HMS Dictator was a 64-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 6 January 1783 at Limehouse.[3] She was converted into a troopship in 1798, and broken up in 1817.[3]

Dictator (1783) RMG J3646.png
Plan showing the body plan, sheer lines with inboard detail, and longitudinal half-breadth for Dictator (1783). The plan may represent her as built in 1783.
Royal Navy EnsignUK
Name: HMS Dictator
Ordered: 21 October 1778
Builder: Batson, Limehouse
Laid down: May 1780
Launched: 6 January 1783
Honours and
Fate: Broken up in 1817
General characteristics [3]
Class and type: Inflexible-class ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1379 (bm)
Length: 159 ft (48 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 44 ft 4 in (13.51 m)
Depth of hold: 18 ft 10 in (5.74 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
  • Gundeck: 26 × 24-pounder guns
  • Upper gundeck: 26 × 18-pounder guns
  • QD: 10 × 4-pounder guns
  • Fc: 2 × 9-pounder guns


French Revolutionary WarsEdit

At the "Reduction of Trinidad" in 1797 Dictator participated in the later stages, not having arrived until 18 February, the prize money awarded reflecting this late arrival.[4]

On 8 March 1801, whilst disembarking the army at the Battle of Aboukir during the French campaign in Egypt, one seaman was killed and a midshipman, Edward Robinson, fatally wounded.[5]
Prize money for the capture of enemy ships was usually shared with other warships in the squadron between 1801 and 1806.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

Because Dictator served in the navy's Egyptian campaign between 8 March 1801 and 2 September, her officers and crew qualified for the clasp "Egypt" to the Naval General Service Medal that the Admiralty issued in 1847 to all surviving claimants.[Note 1]

Napoleonic WarsEdit

In the late summer of 1807, Dictator was part of Admiral Gambier's fleet in the Øresund at the Battle of Copenhagen where she shared prize money with some 126 other British naval ships.[13] She was again in Danish Waters the following year, in Admiral Hood's squadron of four ships-of-the-line[14][15] together with some smaller vessels, tasked with maintaining the blockade between Jutland and Zealand. Her captain, Donald Campbell, ordered the sloop HMS Falcon to proceed on her successful patrols to Samsø, Tunø and Endelave.[16]
In August 1809 Dictator was tasked with the occupation of the Pea Islands to the east of Bornholm but ran aground en route and had to be towed back to Karlskrona for repairs.[17]

In early July 1810, during the Gunboat War with Denmark-Norway, Dictator, in company with Edgar and Alonzo, sighted three Danish gunboats commanded by Lieutenant Peter Nicolay Skibsted, who had captured Grinder in April of that year. The gunboats (Husaren, Løberen, and Flink) sought refuge in Grenå, on eastern Jutland, where a company of soldiers and their field guns could provide cover. However, the British mounted a cutting out expedition of some 200 men in ten ships’ boats after midnight on 7 July, capturing the three gunboats.[18][19][20][Note 2]

In 1812 Dictator led a small squadron consisting of three brigs, the 18-gun Cruizer-class brig-sloop Calypso, 14-gun brig-sloop Podargus and the 14-gun gun brig Flamer. On 7 July they encountered the Danish-Norwegian vessels Najaden, a frigate finished in 1811 in part with parts salvaged from a ship-of-the-line destroyed in earlier battles, and three brigs, Kiel, Lolland and Samsøe. Najaden was under the command of Danish naval officer Hans Peter Holm (1772–1812)[22] In the subsequent Battle of Lyngør Dictator destroyed Najaden and the British took Laaland and Kiel as prizes but had to abandon them after the two vessels grounded. The action cost Dictator five killed and 24 wounded. In 1847 the surviving British participants were authorized to apply for the clasp "Off Mardoe 6 July 1812" to the Naval General Service Medal.

War of 1812Edit

HMS Dictator was among Admiral Alexander Cochrane's fleet moored off New Orleans at the start of 1815.[23]

Notes, citations, and referencesEdit

  1. ^ A first-class share of the prize money awarded in April 1823 was worth £34 2s 4d; a fifth-class share, that of a seaman, was worth 3s 11½d. The amount was small as the total had to be shared between 79 vessels and the entire army contingent.[12]
  2. ^ Skibsted spent a year as a prisoner of war in England. On his return to Denmark he underwent a court martial for the loss of his vessels and was found guilty.[21]
  1. ^ "No. 21077". The London Gazette. 15 March 1850. pp. 791–792.
  2. ^ "No. 20939". The London Gazette. 26 January 1849. p. 244.
  3. ^ a b c Lavery, Ships of the Line, vol. 1, p. 181.
  4. ^ "No. 15084". The London Gazette. 27 November 1798. p. 1144.
  5. ^ "No. 15362". The London Gazette. 5 May 1801. p. 497.
  6. ^ "No. 15618". The London Gazette. 6 September 1803. p. 1187.
  7. ^ "No. 15847". The London Gazette. 28 September 1803. p. 1237.
  8. ^ "No. 16054". The London Gazette. 8 August 1807. p. 1049.
  9. ^ "No. 15434". The London Gazette. 8 December 1801. p. 1466.
  10. ^ "No. 15434". The London Gazette. 30 August 1800. p. 1466.
  11. ^ "No. 15999". The London Gazette. 10 February 1807. p. 179.
  12. ^ "No. 17915". The London Gazette. 3 April 1823. p. 633.
  13. ^ "No. 16275". The London Gazette. 11 July 1809. p. 1103.
  14. ^ Voelcker p54
  15. ^ Log Book of HMS Prometheus 20 May 1808: National Archives, Kew ref ADM51/1962
  16. ^ "No. 16152". The London Gazette. 7 June 1808. p. 862.
  17. ^ Voelcker p103
  18. ^ "No. 16393". The London Gazette. 4 August 1810. p. 1162.
  19. ^ Naval Chronicle. Vol 14, pp. 255–6
  20. ^ "No. 16578". The London Gazette. 25 February 1812. p. 385.
  21. ^ Topsøe-Jensen and Marquard (1935), Vol 2 pp. 519–20.
  22. ^ Sandvold, Steinar, "Hans Peter Holm", Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian), NO.
  23. ^ "Battles fought in Alabama/Old Southwest, Units Participating and Casualties". Archived from the original on 19 August 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  • Lavery, Brian (2003) The Ship of the Line - Volume 1: The development of the battlefleet 1650-1850. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-252-8.
  • T. A. Topsøe-Jensen og Emil Marquard (1935) "Officerer i den dansk-norske Søetat 1660-1814 og den danske Søetat 1814-1932" (in Danish).
  • Voelcker, Tim (2008) Admiral Saumarez versus Napoleon : The Baltic 1807 - 1812 Boydell Press. ISBN 978-1-84383-431-1.