Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Royal New Zealand Navy



1782: Reduction of Accra and other Dutch forts on the Gold Coast.

The first Leander was a fourth rate ship of 1000 tons and mounted 52 guns, her complement being 340. In 1783, while on convoy duty in the West Indies, she sighted a French ship of the line and with great daring engaged her more powerful adversary. The enemy, on attempting to board, was repulsed with great slaughter. After two hours' desperate fighting, though reduced to a wreck, three times set on fire, and repeatedly attacked by boarders, she put the Frenchman to flight.

When Nelson made his ill-fated attack on Santa Cruz in 1797 (when he lost his arm), Leander formed one of his squadron. The following year she fought in the Battle of the Nile and, a fortnight later, was entrusted by Nelson to take home the news of his victory. As bad luck would have it, Leander fell in with a French ship of the line, the Genereux, whose broad-side was double and whose crew was treble that of Leander. Nothing daunted, Leander engaged the enemy. After a gallant action lasting six hours she was forced to surrender. She could not strike her colours as no mast was left standing, so a French Jack was bent on to a boarding pike. Of her crew, already depleted from the Battle of the Nile, 100 were killed or wounded. The captain lost his leg. The Genereux had 300 casualties. The captain, Captain T. B. Thompson, was court-martialled for the loss of his ship and subsequently knighted for his gallantry.

The ship's crest and motto are derived from this action.

1799: Leander was taken from the French by a Russian and Turkish force at the capture of Corfu and was restored to Britain by the Russian Emperor.

1805: In February Leander captured the French Ville de Milan (48 guns) with her prize taken a week previously, the British Cleopatra (38 guns).

1817: The ship was sold for £2100.