HM Ships Forward and Rover Both vessels were built at the Tweedmouth yard of Joseph Todd and saw action in the Napoleonic Wars. This page includes extracts from Ships of the Old Navy; A history of the sailing ships of the Royal Navy reproduced with the permission of the author Michael Philips. Categories of Warship Sailing warships were rated according to the number of their guns. Only 1st rates, 100 or more guns, 2nd rates, 90 or 94 guns and 3rd rates, 74 or 80 guns, were powerful enough to fight in the line of battle. The frigates had 32, 36, 38 or 40 guns mounted on a single gun deck. Carronades were not included in the rating and in at least one case 20 additional carronades were carried on a vessel rated as a 32- gun ship. Below the 6th rates came the sloops, brigs, gun-brigs, bombs, schooners and cutters which were commanded by either a commander or a lieutenant. The two Berwick-built vessels that saw service in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars came within this category. HMS Forward HMS FORWARD, was a 14 gun vessel of the Archer class built in 1805 Berwick and sold in 1815. She was a two-masted square rigged vessel of 177 tons that would take part in a number of actions detailed below. Lieut. D. SHEILS, North Sea/Downs.At 3 A.M. on 7 February 1806, some 20 miles S.W. by W. of Dunnose FORWARD fell in with a French privateer lugger and captured her after a chase of half an hour. She was the RANCUNE, Capt. Foliot, with only four guns mounted although pierced for sixteen. Two of the enemy were wounded. The privateer had sailed from Cherbourg 12 hours earlier but had taken nothing.On 25 April 1808, off the harbour of Flodsrand, near the Scaw, FORWARD towed into the shore three boats from DAPHNE and two from TARTARUS to attack Danish shipping there.1810 Lieut. Henry BANKES, Leith. On 19 July 1810 FORWARD was some 25 miles S.S.W. of the Naze of Norway escorting a westbound convoy of 42 vessels when, at 2 o'clock in the morning, Lieut. BANKES saw seven vessels which he took to be another convoy. Half an hour later he could see that five of them were brigs of war so he made the challenge, signal No. 279, to them and, on receiving no answer, concluded that they were Danes. He signalled the convoy that an enemy was in sight and that they should stand to the eastward but when the enemy ships hoisted Danish colours and started firing they all brought to and made no attempt to escape. FOWARD was closely pressed by three of the brigs so Lieut. BANKES cut away one of his anchors and blew away his stern boat using his chase guns. After an hour and a half the three brigs gave him a broadside before standing into the convoy so he made all sail towards two other convoys, one under SOLBAY and the other under HEBE, showing signal No. 457 and firing guns to attract their help. The captain of HEBE directed him to join his convoy. 1811 Lieut. Richard BANKS, refitting at Woolwich - North Sea. On the 14 May 1811 FORWARD's boat captured a Danish privateer with two guns and 13 men and on the 29th November he was fortunate enough to be waiting off Christians and when a Danish privateer cutter COMMODORE SULLEN came out. She was captured after a chase of an hour and a half At sunset on 6 October 1813 FORWARD, accompanied by the BARBARA schooner, learnt that a small Danish armed vessel was standing towards an anchorage much frequented by English merchantmen, about 4 miles south of Wingo Sound. Lieut. BANKS in his 5-oared boat with a Swedish pilot, accompanied by Lieut. MORGAN in the schooner's 4-oared gig immediately set off in search of the enemy. At about 9 o'clock she was sighted under sail and, a quarter of an hour later, they attacked her from the starboard bow and larboard quarter. The Danish vessel, a cutter, was taken after a desperate fight in which five of her twenty-five crew were killed and her commander, a lieutenant in the Danish navy, severely wounded. One man in each of the British boats was killed and Lieut. MORGAN and two of his men were wounded. HMS Rover Rover was designated a Cruiser or 'Cruizer' and was built at Berwick in 1808. The Cruiser class were 18-gun brig-sloops. They had the distinction of being the most numerous class of warship built in the age of sail. One hundred and three vessels of this type were built between 1797 and 1815. They played an active role in the Napoleonic Wars taking on various duties including escort duties, reconnaissance as well as raiding enemy convoys and shore positions. Designed with a flush deck and guns arranged on each side, Cruiser class vessels were fast and seaworthy. The original armament for the class was eighteen six-pounder carriage guns. Later, the armament aboard these vessels was changed to sixteen thirty-two pounder carronades and two six-pounder carriage guns. The advantage of the carronades (first produced at the Carron Company ironworks in Falkirk), was that they were much better suited for close quarters action. 1811 Justice FINLEY, 10/10, Channel. In March 1811 ROVER accompanied Sir Joseph YORKE's squadron to Lisbon and on 3O November she captured the French letter of marque COMPTE REGINAUD of 14 guns which was carrying a cargo of spices, sugar and coffee from Batavia to La Rochelle. The French vessel was originally H.M. sloop VINCEJO which had been captured in Quiberon Bay by French gunboats on 8 May 1804.1812 Lieut. Francis Erskine LOCH, acting commander. After a chase of nine hours on 21 October 1812 ROVER detained the American letter of marque schooner EXPERIMENT off Cordoban Light. She was armed with six 9-pounder carronades and carried a crew of 17 men. Thirty-one days out of Charlestown she was bound for Bordeaux with a cargo of cotton and rice. Lieut. LOCH's commission as a commander was confirmed in January 1813 and the following August he moved to SPARROW.1814 William Henry BRUCE. He removed to ROVER from MANLY in October 1814 while on the North American station and was ordered home with dispatches. In 1815 she accompanied Rear Ad. BURLTON as escort to the outward-bound East India trade to the south of the equator and returned to England with a convoy of merchantmen from Barbados. After the battle of Waterloo ROVER was ordered to cruise off Dieppe to prevent Napoleon escaping to America. She was taking dispatches from Lord KEITH to Sir Henry HOTHAM when she met BELLEROPHON off Ushant with the Emperor on board. ROVER was paid off in October 1815 and lay there until 1828 when she was sold out to a private buyer. Sources: Ships of the Old Navy: A history of the sailing ships of the Royal Navy. Michael Philips “HMS Forward (1805).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 1st October 2021, HMS Rover (1808).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 20 April 2021, .
The original drawing for HMS Rover headed, ‘Navy Office draught for building a brig by Joseph Todd of Berwick...’

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