January 20th HMS Fearless  

Launched in 1794, HMS Fearless was a 12-gun brig (a two masted ship).  Fast and manoeuvrable, brigs were popular with pirates and privateers and used by the navy as a relatively lightly armed cargo and army transport.

HMS Fearless, which had been paid off but recommissioned twice, was used, with two naval transport ships, to salvage the stores of HMS Colossus, a 74-gun ship of the line, which had run aground on the Island of Samson in Scilly.
On this day in 1804,HMS Fearless was being guided into Plymouth Sound in heavy storms by the crew of a dockyard lighter (a flat bottomed, unpowered barge often used as a guide) tug when it was forced out of Cawsand Bay and wrecked on Redding Point.  

The wreck became famous since, due to the efforts of the Cawsand fishermen who attempted a rescue with ropes and lanterns, only one crewman was lost.  The crew were ordered to remain aboard until the fishermen had descended the cliffs.  

Thirty-two men were rescued from Fearless as well as all the crew of the lighter but, interestingly, also saved from Fearless was the wife of the commander, Lt. Williams, and the two children of the first mate.  This indicates that sailors, just as soldiers, were often accompanied by their wives and families when on service.


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