CalendarThese pages list the key dates in the history of the sailing navies of the world.

Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15  
16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

01 December 1842 Execution of three crew members, Midshipman Philip Spencer (the son of Secretary of War John C. Spencer), Boatswain's Mate Samuel Cromwell and Seaman Elisha Small, of USS Somers (10), Cdr. Alexander Slidell Mackenzie, for mutiny
02 December 1703

HMS Mortar bomb (12), Cptn. Beaumont Raymond, ran ashore on the Dutch coast. One of many R.N. ships lost in the Great Storm.

1799 HMS Racoon (16), R. Lloyd, captured French privateer lugger Vrai Decide (14) in the Channel.
1800 HMS Sir Thomas Paisley (14), Lt. Nevin, captured by Spanish gun-vessel off Ceuta.
1840 HMS Zebra (18), Robert Stopford,  wrecked off Mt. Carmel near Haifa.
03 December 1747 HMS Portsmouth storeship (24) lost near the Long Sands top
1775 Lt. John Paul Jones raises the Grand Union flag on Alfred. First American flag raised over American naval vessel.

HMS Victorieuse (12), Edward Stirling Dickson, and HMS Zephyr fireship (10), took surrender of Spanish forts and took 2 brigs at Trinidad.

HMS Kingfisher (18), Lt. Frederick Maitland, wrecked on the bar at the mouth of the Tagus.

1807 HMS Curieux (18), John Sheriff (Killed in Action), engaged privateer Revanche (25) off Barbados.
1810 Capture of Lle de France (Mauritius) by the British.
04 December 1811

Boats of HMS Sultan (74) captured two French national vessels off Bastia, a settee (8) and a brig (6).

HMS Saldanha (36), Cptn. William Packenham, lost in Lough Swilly, Donegal . There were no survivors out of the estimated 253 aboard.

1799 HMS Racoon (16), R. Lloyd, captured lugger Intrepide (16) Cptn. Saillard, in the Channel
05 December 1807 HMS Boreas (22), Cptn. Robert Scott, went down immediately after striking the Hannois Rocks, Guernsey. top
1808 HMS Crescent (36), Cptn. John Temple, wrecked on the coast of Jutland, in a heavy gale.
1812 HMS Plumper (14), Lt. Josias Bray, lost on a ledge of rocks near Dipper Harbour, New Brunswick
1830 HMS Thetis (46), Cptn. Samuel Burgess, wrecked on Cabo Frio, South America.
1843 Launching of USS Michigan at Erie, Penn., America's first iron-hulled warship, as well as first prefabricated ship.
06 December 1804 HMS Morne Fortunee (6), Lt. John Dale, wrecked on Atwood Cay (Samana Cay) to the NE of Crooked Island in the Bahamas. top
1807 British squadron captured Dutch vessels at Java, &c.
07 December 1721 HMS Hind (20) wrecked on the Channel Islands top
1776 Fire in Portsmouth Dockyard.

HMS Perdrix (22), Cptn. William Charles Fahie, captured Armee d'Italie.

HMS Colossus (74), Cptn George Murray, drifted onto a shelf of rocks known as Southern Wells near the island of Sampson, Scilly Isles, after her cables parted in a gale.

1800 HMS Nile (12), Lt. George Argles, and HMS Lurcher (12) captured a 9 ship convoy near St. Gildas.
1810 HMS Rinaldo (10), James Anderson, captured French lugger Maraudeur (14) off Dover.
1817 William Bligh died
08 December 1669 Inconclusive action between Mary Rose and consorts and 7 Algerine Men-of-War, off Cadiz. top
1693 HMS St. Albans (50) wrecked off Kinsale.

The French privateer la Courageux, captured by HMS Rhin (38) Cptn. Charles Malcolm.

1812 HMS Fearless (12), Lt. Henry Lord Richards, wrecked on rocks off St. Sebastian.
1817 HMS Martin Sloop (18), Andrew Mitchell, wrecked on Western coast of Ireland.
1828 HMS Ariel (10), Lt. James Figg, supposedly foundered near Sable Island,off Nova Scotia.
1846 USS Somers (10), Lt. Raphael Semmes, capsized and sank in a sudden storm while chasing a blockade runner off Vera Cruz.
09 December 1707 HMS Margate (24) wrecked off Cartagena top
1806 HMS Adder Gun Brig (12), Lt. Molyneux Shuldham, driven aground on the French coast and captured.
1809 HMS Redpole (10), Colin M'Donald, captured Grand Rodeur (16), Cptn. J. G. Huret, south of Beachy Head.

10 December


HMS Avenger Sloop (16), Francis Jackson Snell, lost running on sand bank at the mouth of the River Jade, Heligoland.

HMS Shannon (36), Cptn. Edward Leverson Gower, wrecked near La Hogue and burnt to avoid capture.

1808 HMS Jupiter (50), Cptn. Henry Edward Reginald Baker, wrecked on reef of rocks in Vigo Bay.
1810 HMS Rosario (10), Booty Harvey, captured French privateer lugger Mameloucke (16), Nobez Lawrence, off Dungeness.
1813 HMS Alphea schooner (10), Lt. Thomas William Jones, engaged French privateer Renard (14) but blew up with all hands.
11 December 1796 HMS Leda (38) foundered by upsetting in a heavy gale, lat. 38° 8´ long. 17° 40´ top
1779 HMS North (18) lost in a storm off Halifax, Nova Scotia
1799 HMS Tremendous and HMS Adamant (50), Cptn. William Hotham, drove ashore French frigate Preneuse (44), Cptn. L'Hermite, ashore about three miles from Port Louis, Mauritius. She struck and was boarded and set on fire by the ships boats. Shortly afterwards she blew up.
1807 HMS Grasshopper (18), Thomas Searle, captured Spanish brig San Josef (12), Don Antonio de Torres Teniento de Navaro, off Cape Palos.
1811 HMS Fancy (12), Lt. Alexander Sinclair, foundered in the Baltic during a violent gale with the loss of all hands.
12 December 1705 HMS Looe (32) wrecked Scatchwell Bay, Isle of Wight. top
1724 Samuel Hood born at Butleigh, Somerset.
1777 HMS Mercury (20), Cptn. James Montagu, wrecked near New York.
1779 HMS Salisbury (50), Cptn. Charles Inglis, took Spanish private ship of war San Carlos (50), Don Juan Antonio Zaveletta, off Porto del Sall, Bay of Honduras.
1782 HMS Mediator (40), Cptn. James Luttrell,engaged enemy line of 3 French and 2 American ships, L'Eugene (36), Cptn. Baudin,  Menagere (26), Cptn. de Foligne, Dauphin Royal (28),  Alexander (24) Cptn. Gregory, and a brig (14), in the Bay of Biscay. Alexander and Menagere were taken.
1808 HMS Circe (32), Cptn. Francis Augustus Collier, and consorts captured and destroyed Cygne (16) and 2 schooners over 2 days off St. Pierre, Martinique.
1810 HMS Entreprenante' (10), Lt. Peter Williams, repulsed four French privateers off the coast of Spain.

French lugger, le Brave (16), captured by HMS Desiree (36), Cptn. Arthur Farquhar.

1823 HMS Arab Sloop (18), Cdr. William Holmes, wrecked off Belmullett, near Broadhaven in the west of Ireland.
1862 Confederate torpedo (mine) sinks USS Cairo in Yazoo River.
13 December 1775 Continental Congress provides for the construction of 5 ships of 32 guns, 5 ships of 28 guns, and 3 ships of 24 guns top
1796 HMS Terpsichore (32), Cptn. Bowen, captured French frigate Vestale (36) Cptn. Foucaud (Killed in Action), off Cadiz.
1806 HMS Halcyon (16), Henry Whitmarsh Pearse, captured Neptune.

Boats of HMS Thetis (38), HMS Pultusk, Cptn. Elliot,  HMS Achates, and HMS Bacchus took Nisus at Basse Terre, Guadaloupe.

HMS Junon (36), Cptn. John Shortland, captured and destroyed by the French frigates Renommee (40), Clorinde (40), Loire (20) and Seine (20).

1810 Boats of HMS Kent (74), Cptn. Thomas Rogers, HMS Ajax (74), Cptn. Robert Waller Otway, HMS Cambrian (40), Cptn. Francis William Fane, HMS Sparrowhawk (18) Cptn. James Pringle and HMS Minstrel (18), Cptn. Colin Campbell took and destroyed a convoy inside the mole of Palamos of a national ketch (14), two xebecs (3) and eight merchant vessels.
1814 Five U.S. gun-boats and a sloop captured over 2 days in Lake Borgne.
14 December 1775 Thomas Cochrane born top
1798 HMS Ambuscade (32), Cptn. Henry Jenkins, captured by French frigate Bayonnaise (32) in the Bay of Biscay.

HMS Melampus (36), Cptn. Edward Hawker, captured brig corvette Bearnaise (16), Lt. Montbazen.

HMS Defender Brig (14), Lt. John George Nops, wrecked near Folkestone.

1814 British squadron, under Admiral Cochrane, captures U.S. gunboats, under Lt. Jones, in Battle of Lake Borgne, LA.
1822 HMS Racehorse (18), William Suckling, wrecked on Langness, the S. E. point of the Isle of Man.
15 December 1708 HMS Cruizer (24) wrecked in the Azores. top
1778 Battle of St. Lucia. British squadron of 7 ships, under Samuel Barrington, engaged French Squadron of 12 ships, under Comte d'Estaing.
1790 William Bligh promoted to Captain.
1803 HMS Suffisante (14), Gilbert Heathcote, wrecked off Spike Island in Cork Harbour.
1808 HMS Flying Fish Schooner (12), Lt. J. G. Goodwin, wrecked on reef to eastward of Point Salines, St. Domingo.
16 December 1803 Boats of HMS Merlin (16), Edward Pelham Brenton, destroyed the grounded British frigate HMS Shannon (36), Cptn. Edward Gower, at Baie des Veys top
1805 HMS Kingfisher (18), Nathaniel Day Cochrane, captured French privateer schooner Elisabeth (14) in the West Indies.
17 December 1717 HMS Sorlings (42) wrecked at Friesland top
1799 HMS Amiable engaged Sirene and Bergere.

HMS Sceptre (74), Cptn. Samuel James Ballard, and consorts took Loire (20) and Seine (20) at Anse la Barque, Guadaloupe.

1810 HMS Rinaldo (10), James Anderson, engaged four French privateers near the Owers. One, Vieux Josephine (16) was sunk and a second which had struck escaped after Rinaldo ran foul of the Owers light vessel.
1846 Ships under Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry capture Laguna de Terminos during Mexican War.
18 December 1762 HMS Temple (70) foundered in the West Indies. top
1779 French squadron of 3 ships of the line, under Count Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte, escorting a 26 ship convoy engaged English squadron of 13 ships of the line and a frigate, under Admiral Hyde-Parker blockading Fort Royal, Martinique.10 of the merchant ships were taken and  4 others ran aground and were burnt.
1793 Evacuation of Toulon by British and Spanish fleets. HMS Conflagration fireship (14), Cdr. John Loring, destroyed to prevent capture, HMS Vulcan fireship (14), Cdr William Edge, destroyed in firing the French ships and HMS Montreal being used as a powder hulk accidentally burnt by the Spaniards.
1804 HMS Starling (12), Lt. George Shotton, went ashore near Calais during a thick fog and blown up to prevent capture.
1810 HMS Nymphe (36), Cptn. Clay, and HMS Pallas (32), Cptn. G. P. Monke, wrecked near Dunbar in the Firth of Forth after the pilots mistook the light from a lime kiln on the coast for the light on the Isle of May and the light on the island for that on the Bell Rock.
1812 HMS Alban (10), Lt. William Sturges Key, wrecked off Aldeborough, Suffolk
1828 HMS Kangaroo Steam-vessel (6), Anthony de Mayne, wrecked South-east of Reef of Hogsties.
19 December 1664 British squadron of 7 ships, under Cptn.Thomas Allin, attacked Dutch Smyrna fleet of 34 merchantmen and escorts off Cadiz. top
1778 French frigate Iphigénie (32) captured HMS Ceres sloop (18), Cdr. James Richard Dacres, off St. Lucia

HMS Courageux (74), Lt. John Burrows (Act.), struck on rocks under Apes' Hill, coast of Barbary.

HMS Minerve (38), Cptn. George Cockburn, Commodore Horatio Nelson, captured Spanish frigate Santa Sabina (40), Cptn. Don Jacob Steuart, and HMS Blanche (32) engaged Ceres which struck but could not be secured. An approaching Spanish squadron drove them off and the prize was retaken.       


HMS Rosamond, Benjamin Walker, captured French national brig Papillon (16), Cptn. De La Genetiere off St. Croix.

1812 HMS Albacore (18), Cptn. Henry Thomas Davies, HMS Pickle (14), Lt. William Figg , HMS Borer (12), Richard Coote, and HMS Landrail (4), Lt. John Bill, engaged Gloire (40), Cptn. Albin-Réné Roussin, off the Lizard
20 December 1761 HMS Biddeford (20), Cptn. Thomas Gordon,  totally wrecked on the Hazeborough Sand near Yarmouth due to the ignorance of the pilot top
1776 British frigate Pearl (32) captured the Continental Navy brig Lexington (14), Cptn William Hallock, off the Delaware capes.
1782 HMS Diomede (44), Cptn. T. L Frederick, took South Carolina (30)
1797 HMS Growler gunboat (12), Lt. John Hollingsworth (Killed in Action), captured off Dungeness by two French privateer luggers Spiègle (10), Cptn Duchesne, and Rusé (8), Cptn Denis Fourmentin.
1799 HMS Lady Nelson (10) taken by French privateers off Cabrita point and retaken by boats of HMS Queen Charlotte (100), Capt. J. Irwin, which witnessed the event whilst lying at Gibraltar.
1804 HMS Tartarus bomb, Thomas Withers, wrecked on the sands in Margate Roads.

Sir Peter Parker, Admiral of the Fleet of England, died

1822 US Congress authorizes the 14-ship West Indies Squadron to suppress piracy in the Caribbean.
1847 HMS Avenger Steam-frigate (10), Cptn. C. E. Napier,  wrecked on the Sorelli Rocks, off the Island of Galita, Mediterranean. The captain and Lt. Marryat, son of Capt. Frederick Marryat, were among those who went down with the ship.
21 December 1796 HMS Bombay Castle (74) wrecked in the Tagus. top
1797 British frigate Phoebe (36), Cptn. Robert Barlow, captured the French frigate Néréide (36), Cptn. Antoine Canon, off the Isles of Scilly
1804 HMS Severn (44), Cptn. Philip d'Auvergne, Prince of Bouillon,  wrecked in Grouville Bay, Jersey,
1807 St. Thomas taken from the Danes by British squadron under Rear Ad. Sir Alexander Cochrane.

His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence, Admiral of the Red, appointed Admiral of the Fleet, vice Sir Peter Parker, Bart, deceased.

1812 Destruction of tower of St. Cataldo, between Brindisi and Ortranto, by boats of HMS Apollo (38), Cptn. Bridges W. Taylor, and HMS Weazle (18), James Black.
1848 HMS Mutine (18), John Palmer, wrecked in the Adriatic near Venice.
22 December 1775 Congress commissions first naval officers top
1809 HMS Salorman (12), Lt. Duncan, lost in the Baltic.
1810 HMS Minotaur (74), Cptn. John Barrett, wrecked on the North Haaks, Texel.
1864 HMS Bombay line of battle screw steamship (64), Cptn. Colin Campbell, caught fire and exploded off Montevideo. 
23 December 1787 HMS Bounty sailed from Portsmouth on fateful yoyage. top
1808 HMS Fama Sloop (18), Lt. Charles Toping, wrecked on Bornholm, Baltic.
1826 Cptn. Thomas Catesby Jones of USS Peacock and King Kamehameha negotiate first treaty between Hawaii and a foreign power.
24 December 1744 HMS Swallow sloop, Cptn. Andrew Jelfe, wrecked in the West Indies top
1789 HMS Guardian (en flute), Lt. Edward Riou, whilst laden with stores for the new settlement at Port Jackson struck an invisible, underwater part of an iceberg and her stern swung round, knocking off the rudder and badly damaging the stern frame. Water-logged and supported by casks in the hold she limped into Table Bay on 21 February 1790.   

HMS Cormorant Sloop (16), Lt. Thomas Goyy, burnt and blown up by accident, at Port-au-Prince, St. Domingo.

1797 HMS Hamadryad (36), Thomas Elphinstone, blown on shore in Algier Bay.
1804 HMS Mallard Gun-boat (12), Lt. George William Miles,due to the neglect of her captain and master grounded near Calais and was captured.
1805 HMS Egyptienne (40), Lt. P. C. Handfield Acting, and HMS Loire (40), Cptn. Frederick Maitland captured French frigate Libre (40), Cptn. Descorches,off Rochefort.
1810 Boats of HMS Diana (38), Capt. Charles Grant, took and burnt French frigate Elize ashore in the Baie de la Hougue

HMS Hero (74), Cptn. James Newman shipwrecked on Hank Sand, off the Texel.

HMS Grasshopper, Cptn Fanshawe, beat clean over the wreck of the Hero, and went ashore. The sloop was instantly taken possession of by the enemy, and the captain and crew made prisoners of war.

HMS St George (98), Cptn. Guion, and bearing the flag of Admiral Reynolds, and HMS Defence (74), Cptn David Atkins, ran aground off Torsminde at the west coast of Jutland and were lost.

1814 Treaty of Ghent ends the War of 1812.
25 December 1689 HMS Centurion (34) wrecked on Mount Batten in Plymouth Sound top
1709 HMS Solebay (24) wrecked on Boston Rock of Lyme Regis
1799 HMS Ethalion (38), Cptn. John Clarke Searle,  wrecked on the Saintes
1807 St. Croix  taken from the Danes by British squadron under Rear Ad. Sir Alexander Cochrane.
1810 HMS Monkey Brig (12), Lt. Thomas Fitzgerald, wrecked on rocks at Bell Isle, France.
26 December 1711 HMS Seahorse (14) wrecked off Dartmouth. top
1799 HMS Viper (12), Lt. Pengelly, captured privateer Furet (14), Louis Bouvet, south of the Dodman.
1808 HMS Bustler Gun-brig (12), Lt. Richard Welch, stranded on shore and taken, Cape Grisnez, France.
1811 HMS Ephira Sloop (10) wrecked on Cochinos Rocks, in passage between Cadiz and Tarifa.
27 December 1756 Court-martial of Admiral Byng began on HMS St. George in Portsmouth Harbour. top

HMS Hussar (28), Cptn. James Colnett, wrecked in a gale of wind to the westward of the Island of Bass, France.

1797 HMS Hunter Sloop (18), Cptn. Tudor Tucker, wrecked on Hog Island, off Virginia.
1831 The Beagle sails from Plymouth with Charles Darwin aboard 
28 December 1706 HMS Romney (54), Cptn. William Coney, HMS Fowey (32) , Cptn. Richard Lestock, and HMS Milford (32), Cptn. Philip Stanhope, took French privateer Content (16) off Malaga. top
1778 HMS Cupid (14), W. Carlyon, foundered off Newfoundland

29 December

1709 HMS Pembroke (60), Cptn. Edward Rumsey (Killed in action), and HMS Falcon Cptn. Charles Constable, taken by French Squadron of three French ships of (70), (60) and (54) guns off the French Mediterranean coast. top
1736 HMS Launceston (42) wrecked on the Dutch coast
1797 HMS Anson (44), Cptn. Philip Charles Durham, captured French corvette Daphne (20) off the coast of France.
1807 HMS Anson (44) lost on sand-bank off Helstone, Falmouth.
1808 HMS Crescent (36), Cptn. John Temple, wrecked off Jutland.

USS Constitution (52), Commodore William Bainbridge, captured and burnt HMS Java (38), Cptn. Henry Lambert (Killed in Action), off the Brazilian coast.

HMS Royalist (18), George Downie, captured French privateer lugger La Ruse (16) off Hythe.

30 December 1794 HMS Blanche (32), Cptn. Robert Faulknor,  silenced a fort at the island of Desirade and captured French national schooner (8). top
1803 HMS Grappler Gun-boat (12), Lt. Able Wontner Thomas, wrecked on the Isle de Chausey, Jersey.
31 December 1748 HMS Wolf (14), Cptn. Veachel, wrecked on the coast of Ireland in high winds. top
1763 Pierre-Charles Villeneuve born
1796 HMS Curlew Sloop (16), Cdr. Francis Ventris Field, foundered in North Sea.
1862 USS Monitor founders in a storm off Cape Hatteras, NC.

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*Dates of events prior to September 1752 may be quoted differently in some countries as both the Julian and Gregorian calendars were in use by countries. Calendars were regularised when Britain passed the Calendar Act of 1751 An Act for Regulating the Commencement of the Year; and for Correcting the Calendar now in Use.

© 2008-2022 David Hayes (Astrodene)