|Racehorse and Carcass in the Arctic in 1773. |
By John Cleveley. National Maritime Museum
Not much is known about her builder Thomas Stanton, although Stuart Rankin's research suggests that he was the manager or foreman at a Captain Bronsden's shipyard at Deptford Grove Street. Rankin suggests that he achieved the means to establish himself at Rotherhithe by joining forces with business partners in joint shipbuilding enterprises. He is listed, for example, as a partner for HMS Chester which was ordered from "Bronden, Wells and Stanton." He was at the Rotherhithe yard by 1754. The name by which the yard was known at the time is unknown, being marked simply as "shipwrights" on early maps of the area. It is now usually known as Barnard's Wharf, due to its association with a later ship building family. Rif Winfield lists the builders of Carcass as Stanton and Wells, which differs from other sources, but it is entirely possible that the Wells shipbuilding company (probably the Wells involved in the above-mentioned construction of HMS Chester), which took over the yard after Thomas Stanton, was involved in her construction. More on the Wells family in a later post.
Bomb vessels were equipped with vast mortars mounted forward, which expelled bombs or carcasses, solid casings filled with explosives, as described above. They were used mainly to shell land-based targets over substantial distances and you can form a good impression of their role in the painting below of the bombardment of Le Havre, in which Carcass participated. These mortar guns had tremendous recall. To bear their weight and withstand the recall, bomb vessels were built with a particularly strong hull. Although they were also equipped with a few carronades, these were for self defence and did not form part of the ship's overall objective.
|The bombardment of Le Havre in 1759|
Bibliothèque nationale de France
(click the picture to see the bigger image)
She was recommissioned in August 1765 under Captain Mark Pattison. Pattison sailed her to Jamaica in October 1765. Jamaica in 1765 was a British colony, and the mid eighteenth century seems to have been one of its more peaceful periods, so it is unclear exactly why a bomb vessel was required. By September 1766 she was under Commander Thomas Jordan. A small repair and refit at Deptford cost £2870.14.6. She was recommissioned in June 1771 under Commander Skeffington Lutwidge, for service in the Irish Sea.
|Carcass off Nova Zembla. |
Arents Cigarette Card
Carrying 90 and 80 sailors respectively, the task of Racehorse and Carcass was to break through the ice to see if there open sea beyond Spitsbergen that might provide a route to the Bering Strait and the Pacific, the so-called northwest passage. The expedition was under the overall command of Racehorse's captain Constantine Phipps, who took with him a ship's doctor, an astronomer and a naturalist. Carcass was still under the command of Skeffinton Lutwidge. Both Lutwidge and Lieutenant John Baird were popular officers, Constantine Phipps being unusual amongst the aristocracy in pulling his weight in all aspects of the ship's operation.
|Nelson and the Bear. By Richard Westall, 1806|
|A Jersey stamp showing Racehorse and Carcass|
stranded in the Arctic in 1773.
Carcass came under the command of Lieutenant Edward Edwards at Sandy Hook in 1778. In 1780 she sailed for Barbados as part of escort, under Commodore William Hotham, for a convey 5,000 troops to West Indies. They departed on 4th November and arrived on 10 December. She was under John Young, off the Leeward Islands (a British colony) by the end of 1780. Paid off in December 1781. She was surveyed in 1782 at Woolwich and was finally sold in Woolwich for £320 on 5 August 1784, presumably for breaking although there is no record of her final fate.