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 French 8 pounder frigate La Flora 
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Post French 8 pounder frigate La Flora
Good morning
I posted this in other forums and I'd like more if anyone has it.
Paul
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A couple of years I purchased the Linberg Jolly Rodger pirate ship kit. Obviously this ship is something other than a pirate ship. I did some online research and found it is actually a copy of a model of the , that was presented to John Kennedy. I found some really good pictures etc. I haven't been able to find the original site recently. I really would like to find out some of the history of this ship.I remember from the notes I found last year that she was American built?
Help?

try this one
http://www.chez.com/rimbr/AlbumFlore/Album01.html

There is a nice plan set of the "La Flore" from the "Musee de la Marine" in Paris: http://www.amis-musee-marine.net/pages/ ... phies1.htm
(look at the bottom of the page)

Approximately what period was this ship built in? Most of my sources indicate that the French navy included 8-pounder, frigate type ships from the early 1700's up to about the time of the American Revolution, when they abandoned the 8-pounder armament in favor of 12-pounder frigates. That is not to say they didn't retain some of these ships beyond that date, but apparently no new ones were built.

The thing that throws me is that you say this ship was American built. That would seem to indicate she was built during or after the American Revolution unless she was a prize taken either from one of the colonial navies or the RN. I will dig out my Chapman's and see if I can find any reference to an 9-pounder frigate either built in America for the French navy, or one taken as a prize.

One of my sources lists in the bibliography, a periodical called Neptunia which is a French maritime history journal. Volume 109, published in 1973, has an article by Jean Boudriot, titled "Les Fregates la Flore" which is a discussion of French frigate design in the 18th century. Volume 181(1991) of the same publication has an article on the light French frigates, into which class an 8-pounder frigate would fall, titled "La Fregate dans La Marine Royal, 1660-1750: La Fregate Legere". Don't know if this will be of any help, but it might be a place to start. Good Luck!

I found more information yesterday (below). This seems to fit at least as far as her build date matching the size of ship and armament. I wonder however about her lasting until 1778, since I have found references from that period for a 12 pounder British frigate the Flore? Perhaps we are seeing the name transfered to a new vessel? I would also like to know more about her being raised in 1780, re-fitted, and employed as the American Privateer. What be the physical condition of a 24 year old ship after 2 years submerged. She also seems rather large for a privateer?
There must be some truth to this since the French presented her model to John Kennedy as part of an offical visit.
Paul
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Found with Google searches
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Lindberg Jolly Roger...I beg to differ....

Derek,

The Lindberg Jolly Roger was, as were most of their ship kits, an old Pyro kit. Yes, It's an old mold, but it is by no means a generic ship...

The "Jolly Roger" is actually the French Frigate "La Vestal" Built in 1756. She took part in the "Battle of Quiberon Bay" in 1759. She was captured by the British Frigate Unicorn in January 1761 and her name was changed to "The Flora." She served in the Royal Navy under Captain John Brisbane and was scuttle in Newport Rhode Island in August of 1778.

The American's raised her in 1780 and re-fitted her, and she was employed as the American Privateer, "the Flora" until she was SOLD BACK to the French Navy and became "La Flore" until the French realised that they already had a "La Flore" and renamed her "La Reconnaissance." She was crusing off of Africa from 1787 to 1789, and her captain reported that "she steered well and heeled less than any warship in Europe".

In 1792 the French navy decommissioned her and sold her to Sieur Faure de Rochefort for use as a privateer. She was captured again by the British in 1798, and sold in Admiralty Court.

There are four paintings of her in British service by Francis Holman in the Peabody Museum in Salem, Ma. and there are two wooden models of her, one at "the Musee de la Marine" in Paris and one which was given to President John F. Kennedy by the French Minister of Culture when President and Mrs. Kennedy Visited France in the early 1960's. The second model is in the collection of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

The Kit is a bit rough but has all the right details, including the correct decorations on her stem and her stern galleries. Her major problem visually is the way the Main grateing goes into the Gun Deck, part of the deck is attached to the main hatch gratins and will not properly seat as part of the deck. The best solution is to use scribed Bass wood sheet cut to size to replace the deck. I used to work at the Kennedy Library and am very well aquainted with their model, the details of the Lindberg kit match almost perfectly.

My Two cents worth.
Richard Sweeney
(Reference for ships history: "American Ships of the Colonial and Revolutionary Period. " John F Millar, W.W. Norton and Company, Inc. New York, New York. Copyright 1978, PP 128-131.)

Subject: Lindberg Jolly Roger

Hi Derek

A few years ago Lindberg re-released two old sailing vessel kits calling them "pirate ships" as a marketing ploy. One was a frigate (I think this was titled "Jolly Roger" by Lindberg) the other was a Man o' War (I think they called this one "Captain Kidd").

The "Jolly Roger" kit is actually a model of the French 18th Century Frigate "La Flore" armed with thirty 9-pounders and measuring 47 meters stem to stern. Due its distinctively French features such as a very narrow beam, converting this model into an accurate rendition of an American vessel may be problematic. Some privateers might have been based on French frigate designs, but I doubt if any Continental or USN vessels were.

The "Captain Kidd" is a model of the Hansiatic vessel "Wappen von Hamburg" a Dutch design circa 1670. This is the better of the two kits.

Although these kits do have some nice details, sailing ships tend to push the limits of plastic. Plastic masts, notorious for bending and sagging, are best replaced with real wood. Mimicing a varnished natural wood finish on the hull is a major challenge. Vacformed billowing sails with their massive molded in seams don't look very convincing. Nor do the molded plastic ratlines and clunky blocks. I don't care for the raised plank lines and cheezy simulated wood grain either.

My bottom line opinion on these kits: be prepared for either a lot of labor using materials outside the box, or a toy-like finished product.

Dave

Lindberg "Jolly Roger" Part II

Derek,

If you would like a more detailed paint scheme based on the Model at the Kennedy Library, email me off line, it's basically in a brightsides pattern with Gold on Black Quarter galleries and Red Bulwarks, and white lead below the waterline. But there is more to it than that.

Richard Sweeney

1761
On the 8th of January, the British 28-gun frigate Unicorn Captain Joseph Hunt, cruising off the French coast, discovered, at 8h. A.M., and chased the French 32-gun frigate Vestale. The action began at 10h. 30m., and Captain Hunt was mortally wounded by the third broadside of the enemy The command devolved upon Lieutenant John Symons, who continued the action till 12h. 30m., when the Vestale surrendered. M. Boisbertelot, who commanded the Vestale, had his leg shot away, and died the next morning; and a great number of the French crew, which originally amounted to 220 men, were killed and wounded The Unicorn had five men killed, exclsive of her gallant captain, and ten wounded. The Vestal was added to the British navy under the name of Flora, a Vestal being already in the service.

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Mon Oct 24, 2005 4:53 pm
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Paul,

According to Boudroit's "History of the French Frigate" there were at least five French frigates called Flore, including the 8 pounder frigate mentioned in your note. None were built in America. What specificly are you looking for?

Regarding ship kits representing actual vessels, it depends on what you are looking for and the quality of the model you are looking to build. If you are looking for a nice model for your den and not concerned too much with authenticity, kits will do fine, wood or plastic. If you are looking for an accurate representation of the actual vessel, especially of wooden sailing ships, most kits will not come close. They have given up too much for the sake of production and have not done very good research, in most cases. With some effort you can modify a wooden kit to improve it, depending on the kit and how much information is available in archives, documents, books, etc.

Bob

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Mon Oct 24, 2005 10:36 pm
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Post La Flora
Good morning Bob
La Flora is, as you noted, close enuff to the actual ship to make a nice display piece. I plan on finishing her, obviously with some rework, making a dust case, and giving her as a present.
Since I am a student of history I love to learn something about the models I'm building. I'll attach some of the actual ship's history to the case.
Paul
:D

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Wed Oct 26, 2005 2:51 pm
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According to Alain Demerliac, Louis XVI's navy had only two frigates named Flore.

The 8-pounder Flore (26 × 8, 0-6 × 4) was launched on November 11, 1768. She was condemned at Toulon in 1787 and either sold for use as a merchantman or broken up.

The second Flore, listed as Flore Américaine from 1784 to 1787 and as Citoyenne Française from April 1793 to 1795, was built at Le Havre in 1755-56. She was repaired or refitted in England in 1770-71. She was scuttled at Rhode Island in August, 1778, when d'Estaing's fleet showed up to attack the British at Newport. She was raised at the beginning of 1783 and purchased in 1784 for 102,000 livres. She was coppered in 1795. Demerliac says that she was reduced to a hulk at Rochefort in February 1789, sold in July 1792, requisitioned in August 1793, and restored (presumably to her civilian owners) in 1795. He does not say what happened to her after that.

According to David Lyon, The Sailing Navy List, HBMS Flora was late HMXMS Vestale, built at Le Havre in 1757 and taken by HBMS Unicorn on January 8, 1761. Lyon says, "scutted at Rhode Island ato prevent capture [later raised by the Americans and sold by them to the French in 1784 who renamed her Le Flore (or La Flore Américaine); 1793 fitted out as a privateer, continued to serve as such until taken by Phaeton on 7.9.1799 and then sold."

The English dimensions given in Lyon were:
Gun deck: 131'7"
Keel: 110'1¼"
Beam: 34'6½"
Depth of hold: 10'9"
Tonnage (builder's measure): 698 67/94
Displacement (from Demerliac): 900 French tons

NOTE: I don't know the nationality of the original poster. The date 7.9.1799, appearing in an English publication, is September 7, 1799, not July 9.


Fri Oct 28, 2005 12:04 am
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Post La Flora
Good morning
This helps some, except it still looks like we have overlapping stories?

The second Flore, listed as Flore Américaine …. She was scuttled at Rhode Island in August, 1778, when d'Estaing's fleet showed up to attack the British at Newport. She was raised at the beginning of 1783 and purchased in 1784 for 102,000 livres. …. and restored (presumably to her civilian owners) in 1795. …..
, HBMS Flora was late HMXMS Vestale, … "scuttled at Rhode Island to prevent capture [later raised by the Americans and sold by them to the French in 1784 who renamed her Le Flore (or La Flore Américaine); 1793 fitted out as a privateer, …
:?:[/b]

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Fri Oct 28, 2005 3:05 pm
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I can't set up a table or columns showing the two ships, I can only explain it in text. Putting together the information in Lyon and Demerliac, we have the following:

The French had an HMXMS Flore, a frigate armed with 8-pounders, from 1768 until 1787. This ship was never in American or British hands, and never served as a privateer, as far as Demerliac and Villiers describe her career. According to Patrick Villiers, La marine de Louis XVI, vol. I (unfortunately, there is only one vol.), HMXMS Flore was part of the squadron under d'Estaing that forced the British to scuttle several ships at Rhode Island in August, 1778. HMXMS Flore returned to France in December, 1778 (presumably with dispatches, since d'Estaing's battle squadron remained on the western side of the Atlantic). In January, 1779, she departed on a cruise in the Mediterranean (so she probably returned to Toulon). She was disarmed on May 15, 1779 to be repaired. The repairs were completed on June 9 and HMXMS Flore was recommissioned. She cruised around the Strait of Gibraltar during the summer and then proceeded to Greece, stopping at Malta. She remained in the Levant (stopping at Constantinople, Smyrna, and other ports) protecting French trade and finally brought a convoy in to Marseille, with another frigate, in June 1780. She was disarmed, refitted, and recommissioned again at Toulon between July and October, 1780. She was employed cruising in the western Meditereranean and in December 1781 helped escort a troop convoy to Minorca, under attack by a joint Franco-Spanish force; between April and August 1782 she escorted a convoy of food and munitions to Cadiz for the Allied fleet fitting out there, and in September 1782 and January 1783 she took convoys from Marseille to Tunis. Therefore, HMXMS Flore and HBMS Flora were in or around Narragansett Bay at the same time. But HMXMS Flore was not sunk or scuttled there, raised after the war by Americans, or sold to France; she was always a unit of the navy of Their Most Christian Majesties, Louis XV (1768-70) and Louis XVI (1770-1787).

The French had a different frigate, which they built and initially employed under the name HMXMS Vestale. The complicated career and names of this ship were as follows:
1756-January 8, 1761: HMXMS Vestale
January 8, 1761: Captured by HBMS Unicorn
1761-August, 1778: HBMS Flora
August, 1778: Scuttled at Rhode Island
1778-1784: Under water at Rhode Island
1784: Raised by Americans and sold to the French
1784-1792: HMXMS Flore or Flore Américaine
February, 1789: Reduced to a hulk at Rochefort
1792: Sold for use as privateer
1792-April, 1793: Privateer
April, 1793: Renamed Citoyen Française
1793-1795: Requisitioned, presumably as FNS Citoyen Française (His Most Christian Majesty Louis XVI having been deposed in 1792)
1795-September 7, 1799: Privateer
1795: Resumed name of Flore, probably when she returned to private hands
September 7, 1799: As French privateer Flore, captured by HBMS Phaeton
1799: Sold
1799-?: Status and ultimate fate not mentioned by either Lyon or Demerliac


Sat Oct 29, 2005 4:34 am
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Post La Flora
Good morning
This makes more sense, it seems there were two or maybe even three ships with the name La Flora.
I do plan on finishing the kit and giving it away. I will compile a bit of history to go with it.
Thanks
Paul
:D

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Sat Oct 29, 2005 3:50 pm
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Post Re: La Flora
CaptainBill03 wrote:
Good morning
This makes more sense, it seems there were two or maybe even three ships with the name La Flora.
I do plan on finishing the kit and giving it away. I will compile a bit of


It was "Flora" in English and "La Flore" in French, never "La Flora." So far, we've definitely been discussing just two ships:
(1) HMXMS Vestale->HBMS Flora->HMXMS/FNS/privateer Flore [Américaine]/Citoyenne Française
(2) HMXMS Flore, the 8-pounder frigate in service from 1768 to 1787.

As Squbrigg mentioned, "Flore" (the "La" just means "the") was a common frigate name in the French navy. Just between 1792 and 1799, the French had three ships of that name:

1. The former French and British frigate already discussed, indexed by Demerliac as a corvette.
2. One of two brigs whose construction was started at Dunquerque in 1797; neither was completed.
3. A privateer schooner armed at Bordeaux in May 1793 and captured by the Spanish in June; they added her to the Armada Española under the name "Flor" and had her in service at Cadiz in 1795. I don't have a comprehensive list of the Spanish warships to continue her story.

Besides the ships already discussed, between 1770 and 1792, the French had three other privateers or naval vessels named "Flore."

1. A snow (a type of two-masted square-rigger) chartered at Madagascar between July and September 1774 as a tender for HMXMS Postillon. According to the entry in Demerliac, Louis XVI, the same vessel seems to have been requisitioned in May 1775, renamed Maurice Auguste, and returned to Île de France (now Mauritius) in June 1775.
2. A St. Malo privateer in 1779. (400 tons, 24 guns)
3. A vessel of indefinite rig («navire»), with a crew of 2 officers and 26 men, chartered at St. Malo in September 1782 to carry wood to Brest. The charter was ended in April 1783.

The British navy also made extensive use of the name "Flora." Besides the late HMXMS Vestale, they had:
1. A ship sloop (16 × 16 + 14 swivels) of 361 tons BM whose construction was cancelled in 1757.
2. A frigate who gave her name to a class of 4 (Flora, Thalia, Crescent, Romulus) 36-gun, 18-pounder frigates designed in 1778. HBMS Flora, 36, was ordered on November 11, 1778, laid down on November 21 at Royal Dockyard Deptford, and launched on May 6, 1780. She was undoubtedly named to replace the name of the ship scuttled at Rhode Island, but was clearly a different vessel, no more to be confused with the former French frigate than the dreadnought battleship HBMS Revenge of World War I and II is to be with the 74-gun ship of the line that fought at Trafalgar.
3. A cutter hired in 1783 and possibly also in service in 1796 (Lyon has a question mark after 1796; the 1783 and 1796 cutters might have been different vessels).
4. An armed vessel, possibly a brig, of 12 guns, hired in 1793-95.
5. A 14-gun cutter hired in 1794 and taken by the French on December 1, 1798.
6. A 14-gun cutter hired in 1800-01.
7. A smack hired in 1809, according to an article by Dittmar in The Belgian Shiplover, purportedly from primary Admiralty records but not confirmed separately by David Lyon.


Sat Oct 29, 2005 11:01 pm
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Post Flora
Good morning
This was the third ship I was referring to
HBMS Flora, 36, was ordered on November 11, 1778, laid down on November 21 at Royal Dockyard Deptford, and launched on May 6, 1780. She was undoubtedly named to replace the name of the ship scuttled at Rhode Island,
Thanks for the good information
Paul

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Sun Oct 30, 2005 3:06 pm
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