HMS Speedy (1782)
HMS Speedy was a 14-gun Speedy-class brig of the British Royal Navy. Built during the last years of the American War of Independence, she served with distinction during the French Revolutionary Wars. She was one of two brig-sloops built to the same design by Thomas King of Dover, Kent. She and her sister ship HMS Flirt were constructed to provide small, fast escort vessels.
About HMS Speedy (1782) in brief
HMS Speedy was a 14-gun Speedy-class brig of the British Royal Navy. Built during the last years of the American War of Independence, she served with distinction during the French Revolutionary Wars. She was one of two brig-sloops built to the same design by Thomas King of Dover, Kent. She and her sister ship HMS Flirt were constructed to provide small, fast escort vessels with hulls shaped like a cutter, rather than the more seaworthy but slower ship-sloop. She spent five years with the Papal Navy under the name San Paolo; she was struck around 1806. Her last captain, Lord Cochrane, forced the surrender of the much larger Spanish frigate El Gamo in 1801. Her first duties were limited to carrying despatches and passengers between Toulon and Genoa, which he was given after he was ordered to join a blockading squadron. She remained in the Mediterranean for the rest of her career, winning fame for herself in various engagements and often against heavy odds. Speedy then sailed to Spezia where she was scuttled by her crew and recommissioned as HMS Imperieuse, but was subsequently salvaged by her captain and given command of the prize, HMSDiadem. She died in a shipwreck in the Gulf of Speziale, Italy, in 1941, aged 98. She is buried at the Royal Navy Museum in Greenwich, London. She has been preserved in a private collection since the Second World War, along with her commanding officer, Commander George Cockburn, and a number of other former crew members, including her first captain, George Eyre, who served with her from 1782 to 1794.
The ship is now in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, near London, and is on display in the Museum of Naval History and Science, which is open to the public. The museum also holds a collection of photographs of Speedy, including some of the ship’s fittings, as well as some of her crew members and other memorabilia from her time in the British Navy. It is also on display at the British Museum in London, where it is on loan to the National Gallery of Modern Art, and the National Museum of Modern History in London. The Museum’s collection of photos of the HMS Speedy is in the collection of the Royal Collection, which includes some of its fittings from the First World War. The collection also includes a few of the ships that Speedy captained, including HMS Diadem, HMS Bedford, HMS Captain, and HMS Captain’s flagship, the battleship HMS Speedy, and the brig HMS Suffolk. The wreck of the Speedy and her crew is still visible in the Thames Estuary, in Kent, where she is buried in a mooringside memorial to her former commanding officers, including George Eyre and George Cockburn. The vessel was struck in 1806 by a German ship, and was later sold for £1,000.