HMS Melampus was a Royal Navy fifth-rate frigate that served during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. She captured numerous prizes before the British sold her to the Dutch navy in 1815. With the Dutch she participated in a major action at Algiers, and then in a number of colonial punitive expeditions in the Dutch East Indies.
The Admiralty ordered Melampus from James Martin Hillhouse, of Bristol on 17 April 1782 as a 38-gun fifth rate. After she had been laid down in December 1782, the Admiralty reduced her armament to 36 guns on 11 January 1783, as captains of earlier 38-gun frigates had complained that the extra guns made the upper gundeck too cramped. Melampus was launched on 8 June 1785, and fitted between 3 July and 8 September 1785 for ordinary at Plymouth. She was again fitted between May and 2 July 1790 for Channel service.
She recommissioned in April 1793 under the command of Isaac Coffin, and by April the following year she was under Captain Thomas Wells, serving in Sir John Borlase Warren's squadron. During this time Melampus participated in the action of 23 April 1794, during which the British took three vessels, Engageante, Pomone, and Babet. Melampus had five men killed and five wounded.
She came under the command of Sir Richard Strachan in September 1794 and was recommissioned in April 1795. She was part of Strachan's force that attacked and destroyed a French convoy in Cartaret Bay on 9 May 1795. In 1797 Melampus was also active in operations against French privateers.
Melampus was then assigned to the Caribbean, sailing for Jamaica in March 1800.
Melampus returned to England, and underwent a large repair at Deptford between August 1803 and October 1804. She was recommissioned in August 1804 under the command of Captain Stephen Poyntz, and commenced cruises off the French coast, taking an active part in the Napoleonic Wars.
She was then sold to the Dutch government in June 1815 for the sum of £35,364.
On 27 August 1816 Melampus was the flagship of the Dutch squadron under Vice-Admiral Baron T.F. van de Capellen that joined a British fleet under the command of Admiral Lord Exmouth in the bombardment of Algiers.
By 1822 Melampus was in the Dutch East Indies. In that year she led a squadron of five transports and 24 local vessels carrying Dutch marines and local auxiliaries in a punitive expedition against the Iranun of Sulawesi.
The stamp features a fragment of a painting by artist Chris Woodhouse. (1990).
Barbuda 2019; 5$.
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