HMS Ferret

Naval Database

| Previous Page | Next Page | Index

Ferret, 1840
Type: Brig - Sloop ; Armament 8
Launched : at Plymouth 1 Jun 1840 ; Disposal date or year : 29 Mar 1869
Disposal Details : Wrecked off Dover pier. All saved ; Lt. Hilary Mansell Carré.
BM: 358 tons
Notes:

1 Oct 1840 Plymouth, was commissioned on Monday, by Lieutenant W. S. Thomas.

3 Oct 1840, Clerk John Haddock appointed.

5 Nov 1840 went from the harbour into Barnpool, on Monday.

7 Nov 1840 Second Master John D. Taylor, appointed.

2 Dec 1840 has left Plymouth for the Irish ports to recruit volunteer seamen for general service among the ships fitting out for foreign service.

31 Dec 1840 Plymouth, is recruiting men at Talbot in Ireland.

Per a report made to Parliament in 1842, at some time during 1841 the Brig Ferret, 10 guns, Complement: 65, was involved in combatting the Slave Trade and experienced 3 Deaths by Accident, Total No of Deaths: 4, and I assume that the balance of deaths will be made up from those men who died from disease.

2 Jan 1841 Mate William C. Willie (1837) appointed to the Albert steamer, vice Mate Francis Marten (1837) appointed.

19 Sep 1841 Plymouth, arrived Plymouth Sound from the coast of Africa.

30 Sep 1841 Plymouth, was taken into dock to have her bottom examined having got on shore : the results from the inquiry into the circumstances of her grounding have yet to be published.

2 Oct 1841 Acting Master J Warner, appointed.

16 Oct 1841 Assistant-Surgeon Dr. M. Burton, appointed.

20 Nov 1841 Mate C. J. Hoffmeister, appointed to Ferret.

30 Nov 1841 paid off all standing at Plymouth.

1 Dec 1841 recommissioned at Plymouth, by Commander Josiah Oake, appointed in command.

11 Dec 1841 Clerk in Charge Francis Munday appointed.

18 Dec 1841 Lieutenant R. K. Jerkins ; Assistant-Surgeon William Rogers (b), appointed.

23 Dec 1841 Plymouth, in Commission in Harbour.

25 Dec 1841 it is reported at Plymouth that she is under orders for the Coast of Africa, and will soon be ready.

3 Jan 1842 went out of harbour, into Plymouth Sound, to prepare for her passage etc. to the Coast of Africa.

11 Jan 1842 was paid an advance of wages, which suggests she should be departing shortly.

17 Jan 1842 departed Plymouth, for the Coast of Africa.

16 Feb 1842 at Sierra Leone and shortly due to join the Madagascar.

3 Mar 1842 at Cape Coast Castle.

26 Mar 1842 arrived at Sierra Leone with 36 African natives, transferred from the Maidstone, who received them from the Dutch Governor, the slaves having come ashore when their vessel was wrecked and they were sent to the Dutch Fort at Elmina, probably late of the Vencedora.

5 May 1842 was reported to be cruising on the Sierra Leone station when the Termagant departed Princes Island for England.

19 Sep 1844 departed St. Helena, having refitted the ship and given liberty on shore to the ship's company.

28 Sep 1844 detained in Lat. 9° 54' S. Long. 9° 18' E., the Brazilian slave vessel Aventura, 69 tons, condemned at the Mixed British and Brazilian Court at Sierra Leone on 13 Nov 1844.

30 Sep 1844, at sea, when writing to his senior officer, Captain Jones, in the Penelope, regarding the capture of the Aventura.

24 Oct 1844, at St Paul de Loanda. Commanding Officer of the Ferret noted as Senior Officer of the Congo Division by the Captain of the Penelope.

2 Mar 1845 detained in lat. 5° 9' S. long 9° 39' E., off Loango, the Brazilian slave brigantine Oliveira, 75 tons, Manoel Martins Ramos, master, condemned at the Mixed British and Brazilian Court at Sierra Leone on 5 Apr 1845.

21 Apr 1845 detained in Lat. 5° 40' S Long. 4° 7' E., off Cabenda, an unknown slave brigantine, 130 tons, with 685 slaves on board, 52 of whom died prior to the adjudication of the vessel and emancipation of the negroes which took place at Sierra Leone on 28 May 1845. 8 Jun 1847 the proceeds arising due for payment.

6 May 1845 detained in Lat. 5° 45' S Long. 11° 26' E. the slave vessel Conceicao Feliz, Joao Pereira, master, 47 tons, condemned at the Mixed British and Brazilian Court at Sierra Leone on 30 May 1845.

Jul 1845 returned to England.

28 Jul 1846 when in company with the Cygnet detained in lat. 10° 24' S. long. 13° 0' E., in the vicinity of Ambriz a slave brigantine, Name Unknown, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and on 3 Sep 1846 sentenced to be condemned. 19 Jul 1848 the proceeds arising due for payment.

28 Oct 1846 the Cygnet and Ferret detained the slave vessel Paquete de Rio, 74 tons, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at Sierra Leone and sentenced to be condemned.

24 Jun 1847 detained the slave vessel Forao, 83 tons, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and sentenced to be condemned.

2 Jul 1847 detained the slave vessel San Sebastiono, 54 ft. long, 17˝ ft. broad, 7 ft deep ; 66 tons (foreign), which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and sentenced to be condemned.

19 Jul 1847 detained the slave vessel Faisco, 191 tons, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and sentenced to be condemned.

28 Aug 1847 detained the slave vessel Maria de Gloria, 57 ft. long , & 17˝ ft broad, 8˝ ft. deep; 71 tons, which was destroyed as unseaworthy and the case sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at Sierra Leone and sentenced to be condemned.

10 Sep 1847 detained the slave vessel Faceironha, 37 tons, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at Sierra Leone and sentenced to be condemned.

11 Dec 1847 detained the slave vessel Malaga, 167 tons, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at Sierra Leone and sentenced to be condemned.

10 Feb 1848 detained the slave vessel Paguseira, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and sentenced to be condemned.

22 Mar 1848 detained the slave vessel Cazualidaoe, 248 tons, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and sentenced to be condemned.

22 Mar 1848 detained the slave vessel Flor de Marium, 149 tons, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and sentenced to be condemned.

11 May 1848 detained the slave vessel Anna Carolina, 130 tons, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and sentenced to be condemned.

11 May 1848 detained the slave vessel Pacquete de Cabo, 83˝ tons, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and sentenced to be condemned.

10 Jun 1848 detained the slave vessel Castro the Third, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and sentenced to be condemned.

20 Dec 1848 Devonport

8 May 1850 Slave and tonnage bounties, proceeds of hull &c., and sale of chronometer, as appropriate, for Forao, San Sebastiono, Faisco, Maria de Gloria, Faceironha and Malaga, now available for payment.

24 Jul 1850 Slave bounty for Paguseira ; tonnage bounty and sale of chronomter for Cazualidaoe ; tonnage bounty for Flor de Marium and Anna Carolina ; tonnage bounty and proceeds of hull &c., for Pacquete de Cabo, and Castro the Third, now payable.

11 Mar 1853 reports that she had remained at Lagos to await the arrival of the steam-packet Faith and received information from Lieutenant Francis P. Coull, R.N., Admiralty Agent on board the packet, that there may be a slave schooner in the New Calabar River.

17 Mar 1853 arrived off the bar of the Bonny, but owing to the tremendous swell no pilots would come off to take the ship's boats up the river to the New Calabar River.

18 Mar 1853 with the help of the master of the merchant vessel Scotland, Mr. Watt, the boats were taken into the River Bonny from whence they arrived in the New Calabar River by sunset, where they detained the slave schooner Restaurada, Juan Coll, master, which was showing no colours and was in every respect ready for the reception of slaves. The master stated he had paid 128 doubloons for a cargo of slaves, on account for 24 days, but they were never supplied due to the Chief's duplicity in also informing the authorities, and that sum has now been extracted from the Chief and is included with the assets belonging to the prize.

22 Mar 1853 owing to the difficulty in crossing the two bars it took some days to get the Restaurada out of the river system to sea. She departed for Sierra Leone with a prize crew on 23 Mar for adjudication in the Vice-Admiralty Court at Sierra Leone, and on 3 May 1853 was sentenced to be forfeited, per 2 & 3 Vict., cap. 73.

23 Mar 1853 departed the bar of the River Bonny for Fernando Po where she arrived on 26 Mar to find the Volcano already there.

13 Apr 1853 departed Fernando Po and would appear to have departed for Sierra Leone to pick up the prize crew where a message from the Britomart was waiting, stating that Governor Hill was in need of assistance at Cape Coast Castle, and the wind blowing conveniently departed that afternoon for Little Popoe to land 4 of the prize crew who were ill.

25 Apr 1853 at Cape Coast Castle.

11 May 1853 at Ascension.

20 May 1854 on the receipt of information received at Sierra Leone that a slave vessel was preparing to take a cargo of slaves out of the River Pongas departed immediately and anchored off the bar. The ship's boats were lowering and preparations made to head upstream to search for the slaver.

23 May 1854 owing the the civil war that was raging in the region of the river, none of the facilities that had been built up in quieter times were now available and it was 3 days, up a long and tortuous creek before the vessel was discovered, moored in a mangrove swamp, with no papers or colours. From the remaining crew on board it was learnt that the vessel had arrived from New York with a general cargo flying the US flag and was known as the Manuelita, previously called the Mary Jane Peek before being sold to a Spaniard. There being sufficient equipment on board to justify the schooner's detention she was taken down river and to Sierra Leone for adjudication, where she was condemned on 5 June. The Captain finds it worth noting
I consider it my duty to bear testimony to the steady conduct and extreme endurance of the officers and men employed on this service, pulling from 5 A.M. to 11 P.M. for three days, an extricating the vessel from the position in one day, which it had taken the crew, aided by the natives in large canoes, seven to place her in, under the influence of a burning sun in one of the most pestilential rivers on this coast, and particularly to the able assistance I received from Mr. C. C. Robinson, Acting Lieutenant of this ship. I am happy to state that not a single instance of fever has resulted therefrom.

5 Jun 1854 Departed Ascension for Accra.

19 Jun 1855 detained a slave brig, Name Unknown.

4 Feb 1856 Devonport. Commander C Leckie. Having been in commission for 3 years and 9 months, will be paid-off tomorrow.

19 May 1859 Commissioned for Service on the Home Station as a Training Brig.

1860 tender to Sans Pareil at Queenstown

1864 Home Station. Report of Small Pox onboard. Number of Cases of Disease and Injury.

29 Mar 1869 Wrecked off Dover pier.


A court-martial subsequently took place on board the Duke of Wellington, at Portsmouth, for the trial of Lieutenant Hilary Carré, and the officers and crew for the loss of the training brig Ferret, on the 29th March 1869.

Following the opening of the court, after the customary preliminaries had been carried out, the Court received the written statement by Lieutenant H. Carré addressed to the commanding officer of the flotilla despatched to Dover last Easter, which was read to the Court and received as evidence and reads as follows:-

" Sailors' Home, Dover, March 29, 1869.

" Sir,--
" In compliance with your orders of the 24th inst., on arriving at Dover on the 26th I proceeded to the Admiralty buoy and secured the Ferret to it with her starboard bower chain.

" We remained at the buoy safely all Saturday and Sunday, though it blew at times with great violence from the N.E. and S.E. There was every reason to believe that the moorings were quite capable of holding the brig; even in a heavy gale.

" About 8 p.m. on Sunday, finding the barometer falling, I sent the topgallantmasts down, pointed yards to the wind and placed the anchor watch, as a precaution, the weather being then fine. On going below for the night I left orders to be called if the wind freshened.

" About 10 a.m. on Monday, as I was making my way on deck, a heavy squall struck the brig and parted the mooring chain under the buoy. The port anchor was let go by the anchor watch, but the wind and heavy sea cause the anchor to drag,, and shortly after the brig struck the Admiralty pier with her port broadside, her head being towards the town.

" In a very few minutes the port quarter boat, with the brig's quarter and chains, were smashed to pieces against the pier, as the waves lifted the ship up and down, and occasionally threw her with great violence against the pier.

" It was evident that the brig could not stand this for long, so I ordered a bluelight to be burnt, and directed the boys to leave the brig at once, at the same time ordering Navigating Sub-Lieutenant Drake to see all the boys off the lower deck. Navigating Sub-Lieutenant Roe, with some of the men, were assisting the boys (who were perfectly panic-stricken) to scale the side of the pier, it being nearly low water. With a few bands I squared the mainyard and sent some of the boys out of the ship that way.

" The boys being all out of the brig, and seeing there was no hope of doing anything, I ordered the men and officers to get on shore and shortly followed myself.

" The day was now breaking, and a tug came in and offered her assistance, which I at once accepted, wishing to save the brig if possible. Accompanied, therefore, by the navigating and sub-lieutenants, the boatswain, and the men, I regained with difficulty the deck of the brig. We succeeded in getting the tug's large hawser on board, and secured it round the foremast. The tug then commenced steaming, and the brig's port chain was slipped ; but the tug could make no progress whatever, and, the hawser being parted or let go, the brig drove along the pier with a tremendous sea astern of her, which occasionally broke in board, until she finally bilged and went down. This effort having failed, all hope being now entirely at an end, I again ordered the brig to be cleared, and left her myself shortly afterwards.

" The gale continuing with much violence, the brig broke up and became a complete wreck at about 10.30 in the forenoon. No stores of any kind could be saved, for the seas were making a clean breach over them. Neither officers nor crew saved anything beyond what they stood in when they left the ship.

" On landing, the boys were taken on board the Breeze mail packet, on the lee side of the pier, out of the wet and cold. They were afterwards lodged and fed at the Dover Sailors' Home, although the Home at the time was full of Volunteers, and I take this opportunity of bringing to their Lordships' notice the great kindness and attention with which the boys and crew were cared for by the secretary and officers of the Home.

" We are greatly indebted to the captains and crews of the mail steamers Breeze and Maid of Kent for their very prompt assistance in throwing ropes from the top of the pier, by which a large portion of the crew of the Ferret were saved.

" The Coastguard, under the command of Navigating Sub Lieutenant Morrison, were speedily on the spot with their lines and lifebelts, which fortunately were not required, as the crew were already on shore.

" In conclusion. I wish to bear favourable testimony to the behaviour of the officers and men under my command while they were engaged in carrying out my instructions under these trying circumstances.

" I have the honour to be, &c.,
" Hilary Carré, Lieutenant-Commander.

Further evidence on all points in the statement were received and at the conclusion the Court adjourned, and on its being reopened the Deputy Judge Advocate announced its finding to the effect that no blame was attached to Lieutenant-Commander Hilary M Carré or the officers and crew of the Ferret, the Court finding that the loss was caused by the chain of the Admiralty buoy which parted during the gale.