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SPITFIRE (16) Fireship Built in 1783, Ipswich.
Sold in 1825.

  • 1793 Capt. DURHAM.
    On 19 February 1793 he sent off his boats against a privateer sloop and two other sloops near Dieppe.
    The fire from some 2,000 troops ashore with field pieces made it impossible to bring the prizes off but they managed to knock the privateer to pieces and set fire to the other two vessels which were laden with brandy.
  • On 27 April 1793 SPITFIRE fell in with two French armed brigs and engaged them for half an hour under the fort at Cherbourg before being forced to break off to avoid going ashore.
  • 1798 Michael SEYMOUR, re-fitting at Plymouth.
  • Capt. SEYMOUR retook the SYBILLE of Dartmouth, Capt. Jeremiah Cruso, in the Channel on 27 December 1798. She had been captured two days before by the French privateer schooner VIGILANT while taking bullocks and sheep to Guernsey.
    SYBILLE had a narrow escape from the same privateer off Start Point while returning to Plymouth.
  • SPITFIRE took the armed transport WILDING (14) in the Bay of Biscay on 28 December 1798.
    The prize, manned by seamen from line of battle ships, had been taking firewood for the French Navy from Abrevrac to Brest under the escort of the LEVERETTE gun vessel which parted company.
    The WILDING was a captured British ship formally in the West Indies trade.
  • In March 1799 the agent,J. Hawker esq., paid the foremast men of SPITFIRE nearly 40 pounds each.
    One man spent it in two days and finished up owing his landlady 15 guineas.
    During a violent gale on 31 March she captured the new French privateer brig RESOLUE (14) of St. Malo
  • On 18 April 1800 an American vessel, A. B. C., was plundered by a privateer two hours before being boarded by SPITFIRE.
    When Capt. SEYMOUR learnt of the privateer he left her to make her own way into Plymouth and went off on a long chase.
    Finally he caught up with and captured a fine privateer brig, the HEUREUSE SOCIETE (14) which had been out for 14 days.
    He took her into Plymouth on the 20th.
  • In May SPITFIRE sailed through a severe gale on the 16th. to arrive safely in Guernsey.
    Thirty miles S. S.E.
    of Scilly on the 19 June 1800 SPITFIRE captured a French privateer brig, the HEUREUX COURIER of Granville. She was armed with sixteen brass French 6-pounders and returning from her first cruise to the westward after making three captures, two Newfoundland brigs and a Portuguese schooner, which had had been cut out at St. Michael's.
    The last was recaptured by the TARTAR privateer of Guernsey
  • SPITFIRE returned to Plymouth on 14 July from a cruise off the Isle Bas. She then sailed to cruise against smugglers and captured the THREE FRIENDS, lugger, with 150 ankers of spirits. She had landed part of her cargo at Polperro but several boats were taken in endeavouring to escape and one smuggler was killed.
    The prize was brought into Plymouth on 4 August.
  • Towards the end of September SPITFIRE, now commanded by Capt. KEEN, detained the American ROBUST, on passage from Baltimore to Amsterdam, and put a mate and six men on board as a prize crew to take her into Plymouth.
    While three men were aloft trimming the sails and two in the hold stowing the cable tier, the Americans, armed with pistols, seized the steersman and the prize-master, who was having breakfast, and threatened to shoot the men aloft if they did not give up the ship.
    Off the Eddystone they were forced into a boat and, after a long pull, got into Salcombe.
    The ROBUST continued to Amsterdam.
  • SPITFIRE brought the ANNA, bound for Philadelphia from Amsterdam into Plymouth on 3 October.
  • During 20 21 March 1801 it blew a hurricane in the Channel.
    SPITFIRE, SUFFISANTE and RENARD had to ride it out before seeking shelter in Jersey
  • In July 1801 a court martial was held on board the flag ship CAMBRIDGE in the Hamoaze to try Mr BAMFIELD, purser of the SPITFIRE, on a charge of disobedience of his captain's orders.
    Although the charge was fully proved, several officers testified to his excellent character and he was reinstated with the loss of a year's pay.
  • On 17 January 1802 SPITFIRE and WEAZLE were ordered to fit-out and victual for foreign service and on the 21st. a messenger came by express from the Admiralty to Plymouth with orders for a fast sloop to be ready to sail at a moments notice with dispatches for the Straits so WEAZLE and SPITFIRE went out into the Sound, still very rough from a gale the previous night, to await orders.
    WEAZLE sailed the following day but SPITFIRE had to wait for orders until 6 February when she and HUNTER were ordered to sail on the next fair wind against smugglers.
    They left the Sound the following morning for the St. Georges Channel.
  • In the spring of 1803 orders were received to put the vessels in Plymouth on a war footing and on 16 March the crew of SPITFIRE were drafted to assist with rigging the ships in the Hamoaze.
    The following day Ad. Lord KEITH arrived and his flag was hoisted on board CULLODEN.
    He succeeded Rear-Ad. DACRE whose flag was struck and removed to SPITFIRE.
    SPITFIRE was paid off and laid up in ordinary at Sheerness on 30 August 1804 and she remained out of commission through 1805.
  • 1806 Lieut. PARRY (act), Downs.
    On 28 December 1806 he recaptured the English trading brig FRIENDSHIP, which had been taken by the French luggers DEUX FRERES and ESPOIR, and sent her in to the Downs.
    Shortly after he gave chase to a lugger which would not surrender until her captain and her third officer had been killed and four men wounded.
    (One of these had his arm amputated by SPITFIRE's surgeon). She proved to be the DEUX FRERES, with only four of her 14 guns mounted.
    Unfortunately the master and crew of the FRIENDSHIP had been taken into the ESPOIR which had escaped.
  • 1807 H. S. BUTT, Downs.
    John ELLIS, Sheerness.
  • 1811 Ditto, Channel.
  • 1812 Ditto, Portsmouth.
  • SPITFIRE was with the frigate ALEXANDRIA off North Cape on 19 July 1813 and chased the American raider PRESIDENT and her consort, the schooner SCOURGE, away from a British convoy out of Archangel.
    The American Captain RODGERS excused his behaviour by claiming that he had fled from a battleship and a frigate.
  • 1814 Ditto, to Africa.
  • 1815 James

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