Eldrbarry's Third Wood Ship Model: Mamoli's H.M.S. Halifax (1768)

Status on October, 2012: Working on Keel and Bulwarks in preparation for first planking.

  • Current Project: Mamoli HMS Halifax

    An album of pictures of my progress building the kit.

    One of the best documented schooners from early North America, the Halifax was built for merchant service at Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1765 and purchased in 1768 by the British Royal Navy for coastal patrol in North America in the years just prior to the American Revolution. As a merchant packet vessel - it carried mail and passengers between Nova Scotia and Boston. THe British Navy used it to carry dispatches between Nova Scotia and Portsmouth, England; and then patrolling the New England coast to combat smuggling and unrest. In 1769 the Halifax confiscated and towed the schooner Liberty, later HMS Liberty, which belonged to John Hancock. I always glue a coin dated the year I begin a model to the false keel inside the hull - in this case, ironically, I used a Thomas Jefferson nickel dated 2012 - it has the word "Liberty" aboved the date.

    Its lines carefully taken at Portsmouth and its naval service was well documented.

    The Merchant packet was owned by Joseph Grey, the son in law of the commissioner of the Halifax Naval Yard where the schooner was likely built, and it was captained by Benjamin Green Jr. Royal Navy commanders included Lieutenant Samuel Scott, who sailed her back to North America in January 1769, Lieutenant Abraham Crespin who commanded her after an 1770 refit, Lieutenant Jacob Rogers (1773), and Lieutenant Joseph Nunn (1774). It would have been crewed by a complement of thirty.

    There were five other ships in the Royal Navy that bore the name Halifax including a 22 gun sloop (1759), a 1775 schooner, and 18 gun sloop (USS Ranger) captured from the US Navy in 1980, a 10 gun schooner (1782) and an 18 gun sloop (1806) - serveral were built at the ship yards in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    The H.M.S. Halifax (1768) was wrecked in 1775 on a rock Machias, Maine on February 15th, 1775. Possibly it might have been salvaged and put into service as the 1775 Schooner of the same name - its lines were the same. A schooner named the H.M.S. Halifax - (Some sources say with twelve guns, which may of included its swivels, other sources say with six guns) was listed in the fleet of Henry Mowat which burned the town of Falmouth, Maine on October 18th, 1775 - the date and the proximity to where the H.M.S. Halifax struck a rock and was wrecked may indicate it possibly was the same vessel.

    A number of vessels were salvaged by the British following the defeat of American forces at Penobscot Bay in August of 1779 "including the New Hampshire brig Hamden, the privateer Hunter (captured before they could be scuttled) and a number of small transports grounded and set ablaze at Sandy Point by their retreating crews. British forces quickly extinguished some of the burning ships, thereby saving their hulls, as well as any armament, hardware, and supplies" according to a recent archaeological report. Fifty to Sixty cannon were salvaged and used in strengthening Fort George or in British merchant vessels.

    The Halifax is discussed in: Howard J. Chapelle's The Search for Speed Under Sail,
    his The History of American Sailing Ships,
    as well as in Harold M. Hahn's The Colonial Schooner 1763-1765.


  • H.M.S. Halifax blog post: Wooden Model Builder
  • Forums on Model Ship World: Alas, due to a hard disk crash at the modelshipworld site, the following "builds" were lost - I had hope to use them for reference in building my kit. I regret I saved only the links and not the actual pages.

    11/2012: I have assembled the false bulwarks to the false keel, added the false decks and am in process of adding the first planking - a slow process - with some wood filler and a good sanding - I should have a good hull ready for the second planking with some nice woods. One of the challenges of this Mamoli model kit is that all the parts list tables are in Italian, but I have Frank Mastini's book to help me there.

    3/14: I have (finally, after setting it aside for 16 months) started the second layer of planking on the hull.


    Eldrbarry's Home Page - Contact Barry McWilliams at eldrbarry@eldrbarry.net