After being purchased by Admiralty in 1803 HMS Hermes went to Woolwich for a 4 month refit and was laden with 14 x 24 pounder carronades on her main deck and 2 x 6 pounder chase guns on the forecastle.
No official records can be traced as to the origin or career before HMS Hermes was purchased in 1803. It is believed she was named Majestic built in 1801 however she is not the vessel Majestic launched from Whitby in 1801.
She was commissioned by Commander John Astley Bennett August 1803 for service in the North Sea. In May 1804 Commander John Davie transferred from his position with the "Sea Fencibles" at Harwich to replace Bennett. He transferred to "Favorite" in December. In January 1805 Commander Joseph Westbeach took command.
HMS Hermes underwent fitting at Sheerness between September and November 1805. Commander Peter Rye recommissioned her in October 1806. and in November 1806 Commander Edward Reynolds Sibly (or Sibley) replaced Rye.
On 9 March 1807 Hermes sailed for the Cape of Good Hope In 1808 where she participated in the British operations in the River Plate
Commander Silby transferred to Sheerwater in May 1809 while Hermes was at Deptford between April and June being fitted as a storeship. She was recommissioned in April.
Hermes was sold on 24 March 1810.
The Royal Navy actively employed children and minors within their ranks and indeed, joining the Royal Navy as a boy was an often and unwritten prerequisite for a path towards an officer commission. Positions for minors began with the generic term "ship's boy" which was open to young boys between the ages of eight to twelve, although there was no established cut off and there are records of boys as old as 15 to 17 joining ships as boys.
Once a boy, further advancement could be obtained through various specialties. A cabin boy assisted with the ship's kitchen, as well as other duties, while a powder monkey helped in the ship's armoury. One of the highest positions for a boy was that of "officer's servant". This position was usually reserved for "young gentlemen" who joined a ship between the ages of 12 and 15 and was seen as a preparatory to becoming a midshipman"
Prior service as a ship's boy was recorded as sea-service; officers' servants could further credit their sea time towards the mandatory requirement for sea time in order to attempt the Lieutenants' Commission Board. After the "Age of Sail" ended, the position of ship's boy became an actual Royal Navy rank known as "Boy Seaman".
1803 saw the start of introducing uniforms to the crew. Officers had wore uniform since the 1740s.
Petty Officers uniform during the Napoleonic Wars