History of the HMS Alderney

HMS Alderney was built by John Reed at Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, England in 1742. Her length was 112 ft., breadth 32 ft., depth 11 ft. and tonnage was 504. HMS Alborough built in Liverpool and HMS Lowestoft built in Deptford were also constructed from the same plans. HMS Tryon and HMS Phoenix were similar and one reference states that they were all "very similar to the Bounty. In fact she was just about identical." They all were square-rigged on all three masts, carried 22 to 24 cannons and were classified as 6th rate vessels.

HMS Alderney served in the Royal Navy until 1749 or 1750 when she was purchased by George Heyliger, a London merchant. She was registered in London on 14 June 1750. Mr. Heyliger also owned other vessels including the HMS Anne. Both the Alderney and the Anne were converted to transports and were employed in shipping emigrants to the new world. The HMS Alderney had been fitted with a newly invented system of ventilation which apparently proved most successful. The policy at the time for transporting passengers was one passenger per tonne of displacement. With 353 passengers, Alderney was well under her allowance of 504 passengers during her 1750 passage to the new world. Even so, the 'tween-decks' head room was only 5 ft. and the passengers were only allowed on deck in relays for fresh air. During storms the hatches sometimes had to be sealed shut.

Alderney left Gravesend, England, with 360 passengers on 25 May, 1750 with Captain Pendoch Neal in command. Incidentally, Gravesend is the same port that the Pilgrim Fathers left in 1620. On the 6th of July she put in to Plymouth because of contrary winds and while in port seven German emigrants were transferred to the HMS Anne under the command of Capt. John Spurrier. The Anne was also enroute from Rotterdam to Halifax (or Chebucto as it was then called) with 305 German passengers. The German emigrants were presumably soldiers with their families, who were immigrating to Dartmouth. The Anne arrived on the 20th of September 1750.

The Alderney arrived late August and disembarked her passengers, at Governor Cornwallis' instructions, on the east side of the harbour where there was an abundance of fresh water. They promptly commenced to layout the township which was named in honour of William Legge, 1st Earl of Dartmouth. William Legge died on the 15th of December 1750. The small river that ran down into the cove was called the River Dart. A sawmill was located at the mouth of the river and a block house and stockade protected the settlement from Indian attack. The original town occupied the area roughly enclosed by Victoria Road, Park Ave. and the harbour. The menace of Indian attacks prevented early prosperity in Dartmouth with the result that there were only a few families until about 1785.

Capt. Neal, having fulfilled his charter was "dismissed by His Excellency Edward Cornwallis" on the 5th of September and presumably sailed back to England. After the Alderney returned to England she is believed to have been re-commissioned into the Royal Navy. Today, named in honour of the emigrant ship, we have in Dartmouth, Alderney Drive, one of our main streets, Alderney Landing complete with a Plaque commemorating the arrival of the ship in August 1750 and a cairn on the Dartmouth Commons honouring the 353 passengers who became Dartmouth's first citizens.

A model of HMS Alderney is on display at the Dartmouth Heritage Museum along with a ship's crest from the modern-day Alderney, a submarine.

Research for above by Steve Grant of Alderney Squadron.