Index

 
Index of India Naval Vessels roughly from 1800-1863 and a few of their movements and incidents in which they may have been involved etc.


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Latest news: At the present time am filling in the many gaps in general RN shipping movements from 1804-1810, although most of the more important events have already been noted. However I note whilst doing this that both the Morning Post and Morning Chronicle, when detailing important and lengthy Parliamentary debates, often fill most of their pages with reports, which can sometimes last several days, thus failing to carry the usual daily RN shipping movements, and my only other alternative source for this news, is no longer available, although I'm looking for an alternative source or sources.

Having recently found additional sources for the movements of RN vessels for 1801 through to 1810, which are being transcribed and uploaded at irregular intervals, the last lot, covering the period up to about 29 Feb 1804, going on-line circa Jun 2017, and this should hopefully start filling in many of the gaps in RN vessel movements along the South Coast of England, but not for Leith, Hull, North / Great Yarmouth, Sheerness, Harwich and the Downs, &c., so we'll have to do that again idc, along with the additional movements for Plymouth and Torbay / Brixton, where the Channel Fleet and convoys often anchored, since it provided shelter from the prevailing south westerly gales, and at the same time, provided quicker access to the English Channel, in contrast to the confined waters available of Plymouth, and to a lesser extent for Spithead and St. Helen's, on the east of the Isle of Wight, where a southerly wind would often limit the movements of vessels wanting to sail for the coast of France, .....unfortunately, whilst some movements are available for other parts of the UK, news on the movements of convoys etc., on the West Coast is limited, although occasional convoys between Wales and the West Country ports are included when they touch at Plymouth.

However, further to the last paragraph I do note that whilst the movements do actually take place, different sources sometimes provide slightly differing dates, albeit only a day or two out, but sometimes as many as 3 or 4 days, e.g. I've got a note that the Dreadnought arrived Plymouth 17 Aug 1803 for a refit, and, then, when using another source from a different part of the country to widen the range of vessel movements, it notes her arrival as being 21 Aug but it does get a bit confusing when the weather delays sailings etc., or some news, such as important parliamentary debates, means that there is little or no room for shipping movements to be detailed in the newspapers ; so you may well find discrepancies !! In addition, I also get the feeling that those who collated the data, were not always given all the information regarding a vessel's movements, and perhaps, to keep the editor off his back, a correspondent might have to be a little inventive e.g. 2 vessels apparently sailing off to the Westward together, but reason not known by the correspondent, so the vague term, such as "sailed on a cruise" comes into play quite often to describe a movement of a vessel out of port, but there are times, when it becomes apparent, perhaps days down the line, that their movements were not connected, or they didn't depart on a cruise, but to go to another port, perhaps for a refit, or to pick up a convoy etc....so please be advised that the ship's log is probably the only really reliable source, if it has survived ; although, hopefully, in most cases the movements detailed here will give you a few clues as to what was going on, and where a vessel may have been operating, although that may not be the case in the more remote areas, until such time as world wide communications become available, with the electronic telegraph, shall we say during the latter half of the 19th Century ? Some newspapers seem to have encouraged letter writers from Malta and Gibraltar, and perhaps on board ship, and these can be most interesting ; or alternatively readers of some papers occasionally keep editors appraised regarding news they are receiving from RN ships &c. from relatives and so forth.

More formal sources, such as the Falmouth packets also pick up news on their travels regarding the movements of naval ships at many of the ports that they call at, including Lisbon ; islands in the West Indies ; and post the Napoleonic Wars, Admiralty packets calling at Malta and Gibraltar, and ports on the SE Coast of South America, and were subsequently published in the English newspapers, and later in the 19th Century, when Royal Mail ships operated around certain parts of the World, would invariably record sightings of RN ships sighted on their voyages.

Following the Peace of Amiens and the later breakdown in the Treaty, 1801-1803, it is apparent that many vessels, including not only the smaller sloops and brigs, but many of the frigates and troopships &c., were paid off and put in ordinary and later commissioned and taken out of harbour to the main anchorages, such as Spithead, Plymouth Sound and the Nore &c., without being mentioned in the newspapers, and it is only when they start moving around again and going about their business that they are mentioned more often, and even then, not always ; whereas, at say Plymouth, the preparation of most of the 74s etc., for sea is covered in some detail, and, I would hazard a guess that since much of this must have taken place behind dockyard walls at Portsmouth and Sheerness &c., it hardly receives a mention until vessels are commissioned, and sent out to Spithead &c., apart for the occasional dockings &c., which all tends to leave a lot of gaps in the careers of many vessels, apart from what appears in the ship's logs, but living out in the sticks, I haven't got the capacity to cover that angle, and the National Archives web site details the periods covered by logs and muster list &c., when they've survived.

10 Mar 1803 where, for the sake of secrecy, the movements of vessels are not published in the newspapers e.g. in the lead up to the breakdown in the Peace of Amiens, several of the newspapers, whilst not detailing the names of the vessels, note the departure of several frigates, sloops and brigs, some with dispatches for overseas, and others for vessels doing the rounds of the UK ports with a view to pressing men of a suitable age, and ideally seamen, but they don't mention the movements of many vessels.

Further notes to movements :-

The Times correspondent at Plymouth on 24 Aug 1803 advises that he has been informed by vessels arriving from the Channel Isles (C.I.), with French prisoners that the Channel Isles privateers have been returning with numerous prizes, which might normally present a problem for the Islands, taking into account how close it is to France, and by the orders of R.-Adm Sir J Saumarez they are being sent to England regularly by hired armed vessels to :- Portsmouth, Weymouth and Plymouth, thus keeping the Islands free from persons, who in case of an invasion, might do much mischief. However, I've not noticed the movements of any of these hired vessels to and from the C.I. since the recommencement of the War, and it would appear that their movements, as with many small vessels, are being ignored.

Letters to denote the State of the Weather

b denotes Blue sky; whether with clear or hazy atmosphere.
c ditto Cloudy; i.e., detached opening clouds.
d ditto Drizzling rain.
f ditto Fog.
g ditto Gloomy dark weather.
h ditto Hail.
l ditto Lightning.
m ditto Misty or hazy - so as to interrupt the view.
o ditto Overcast i.e., the whole sky covered with impervious cloud.
p ditto Passing showers.
q ditto Squally.
r ditto Rain i.e., continuous rain.
s ditto Snow.
t ditto Thunder.
u ditto Ugly threatening appearance in the weather.
v ditto Visibility of distant objects, whether the sky be cloudy or not.
w ditto Wet dew.
* ditto Under any letter denotes an extraordinary degree.

Figures to denote the Force of the Wind.

0 Calm.    
1 Light air just sufficient to give Steerage-way.
2 Light Breeze. with which a well-conditioned man-of-war, under all sail, and clean full, would go in smooth water, from 1 to 2 knots.
3 Gentle Breeze. 3 to 4 knots.
4 Moderate Breeze  5 to 6 knots.
5 Fresh Breeze in which the same ship could just carry closed Royals, &c.
Single-reefs and top-gallant-sails, Double-reefs, jib, &c.
Triple-reef, courses, &c.
6 Strong Breeze
7 Moderate Gale
8 Fresh Gale
9 Strong Gale.
10 Whole Gale. with which she would only bear Close-reefed main-topsail and reefed foresail.
11 Storm. with which she would be reduced to Storm-staysails.
12 Hurricane. to which she could show No canvas.

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