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Le Phoque

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Le Phoque

Postby shipstamps » Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:19 am

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On 04 September 1774 Captain James Cook discovered a new island which he named New Caledonia, because the mountains in the Balade area where he anchored, reminded him of Scotland, what was named by the Romans Caledonia.Eighteen years later, Frenchman Bruni d’Entrecasteaux, while searching for the missing navigator La Perouse made a call at Balada roads and the Isle of Pines.The Loyalty Islands were explored in 1827 by Dumont d’Urville, who mapped the archipelago in 1840. The first settlers were English missionaries, and in 1843, the French missionaries settled at Balade. Where on 24 September 1853 Commodore Auguste Février des Pointes took official possession of New Caledonia by order of Napoleon III.

In 1862, Admiral Guillian became governor and established a penal settlement for convicts and political prisoners. In 1957 New Caledonia became a French Overseas Territory. 
The stamp gives Rade de Balade 1853 (Road of Balade 1853), and three ships on the road, most probably the ships in which Commodore Auguste Février des Pointes arrived and on 24 September officially took possession of New Caledonia for the French government. .Three ships are depict on the road the Le PHOQUE, Le PRONY and Le CATINAT. 
Watercraft Philately gives then the info for the wrong PHOQUE she was built after 1853, and could never been at New Caledonia in 1853.The correct vessel is given below.

Built as a 3-masted wooden packet paddle corvette second class in Indret, France for the French Government. 23 August 1840 ordered. 02 March 1941 laid down.
07 July 1942 launched under the name PHOQUE (Seal) one sister the ESPADON.
Displacement 622 ton light, 1.196 ton full load. Dim. 55.20 x 9.26 x 2.69m. beam over paddle boxes 9.26m. Auxiliary steam engine, 220 nhp., manufactured by Stéhélin & Huber of Bitschwiller, Bas Rhin. Speed 9 knots. Bunker capacity 323 ton coal. Armament 6 – 16cm Howitzer guns.
Square rigged on the main-mast, sail area 1.145 square meters, 1850 re-rigged in a brig with a sail area of 1807 square meter.
Crew 123. 21 April 1844 completed.

She was first intended for the North Atlantic packet service, but before completed incorporated in the French Navy. First stationed in Senegal till 1847.
From 1848 till 1849 at the West India Station.
June 1850 at Brest for repair and a refit, rerigged in a brig. 1851 Based at Newfoundland.
13 December 1851 sailed out for a voyage for the Marquises with a call at Valparaiso under command of Lévéque. 24 September 1853 under command of Febvrier-Despointes arrived at New Caledonia where he proclaims the island for French.
29 September 1855 stricken.
Renamed PINGOUIN and used as a pontoon at Rochefort.
1878 Broken up. SG660
Auke Palmhof
The PRONY is a wooden paddle corvette built at Brest for the French Navy. Her intended name was SOCRATE.
27 January 1845 laid down. 11 November 1846 renamed in PRONY.
23 September 1847 launched under the name PRONY.
Displacement 1.365 ton, dim. 60.80 x 10.16 x 4.00m., beam over paddle boxes 18.3m. Powered by a double traverse type steam engine, manufactured by builder, 853ihp, speed 12.2 knots. Armament 3 – 22cm., 2 – 16cm. guns. In 1851 altered to 3 – 16cm, 2 – 30 pdr. guns. In 1859 4 – 30cm and 2 – 16cm guns.
Crew 136.
16 February 1849 completed. 
03 March 1849 sailed out from Brest with on board 400 passengers bound for Toulon. 12 April 1850 arrived at Montevideo from Toulon.
20 April 1850 sailed from Montevideo for River Plate.
17 October 1852 sailed out from Toulon for Rio de Janeiro.
23 November 1852 arrived on the road of Rio de Janeiro on her way to the Pacific.
30 October 1853 arrived at New Caledonia.
Between 1854 and 1855 stationed in the Pacific. 1856 Returned in Toulon. 27 September 1857 decommissioned.
September 1859 sailed from Toulon for Goulette, Tunis with on board Doctor Thiebaut, to look after the health of the Bey of Tunis, but it was in vain, Bey Muhammad II ibn al-Husayn died on 22 September 1859. October 1859 returned in Toulon.
19 January 1861 sailed from Gaeta for Toulon.
05 November 1861 was wrecked in the Gulf of Mexico, under command of Jean Joseph de Brun. 
The paddle steamer CATINAT was built on a yard at Rochefort as a first class corvette.
15 March 1845 laid down.
11 October 1861 launched under the name CATINAT.
Displacement 1.600 ton, dim 59 x 10.30 x 4.65m., beam over paddle boxes 17.50m.
Powered by 400 hp. steam engine, speed 10.8 knots.
Armament 4 – 30 pdr. and 4 – 16cm long guns., 1861 altered in 2 –16cm. and 6 – 30pdr guns., 1865 in 2 – 16cm and 6 – 14cm guns.
Crew 168. 10 October 1852 commissioned. 
December 1853 at New Caledonia. 28 October 1853 arrived at Papeete.
11 January 1853?? arrived at Rio de Janeiro from Montevideo, under command of Lacombe.
27 May 1856 arrived at Singapore from Ceylon. 15 May 1857 at anchor at Macao.
July 1857 in the French Squadron of China under command of Rigault of Genouilly.
30 January 1858 captured Canton.  20 April 1858 capture fort Pei-Ho.
24 August 1858 at anchor in the river at Canton. 20 November 1858 at the river at Canton.
22 February 1859 stationary at Saigon. June 1859 in China. 01 November 1859 at the China Sea naval base.
June 1863 a cruise to Newfoundland, Halifax and the Gulf of St Lawrence together with MARCEAU and Le BERTHOLLET.
07 April 1868 arrived at Lorient from Piraeus under command of Capt. Jaurés.
1872 Used as a torpedo boat school at Rochefort
11 May 1880 stricken. From 1881 till 1885 a storage hulk at Gabon. March 1885 scrapped.
 Auke Palmhof
Source:  Watercraft Philately January-February 2004 page 58.
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