HMS Canopus (1798)
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HMS ''Canopus'' was an 84-gun
third rate In the rating system of the Royal Navy The rating system of the Royal Navy and its predecessors was used by the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of ...
ship of the line A ship of the line was a type of naval warship A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong to the armed forces of a state. As well as being armed, warships are des ...
of the British
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
. She had previously served with the
French Navy The French Navy (french: Marine nationale, lit=National Navy), informally , is the maritime arm of the French Armed Forces The French Armed Forces (french: Forces armées françaises) encompass the Army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "ar ...
as the ''Franklin'', but was captured after less than a year in service by the British fleet under
Rear Admiral Rear admiral is a senior naval A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for wa ...
Horatio Nelson Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805), also known simply as Admiral Nelson, was a British people, British flag officer in the Royal Navy. His inspirational leadershi ...
at the
Battle of the Nile The Battle of the Nile (also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay; french: Bataille d'Aboukir) was a major naval battle fought between the British Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is com ...

Battle of the Nile
in 1798. Having served for less than six months for the French from her completion in March 1798 to her capture in August that year, she would eventually serve for 89 years for the British. Her career began as the
flagship A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer The commanding officer (CO) or sometimes, if the incumbent is a general officer A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, spac ...
of Rear-Admiral
Armand Blanquet du Chayla Count Armand Simon Marie Blanquet du Chayla (9 May 1759 – 29 April 1826) was an officer in the French Navy, most famous as second in command of the French fleet during its defeat at the Battle of the Nile. Early actions Du Chayla was born ...
, second in command at the
Battle of the Nile The Battle of the Nile (also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay; french: Bataille d'Aboukir) was a major naval battle fought between the British Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is com ...

Battle of the Nile
, where she distinguished herself with her fierce resistance before being forced to surrender with over half her crew dead or wounded, and most of her guns disabled. Taken into British service she was refitted and served as the flagship of several admirals. Commanded by
Francis Austen Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy), Admiral of the Fleet Sir Francis William Austen, (23 April 1774 – 10 August 1865) was a Royal Navy officer and an elder brother of the novelist Jane Austen. As commanding officer of the sloop HMS Peterel (179 ...
''Canopus'' was Rear-Admiral
Thomas Louis Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Louis, 1st Baronet (''bap.'' 11 May 1758 – 17 May 1807) was an officer of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') ...
's flagship in the Mediterranean under Nelson, and narrowly missed the fighting at
Trafalgar
Trafalgar
. She saw action with Duckworth's fleet at the
Battle of San Domingo The Battle of San Domingo was a naval battle Naval warfare is human combat in and on the sea, the ocean, or any other battlespace involving a major body of water such as a large lake or wide river. History Mankind has fought battles on the ...
, and remained with him during the attempt to force the Dardanelles, and the operations in support of the Alexandria expedition in 1807. She remained active against the French in the Mediterranean for the rest of the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
, helping to drive ashore two large French ships of the line in a notable incident in 1809. ''Canopus'' remained in service after the end of the wars, serving as a flagship into the mid-nineteenth century, but as sail gave way to steam, she was relegated to support duties in
DevonportDevonport may refer to: * Devonport, Plymouth, Devon, England ** HMNB Devonport, naval base/dockyard ** Plymouth Devonport (UK Parliament constituency), parliamentary constituency formerly known as Devonport * Devonport, New Zealand, a suburb of Auc ...

Devonport
, becoming a
receiving ship A hulk is a ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, research, and fishing. Shi ...
, tender and a
mooring A mooring is any permanent structure to which a vessel may be secured. Examples include quay A wharf, quay (, also ), or staith(e) is a structure on the shore of a harbour or on the bank of a river or canal where ships may dock to load and ...
hulk The Hulk is a fictional superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses Superpower (ability), ''superpowers'', abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the hero, typically using his or her ...
. She was eventually sold for breaking up in 1887, after nearly ninety years in British service.


Construction and French career

''Franklin'' was built to a design by
Jacques-Noël Sané Jacques-Noël Sané (18 February 1740, Brest Brest may refer to: Places * Brest, Belarus, a city formerly known as Brest-Litovsk * Brest, Čučer-Sandevo, a village in North Macedonia * Brest, France, a city and harbour in Brittany * Brest, Germ ...

Jacques-Noël Sané
at the
Toulon Toulon (, , ; oc, label=Occitan language, Provençal, Tolon , , ) is a city on the French Riviera and a large port on the Mediterranean coast, with a major naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regions of France, region, and ...

Toulon
shipyard between November 1794 and March 1798, having been launched on 25 June 1797. She was named after the American scientist and politician
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also ...

Benjamin Franklin
. Commanded by
Captain Captain is a title for the commander of a military unit, the commander of a ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel, or the commander of a port, fire department or police department, election precinct, etc. The captain is a military rank in a ...
Maurice Gillet and flying the flag of Rear-Admiral
Armand Blanquet du Chayla Count Armand Simon Marie Blanquet du Chayla (9 May 1759 – 29 April 1826) was an officer in the French Navy, most famous as second in command of the French fleet during its defeat at the Battle of the Nile. Early actions Du Chayla was born ...
, ''Franklin'' was one of the ships that accompanied
Vice Admiral Vice admiral is a senior naval flag officer rank, equivalent to lieutenant general and air marshal. A vice admiral is typically senior to a rear admiral and junior to an admiral. In many navies,Vice admiral is a three-star rank in the navies of N ...
François-Paul Brueys's
François-Paul Brueys's
fleet, carrying
Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) r ...
and the French troops to invade Egypt. ''Franklin'' was anchored with Brueys's fleet in
Aboukir Bay The Abū Qīr Bay (sometimes transliterated Abukir Bay or Aboukir Bay) (; Arabic transliteration, transliterated: Khalīj Abū Qīr) is a spacious bay on the Mediterranean Sea near Alexandria in Egypt, lying between the Rosetta mouth of the Nile a ...
on 1 August, when they were discovered in the evening by a British fleet under Rear-Admiral
Horatio Nelson Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805), also known simply as Admiral Nelson, was a British people, British flag officer in the Royal Navy. His inspirational leadershi ...
. Nelson ordered his fleet to attack immediately, with the British forces moving on the French van, doubling their line. Brueys was taken by surprise, having expected the British to attack his rear and centre, where he had consequently placed his heaviest ships, including the ''Franklin''. ''Franklin'' did not therefore enter the engagement until later that evening, as the French van surrendered and the British ships moved down the line to engage the remaining ships.


''Franklin''s fight

''Franklin'', positioned just ahead of Brueys's flagship, the 120-gun ''Orient'', and astern of the 74-gun French ship Souverain (1757), ''Peuple Souverain'', came under fire from , and . The British ships and the French centre exchanged a heavy fire, with the British being joined by the newly arrived , and . As Du Chayla later recalled 'The action in this part then became extremely warm.' The two sides were intensely engaged for the next hour, during which the ''Peuple Souverain'' was forced out of the line, and the ''Orient'' caught fire. As the fire on ''Orient'' raged out of control, the nearby French and British ships scrambled to escape the anticipated explosion. ''Orient''s magazine blew up at 9:37 p.m., obliterating her and sending burning debris raining down on the nearby ships. Large amounts fell upon the ''Franklin'', starting fires which caused the arms locker to explode and set fire to the poop and quarterdeck. For a while it seemed that ''Franklin'' would also be burnt, but her crew were able to put out the fires. With Brueys killed aboard ''Orient'', Du Chayla now became commander. Both he and Captain Gillet had been seriously wounded and taken below, but he continued to order the attack. The brief quiet that had resulted from the explosion of the ''Orient'' was broken by ''Franklin''s guns, and the battle resumed. She fought for another hour, but by then she had lost her main and mizzenmasts, nearly all of her cannons had been knocked out, and over half her crew were dead or wounded. She finally struck her colours.


British service


Mediterranean and San Domingo

The ''Franklin'' was one of nine ships captured by the British at the Nile, and she was taken into service with the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
, being registered under the name HMS ''Canopus'' on 9 December 1798. She was sent back to Britain under the command of Captain Bartholomew James, and arrived at Plymouth on 17 July 1799. She briefly became the flagship of Admiral Philip Affleck for service off Lisbon, but was paid off into ordinary in August that year. She began a refit at Plymouth in August 1801, but the work was suspended incomplete in November that year, and was only completed in January 1803. She recommissioned in April that year under the command of Captain John Conn, and became the flagship of Rear-Admiral George Campbell (Royal Navy officer), George Campbell. ''Canopus'' was sent in August 1803 to join the Mediterranean Fleet (United Kingdom), Mediterranean Fleet, near
Toulon Toulon (, , ; oc, label=Occitan language, Provençal, Tolon , , ) is a city on the French Riviera and a large port on the Mediterranean coast, with a major naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regions of France, region, and ...

Toulon
under Nelson. Conn was succeeded in February 1805 by Captain
Francis Austen Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy), Admiral of the Fleet Sir Francis William Austen, (23 April 1774 – 10 August 1865) was a Royal Navy officer and an elder brother of the novelist Jane Austen. As commanding officer of the sloop HMS Peterel (179 ...
, and ''Canopus'' became the flagship of Rear-Admiral
Thomas Louis Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Louis, 1st Baronet (''bap.'' 11 May 1758 – 17 May 1807) was an officer of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') ...
. ''Canopus'' narrowly missed being present at the Battle of Trafalgar, having been sent to Gibraltar with Louis's squadron to resupply. She returned to Britain in mid-1806, where she was taken in hand at Plymouth for repairs, which were completed in August at a cost of £31,804. In January 1806 she joined Vice-Admiral John Thomas Duckworth, Sir John Thomas Duckworth's squadron in the pursuit of Corentin Urbain Leissègues, and took part in the
Battle of San Domingo The Battle of San Domingo was a naval battle Naval warfare is human combat in and on the sea, the ocean, or any other battlespace involving a major body of water such as a large lake or wide river. History Mankind has fought battles on the ...
on 6 February, engaging the 74-gun French ship Union (1799), ''Diomède'' among other ships. ''Canopus'' sustained casualties of eight dead and 22 wounded. Thomas Shortland became captain of ''Canopus'' in July 1806, and sailed to the Mediterranean with Duckworth's squadron, still flying Louis's flag. She took part in the attempt to force the Dardanelles on 19 January, and in subsequent operations in support of the Alexandria expedition, during which nine Turkish vessels were captured or destroyed. Shortland was succeeded by Captain Charles Inglis (d. 1833), Charles Inglis in 1808, and became the flagship of Rear-Admiral George Martin (Royal Navy officer), George Martin. ''Canopus'' was attached to the Mediterranean Fleet under Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood, Cuthbert Collingwood and in October 1809 was part of the fleet that gave chase to a French convoy and their escorts under Rear-Admiral François Baudin in the Gulf of Lyons. In the ensuing Battle of Maguelone, the French were chased into the mouth of the Rhone, where the 80-gun French ship Robuste (1806), ''Robuste'' and the 74-gun French ship Lion (1803), ''Lion'' were driven aground, and after attempts to salvage them had failed, the French were forced to burn them. ''Canopus'' became the flagship of Rear-Admiral Charles Boyles between 1811 and 1812, after which she was paid off into ordinary again.


Postwar

A large repair was carried out at Plymouth Dock (i.e. Devonport) for the sum of £78,909 between March 1814 and March 1816, but with the end of the Napoleonic Wars she was laid up for a number of years. ''Canopus'' was fitted for sea at Devonport in May 1834, and underwent further repairs between December 1839 and May 1842. She was prepared for sea again in early 1845, spending time under the command of Fairfax Moresby, before being laid up at Devonport in 1848. She was fitted out there as a
receiving ship A hulk is a ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, research, and fishing. Shi ...
between June and October 1862, and served as a tender to , the Devonport guardship. ''Canopus'' became a mooring hulk in 1869, with her masts being removed in April 1878. She was finally sold after 89 years service with the Royal Navy in October 1887 to J. Pethick, and was broken up.


Notes


References

* * * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Canopus, HMS Ships of the line of the Royal Navy 1797 ships Ships built in France Captured ships Tonnant-class ships of the line, Franklin