Honour - 'Hermione' 1799

Date - 25-October
Type - Single Ship or Boat Service Actions
Conflict - French Revolutionary War; 1793-1803

Description This boat service action took place at Puerto Caballo, Venezuela.

On 21-October on arrival off the port, HMS Surprise found the ex-HMS Hermione, moored at the entrance to the harbour between two shore batteries ready to sail. (In 1797 Hermione's crew had mutinied and handed her over to the Spanish at LaGuardia.)

Six boats with 95 aboard set off at 1930hrs, but they were discovered when they were within a mile of their target. This alerted the Spanish crew of the ex-Hermione, but they thought they were under attack from two frigates. The boarding party were therefore able to board about 0000hrs and a battle to secure the main-deck began.

At the same time the cables were cut and under tow from the boats the ship began to move out of the harbour entrance. This allowed the breeze to fill a few sails and the ship began to move to sea with the surviving Spanish having been driven below decks..

When this happened the two shore batteries opened fire on the frigate. By 0100hrs all opposition aboard ceased and by 0200hrs the ship had moved out of range of the shore batteries. 

Of Hermione's Spanish crew of 365, 119 were killed and 97 wounded. Surprise lost 12 wounded. The British lost 12 wounded.


HM Ships
This page last edited - 06 February, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.