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HMS Castor was a 36-gun fifth rate frigate of the Royal Navy.

Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Castor
Ordered: 13 May 1828
Builder: Chatham Dockyard
Laid down: January 1830
Launched: 2 May 1832
Commissioned: June 1832
Fate: Sold on 25 August 1902
General characteristics
Class and type: 36-gun fifth rate ship of the line
Displacement: 1,808 tons
Tons burthen: 1,283 bm
  • 159 ft (48 m) (overall)
  • 133 ft 8 in (40.74 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 42 ft 6 in (12.95 m)
Draught: 13 ft 6 in (4.11 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Complement: 275
  • 36 guns:
  • Upper gundeck: 22 × 32 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 10 × 18 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 4 × 18 pdrs
  • After later refit:
  • Upper gundeck: 18 × 32 pdrs and 4 × 68-pounders
  • Quarterdeck: 10 × 32 pdr gunnades
  • Forecastle: 4 × 32pdr gunnades

Castor was built at Chatham Dockyard and launched on 2 May 1832. She was one of a two ship class of frigates, built to an 1828 design by Sir Robert Seppings, and derived from the earlier Stag class. The Castor class had a further 13 inches (33 cm) of beam to mount the heavier ordnance. Castor cost a total of £38,292, to be fitted for sea.

Her first captain was Lord John Hay, and by September 1832 Castor was at Lisbon.

On 27 August 1834 she collided with the Revenue Cutter Cameleon off South Foreland, Dover, sinking Cameleon with the loss of most of its crew. This incident led to the Court Martial of officers and crew of Castor on 6 September 1834 in Plymouth. [1][2] The officers were acquitted but the lieutenant of the watch was dismissed from the service, it having been admitted and proven that a proper watch had not been kept.[3]

She took part in the Egyptian–Ottoman War (1839–1841), also known as the Second Syrian War, when the British Mediterranean Fleet under Admiral Sir Robert Stopford, supported the Ottoman Empire and took action to compel the Egyptians to withdraw from Beirut. During the Oriental Crisis of 1840 Castor was involved in the bombardment of St. Jean d’Acre on 3 November 1840.[4] After cruising on the coast of Ireland she was sent out to the East Indies Station;[4] before being decommissioned at Chatham in 1842.

In 1845 Castor was on the China Station under the command of Captain Graham.[4] Officers, seaman and Royal Marines of Castor participated in the siege of Ruapekapeka Pā from 27 December 1845 to 11 January 1846 during the Flagstaff War in New Zealand. Seven sailors were killed in the battle to take the fortified stronghold that was built by the Māori.[4]

In 1852 Castor was on the Cape of Good Hope Station under the command of Commodore Wyvill.[4] She came to the assistance of HM Troopship Birkenhead, when the Birkenhead was wrecked on 26 February 1852.[5]

She was used as a training ship from January 1860, and was a Royal Naval Reserve training ship at North Shields from April 1862, having been reduced to 22 guns. She was sold at Sheerness on 25 August 1902 for breaking up at Castle & Sons breakers yard in Woolwich.[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "HMS Castor".
  3. ^ William Tait; Christian Isobel Johnstone (1834). Tait's Edinburgh Magazine. 1. W. Tait. p. 710.
  4. ^ a b c d e Cowan, James (1922). "Chapter 9: The Capture of Rua-Pekapeka". The New Zealand Wars: a history of the Maori campaigns and the pioneering period, Volume I: 1845–1864. Wellington: R.E. Owen. pp. 73–87.
  5. ^ A Deathless Story by A C Addison and W H M Matthews ISBN 1-84342-057-0
  6. ^ page 121 A Deathless Story by A C Addison and W H M Matthews ISBN 1-84342-057-0