06 February 1810 Sailors from HMS STARR a 16 gun ship of the MERLIN class, form part of a Naval Brigade that establishes gun batteries to bombard the capital of Guadeloupe, the last French colony in the West Indies. The surrender of Guadeloupe markedly diminishes the slave trade, made illegal by Britain in 1807. In 1847, participants are eligible to apply for the Naval General Service Medal with the clasp, Guadeloupe, and STAR received the battle honour Guadeloupe.
On the first day of Black History Month, HMCS STAR remembers that, following the Abolition of Slavery Act of 1833 and the Slave Trade Act of 1843, two of our predecessors were involved in the suppression of the slave trade off the east and west coasts of Africa:
HMS STAR (1835-1857)
Between 1838 and 1845, STAR served on the West African Station engaged in the suppression of the slave trade. In one period of two years, she captured seventeen ships and freed over five thousand slaves.
In March of 1845, STAR recaptured the Brazilian slave ship FELICIDADE. She had been previously captured by HMS WASP but FELICIDADE’s crew overpowered the small prize crew left on board and murdered them. STAR also put a prize crew on board but FELICIDADE was overwhelmed in a gale and sank, with four of the ten prize crew surviving for twenty days on a raft living on rain water and sharks before being rescued off the coast of Sierra Leone.
HMS STAR (1860-1877)
The 10th STAR was wooden hulled, barque rigged, and equipped with a 200 nhp two-cylinder horizontal single expansion steam engine and a single screw able to propel her at eleven knots. Launched in 1860, only two weeks before Britain’s first iron-clad, HMS WARRIOR, which began a revolution in naval warfare, STAR only lasted seventeen years. She displaced 877 tons, or 694 66/94 tons burthen. She was 184’ overall with a beam of 28’4”. She was armed with one 7’/110 pdr breech loading Armstrong gun, one 68 pdr muzzle loading smoothbore and two 20 pdr breech loaders
In1868 and 1867, STAR was involved in suppression of the slave trade off the coast of Somalia, patrolling from Socotra in the Gulf of Aden as far south as Kenya.