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Nominal Guns24NNF-1715
NationalityRoyaume de France
OperatorMarine Royale
CategorySixth RateNNF-1715
National RateCinquième RangNNF-1715
Ship TypeFrigateNNF-1715
Sailing RigShip RiggedNNF-1715


DimensionMeasurementTypeMetric EquivalentNNF-1715
Length of Gundeck102'French Feet (Pied du Roi)33.1567 (108′ 9″ Imperial)
Breadth26'French Feet (Pied du Roi)8.4719 (27′ 9″ Imperial)
Depth in Hold13'French Feet (Pied du Roi)4.2495 (13′ 11″ Imperial)


6.1747Broadside Weight = 88 French Livre (94.9696 lbs 43.076 kg)NNF-1715
Upper Gun Deck20 French 8-Pounder
Quarterdeck4 French 4-Pounder

Crew Complement

Date# of MenNotesSource
6.17471844 officers, 180 menNNF-1715

Notes on Ship

Former English East Indiaman Duke of Cumberland


Previous comments on this page

Posted by Albert Parker on Thursday 1st of July 2021 14:02

Several French sources, or sources based on French documents, such as Demerliac and Winfield and Roberts, state that the “Duke of Cumberland” captured in June 1747 by French frigates _Galatée_ and _Mutine_ was a British Indiaman. I don’t believe it for a minute.

(1) Although shore references differ, it is clear that ship was captured close inshore on the south side of the Brittany peninsula, not far west of Lorient, the *French* East India company base. The location would be a good place for a privateer to lurk, hoping to ambush coasters or perhaps even a French Indiaman taking a chance on an independent sailing. A British Indiaman would have no business there, even in peacetime, much less when Britain was at war with France.

(2) Could _Duke of Cumberland_ have been a *former* British Indiaman being used as a privateer in 1747?
(2a) Although there does not appear to be a comprehensive list of HEIC ships anywhere, searches for “Cumberland” and terms related to British East Indiamen did not find anything until the early 19th century, and then it was just the “Cumberland,” not the “Duke of Cumberland,” probably named for the county, not the second son of King George II.
(2b) Privateers need to be fast, weatherly, and maneuverable, to catch fleeing merchantmen and get away from pursuing warships. Those are not the characteristics of Indiamen, which were built for cargo capacity and economical operation at the expense of everything else.

(3) In 1747 there were several British privateers named “Duke of Cumberland” for the victorious general at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
(3a) One was a small vessel, perhaps not even decked, from Jersey. She took a few small French vessels in June 1747 but then was captured and taken into Granville.
(3b) The _Duke of Cumberland_ based on Rhode Island probably did not cross the Atlantic to compete with British-based privateers for targets. There wasn’t much traffic in the Gulf of St. Lawrence but the West Indies were much handier to American privateers than the Breton coast.
(3b) John Williams [and?] Damer Powell, _Bristol [England] Privateers and Ships of War,_ page 146, has an entry for a _Duke of Cumberland_, Captain Matthew Combe, that got her letter of marque in March 1747 and would be the right size to become a 24-gun French navy frigate: 320 tons, 24 guns, 24 swivels, 200 men. I got a “snippet” hit in Google Books and was not able to see the rest of the entry, which might gave the ship’s fate. It was this _Duke of Cumberland_ that took Bilbao privateer _Santa Barbara_ 14 carriage guns plus swivels, 140 men (_Scots Magazine,_ 1747, p. 250). It took me a while to find it, but the capture of this vessel is described in _The Gentleman’s Magazine_, vol. 17 (June 1747), p. 287: “The D. of Cumberland priv. Capt. Coombes of Bristol, chasing a vessel, struck on a rock on the French coast, 109 of her men were brought to Falmouth, by the Charming Nancy priv. of Jersey. The captain and remainder got on shore in France; he would have blown up his ship, but was prevented by 2 French men of war.”

Demerliac and Winfield and Roberts give the armament of the French _Duc de Cumberland_ as 8- OR 6-pounders on the upper deck and 3- OR 4-pounders on the quarterdeck. 6s and 3s would give a broadside of 66 French/71 British pounds (32.4 kg)

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