Honour - 'Guillaume Tell' 1800

Date - 30-March
Type - Single Ship or Boat Service Actions
Conflict - French Revolutionary War; 1793-1803

Description The action took place in the Mediterranean, beginning outside Valetta Harbour, Malta and ending 20 miles south of Cape Passero, Sicily.

Valetta harbour had been under blockade when at 2300hrs on 30-March the French  Guillaume Tell (80) which had escaped from the Victory at the Nile sailed taking advantage of the southerly gale which was blowing. She was discovered by the frigate HMS Penelope (36) at 2355hrs which began chase and sent an alert to HMS Lion (64) leader of the blockading squadron. During the chase Penelope damaged her adversary with regular broadsides.

By 0500hrs Lion had joined the engagement but by 0530 hours had been so damaged that she dropped astern.

At 0600hrs HMS Foudroyant (80) arrived and opened fire but received severe damage to her masts, sail and rigging.

At 0800 the foremast of  Guillaume Tell, the last one remaining was shot away, leaving her in an unmanageable state giving her no option but to strike her colours.. However both Lion and Foudroyant were too disabled to take possession of the prize.

Guillaume Tell lost over 200 killed and wounded out of 919 aboard.

Foudroyant lost 8 killed and 64 wounded out of 719 aboard.

Lion lost 8 killed and 37 wounded out of about 300 aboard.

Penelope lost 17 killed and 101 wounded out of a reduced crew aboard.


HM Ships
Foudroyant  Lion  Penelope  Vincejo   
This page last edited - 02 April, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.