The NAVAL History of the H.M.S.Eurydice

American War of Independence

1782, 1783, 1784, 1785, 1786, 1788

25/26 January 1782     Wilson sailed initially to the Leeward Islands, arriving in Frigate Bay, St Kitts. The Eurydice was present at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April 1782, and then returned to Britain carrying the dispatches.

April 1782  She came under the command of Captain George Courtnay under whom she served in the English Channel and off the Channel Islands.

In Autumn she joined John Elliot’s squadron and on 14 October 1782 she captured the French Amis off Île de Batz.

The Eurydice was paid off between 1782 and 1783 but re-commissioned in April 1783.


18-year-old Fletcher Christian, was later to be found to be the instigator of the mutiny on the Bounty, signed on aboard HMS Eurydice on 25 April 1783 at Spithead. She was the first Royal Navy ship that Christian signed on to.

Eurydice’s next posting was to the East Indies, to which she sailed on 10 April 1783. On 24 May 1784, in Madras, Christian was promoted to Acting Lieutenant and Watch Leader.

Eurydice returned to Britain and was again paid off in July 1785, and spent between January and April 1786 undergoing a Small Repair at Woolwich Dockyard at a cost of £2,290. She was fitted for sea at Woolwich at a cost of £3,386 between May and July 1788, during which she was re-commissioned in June 1788 under Captain George Lumsdaine.

French Revolutionary War 1788, 1793,

Captain Lumsdaine sailed for service in the Mediterranean on 27 November 1788. With war with Revolutionary France looming she was fitted out by Wells & Co for £1,856 between February and March 1793, and then at Woolwich for a further £3,507 between March and June

Eurydice was then re-commissioned under Captain Francis Cole in April 1793.

French Coast 1794 to 1804

8 June 1794 Eurydice, along with the 36-gun Crescent, the 32-gun Druid and six smaller vessels, all under the command of Sir James Saumarez were sent from Plymouth to reconnoiter the French coast. Off the north-west coast of Guernsey they encountered the two 50-gun French razees – Scévola and Brutus – the two 36-gun frigates Danaé and Félicité, and a 14-gun brig. Saumarez ordered Eurydice, his slowest ship, into port to avoid her capture and then lured the French ships into range of Guernsey’s shore-based guns. He then turned across the line of the French ships and through a narrow passage between the rocks, which enabled him to escape. A memorial plaque at Castle Cornet in St. Peter Port, Guernsey, depicts the encounter.

Eurydice came under the command of Captain Thomas Twysden in 1795, with Twysden being succeeded by Captain Richard Bennet in 1796. During this time she operated on convoy and cruising duties.

Eurydice was re-commissioned in August 1796 under Captain John Talbot and was deployed in the North Sea. She captured the French privateer Sphinx on 15 December 1796, the 14-gun Flibustier on 6 February 1797 and Voligeur on 7 March. The next day she was in sight, as were Fairy and hired armed cutter Grace, when Racoon captured the galiot Concordia

On the morning of 10 November 1799 Eurydice was some 9 miles south-east of Beachy Head, when she sighted a schooner and a brig. The schooner made off as soon as she saw the ship and the brig hove to and hoisted her ensign upside down. She reported that she had been attacked by the schooner and that one of her men was badly wounded. Talbot sent his surgeon, Mr. Price, on board the brig and made sail after the privateer. The sloop Snake joined in the chase later in the morning. Halfway through the afternoon Eurydice came nearly within gunshot of the privateer which bore up and tried to cross Snake. When this manoeuvre failed, the vessel lowered her sails and surrendered. She was the Hirondelle of Calais, commanded by Pierre Merie Dugerdin with a crew of 50 men, one of whom was found to be an Englishman. She was armed with fourteen 3 and 4-pounders and had sailed on the Saturday morning. The brig Eurydice had recaptured was the collier Diana, from Sunderland bound for Portsmouth. Her wounded man was brought on board Eurydice where the surgeon had to remove an arm.

On 29 April 1800 the gun-vessel Assaul  recaptured the brig Adventure, of London, while Eurydice and Childers were in sight

Eurydice was refitted at Portsmouth and in January 1801 came under the command of Captain Walter Bathurst.

Bathurst captured the privateer Bougainville, of Saint Malo, in the Atlantic on 8 May 1801. She was under the command of Jacques le Bon, had a crew of 67 men, and was armed with 14 guns of different caliber. She was out three days and had made no captures.

Eurydice sailed for the East Indies on 20 October 1801.

After her return to Britain she was refitted in 1803, and commissioned in September 1803 under Captain John Nicholas. Under Nicholas she escorted a convoy to Quebec, departing Britain on 16 May 1804.

Napoleonic Wars 1804 to 1814

Captain William Hoste took command in November 1804, and Eurydice served under him in the Mediterranean throughout 1805.

On 14 November 1804 Eurydice was in company with HMS Bittern when they recaptured the hired armed ship Lord Eldon and sent her into Gibraltar.  Spanish gunboats had captured her off Algeciras two days earlier.

Eurydice shared with Merlin and Prevoyante in the proceeds from the capture on 11 June 1805 of the Prussian ship Edward. The proceeds were forwarded from Gibraltar.

Eurydice captured the 6-gun privateer Mestuo La Solidade on 6 October, before passing under the command of Captain Sir William Bolton in December that year. Eurydice spent 1806 and 1807 in the Channel, before acting-Captain David Ramsey took over in August 1808.

She was later under Captain James Bradshaw and was present at the capture of Martinique in February 1809. In 1847 the Admiralty authorised the clasp “Martinique” to the Naval General Service Medal to all surviving participants in that campaign.

Eurydice spent 1809 to 1811 on the North American Station, undertaking a number of cruises out of Halifax, Nova Scotia in company with the ships at the station. She then returned to Britain and spent 1812 to 1814 in ordinary at Deptford. She underwent a temporary repair at Deptford between September 1813 and June 1814; and was subsequently fitted for sea there between August and October 1814.

Post-war and fate 1814,

Eurydice was re-commissioned in August 1814 under Captain Valentine Gardner and by June 1815 was under Captain Robert Spencer and serving on the Irish Station. Her final seagoing service was off St Helena under Captain Robert Wauchope, who took command in April 1816.

In February 1818 the merchantman Atlas, Joseph Short, master, was sailing from Dundee when she encountered a Portuguese brig with 360 slaves from Mozambique.  Atlas sent the brig into the Cape of Good Hope where Eurydice detained the brig.

On 8 January 1819, two seamen on Hibernia behaved in a mutinous manner as she transported convicts from England to Van Diemen’s Land. The rest of the crew objected to the men being put in irons, but eventually all but two others returned to their duties. When Hibernia reached Rio de Janeiro, Lennon asked Captain Wauchope for assistance. Eventually 12 men from Hibernia joined Eurydice‘s crew; Wauchope sent only three men in return. The resulting crew shortage on Hibernia delayed her sailing.

Eurydice was laid up at Deptford in December 1819 but moved in 1821 to Woolwich. She was fitted as a receiving ship there between August 1823 and January 1824, spending the rest of her career in this role.

She was finally broken up at Deptford in March 1834.

2nd H.M.S. Eurydice Vessel

1843 – 1846  1846 – 1850, 1854 – 1855, 1855 – 1857, 1861 – 1877

The First Lord of the Admiralty between September 1835 to September 1841, during Elliot’s time as commissioner, was his brother, Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 2nd Earl of Minto

 George Elliot specialised in ship design and construction, notably opposing Sir William Symonds, the Surveyor of the Navy, and his system. Together with First Naval Lord Sir Charles Adam he pressed for money to be spent on repairing ships rather than building new ones.  He designed a small frigate during this period, which was launched in 1843 as HMS Eurydice. The design attracted much comment, particularly praising her fine lines and speed, and for a time she was commanded by his son, Captain George Elliot.   She later became a training ship and foundered with heavy loss of life in a squall off the Isle of Wight on 24 March 1878

Designed by Admiral the Hon. George Elliot, the second Eurydice was a very fast 26-gun frigate designed with a very shallow draught to operate in shallow waters.

1843 to 1846      The first commission saw service on the North American and West Indies station between under the command of her first captain, George Augustus Elliot (the eldest son of her designer).

1846 to 1850      Under Captain Talavera Vernon Anson, her second commission was spent on the South African “Cape of Good Hope” station.

1854 to 1855      Her third commission, under Captain Erasmus Ommanney

1855 to 1857      then Captain John Walter Tarleton  saw her first sent briefly to the White Sea during the Crimean War and then to the North American and West Indies stations again.

1861 The Eurydice saw no further seagoing service in the next twenty years; she was converted into a stationary training ship.

In 1877, she was refitted at Portsmouth and by John White at Cowes for seagoing service as a training ship.

1877 After being re-commissioned under the command of Captain Marcus Augustus Stanley Hare, Eurydice sailed from Portsmouth on a three-month tour of the West Indies and Bermuda on 13 November 1877.

On 6 March 1878, she began her return voyage from Bermuda for Portsmouth.

1878 After a very fast passage across the Atlantic, on 24 March 1878[ Eurydice was caught in a heavy snow storm off the Isle of Wight, capsized and sank. Only two of the ship’s 319 crew and trainees survived, most of those who were not carried down with the ship died of exposure in the freezing waters.

Captain Hare, a devout Christian, after giving the order to every man to save himself, clasped his hands in prayer and went down with his ship.

One of the witnesses to the disaster was a young Winston Churchill, who was living at Ventnor with his family at the time. The wreck was refloated later that same year but had been so badly damaged during her submersion that she was then subsequently broken up. Her ship’s bell is preserved in St. Paul’s Church, Gatten, Shanklin. There is a memorial in the churchyard at Christ Church, The Broadway, Sandown. The ship’s anchor is set into a memorial at Clayhall Cemetery, Gosport.

Eurydice: In Greek/Roman Mythology, was the wife of Orpheus, who after death was permitted to follow her husband out of Hades, provided that he did not look back at her, he failed in the test, and she was forced to remain in Hades.

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