Latitude 50° 21.40 N
Longitude 004° 07.30 W
Depth Foreshore
Accuracy 50m
Location Description Cattewater, Deadman's Bay
Reference NMR 1062444
Craft type Sloop
Date built 1779
Year of loss 13th February 1781
Manner of loss Driven Ashore
Outcome Wrecked
Construction Wood
Propulsion Sail
Nationality United Kingdom
Departure port Plymouth
Destination port Spithead
Hull length 64ft 2in
Hull beam 28ft 2in
Hull displacement 271 tons BM
Armament 18 x 6 pdr
Crew 90
Built St Malo, France
Master Cmdr John Manley
Owners Royal Navy

HMS Echo

The Echo began her career as L' Hussard an 18 gun brig-sloop built in St Malo and launched in April 1779. The renewal of the French Navy after the Seven Years’ War was responsible for the commission of many new naval constructions, in particular the building of a series of large cutters, one of which was L'Hussard.

L'Hussard was taken by the the Plymouth-built 64 gun 3rd rate HMS Nonsuch under the command of Sir James Wallace while off Ushant in July 1780. The captured brig-sloop was taken into Royal Navy service as the Echo. The Echo was then commissioned under Cdr. John Manley in October and by December of the same year the sloop was refitted in Plymouth at a cost of £2,886.18.11d.

On 12th February 1781, Echo was ordered to sail from Plymouth to Spithead despite being very short-handed, so before leaving Captain Manley left the sloop to call on the Port Admiral to request further hands. At around 5pm that evening the weather deteriorated with the wind reaching gale force from the south-west. The master, Peter Peterson, was the senior officer on board so he decided to leave the anchorage in the Sound and run for the shelter of the Cattewater. At the entrance to the Cattewater the Echo was taken aback and she drove onto an anchored privateer. With difficulty she cleared herself but was now very close to the shore, the ship anchored, the crew cut away the foremast and fired her guns in distress. The Echo soon struck the rocks on the northern shore, her mainmast was cut down and pumping commenced. But the water was gaining too rapidly so the crew abandoned ship, escaping over the masts to the shore. The sloop soon went to pieces and was abandoned as a wreck.

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HMS Echo


(1) Public Advertiser, 19th February 1781
(2) Winfield, R. 2007, British Warships in the Age of Sail 1714-1792: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing, pg 321
(3) Hepper D., 1994: British warship losses in the age of sail, 1650-1859,Rotherfield, Jean Boudriot Publications, Pg 60