HMS Woodlark (1808)

HMS Woodlark was launched in 1808 and commissioned in 1809. The Royal Navy sold her in 1818. She then became a merchantman with her new owners retaining her name. From 1820/1821 she became a whaler, sailing out of Port Jackson. She was still sailing as late as the late 1850s.

For other ships with the same name, see HMS Woodlark and Woodlark (ship).

United Kingdom
Name HMS Woodlark
Namesake Woodlark
Ordered 31 December 1807
Builder William Rowe, St Peter’s Yard, Newcastle upon Tyne[1]
Laid down March 1808
Launched 17 November 1808
Commissioned May 1809
Fate Sold
United Kingdom
Name Woodlark
Acquired 1818 by purchase
Fate Still sailing 1857
General characteristics [2]
Class and type Cherokee-classbrig-sloop
Tons burthen
  • Originally: 237

    2694, or 238[3] (bm)

  • After 1838: 245, or 265, or 274 (bm)
  • Overall:90 ft 0 in (27.4 m)
  • Keel:73 ft 6+34 in (22.4 m) (keel)
Beam 24 ft 7+12 in (7.5 m)
Depth of hold 10 ft 10+12 in (3.3 m)
Propulsion Sails
Complement 75
Armament 8 × 18-pounder carronades + 2 × 6-pounder bow chasers

. . . HMS Woodlark (1808) . . .

Commander George E. Watts commissioned Woodlark at Spithead in May 1809 for the North Sea, and operated between 1810 and 1812 in the Baltic.[2] On 27 November 1809 she captured the ship Percunas. On 15 January 1810 Zuneignen and Perkunas came into Hull. They had been sailing from Petersburg when Woodlark detained them.[4][5]

About a year after being commissioned, on 20 May Woodlark captured Nicoline Elizabeth and Gode Haub.[6]Nicolina Elizabeth and Good Hoop arrived at Hull on 6 June, as did Frow Inqueberg, a third prize to Woodlark.[7] Three days later, on 23 May 1810, Woodlark recaptured Trende Sostre.[8] On 27 May, Woodlarks boats destroyed the Danish privateer cutter Swan, which was lying under the protection of batteries and field pieces off Hadstrand (Højsande), Læsø. Swan was armed with eight 24-pounder carronades and had a crew of 35 men.[9][10] Head money was paid on 9 February 1813.[6]

On 23 June Woodlark recaptured the ship Success. Success, Zimmerman, master, had been sailing from Pillau when her captors brought her into Bornholm, where she was condemned and from whence Woodlarks boat cut her out. Success arrived at Hull on 27 July with all her cargo except for 26 lasts of wheat.[11] On 29 January 1811 her officers and crew received £1000, representing a part-payment of the salvage money for her recapture.[12]

On 2 July 1810 Woodlark captured the galiotDrei Gebruder. Four days later Woodlark detained the galliot St Neil.[13]St Nil, Gotschalp, master, had been sailing from Petersburg when Woodlark captured her. St Nil arrived at Hull on 16 August,[14]

Woodlark was in sight on 13 July when HMS Cruizer captured Jonge Johannes and on 15 July when Cruizer captured the hoyElizabeth (or Jonge Elizabeth).[15][16]

Several more captures followed. On 4 August Woodlark captured the galiot Anna Maria.[17]Anna Maria, Halman, master, had been sailing from Petersburg. Her prize crew took her into Hull.[18]

The detention of Zwey Geschwisters on 27 October resulted in prize money for her cargo of soap.[17]Dorothea Louisa, Zirch, master, from Rostock and Die Schwester, Hakler, master, from Petersburg, arrived at Hull on 14 November.[19]

Then on 17 April 1811 Woodlark captured the Danish brig Emilie and Louise, followed by the captures of Ebenetzer and Resolutionen on 7 May.[17]Amelia Louisa, Hennie, master, had been sailing from Copenhagen when Woodlark detained her. Amelia Louisa arrived at Hull on 24 April.[20]Ebenezer, from Olberg, arrived at Hull on 15 May.[21]Resolution arrived at Hull on 16 May.[22] On 17 May Anne Mare and Countess Ahlefreldto arrived at Hull. All were prizes to Woodlark.[21]

Woodlark captured a Danish privateer, name unknown, on 23 May 1811. She also captured Warsam on 21 September, and the privateer Cylla on 24 December. The prize money for Warsam and the head money for the two privateers was paid on 9 February 1813.[6]

On 30 April 1812, Woodlark captured Haabet.[23]

Shortly after the outbreak of the War of 1812, on 12 August, Woodlark shared in the seizure of several American vessels: Cuba, Caliban, Edward, Galen, Halcyon, and Cygnet.[lower-alpha 1]

On 2 September Woodlark captured a Danish privateer of unknown name.[lower-alpha 2]

On 4 October 1812, HMS Podargus captured the Danish sloop Speculation. Podargus shared the prize money with Woodlark, Erebus, Persian, and Plover by agreement.[25][lower-alpha 3]

In 1813 Commander George Anson Byron replaced Watts. In 1814 Commander Robert Balfour replaced Byron.[2]

In June Commander William Cutfield assumed command.[2]

On 25 February 1814 Lieutenant Cheyne and five seamen from Woodlark manned the first boat to be able to cross the bar at the Admiral Lord Keith’s landing of troops at the Ardour river.[26]

Woodlark left Plymouth on 6 March 1815, escorting a convoy from Plymouth to Bordeaux. The ketch Sophie, from the convoy, was run down off Plymouth.[27]

Disposal: The “Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty’s Navy” offered the “Woodlark brig, of 237 tons,” lying at Chatham, for sale on 30 January 1817.[28] They finally succeeded in selling her a year later on 29 January 1818 for £700 to a Mr. Grant.[2]

Post-scripts: In January 1819 the London Gazette reported that Parliament had voted a grant to all those who had served under the command of Admiral Viscount Keith in 1812, between 1812 and 1814, and in the Gironde. Woodlark was listed among the vessels that had served under Keith in 1813 and 1814.[lower-alpha 4]

In August 1822 the government announced that it would pay the balance of prize money due on sundry Danish vessels that Woodlark and Erebus had captured between 20 June 1813 and 24 July. However, the bankruptcy of the government’s agent at Gothenburg had resulted in an amount too small to warrant a general disbursement. Instead, the government would turn the money for the subsidiary shares over to the Treasurer of the Greenwich Hospital, London, a home for retired Royal Navy sailors.[lower-alpha 5]

. . . HMS Woodlark (1808) . . .

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. . . HMS Woodlark (1808) . . .

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