Unicorn (28)

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Navies >> British Navy >> Unicorn (28)

Origin and History

The frigate was built by Benjamin Slade at the Plymouth dockyards and launched on December 7 1748.

From March 1749 to June 1752, the frigate served in the Mediterranean . In 1750, the frigate captured the French frigate Hermione and brought her to Plymouth. In September 1753, she returned to the Mediterranean.

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

  • at the beginning of 1756: captain James Galbraith
  • in 1756: captain John Rawling
  • from October 17 1757: captain Edwards
  • in 1759: captain Thomas Graves
  • in 1760-61: captain John Hunt

The frigate was broken up at Sheerness dockyard on December 9 1771.

Service during the War

In 1756, the frigate cruised the Channel. On May 18, she engaged the French privateer Invincible (28). Captain Rawling was killed during the engagement which lasted for 2 ½ hours. Finally, the French privateer surrendered. A few days later, the frigate captured another French privateer: the Comtesse de Noailles (14) from Bordeaux.

On November 11 1757, the frigate captured the French frigate Abénaquise (38).

In July 1758, the frigate was part of lord Anson's squadron cruising off Brest to observe the movements of the French fleet.

On July 2 1759, the frigate 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. In the afternoon of Tuesday July 3, Rodney arrived in the bay of Le Havre and steered his fleet into the channel of Honfleur. On July 4 at sunrise Rodney 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. 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.

On January 6 1761 at 8:00 AM, the frigate sighted the French frigate Vestale (30) off the Pennmarks, heading for Brest and gave chase. At 10:30 AM, she engaged her. At 12:30 PM, the French frigate struck. Captain Hunt was killed during the engagement where the Unicorn (28) lost 5 men killed and 10 wounded. On January 10, she relieved the Seahorse (24) who had been engaged by a French frigate. Upon their return to England, the Vestale (30) was incorporated into the Royal Navy under the name of HMS Flora.

To do: more details on the campaign from 1760 to 1762


Technical specifications
Guns 28
Gundeck 24 x 9-pdrs
Quarterdeck 4 x 3-pdrs
Forecastle none
Crew 180-200 men
Length at gundeck 117 ft (35.92 m.)
Width 33 ft 8 in (10.26 m.)
Depth 10 ft 2 in (3.10 m.)
Displacement 581 tons


Blasco, Manuel, British 6th Rates, 3 Decks Wiki

Phillips, M., Michael Phillip's 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.