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HMS Hindostan (1804)

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Title: HMS Hindostan (1804)  
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Subject: Action of 21 April 1806, William Bligh, History of New South Wales, East India Company
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HMS Hindostan (1804)

Engagement between the British Third Rate 74-gun ship-of-the-line HMS Tremendous (in the foreground) and HMS Hindostan (firing in the background) against the French frigate Canonnière, 21 April 1806.
United Kingdom
Name: Admiral Rainier
Owner: East India Company
Builder: Hudson, Bacon & Co., Calcutta
Launched: 1799
Fate: Sold to the Royal Navy in 1804
Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Hindostan
Owner: Royal Navy
Acquired: 30 May 1804
  • Renamed Dolphin, 1819
  • Renamed Justitia 1831
Fate: Sold out of service 1855
General characteristics [1]
Class & type:
Tons burthen: 886 5494 (Builder's Old Measurement)
  • 158 ft 6 in (48.31 m) (overall))
  • 121 ft 9 in (37.11 m) (keel)
Beam: 37 ft (11 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
  • Fourth Rate: 294 men
  • Storeship: 141 men
  • As built: 26 × 18-pounder guns (Lower Deck ) + 26 × 24-pounder carronades (Upper Deck )
  • From 1811: 20 × 24-pounder carronades + 2 × 9-pounder guns

HMS Hindostan (variously Hindustan or Hindoostan) was a 50-gun two-decker fourth rate of the Royal Navy. She was originally a teak-built East Indiaman named Admiral Rainier that the Royal Navy brought into service in May 1804. Perhaps her best known voyage was her trip to Australia in 1809 when she and Dromedary brought Governor Lachlan Macquarie to replace Governor William Bligh after the Rum Rebellion. In later years she became a store ship, and in 1819 was renamed Dolphin. She was hulked in 1824 to serve as a prison ship, and renamed Justitia in 1831. She was finally sold in 1855.

East India Company

Hudson, Bacon & Co. built Admiral Rainier in Calcutta and launched her in 1799. She originally carried 52 guns. In 1800 she made one round trip to England under Captain William Lay, who was also her captain on her second, incomplete trip. She arrived in England for a second time in September 1803. On 30 May 1804 the Admiralty purchased her from the East India Company and renamed her Hindostan. An earlier Hindostan had just been lost in April in a fire at sea, with almost no loss of life.

Naval Service

Captain Mark Robinson commissioned her in July, and then Captain Alexander Fraser took command in August. He sailed her for the East Indies in early 1805.[1] There, together with Tremendous, she fought the inconclusive Action of 21 April 1806 against Canonnière. Tremendous carried the brunt of the action but suffered no casualties. The French lost seven men killed and 25 wounded.[2]

Captain Bendall Littehalles recommissioned Hindostan in December 1806.[1] A year later she was repaired at Woolwich in January 1807. Then in February Captain Thomas Bowen took command. On 28 June she sailed as a convoy escort to the Mediterranean, returning towards the end of the year.[1]

On 11 November, the Admiralty ordered her to be converted to a storeship and her guns were reduced from 54 to 22, primarily by the removal of the guns on her lower deck. Commander Lewis Hole took command in December.[1] In April 1808 her captain was Commander Fitzowen Skinner and she was with a squadron operating off Lisbon.[1]


In November 1808 she was recommissioned as a troopship under Commander John Pasco.[1] On 29 March 1809, Hindostan and Dromedary recaptured the Gustavus, of Charlestown.[Note 1]

Pasco sailed Hindostan to New South Wales on 3 May 1809. Hindostan and Dromedary brought with them Governor Lachlan Macquarie and the 1st Battalion of Macquarie's own regiment, the 73rd Regiment of Foot. Macquarie's first task was to restore orderly, lawful government and discipline in the colony following the Rum Rebellion against Governor William Bligh. The 73rd Foot was there to replace the New South Wales Corps. The vessels arrived on 28 December. Hindostan and Dromedary departed from Sydney on 12 May 1810 with a contingent of the 102nd Regiment of Foot (New South Wales Corps) and Governor Bligh and his family.

Late career and fate

Hindostan was converted to a storeship in 1811 under Duncan Weir.[1] Hindostan shared with San Juan, Sabine, Lavinia, Hyacinth and Tuscan in the American droits for Phoenix, Margaret, Allegany and Tyger, captured on 8 August 1812 at Gibraltar on the arrival of the news of the outbreak of the War of 1812.[Note 2]

Hindostan was in the Mediterranean in 1815, and then reverted to being a storeship in Woolwhich. On 22 September 1819 she was renamed Dolphin.[1]

She was hulked at Woolwich March 1824 as a prison ship. She was renamed Justitia in 1831. She was finally sold on 24 October 1855.[1]


  1. ^ Prize money was paid in March 1810. A commissioned officer's share of the prize money was worth ₤51 17s 2d; a seaman's share was worth ₤1 0s 6¼d.[3]
  2. ^ In May 1816 there was distribution to the sharing vessels of their portions of two-thirds of the first three American vessels and nine-tenths of Tyger. A first-class share was worth ₤120 16s 0½d; a sixth-class share was worth ₤1 19s 9¼d.[4]
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Winfield (2008), p.113.
  2. ^ Naval history of Great Britain, by William James
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 16349. p. 358. 10 March 1810.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 17136. p. 911. 14 May 1816.


  • Winfield, Rif (2008) British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-84415-717-4.

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