HMS Herald (1822)

HMS Herald was an Atholl-class 28-gun sixth-rate corvette of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1821 as HMS Termagant, commissioned in 1824 as Herald and converted to a survey ship in 1845. After serving as a chapel ship from 1861, she was sold for breaking in 1862.

HMS Herald and steamship tender Torch, Expedition to the South Sea, Illustrated London News, 15 May 1852.
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Herald
Ordered: 5 June 1819
Builder: East India Company dockyard, Cochin, British India
Laid down: March 1820
Launched: 15 November 1822
Commissioned: 16 July 1824[1]
  • Launched as HMS Termagant in 1821
  • Renamed Herald on 15 May 1824
  • Survey vessel in June 1845
  • Chapel ship in 1861
Fate: Sold for breaking on 28 April 1862
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Atholl-class 28-gun sixth-rate corvette
Tons burthen: 499 9194 (bm)
  • 113 ft 8 in (34.6 m) (gundeck)
  • 94 ft 8 34 in (28.9 m) (keel)
  • As built:31 ft 10 in (9.7 m)
  • For tonnage:31 ft 6 in (9.6 m)
Depth of hold: 8 ft 9 in (2.67 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 175
  • Upper deck: 20 x 32-pounder (25cwt) carronades
  • QD: 6 x 18-pounder carronades
  • Fc: 2 x 9-pounder guns

Early career

Termagant was launched at the East India Company dockyard at Cochin, British India on 15 November 1821. Lieutenant Robert Wallace Dunlop commissioned on 30 July 1822 to sail her to the United Kingdom. She arrived at Portsmouth on 7 July 1823. In July Captain Lord Henry Frederick Thynne took command, though he had nominally been appointed about a year earlier, on 30 July 1822.[1]

She was renamed Herald on 15 May 1824, and commissioned on 16 July 1824. At this time she was rated a yacht.[1]

Commander Henry John Leeke recommissioned her on 31 May 1824. He sailed her to St Petersburg, the West Indies, back to England from Havana, then to Quebec, and finally to Malta.[1]

Captain Sir Augustus William James Clifford recommissioned Herald on 27 May 1826 to carry the Duke of Devonshire on an embassy to Russia. CommanderHenry Eden replaced Clifford in November 1826, only to hand over command to Commander Edward William Curry Astley in April 1827.[1]

On 7 April 1829 Commander George Berkeley Maxwell replaced Astley. Maxwell sailed Herald to St Petersburg, Cartagena, Quebec, and home.

Herald was paid off in 1830. She then underwent fitting for sea between April and July 1830.[1]

On 20 November 1830 Captain Robert Godon took command at Portsmouth. He paid her off in January 1831. She then underwent fitting for sea again between November 1837 and August 1838.[1]

Service in New Zealand

Captain Joseph Nias recommissioned Herald on 24 May 1838 for the East Indies and China.[1] On 26 August 1839, Herald and HMS Pelorus attempted to scuttle the British merchant ship Lucretia, which had caught fire off Kyardbilly's point, Sydney, New South Wales. The attempt was unsuccessful and the ship exploded and sank.[2]

On 29 April 1840 Nias sailed Herald, with Major Thomas Bunbury of the 80th Regiment (appointed by Governor William Hobson as Commissioner) and Edward Marsh Williams as interpreter, to take a copy of the Treaty of Waitangi (known as the ‘Herald-Bunbury’ copy) to the South Island of New Zealand to obtain signatures from Māori chiefs as part the process of claiming British sovereignty over New Zealand.[3][4]

Service in the First Anglo-Chinese War

During the period 1841–42 she was involved in actions off Canton in the fleet commanded by Sir William Parker in the First Anglo-Chinese War (1839–42),[5] known popularly as the First Opium War. Herald was paid off at Chatham in 1842.

Survey voyages

Herald was converted at Sheerness to a survey ship between July 1844 and June 1845. At that time her armament was reduced to eight guns.[1]

Henry Kellett recommissioned Herald 8 February 1845 for surveying in the Pacific.[1] Together with HMS Pandora she conducted a survey of the coast of British Columbia after the Oregon boundary dispute with the United States.[6]

Herald was assigned in 1848 to join the search for Sir John Franklin who had been exploring the Northwest Passage. During this voyage Herald sailed through the Bering Strait across the Chukchi Sea and discovered Herald Island, which Kellett named after his ship. She was then paid off in 1848.

From 1852 to 1861, under the command of Captain Henry Mangles Denham, Herald carried out a survey of the Australian coast and Fiji Islands, continuing the mission of HMS Rattlesnake. The naturalists on the voyage were John MacGillivray (1821–1867), William Milne (botanist) and Denis Macdonald as Assistant Surgeon-zoologist. However following disagreements with the captain, John MacGillivray disembarked at Sydney in January 1854.

She was the first sailing ship to enter the Fitzroy Dock, Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour.[7]


Herald was converted to a chapel ship and was used as a floating church in Shoreham in September 1861.[1] She was sold to Castle for breaking on 28 April 1862.[1]

See also


  1. Winfield (2004) p.113.
  2. "Fatal Destruction of the Ship Lucretia with Loss of Life". The Times (17229). London. 19 December 1839. col C, p. 6.
  3. "Williams, Edward Marsh 1818–1909". Early New Zealand Books (NZETC). 1952. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  4. "Treaty of Waitangi signing locations: 'Herald-Bunbury' copy". NZ History Online. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  5. "HMS HERALD (Anglo-Chinese war 1842)". Archived from the original on 13 April 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  6. "Herald at the William Loney website". Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  7. Gillett, p.12.


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