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BIDDEFORD (20) 6th rate Built in 1756, Deptford.
Wrecked in 1761.

  • 1758 Capt. Launcelot SKYNNER, appointed on 7 February. Ordered to the Lisbon station with Capt. KENNEDY in FLAMBOROUGH and there they fell in with two large French frigates. Capt. SKYNNER was killed and Lieut. KNOLLIS mortally wounded near the beginning of the action, the master, Thomas STATE, commanded during the rest of the action.
  • Letter from the master of BIDDEFORD to Mr Clevland, transmitted by Capt. KENNEDY.
  • His majesty's ship Biddeford, Lisbon, April 7, 1760.
  • ...What preceded the under-mentioned action, Capt. Kennedy, who transmits this to their lordships can best explain. I shall only mention that when the Flamborough and we joined, a little before the engagement, though every body was sensible of the superior force of the two ships standing towards us, besides that several other ships were in view, to whom the enemy seemed to make signals, we saluted each other with three cheers, and stood in a line for the enemy, who, upon seeing this, hauled up, and obliged us to make the attack, which the Flamborough began (by our glasses) a quarter before seven PM and the Biddeford got close with the sternmost and commodore's ship about seven, when the fight began with great fury and regularity on both sides. About half past seven our brave captain was unfortunately killed by a cannon ball.
  • Lieutenant Knollis then succeeded to the command, who with great presence of mind and steadiness. directed the action till eight, when he dropped, having received a second shot in the body. He was carried down seemingly dead. Besides these losses we were now considerably damaged in our rigging; the main-top-mast shot away; several men killed and many wounded. Our people however, were in good spirits, and the guns well served; but the enemy's fire excessive hot.
  • The engagement was continued with obstinacy, and there appeared on each side a hard struggle for conquest. Our people were now more cool and steady; a principle of duty took place of rage. and they fought, if possible, better than before; one post vying with another, gun with gun, platoon with platoon, who should send the quickest and surest destruction to their foe; even numbers of the wounded men returned with cheerfulness to their quarters, as soon as the surgeon had dressed their wounds, which was indeed expeditiously performed.
  • Our enemy going large, under an early sail, kept very fair a-breast of us, during the whole action, so we luckily had no occasion to touch a brace or bowline, which were all shot to pieces. About ten their fire slackened apace, one gun became silent after another, till at length they hardly made any return,not discharging above four guns, the last quarter of an hour, though very near, and receiving all our fire. We judged by that they were going strike, but it seems that they were preparing for flight; for at half past ten she made off, with every rag of sail they would set. We then poured a whole broadside into her, and a volley of small arms nearly at the same instant, which were the last guns we could ever get to bear on her. We attempted to pursue her, but found we had no command of our ship, the running rigging been all cut, the masts and yards quite shattered and disabled; she therefore went ahead very fast, and about half an hour after disappeared. What we have chiefly suffered in, is the rigging, no part of which escaped. The hull is very little hurt, and we nave only nine killed, including the captain, 26 wounded with the lieutenant, the majority of whom, I am told, will soon recover.
  • Thomas State, master.
  • Lieutenant KNOLLIS was the third son of the Earl of Banbury. His other four sons had all been wounded in various actions during the previous few months.
  • 1760 Capt. William HOWE, appointed 1st. July and employed as a cruiser in the North Sea where he captured several small French privateers:- the Chamillant of six carriage and swivel guns off Harwich in March 1761, the Augustine of twelve carriage and swivel guns off Yarmouth on 14th. April and the Marquis de Meringham of fourteen carriage and swivel guns off the Dogger Bank on 3rd. May.
  • 1761 Capt. Thomas GORDON, 10 September, North Sea. On 20th. December, due to the ignorance of the pilot, BIDDEFORD was totally wrecked on the Hazeborough Sand near Yarmouth. Capt. GORDON and nearly half the crew (including the pilot) lost their lives. Two of the crew took it in turns to support their captain and protect him from the sea which was continually breaking over the ship, but the cold and wet were too much and he died in their arms from fatigue and exposure. The survivors were forced to stop on the wreck for two days, with only a little raw beef and some spirits to sustain them, before they were rescued.

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