Furnace (14)

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Origin and History

The bomb ketch was built at Rotherhithe and launched on October 25 1740.

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

  • 1757: commander Middleton
  • from October 1758 to at leat July 1759: commander Jonathan Faulknor
  • 1761: commander James Chaplen

The bomb ketch was sold in 1783.

Service during the War

In March 1757, the bomb ketch was docked at Portsmouth to stop a leak. A few weeks later, she was part of admiral Holbourne's squadron which left Ireland on May 5 for the planned expedition against Louisbourg. By July 10, the entire squadron was finally at anchor before Halifax where it made its junction with Hardy's squadron. However on August, when the combined fleet was ready to set sail, Louisbourg had already been reinforced by three French squadrons and governor Loudon canceled the whole enterprise. Holbourne's squadron stayed off Louisbourg till September 25 when it was shattered by a most terrible storm. The squadron then returned to Great Britain in a very bad condition.

In October 1758, the fireship was part of commodore Augustus Keppel's squadron assigned to the expedition against Gorée in Sénégal. On October 26, the fleet embarked some troops at Kinsale in Ireland and sailed off on November 11. On December 29, the squadron bombarded Gorée, soon silencing the French batteries and forcing the town to surrender. The squadron then escorted the British troops to Sénégal where they would take station and returned to Great Britain.

On July 2 1759, the bomb was part of the squadron of rear-admiral George Brydges Rodney who sailed from St. Helen's to destroy the flat-bottomed boats and the supplies which had been collected at Le Havre for the projected invasion of England. On July 4 at sunrise, Rodney, with his 6 bomb ketches stationed in the channel leading to Harfleur, began the bombardment of Le Havre and of the flat-bottomed boats. The bombardment lasted for 52 hours until July 6 at 8:00 AM and 1,900 shells and 1,150 carcasses were fired on the town. Le Havre burnt furiously for 6 hours despite the continual efforts of several hundred men to extinguish the fire. This attack totally destroyed any French preparations in this town for the invasion of England. Rodney, with some of his frigates, remained off the port of Le Havre for the rest of the year, and captured numerous prizes.

To do: campaigns from 1760 to 1763

Characteristics

Technical specifications
Guns 14

N.B.: reported with 16 guns in 1757 by "Complete History"

Main deck ???
Crew 100
Length ???
Width ???
Depth ???
Displacement ???

References

Anonymous, A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 202-205, 233-235

Phillip, Michael, Ships of the Old Navy

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