Battle Blanche vs. La Pique, 5th January 1795
In December 1794 the 32-gun frigate HMS Blanche was detached to cruise off the French held island of Desirade. Captain Robert Faulknor patroled off Pointe à Pitre, Guadeloupe, where the 36-gun French frigate Pique was known to be refitting.
The French ship came out of the harbour on 4th January but at first tried to avoid an action. The two frigates spent several hours manoeuvring and circling each other, trying to gain an advantage, eventually coming to close quarters and exchanging broadsides in the early hours of 5th January. Both ships sustained heavy damage. The Blanche lost her main and mizzen masts before the Pique turned and ran afoul of the Blanche, with her bowsprit caught across her port quarter.
French boarding attempts were repulsed and the crew of the Blanche attempted to lash the bowsprit of the Pique to their capstan. During this attempt Captain Falknor was killed by a musket shot through the heart.
The Pique broke away and came round the Blanche's stern once again colliding with the Blanche on the starboard quarter. The crew of the Blanche were this time successful in lashing the bowsprit to the stump of their mainmast. The Pique was now unable to manoeuvre or bring any of her guns to bear and the Blanche raked her until she was forced to surrender after over five hours of action.
by Robert Phillips, Canvey Island, September 2013
The death of Captain Faulknor