HMS Chatham (1788)

HMS Chatham was a Royal Navy survey brig that accompanied HMS Discovery on George Vancouver's exploration of the west coast of North America in his 1791–1795 expedition.[1] Chatham was built by King, of Dover and launched in early 1788. She was purchased for navy service on 12 February 1788.

Chatham (1788) J0494.jpg
Plan of the upper and lower decks with platforms, for the Chatham
Royal Navy EnsignGreat Britain
NameHMS Chatham
BuilderKing, Dover
Acquired12 February 1788
FateSold in 1830
General characteristics
Class and type4-gun survey brig
Tons burthen133 bm
Length80 ft (24.4 m)
Beam22 ft (6.7 m)
Sail planBrig

The Chatham Islands in the Pacific Ocean are named after the ship, which visited them in 1791.

The Vancouver ExpeditionEdit

Chatham's first significant voyage was Vancouver's five-year mission to the South Seas and Pacific Northwest coast of America. Her commander was Lieutenant William Robert Broughton, with 2nd Lieutenant James Hanson.[2]

In November 1791, while exploring the South Pacific, Broughton's crew were the first Europeans to sight the Chatham Islands, which they named after their ship. Among the other achievements of Chatham's crew was the exploration of the Columbia River as far as the Columbia River Gorge, reaching today's eastern Multnomah County east of Portland and north west of Mount Hood. A plaque erected by the State of Oregon along Interstate 84 commemorates the spot where Broughton landed in 1792.

In November 1792 Chatham's commander was sent back to England with dispatches; Peter Puget was her commander through her return to England on 17 October 1794. Chatham suffered severe wear on her long voyage, and was repaired at Deptford in 1797. She continued in Royal Navy service until 1830, when she was sold in Jamaica.

The lost anchorEdit

In 2008, a scuba fisherman found a 900 lb. anchor off Whidbey Island in Washington State that he and others believe was lost from Chatham on 9 June 1792. Northwest historian Richard Blumenthal stated that, "They indeed found an anchor that fits the description of the anchor lost at that time".[3] In June 2014, the anchor was raised and will be assessed to see if it is actually the sole remaining relic of Capt. George Vancouver’s famed 1792 voyage into Puget Sound.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Naish, John (1996). The Interwoven Lives of George Vancouver, Archibald Menzies, Joseph Whidbey and Peter Puget: The Vancouver Voyage of 1791–1795. The Edward Mellen Press, Ltd. ISBN 0-7734-8857-X.
  2. ^ "Muster Table of His Majesties Sloop The Discovery". Admiralty Records in the Public Record Office, U.K. 1791. Retrieved 15 December 2006.
  3. ^ "Anchor found off Whidbey Island may solve 200-year-old mystery", by Craig Welch, The Seattle Times (Feb 2014) retrieved June 2014
  4. ^ Welch, Craig (10 June 2014). "Anchor hauled up; is it 222-year-old relic from Vancouver's fleet?". Seattle Times. Retrieved 15 June 2014.

External linksEdit