French frigate Néréide (1779)

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For other ships of the same name, see French ship Néréide and HMS Nereide.
Capture of Nereide.jpg
Capture of Néréide by HMS Phoebe, on 20 December 1797, Thomas Whitcombe, 1816, in the National Maritime Museum
Career (France) French Navy Ensign French Navy Ensign French Navy Ensign
Name: Néréide
Namesake: Nereid
Builder: Saint Malo, plans by Sané
Laid down: October 1778
Launched: 31 May 1779
Commissioned: August 1779
Fate: captured on 20 December 1797
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: Nereide
Acquired: 20 December 1797
Captured: 23 August 1810
Fate: captured
Career (France) French Navy Ensign
Name: Néréide
Acquired: 23 August 1810
Captured: 3 December 1810
Fate: Broken up
General characteristics
Displacement: 600 tonnes
Length: 43.9 m (144 ft)
Beam: 11.2 m (37 ft)
Draught: 5.4 m (18 ft)
Propulsion: Sail
Complement: 260
Armament: British service: 26 × 12-pounders
Armour: Timber

The Néréide was a Sybille class 32-gun, copper-hulled, frigate of the French Navy. On 22 December 1797 HMS Phoebe captured her and she was taken into British service as HMS Nereide. The French recaptured her at the Battle of Grand Port, only to lose her again when the British took Isle de France (now Mauritius), in 1810. After the Battle of Grand Port she was in such a poor condition that she was broken up.

French service

On 6 June 1780, along with Zodiaque (74 guns), she captured a British privateer, the 10-gun cutter Prince of Wales off Madeira. She was part of the fleet of Lamotte-Picquet that sailed from Brest and on 2 May 1781 captured 18 ships in a convoy from Sint Eustatius. In 1782 she served in the Caribbean under Vaudreuil.

From 1788, she served off Africa. She then underwent a refit in Rochefort in October 1794.

On 20 December 1797 she was sailing off the Isles of Scilly under the command of Lieutenant de Vaisseau Chassériau when she encountered Phoebe. After exchanging broadsides with Phoebe for about an hour and a half, Néréide struck. She had suffered 20 killed and 55 wounded; Phoebe had suffered three men killed and 10 wounded. Although the French vessel had a larger crew, she had a substantially smaller broadside and that told. She entered into British service as HMS Nereide.

British service

In the morning of 1 March 1800, Nereide saw five sail and made towards them. They were five well-armed French privateers, but they scattered as she approached. Nereide lost sight of them until the next morning when she re-encountered one. After a pursuit of 12 hours and 123 miles, Nereide captured the French privateer Vengeance, pierced for 18 guns but carrying sixteen 12-pounders and 174 men. Vengeance had left Bordeaux on 26 February and then had joined the Bellona (twenty-four 12-pounder guns, six 36-pounder carronades, and 420 men), Favorite (sixteen 8-pounder guns and 120 men), Huron (sixteen 6-pounder guns and 187 men), and the schooner Terrailluse (fourteen 6-pounder guns and 80 men).1

The next day (3 March), Nereide recaptured the American ship Perseverance, of Baltimore, which was carrying a cargo valued at £30,000.1 Then on 17 March Nereide recaptured the Lord Nelson.2

Nereide, Phoebe, and Kangaroo shared in the proceeds of the capture, on 5 June of the Eagle.3

On 11 September Watkins sailed to Curaçao to forestall the French from taking it. Then on 13 September he took possession and signed the terms of capitulation on behalf of the British.4

On 25 November 1806 Nereide was under the command of Captain Robert Corbett when she captured the Spanish privateer Brilliante, a privateer lugger of four guns with a crew of 50. She was two days out of Vigo and provisioned for a cruise of four months. Corbett was particularly pleased at the capture as she had not yet captured anything, but there were several sail in sight when Nereide commenced her pursuit.5

On 15 July 1808 Nereide, Otter, and Charwell shared in the capture of the French brig Lucie, and her cargo of slaves.Note 1 In December Nereide captured the French corvette Gobe Mouche after a chase on the morning of the 18th. She was pierced for 12 guns but had thrown most overboard during the chase. She was under the command of Enseigne de vaisseau provisoir Sugor, and was sailing from the Seychelles to Port Louis with dispatches. She threw them overboard, but Nereide's boat crew was able to retrieve a considerable part of them. Gobe Mouche had a complement of 80 men, but had only 30 on board when captured as she had had to man a number of prizes on her previous cruise.7Note 2Note 3

In 1809, she served as convoy escort. In September, still under the command of Corbett, she played a critical part in the Raid on Saint Paul at Île Bourbon (now Réunion). There Nereide and the landing party captured the frigate Caroline, and recovered the East Indiamen Streatham and Europa, and the 14-gun Bombay Marine brig Grappler.10 The British also captured some merchant vessels and destroyed several forts and batteries.

In March 1810, Nereide joined HMS Iphigenia, Leopard and Magicienne off Isle de France.


HMS Nereide at the Battle of Grand Port

She took part in the Battle of Grand Port where she was severely battered and eventually captured.

Nereide was under the command of Captain Nesbit Josiah Willoughby when she surrendered in December 1810 when Isle de France fell to the British. Even so, she and her crew (perhaps the prize crew), qualified for the prize money that followed the capture of the island.Note 4 However, she was in such a bad shape that she was broken up thereafter.


  1. ^ A first-class share of the bounty-money was worth £8 16sd; a sixth-class share, that of an ordinary seaman, was worth 3s 1d6
  2. ^ French records give the vessel's name as Gobe-Mouches. She was stationed at Port Louis, Isle de France. From there she cruised the Indian Ocear, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf before her capture.8
  3. ^ Gobe Mouche had on board a large (207-pound) tortoise (testudo elephantaopus) from the Seychelles for General de Caen, the governor of Isle de France (Mauritius). Admiral Bertie, who commanded at the Cape of Good Hope, sent it to England, where it survived only until 1810 at Petworth House.9
  4. ^ A first-class share was worth £278 19sd; a sixth-class share, that of an ordinary seaman, was worth £3 7s 6¼d.11 A fourth and final payment was made in July 1828. A first-class share was worth £29 19s 5¼d; a sixth-class share was worth 8s 2½d.12
  1. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 15237. pp. 239–240. 8 April 1800.
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 15246. p. 350. 8 April 1800.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 15331. p. 119. 24 January 1801.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 15314. pp. 1330–1333. 25 November 1800.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 16000. p. 193. 14 February 1807.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 17279. p. 1812. 23 August 1817.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 16241. p. 419. 28 March 1809.
  8. ^ Fonds, VOl. 1, p.377.
  9. ^ Catalogue of the contents of the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons in London, Vol. 6, p.198. Printed by R. Taylor, 1853.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 16341. pp. 213–214. 10 January 1810.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 16938. p. 1923. 24 September 1814.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 18487. pp. 1376–1377. 15 July 1828.


  • Fonds Marine. Campagnes (opérations ; divisions et stations navales ; missions diverses). Inventaire de la sous-série Marine BB4. Tome premier : BB4 210 à 482 (1805-1826) [1]
  • Roche, Jean-Michel (2005). Dictionnaire des bâtiments de la flotte de guerre française de Colbert à nos jours, 1671 - 1870. Group Retozel-Maury Millau. pp. 325–6. ISBN 978-2-9525917-0-6. OCLC 165892922. 
  • HMS Nereide, Naval database

See also