HMS Imperieuse (1793)
|Ordered:||27 November 1785|
|Laid down:||February 1786|
|Launched:||11 July 1787|
|Captured:||11 October 1793|
|Career (United Kingdom)|
|Acquired:||11 October 1793|
|Renamed:||HMS Unite on 3 September 1803|
|Reclassified:||Harbour service from 1832|
|Fate:||Broken up January 1858|
|Tons burthen:||700 (bm)|
French service and capture
In 1788, she cruised in the Middle East, and the Aegean Sea the two following years. She performed another cruise off the Middle East before returning to Toulon. On 11 October 1793, Impérieuse was captured off La Spezia by HMS Captain and the Spanish ship of the line Bahama.
Imperieuse entered service in 1795, and operated in the West Indies off Martinique and Surinam for most of the French Revolutionary Wars, under the command of Captain John Poo Beresford. Imperieuse returned to Britain at the Peace of Amiens.
Imperieuse was renamed Unite and when the Napoleonic Wars began returned to service in the Mediterranean. The frigate was under the command of Captain Chaloner Ogle as one of Nelson scouts, but not present at Trafalgar; instead, she lay dismasted in Lisbon harbour.
Unité, Melpomene and Weazel shared in the capture of the Buona Esperanza on 19 July 1807 and the Bizzaro, on 21 August. The bankruptcy of the prize agents meant that some prize money was not distributed until 21 years later, in 1828. The fourth and final payment for Bizzarro did not occur until July 1850.[Note 1]
Under Captain Patrick Campbell Unite was the first frigate to enter the Adriatic Sea and during the spring of 1808 captured a string of French and Italian gunboats and coastal merchant vessels, notably the Jeulie.
On 19 May 1810 Unite captured the French privateer Du Guay Trouin of 10 guns and 116 men.
By 1811 Unite was still operating in the Mediterranean, under Captain Chamberlayne.
On 31 March 1811, Unite and Ajax encountered a French squadron comprising the frigates Adrienne and Amélie, and the armed transport French corvette Dromadaire. Ajax captured Dromadaire, while the frigates managed to escape to Portoferraio. Captain Otway of Ajax reported that Dromadaire was frigate-built and sailed remarkably well. Her cargo consisted of 15,000 shot and shells of various sizes and 90 tons of gunpowder. Apparently Napoleon Bonaparte intended them as a present for Hammuda ibn Ali, the Bey of Tunis. Admiral Sir Charles Cotton, commander in chief of the British Mediterranean Fleet, decided to buy her and her stores for the Royal Navy.
Through the summer Unite operated off the mouth of the Tiber and in the autumn she was once again sent to the Adriatic, participating in the Action of 29 November 1811 at which she captured the armed storeship Persanne.
Post-war and fate
By 1815, Unite was back in Britain in reserve at Deptford and she remained there until converted for harbour service in 1832. Between 1841 and 1858, she was used as a prison hulk. The ship was eventually broken up in January 1858 at Chatham Dockyard.
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
- Marshall, John (1823-1835) Royal naval biography, or, Memoirs of the services of all the flag-officers, superannuated rear-admirals, retired-captains, post-captains, and commanders, whose names appeared on the Admiralty list of sea officers at the commencement of the present year 1823, or who have since been promoted ... (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown).
- Ships of the Old Navy