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H.M.S. Blake was a 3rd Rate of 74 guns, 1,701 tons builders' measurement, length 172 ft., beam 48 ft., draft 18 ft. She was launched at Deptford Dockyard on August 23, 1808, her crew being 590 men. On July 28, 1809, the Blake (first of the name), was commanded by Capt. Edward Codrington, and flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Lord Gardner, when she sailed from the Downs in a fleet of 246 men-of-war of various kinds commanded by Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Strachan, with his flag in H.M.S. Venerable.
Some 400 transports accompanied the expedition, carrying some 40,000 troops under the Earl of Chatham. Many of the men-of-war removed their lower-deck guns and carried horses. The expedition set forth to destroy all the French ships in the Schelde, and at Antwerp; to destroy the dockyards at Antwerp, Flushing and Ter Neuze; and to render the Schelde no longer navigable for big ships.
The expedition was of a military rather than a naval brigade in the capture of the island of Walcheren; and in the bombardment, siege and capture of Flushing. During the attack on Flushing, the Blake ran aground on the Dog Sand, but was got off in three hours. Apparently the Earl of Chatham was a little fonder of his own personal comfort than of work, and after the island of Walcheren, with its batteries, basins and arsenals, had been reduced, the British force withdrew. In June 1811, the Blake, commanded by Capt. Edward Codrington, in company with the Centaur and Invincible, was employed in co-operating with the Spanish patriots on the shores of the Mediterranean, and in rescuing many hundreds of them from the butchery of the French at Tarragonna, after the city was in their hands. The following September the Blake assisted in the seizure of the harbour at Tarragonna, and in the capture and destruction of the French shipping.
There has been some confusion over the ultimate fate of the Blake, In "The King's Ships", by Lieut. H. S. Lecky, he states that she was broken up after some 40 years' service as receiving ship at Portsmouth. He then goes on to state that the second Blake was a 2.decked 91-gun screw ship built at Pembroke in 1863.
J. J. Colledge in his book "Ships of the Royal Navy" however records that the first Blake of 1808, was used as a prison ship in January 1814, and was sold on October 17, 1816. The second Blake, he states was a 3rd Rate of 74 guns, 1701 tons b.m., 174 ft. x 48 ft., built at Deptford in 1808 as the Bombay. She was renamed Blake on April 28, 1819 and was on harbour service in 1828. She was sold for breaking up at Portsmouth on December 12, 1855. SG350