Sunday, November 27, 2011

[Resources] HM Armed Schooner Diana

Long before Princess Diana, another fine lady named Diana served the British Empire. In 1775, HM Armed Schooner Diana was under the command of Lieutenant Thomas Graves. Built in Massachusetts in 1774 and beginning life as a fishing boat, she was purchased for £750 by Vice-Admiral Samuel Graves (Lieutenant Thomas Graves was his nephew), refitted and loaded with twelve swivel guns and four 6-pounders. The Vice-Admiral used her to enforce the Boston Port Act.

During the Battle of Chelsea Creek, she ran aground on May 27th under heavy fire by American forces commanded by John Stark. Attempts to tow her failed as the American kept shooting the rowers. Reinforcements arrived but not for the British - and they brought two cannon!

Refusing to surrender, the sailors continued the fight, firing their own ordinance even as the schooner shifted in the low tide. Finally abandoning the ship in the early hours of May 28th, the sailors escaped to the sloop Britannia (commanded by Thomas's brother John). The Britannia was the tender of HMS Somerset.

The American boarded the Diana, stripped her of her weapons and equipment, then fired the ship. Many people have searched for her remains in the creek but no one has found them yet, despite state sponsored efforts.

I had plans to use the wreck of the Diana in my Savage Colonial Gothic campaign but never reached that part in the sessions.

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