Gunboat No. 28
Built in 1797, Northfleet.
Lost in 1803.
- Armed with two 24-pounder and ten 18-pounder carronades.
- 1799 Lieut. PATEY, Jersey.
GRAPPLER arrived in Plymouth on 26 February 1802 and paid off.
Her crew were discharged as supernumeraries into CAMBRIDGE and RESOLUE in the Hamoaze.
- 1803 Lieut. OONFIDINE.
He died in the spring of 1803.
Lieut. Able Wontner THOMAS, Guernsey.
On 23 December 1803 GRAPPLER, under the orders of Ad. Sir James SAMAREZ, sailed from Guernsey to take four French prisoners, two old men and two women, to Granville and release them.
The same evening a gale forced Lieut. THOMAS to take shelter in a difficult anchorage under the island of Maitre, one of the Iles Chausey.
The gale continued for some days and it was not until the 30th. that the weather moderated sufficiently to attempt a return to Guernsey, his prisoners agreeing to be left on the island if he provided them with a boat and provisions.
Unfortunately, while getting under weigh, a hawser parted and GRAPPLER drifted on to a half-tide rock, breaking in two as the tide dropped.
- Lieut. THOMAS sent the master and eight men to Jersey in the cutter for assistance, then set the remaining 34 to removing the provisions, small arms and ammunition from the wreck, and getting as many guns as they could manage ashore.
In a short time he had established a three gun battery and considered that he would be able to maintain his position on the rock if attacked.
When several small fishing boats approached he decided, to preserve the knowledge of his presence from the French at Granville, to secure them, and took out the cutter with 14 men.
As they rounded the rocks they were surprised by three chasse-maree full of men.
Lieut. THOMAS immediately advanced to attack them but the boat came under fire from some soldiers which had been landed previously and he was struck in the face by a musket ball.
The lieutenant and his boat's crew were made prisoners and the remainder, after a little firing, soon surrendered, the enemy force numbering 160 men under Capt. Epiron of the French Navy.
- Ad. SAUMAREZ pleaded for their liberation because they were sailing under flag of truce, but this was rejected by the French, who said that in that case they should have asked for help instead of attacking.
Lieut. THOMAS faced 10 years as a prisoner of war, but he was promoted to commander after his honourable acquittal by court martial and he was voted a sword to the value of 200 guineas by the City of London.
He died in July 1851.