DOLPHIN (24), 6th rate Built at Woolwich Dockyard in 1751, and broken up in 1777.
Captain Richard Howe, commissioned the ship in May,1752 and was immediately ordered to the Straits of Gibraltar.
Madrid, August 26th. 1753.
We hear from Gibraltar, the honourable captain Howe, commander of his majesty's ship the DOLPHIN, now in that bay, having been ordered to go to Sallee and inform himself of the intentions of the Moors, with regard to Great Britain, was answered, that their design was, to observe the treaties with his Britannic majesty.
By 1756 Captain Carr Scope, was in the Mediterranean with a small squadron under Captain. Hon. George Edgcumbe off the islánd of Minorca, where Captain Scrope commanded the seamen and marines who were assisting the construction of defensive works at the entrance of the port. When the French landed an army in Minorca, Edgcumbe retired to Gibraltar, leaving Captain Scrope behind with the DOLPHIN's barge, to join Vice Admiral John Byng who had arrived in Gibralter, on 2 May with a fleet from England.
On the 8th Byng sailed for Minorca, sending DOLPHIN, Cdr. Benjamin Marlow, and PHOENIX (20) on ahead with CHESTERFIELD (40), to try and make contact with the army in the castle of St. Philip at the entrance of Port Mahon. DOLPHIN was to make a private signal to Captain Scrope, so he could come off in the barge. Before they could accomplish this the French fleet appeared and they had to retire. The two fleets engaged on the afternoon of the 20th, the two lines nearly parallel, exchanging broadsides. Casualties were nearly equal although the British suffered more aloft. Byng held a council of war and sailed for Gibraltar. This decision was to result in Byng's court martial and execution.
On 20 August 1756, Captain. Matthew Moore, was one of the captains sent to the Mediterranean in the AMBUCADE to replace those ordered home for Admiral Byng’s trial. He removed to UNICORN at the end of 1757.
On 23 November 1757, a two French deck ship was sank by DOLPHIN and HUSSAR (28), with Captain John Elliot, which was later discovered to be the Alcion 50.
1764 DOLPHIN, with Captain. John Byron, was sent on a voyage of discovery, including a circumnavigation. The results of Byron’s voyge were disappointing and so a second expedición was sent out in 1766, Captain samuel Wallis with DOLPHIN and Cdr. Philip Carerat with SWALLOW. They Left Plymouth 22 August for the Cape Virgins, arriving at the entrance to Magellan's Straits in December. Wallis did not arrive in Cape Pilar until 11 April 1767, then losing contact with SWALLOW the same day. He reached Tahiti on 20 June and stayed for seven weeks allowing his sick men to recover their health. After discovering and naming a few islands to the westward Wallis lost interest in exploration and returned to England by way of Tinian and the Cape of Good Hope, arriving back in Plymouth on 20 May 1768.
1764 Capt. Hon. John Byron, DOLPHIN arrived in Woolwich on 17th. March and orders were issued on 18th. of April to prepare her for a voyage of discovery. She was sheathed in copper, then a new idea, and her rudder pins and other fastenings were made of the same metal. A 26ft. double-banked, 12 oar cutter was ordered from Deal and fitted with an awning. By the 14th. June she was ready to sail for the Downs. On her way there she grounded, but floated off with the tide, she was docked in Plymouth to check for any damage. DOLPHIN sailed from Plymouth at the beginning of July in company with the TAMAR sloop, Capt. Patrick Mouatt. Captain Byron hoisting a broad pendant, having been appointed commander-in-chief, East Indies station. Madeira was reached on 14th. July and Capt. Byron, who was in need of a sailmaker when he sailed, appointed Thomas Gosling late of the Dispatch sloop, by warrant. On the 14th. September DOLPHIN anchored off Rio de Janeiro. When she left on 20th. October she was taken south to the latitude where he was ordered to make his instructions known. Capt. Mouatt was signalled to repair on board and he and both ship's companies were told that they were on a voyage of discovery, during which they would receive double pay.
On 27th. November they made Cape Blanco on the coast of Patagonia, and on the 1st. December they entered Port Desire, where the ship was almost wrecked by a sudden violent storm. The 29th. Dec. to 4th. Jan. was spent at Port Famine, where the DOLPHIN and TAMAR took on board as much provisions and stores as they could stow from the Florida storeship, which then returned to England. They passed through the Straits of Magellan and on 9th. April entered the Pacific Ocean. On the 26th. they made the island of Masa Fuero, where Mr Byron made Mr Mouat commander of the DOLPHIN under him, with the rank of post captain.
After a passage of thirty-six days the TAMAR made a signal for having sighted land, two small islands with no place to anchor. The next day another island was sighted where they obtained coconuts and a considerable quantity of scurvy grass. The group of islands he discovered are now known as the Society Islands. On 8th. July he came to anchor in the road of Tinian, where he remained for nearly three months to effect the cure of those infected with scurvy. Returning via Batavia and the Cape of Good Hope, DOLPHIN and TAMAR anchored in the Downs on 9th. May 1766.
1766 Capt. Samuel Wallis, appointed in August and sent out, in company with Captain Carteret in SWALLOW (14), and Lieut. Brine in the PRINCE FREDERICK, store ship, on a voyage of discovery, sailing from Plymouth on the 22nd of August. The SWALLOW proved to be an indifferent sailor and they did not arrive in Madeira until 7th. September.
They followed much of the same route as Byron's voyage but going further north to Tahiti.
Broken up January 1777.
Taken from Michael Philip's Ships of the Old Navy.