Blonde (32)

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Origin and History

The frigate was built by Jean-Joseph Ginoux at Le Havre from September 1754 and first commissioned in March 1756.

During the Seven Years' War, the ship was under the command of:

  • in the French service
    • no information found
  • in the British service
    • from 1760 to 1763: Captain Archibald Kennedy

The frigate was captured by the British Navy on February 28 1760, during an engagement near Copeland Island. On May 6, the British Royal Navy acquired the frigate who became the HMS Blonde.

The frigate was wrecked in the Nantucket Shoal on January 21 1782

Service during the War

In the French service

In the summer and autumn of 1759, the frigate was part of Thurot's squadron which was blockaded in the harbour of Dunkerque by a British squadron under the command of Commodore William Boys. In October, Boys' squadron was driven from his station by a gale. On October 15 at 5:00 PM, Thurot seized the opportunity, slipped out through a thick fog and made to the northward. He then sailed for Ostend, then to Göteborg in Sweden, partly to procure stores, and partly, no doubt, to baffle pursuit or observation. There he remained for 19 days, going next to Bergen in Norway. On December 5, Thurot's flotilla quitted Bergen and proceeded to the British seas, by way of Streymoy in the Faroe Islands.

In January 1760, Thurot's flotilla conducted operations on the British coasts. On January 25, it reached the neighbourhood of the Irish coast. The weather confounded an intended descent near Londonderry, and scattered his flotilla. On February 15 (or 17), Thurot's flotilla put into Claigeann Bay, in the island of Islay in Argyleshire to refresh. They boarded and plundered two small sloops lying at anchor in the small bay of the island. The French crews then landed on the island. On February 19,Thurot left Islay. On February 20, he anchored in Belfast Lough, opposite Kilroot Point. On February 21 around 11:00 AM, Thurot appeared with only 3 of his frigates, all showing British colours, off the Island of Magee, standing in shore for the Bay of Carrickfergus in Ireland. By noon, the French frigates had put all their boats to sea. The troops landed and attacked the town of Carrickfergus. The garrison capitulated with the honours of war. On February 25 at 8:00 PM, Thurot re-embarked his troops. On February 27, the French burned several vessels in the harbour of Carrickfergus. At 10:00 PM, Thurot finally sailed from Carrickfergus for France. On February 28 at 4:00 AM, 3 British frigates got sight of Thurot's flotilla as it rounded Copeland Island and gave chase. At 6:00 AM, they caught up. At 9:00 AM, they engaged the three French frigates. The engagement lasted about 90 minutes before the French were forced to strike theirs colours. The frigate was purchased into the Royal Navy.

In the British service

On May 6 1760, the British Royal Navy acquired the frigate who became the HMS Blonde. In August, she was commissioned.

In February 1762, off Cape Finisterre, the frigate captured a ship (18 guns and 75 men) sailing from Bordeaux to Saint-Domingue. In March, she captured a French privateer (12 guns and 116 men.)

At the end of February 1763, the frigate captured the French Indiaman Libertin (500 tons, 20 guns and 189 men) arriving from Mauritus with valuable cargo. The Blonde brought her prize back to Lisbon.

Characteristics

Technical specifications
Guns 32
Gundeck 26 x 8-pdr
Quarterdeck and Forecastle 6 x 4-pdr
Crew 9 officers, 253 men
Length at gundeck 41.25 m
Width 10.39 m
Depth 5.20 m
Displacement 480 metric tons

References

Blasco, Manuel, 3 Decks

Deschênes, Ronald, Frégates du Roi de 1682 à 1767

Phillip, Michael, Ships of the Old Navy

N.B.: the section Service during the War is derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.