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HMS Newcastle (1813)
Career (United Kingdom) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Leander
Ordered: 6 May 1813
Builder: Wigram, Wells & Green, Blackwall
Laid down: June 1813
Launched: 10 November 1813
Completed: By 23 March 1814
Fate: Broken up in June 1850
General characteristics
Class & type: 50-gun fourth rate
Tons burthen: 1,556 bm
Length: 176 ft 5 in (53.77 m) (gundeck)
149 ft 5.75 in (45.5613 m) (keel)
Beam: 44 ft 8 in (13.61 m)
Depth of hold: 15 ft 1.5 in (4.610 m)
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Crew: 450

HMS Newcastle was a 50-gun fourth rate of the Royal Navy which saw service in the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812.

A new type of ship, a large spar-decked frigate, Newcastle and her near sister HMS Leander were ordered in response to the threat posed by the heavy American spar-decked frigates, during the War of 1812. The Newcastle proved a successful ship, which operated in squadrons which chased the American frigates, but ultimately failed to catch them before the war ended. She spent some time as the flagship on the North American Station before returning to Britain in 1822 and being laid up the following year as a lazarette. She spent the rest of her career in this role, until being broken up in 1850.

Construction and commissioning[edit | edit source]

HMS Leander was ordered from the Blackwall-based firm of Wigram, Wells & Green on 6 May 1813.[1] She was laid down in June 1813 and built of pitch pine to a design by émigré designer Jean-Louis Barrallier. Built of softwood to get her into service as quickly as possible, Leander was launched on 10 November 1813, less than five months after laying down.[2][3] She was moved to Woolwich Dockyard and completed there by 23 March 1814.[1] The construction of fourth rates, a type that had fallen out of favour prior to the French Revolutionary Wars, was a response to the American spar-decked frigates, like USS Constitution and USS Chesapeake.[1] Ordered alongside Newcastle was the similar 50-gun HMS Leander.[a]

Leander was a spar-deck frigate, designed to carry thirty 24 pounders on her main deck, and twenty-four 42 pounder carronades on her spar deck (two fewer carronades than her half-sister), with four 24 pounders on her forecastle.[1] In 1815, after the War of 1812 and Napoleonic Wars, Newcastle and Leander were fitted with accommodation for a flag officer with a poop deck built over the quarterdeck, and were mostly used as flagships on foreign stations, replacing older 50-gun ships which had previously filled this role.[1][3] Both ships were re-rated as 60-gun fourth rates in February 1817.[1][4]

George Collier, Newcastle's first commander, by William Beechey. A star frigate captain with distinguished service off the Spanish coast to his credit, Collier's failure to catch a fleeing American frigate during his time in command of Leander was ultimately his downfall.

The Newcastle was commissioned under her first commander, Captain George Collier, in November 1813, but Collier was moved to command of the Leander a month later, and was replaced as commander by Captain Lord George Stuart.[1]

Notes[edit | edit source]

a. ^ Though similar in concept, Newcastle and Leander were not sister ships, Newcastle having been designed by émigré shipwright Jean-Louis Barrallier.[1]

Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Winfield. British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817. pp. 112. 
  2. Colledge & Warlow. Ships of the Royal Navy. p. 196. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gardiner. Frigates of the Napoleonic Wars. pp. 53–5. 
  4. Gardiner. Frigates of the Napoleonic Wars. p. 67. 

References[edit | edit source]

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