My Workbench

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Langton's 100 Gun Queen Charlotte

The next ship in my growing British fleet is the Langton 1/1200 scale model of the 100 gun Queen Charlotte. She was designed by Sir Edward Hunt along the same lines as the ill fated Royal George, and laid down the same year that ship was lost, and was fated to meet just as bad an end. She was launched from Chatham shipyard on April 15, 1790.

2286 tons burthen;  length 190' at the gun deck; beam 52'5.5"; depth of hold 22'4"

Lower gun deck: 30 x 32 pounders
Middle gun deck: 28 x 24 pounders
Upper gun deck: 30 x 18 pounders
Quarter deck: 10 x 12 pounders
Forecastle: 2 x 12 pounders

Queen Charlotte was Admiral Richard Howe's flagship at the Glorious First of June battle in 1794. She also took part in the Battle of Groix the next year. She was the focus ship of the Spithead Mutiny of 1796 and carried a reputation for discontent and indiscipline thereafter.

In 1799 she was sent to the Mediterranean serving as the flagship of Vice Admiral Lord Kieth, commanded by Captain James Todd. On March 16, 1800 Lord Kieth ordered Todd to reconnoiter the French occupied island of Carpalia, half way between Sardinia and the Italian coast. At 0600 hours the following morning while the Queen Charlotte was still close to shore, fire was detected in hay stowed close to the admiral's cabin, close to a slow-match kept burning in a tub for use with the signal guns. Flames spread rapidly and ran up the mainmast, setting the mainsail on fire. The conflagration quickly took hold of the stowed boats, threatening any means of escape. The ship was close enough to shore that Lord Kieth, who had spent the night on shore, could see the fire and induced several Italian boatmen to send half a dozen craft out to her. As the neared the ship the guns began going off and scared them away. A boat from an American ship did approach and drew along side, but was swamped when too many jumped in. By now the entire ship was ablaze and dozens of men, perhaps even hundreds, had crawled out on the bow sprit and jib-boom. The weight caused the sprit to fail and dumped them all into the water. The Italin boatmen made one more attempt and succeded in taking off a few survivors in the bows. As the pulled away the flames finally reached the main magazine and the Queen Charlotte exploded. Only five hours had passed since the fire was discovered and 673 officers and men perished.

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