Abénaquise (38)

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Navies >> French Navy >> Abénaquise (38)
Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Navies >> British Navy >> Aurora (36)

Origin and History

This frigate was designed and built by René-Nicolas Levasseur at Québec and launched in the spring of 1756 under the name of “Abénaquise”.

The ship was captured by the British Royal Navy in 1757.

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

  • in the French service:
    • from 1756 to 1757: Captain Gabriel Pellegrin
  • in the British service
    • from October 18, 1758 to December 13, 1758: Captain Francis Samuel Drake
    • from January 17, 1759 to January 16, 1761: Captain Samuel Scott
    • from 1762: Captain Raby Vane

The frigate was broken up at Plymouth Dockyard in April 1763.

Service during the War

In the French Service

In the fall of 1756, the frigate was sent from Québec with the final Court packet. She had only a partial fitting of iron cannon, the rest of wooden fakes. On her way, a north-east wind and snow caused fears that the crew would be forced to winter in the ice.

In 1757, the frigate recrossed the Atlantic Ocean in 38 days under the command of Captain Pellegrin. This was one of the fastest crossings from Brest to Québec and Pellegrin's forty-second crossing.

On November 11, 1757, the frigate was captured by the Unicorn (28) and Chichester (70) of the British Navy.

In the British Service

On January 8, 1758, the frigate was bought by the British Royal Navy. On June 22, she was renamed “Aurora”. In July and August, she was refitted at Portsmouth Dockyard. On October 18, she was commissioned into the Royal Navy.

From April to June 1759, the frigate was refitted at Portsmouth Dockyard. In July, she transported troops from England to Gibraltar.

In the autumn of 1759, the frigate served with the British squadron in the Downs, under Commodore Sir Piercy Brett. In October, when the French squadron of Thurot slipped out of Dunkerque harbour through a thick fog and made to the northward, Brett's squadron was ordered to Yarmouth to protect the coast of England.

In November 1760, the frigate was returned to England to undergo two successive naval surveys. No repairs were carried out.

On January 16, 1761, the frigate was paid paid off and her crew dispersed to other ships

In 1762, the frigate was recommissioned and assigned to coastal patrols and cruising in English home waters and off the coast of France. In December, she was again the subject of a naval survey, and was removed from active service.


Technical specifications
Guns 38
Gundeck 28 x 12-pdrs
Quarterdeck 8 x 18-pdrs
Forecastle 2 x 6-pdrs
Crew 250 men (in 1758)
Length 144 feet (43.89 m)
Width 38 feet 8.5 in (11.59 m)
Depth 15 feet 2 inches (4.58 m)
Displacement 946 tons bm


Deschênes , Ronald; Frégates du Roy de 1682 à 1767, version 2, 2001

Harrison, Simon and Manuel Blasco, Three Decks

Phillips, M., Michael Phillip's 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.


Charles Mayhood