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AETNA (8) Bomb Purchased in 1803.
Sold in 1816.

  • First commissioned by Richard THOMAS in December 1803.
  • 1804 G. COCKS, 01/1804. In December 1804 Lieut. QUILLAM of VICTORY was promoted to commander and appointed to AETNA. Mediterranean.
  • 1805 Cdr. THOMAS.
    On 18 October 1805 Lieut. George BLIGH was appointed to command AETNA but, since she was absent from the fleet, he continued in VICTORY and was dangerously wounded at Trafalgar three days later.
    Cdr. THOMAS then served as flag-captain, 22/10/1805, to Lord COLLINGWOOD.
  • 1807 Deptford, later William GODFREY, Spithead.
  • 1808 Ditto, Baltic expedition.
  • At the beginning of April 1809 AETNA, eight fireships and a transport with Congreve rockets joined Captain Lord COCHRANE's fleet of frigates, sloops and gunbrigs off the Chasseron lighthouse where it was preparing to attack French warships in the Basque Roads.
    AETNA was the only vessel of her class present. On the night of 11 April AETNA, the frigate INDEFATIGABLE and the sloop FOXHOUND were stationed near the north-west of the Isle d'Aix while the fireships were launched against the enemy. At 11 a. m. on the 13th. AETNA, BEAGLE, the gunbrigs and the rocket cutters moved up to the mouth of the Charante to fire on OCEAN, REGULUS and INDIENNE which had been driven ashore there. AETNA split her 13" mortar in the attack. At 4 p. m. the falling tide forced them to return to their former anchorage under fire from shore batteries. By the evening of the 14th. she had fired away all her 10" shells but she did not leave the mouth of the Charente until the 29th.
  • Capt. GODFREY was promoted to post rank backdated to 11 April and succeeded by Peter LAWLESS.
    AETNA forming part of the naval force in the Scheldt under the orders of Sir Richard STRACHAN.
  • Cdr. John BOWKER, 08/1809.
  • At 6 o'clock on the morning of 28 July 1809 AETNA, together with the whole fleet in the Downs, set sail with a fair wind for Flushing and that evening they anchored on Thornton's Ridge, about 18 miles from Walcheren.
    On the 30th. they watched the troops go ashore covered by the frigates.
    The following morning at 11 o'clock AETNA, with the rest of the force, opened fire with her two mortars for the first time and fired 42 shells before an officer in a boat came round the various ships about midnight to desire them to desist.
    On 2 August AETNA moved towards the fort at Rammekens and on the 5th. she anchored about a mile and a half from Flushing.
    AETNA saw no more action until the 13th. when she fired seventy-four 13-inch shells and thirty-nine 10-inch at Flushing before the tide turned. When they were able to close again another fifty-two 12-inch and nine ten-inch shells were discharged. VESUVIUS, several gunbrigs and man-of-war launches with 24-pounders were firing alongside them.
    There was more firing on the 14th. and 15th. before a white flag was seen and the town surrendered on the 17th.
    By the 18th. AETNA was a little more than 12 miles from Antwerp and a number of officers went ashore for a walk on South Beveland.
    On the 22nd they dropped down to the town of Doel and fired thirty-five 13 inch and five ten-inch shells to deter the French from throwing up a battery. HOUND, THUNDER and AETNA threw one shell per hour through the night but in the morning they found that the enemy had continued work so, until the 26th. they fired another 133 shells at the battery. All this time Antwerp was only seven or eight miles away but still the troops waited, suffering from Miasmatic fever and dysentery.
    On the 29th. Aetna fired fifteen large shells against the battery and THUNDER, HOUND and a brig threw their shells into the enemy troops on the opposite side of the Scheldt. The following day forty-one more shells were fired.
    During the first week in September South Beverland was evacuated and the fiasco of the Walcheren expedition drew to a close.
  • AETNA was subsequently employed in the defence of Cadiz. On 23 November 1810 AETNA, DEVASTATION and THUNDER, with a division of Spanish and two divisions of British gun boats, bombarded Fort Catalina at the southern end of the Bay of Bulls, while mortar and howitzer boats threw about 100 shells into French gunboats in the Guadeleto river by Porto St. Maria.
    Cdr. BOWKER was removed by Sir Charles COTTON into WIZARD in October 1810.
  • 1811 John F. MAPLES, 09/1811, Cadiz.
    On 24 November the mortar and howitzer boats under Capt. HALL threw several hundred shells into Santa Maria whilst AETNA, DEVESTATION and THUNDER, with part of the Spanish flotilla and the British gunboats drew the fire from Catalina. At the beginning of December AETNA burst her large mortar, the fourth time she had done so during the siege.
  • 1814 Richard KENAH, Baltic. To America in the spring to join Vice-Ad Sir Alex. COCHRANE.
    EURYALUS, DEVASTATION, AETNA, METEOR, EREBUS and the ANNA-MARIA despatch-boat were detached under Capt. GORDON of SEAHORSE on the 17 August to go up the Potomac and bombard Fort Washington which lies on the left bank about ten or twelve miles below the city. Because of contrary winds and because they had no pilot through Kettle-Bottoms it was the 27th. before they reached the Fort. They had to sweep for more than 50 miles over a period of five successive days (see DEVASTATION for detail).
  • 1815 Francis FEAD, America.
  • Returned to Woolwich in the autumn for disposal.

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