Picture of Commander Jeffrey (Baron von) Reigerafeld
HMS Hermes started her life off as the Merchant Ship Hermes, launched from North Shields in 1797, built by Thomas Hearn. The sloop has an overall length of 100 feet, her keel was 77 feet. She had a beam of 28 feet 5 inches with a depth of hold being 11 feet. The Royal Navy bought her a year later for the princely sum of £2900, fitting her out at Gravesend by the company "Cleverly" at a cost of £2975 and then to Deptford at a cost of £3149 She weighed 313 tons and had a crew of 76 men.
In the May of 1798, Commander Henry Vansittart commissioned her for the North Sea with 16 x 32 pounder carronades on the upper deck and 2 x 16 pounder carronades on her forecastle., he stayed with her until the October of that year.. In 1799 she was under the command of Commander Jeffrey (Baron von) Reigerafeld in Mitchell's squadron. In November she was under the command of Commander David Gilmour. Around January 1801 her captain was Commander James Watson.
HMS Hermes spent her brief navy service convoying in the North Sea, serving without incident.
The "Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy" offered "Hermes, lying, at Sheerness" for sale and sold on the 30th June 1802 after "the Treaty of Amiens"
In 1803 she returned to service as the mercantile vessel "Hermes" convoying between London and Jamaica but was captured by the French in 1805 and taken in to Guadeloupe.