Passage of the Dardanelles

1st March 1807 - 3rd March 1807
Fought at : The Dardanelles - Aegean Sea
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : Forcing the Dardanelles 19.2.1807 - 20.2.1807
Next action : Capture of Alexandria 6.3.1807 - 21.3.1807


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

British Fleet, John Thomas Duckworth (1748-1817)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Canopus (80) Thomas George Shortland (1771-1827)Squadron Flagship Flag of Sir Thomas Louis
Repulse (74) The Hon. Arthur Kaye Legge (1766-1835)
Royal George (100) Richard Dalling Dunn (d.1813)Fleet Flagship Flag of Sir John Duckworth
Windsor Castle (98) Charles Boyles
Standard (64) Thomas Harvey (1775-1841)
Pompee (80) Richard Dacres (1761-1837)Squadron Flagship Flag of Sir Sydney Smith
Thunderer (74) John Talbot (1769-1851)
Lucifer (8) Robert Elliott
Active (38) Richard Hussey Moubray (1776-?)
Endymion (44) Thomas Bladen Capel (1776-1853)
Meteor (8) Joseph James (d.1837)

Notes on Action


On the 27th, a westerly wind sprang up, and blew during the whole of the 28th. This would have enabled the Vice- Admiral to bombard the city, or destroy the Turkish fleet, had he pleased to do either. But, apparently influenced by the consideration that, if he allowed his ships to be partially disabled he would never succeed in getting back to the Mediterranean, he remained idle, while the Turks went on steadily completing the equipment of their men-of-war and the arming of their batteries, both near the city and in the Dardanelles. On March 1st, the wind blew from the north-east. It gave Sir John, therefore, an opportunity for quitting " the territories of a people so ignorant and foolhardy, that no rhetoric could persuade, no threats intimidate them." The Vice-Admiral signalled to weigh; and by 8.25 A.M., all the ships were under sail in line of battle. It was, of course, most improbable, in the circumstances, that the Turks, who had then but five sail of the line and four frigates ready for sea, would accept his challenge to come out and fight him; yet, for the sake of appearances, he stood on and off during the day within sight of the city. At night, relinquishing the pretentious farce, he bore up for the Dardanelles, and, at 5 P.M. on March 2nd, anchored about six miles above Point Pesquies, in order to be able to pass the narrows in daylight. He was there joined by the Active.

At 7.30 A.M. on the 3rd, the squadron weighed 'again, and, at 8.15 A.M., bore up under topsails with a fresh north-east wind. The order of the ships, on going down, was Canopus, Repulse, Royal George, Windsor Castle, Standard, Pompee, Thunderer (towing Lucifer), Active, and Endymion (towing Meteor). As the squadron neared the higher pair of castles, Duckworth weakly and unnecessarily fired a salute of thirteen guns. It cannot be determined whether the Turks believed that the guns were shotted, or whether they were determined to bestow a parting kick upon their foe, no matter how politely servile he might be; but certain it is that the salute produced a general discharge of heavy shot both from the castles and from the repaired and re-armed battery on Point Pesquies. From that point the squadron, as it passed, received the fire of every gun that would bear upon it. It replied warmly, but probably inflicted much less damage than it suffered. By about 11.35 P.M., it was out of range of the last of the batteries, and before noon it was once more at anchor off Cape Janissary.

The loss of officers and men in each ship during the passage down was as follows: Canopus, killed, 3 wounded; Repulse, 10 killed, 10 wounded; Boyal George, 3 killed, 27 wounded; Windsor Castle, 3 killed, 13 wounded; Standard, 8 killed, 47 wounded; Pompee, killed, wounded; Thunderer, 2 killed, 14 wounded; Lucifer, killed, wounded; Active, killed, 8 wounded; Meteor, killed, 8 wounded. The material damage done to the ships was, upon the whole, less serious than might have been expected from the enormous size of the shot employed by the Turks. The Canopus and Bepulse had their wheels carried away; the Windsor Castle's main mast was nearly cut in two; an explosion was caused on board the Standard; and the Meteor, having parted her hawser, and being left behind by the Endymion, narrowly escaped total destruction. All the ships, except the Pompee, were more or less knocked about, and several, when they came out of action, had huge shot sticking in them. One, which struck the Windsor Castle, weighed 800 Ibs.; another, which entered the Standard, weighed 770 Ibs. and measured 2 feet 2 inches in diameter; a third, which came to rest in the Active, was 6 feet 6 inches in circumference, and weighed 800 Ibs. The only officers killed while the squadron was within the Dardanelles seem to have been Lieutenant George Lawrence Belli (Royal George) and Captain E. Kent, R.M. Among those wounded were Lieutenants John Forbes and Nisbet Josiah Willoughby (Royal George), John Waller and Thomas Colby (Thunderer), Daniel Harrington (Standard), and John Langdon (Endymion).

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