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Raid on Brahestad

Unit/ Formation: HM Ships

Location: Brahestad

Period/ Conflict: Crimean War

Year: 1854

Date/s: 29 May 1854

After working north through the ice the squadron came too off Brahestad (modern Raahe) late on 29 May. The next morning the three ships pushed though the ice, losing boards from their paddlewheels in the process, to a point little more than a mile offshore before sending in a force of fourteen boats from Leopard, Vulture and Odin.

'H.M.S. Odin'; frontispiece from vol 16 of journals of Edward Cree.Repro ID F3036 © NMM

The boats, manned by 25 officers, 201 seamen and 78 marines, mounted six guns. The landing party informed the local authorities that they came to destroy Imperial Property. Ten 'gunboats’ on the stocks were burnt, along with wood, tar and other stores. The local people fled inland, while a vast conflagration consumed ten vessels, planks and other shipbuilding materials.

Lieutenant Benjamin Priest,9 first lieutenant of the Leopard, was the senior officer. He reported that 'a large number’ of the barrels were marked with the Imperial Crown, although he did not specify whether this was a mark of ownership or a customs stamp.

'Brahestad - Finland - May 30th 1854.' From the journals of Edward Cree. Repro ID F3031 © NMM

The inhabitants offered no resistance, and he was careful to avoid any damage to private property, sparing the flour store. Priest carefully inspected the town storehouses for contraband. He reported that the landing party behaved well, although one man was missing. It turned out that he got drunk and fell asleep in a warehouse, which was then unfortunately burnt by his shipmates. Read More/ Web Link: Journal for Maritime Research

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