Venus (36), Thames (32) and Chatam (50) some 45 km southeast of Audierne bay. She was then incorporated into the British Royal Navy as the HMS Arethusa. In October, while cruising off Plymouth, she was hit by a storm that carried away her mainmast and her fore and mizzen top-masts. Nevertheless, she managed to reach Plymouth.

In 1760, the frigate served on the home station and captured a few French privateers, among which the Revenge (8) near Lowestoft in July.

In 1761, the frigate still served on the home station and captured a 6-guns French privateer on February 14.

In 1762, the frigate was part of a small squadron (3 vessels) sent to intercept a 3 French flutes transporting supplies to the West Indies. On May 6, she engaged 2 French cutters and captured one of them: the Quimper.

Characteristics

Technical specifications
Guns 36 (when serving with the British Royal Navy she carried only 32 guns)
Gundeck 24 x 8-pdr
Quarterdeck 4 x 12-pdr
Forecastle 8 x 4-pdr
Crew 270
Length 132 ft (40.23 m)
Width 34 ft (10.36 m)
Depth 17 ft 1 in (5.2 m)
Displacement 540 metric tons

References

Phillips, M., Michael Phillip's Ships of the Old Navy

Roche, Jean-Michel, Net Marine – Aréthuse

Wikipedia

  • HMS Arethusa (1759)

N.B.: the section Service during the War is derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.