La Fragata HMS ALARM en Mahón.   Marina Lermontov.  (23/10/2008)

    La fragata británica ALARM es el primer buque en que se forró, el año 1761, la obra viva con planchas de cobre, para proteger el casco del gusano de la madera. El 27 de Diciembre de 1770, fondeaba en el Puerto de Mahón.


HMS Alarm

Fifth rate Níger class figate 32 guns.

Built in Harwich, by Barnard,launched 19 September 1758. Broken up September 1812

683 tons

Length 125 ft (38 mts.)

Beam 35 ft 6 in (10.8 mts)

  HMS ALARM, was deployment to the West Indies, where she was the first ship to have her hull sheathed experimentally in a fine layer of copper, in the hope that it would reduce the damaged caused by the teredo woodworm, and that the toxic property of of the copper would kill the barnacle growth on the ships hulls. The hull was first covered with hair, yarn and brown paper, and then layed with copper plates.

  After remaining two more years in the West Indies, she was beached, so as the results of the experiment could be examined. It was found that the copper sheathing had protected the hull from invasion of the worm, and had prevented the growth of weed. The reaction of the copper in water produced a poisonous film of oxychloride which was soluble and washed away over time , inabling anything to attach to the hull. The Admiralty, satisfied that the experiment was a success intoduced copper sheathing on a number of other figates.

   In 1776, the ALARM, was re-examined, and it was found that the copper had detached itself from the hull, due to the rotting of the iron nails holding the copper in place. Some of the nails however, were found to have been insulated by the brown paper in which the copper plates had been packaged in, and had which had not been removed before being nailed to the hull. The report to the Admiralty in 1763, stated that to aviod corrosion of the iron, copper should not be allowed contact with it in a sea water environment. The copper was removed from the Alarm, and some of the other experimental frigates.

   From May 1769, the ALARM was commanded by John Jervis in the Mediterranean, arriving in genoa 7 September. Sanuel hood was aboard the Alarm at this time, serving in the post of puraer from November 1765- July 1772.

   On 1 may 1770, the ALARM was battered by a furious gale in Marseilles, on her way to Minorca, running aground off the coast of Marseilles, and in danger of breaking up. George René le Peley de Plèville, governor of the port of marceilles, came to her rescue,  saving both the ship and her crew.  Pléville mustered the harbours pilot boats which he sent to her aid. By the time they were able to board her, she had almost run aground. Pléville, managed to get her afloat and brought her into the port of Marseilles.

  In December of the same year, the Admiralty sent Jervis and the ALARM, back to Marseilles  to deliver a letter of thanks to Pléville. 

  Sir, the quality of the service which you have rendered to the frigate ALARM gives rise to the noble envy and admiration of the English. Your courage, your prudence, your intelligence, your talents have merited a crown on your efforts from Providence. Success has been your reward, but we pray you to accept as a homage rendered to your merit and as a pledge of our esteem and recognition, that which captain Jervis is charged with rendering back to you.

   In the name and order of my lords, Stephans

  He was presented with a silver urn, engraved with dolfins and marine animales, with a model of the ALARM.  The engraved lid was surmounted by a triton. The urn bore the British coat of arms, with the insciption:

  Georgio-Renato Pleville Le Pelley, nobili normano Grandivillensi, navis bellicœ portusque Massiliensis pro prœfecto, ob navim regiam in litiore gallico pericli - tantem virtute diligentiâque suâ servatam septem vin rei navalis Britannicœ. M.DCCLXX. ([Presented] to Georges-René Pléville Le Pelley, noble Norman of Granville, commander of a warship and of the port of Marseilles, because he saved from destruction a Royal Navy vessel which was about to be lost on the French coast - the seven lords of the British Admiralty presented this for the great courage and diligence he showed. 1770.

  Jervis, recalled the event in a letter to his sister, while anchored aboard the ALARM,  in Mahon  27 December 1770:

  I was twenty-four hours in the Bay of Marseilles, about a fortnight ago; just time enough to receive the warm embraces of the man to whose bravery and friendship I had, some months before, been indebted for my reputation, the preservation of the lives of the people under my command, and of the Alarm. You would have felt infinite pleasure at the scene of our interview.

  Ten years later,  Pléville's son was taken prisoner while serving on a frigate at the end of a battle in 1780, and taken to england. When the British admiralty found out, they sent him back to France without requiring  the normal prisoner exchange, and also allowing him to take three other French officers with him.

  From 1771-1772, the ALARM became the home of the Duke of Gloucester, who due to ill health was spending time in the Mediterranean. ALARM then returned to England for paying off.

  On 9 March 1783, ALARM was involved in one of the last naval battles of the American Revolutionary War, when two American frigates, the USS ALLIANCE and the USS DUC DE LAUZUN were intercepted by HMS ALARM, HMS SIBYL and the sloop of war, HMS TOBAGO. The American ships were transporting bullion to the Continental forces, and both sides were unaware that peace had been ratified over a month before. After a short battle between HMS Sibyl and the American ships, the Americans escaped. Alarm did not actively participate in the battle herself.

  In 1796, HMS ALARM violated Trinidad’s neutrality, so contributing to Spain’s declaration of war on the side of revolutionary France.

  HMS ALARM continued in service for a number of years, finally being broken up in September 1812 at Portsmouth having spent 34 years in service.


Taken from  Michael Philip's Ships of the Old Navy.

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