1901 – La Zelee
1903 – Aviso Transport Meurthe
1903 & 1904 – Protet
There have been three ships of the French Navy named after Admiral August-Léopold PROTET.
The one that visited Sydney in January 1903 was a 1st class cruiser, laid down in Bordeaux in 1895 and launched in 1898. It was laid up on 9 March 1910, and broken up at Rochefort in the same year.
It displaced 4,000 tonnes, with 9,000 h.p. It was armed with 4 x 164 mm cannon, 10 x 100 mm cannon, and two torpedo tubes.
Admiral Auguste-Léopold PROTET was born at Saint-Servan on 20 April 1808. He entered the Naval College at Angoulême in October 1824. A 2nd class student in September 1826, he embarked on the Victorieuse and then on L’Émulation in the Levant. 1st class midshipman in September 1828, he was posted to the Pomone in the West Indies in June 1828, in July 1830 he was on board the Bayadère in Senegal and the West Indies. Promoted sub-lieutenant in December 1830, he was on board the Hermione during her cruise to the coast of Africa and to the West Indies. 1832 saw him on the Saône in the Indian Ocean, in 1833 on the Agathe in the Mediterranean, and in 1834 on the Montebello.
On board the Galatea in May 1835, he distinguished himself by his courage and presence of mind at the time of the collision of the Trident with his frigate and saved her from being wrecked by guiding it to the Hyères islands. Lieutenant in April 1837, he transferred to the frigate Médée in Admiral Baudin’s squadron which was sent to Mexico and, in 1838, took part in the attacks on Saint-Jean d’Ulloa and Vera-Cruz. Appointed second in command of the Cornaline in August 1839 in Guyana and then in the Indian Ocean, he spent more than three years in these waters, and served as aide de camp to Admiral de Hell, Governor of the island of Reunion (December 1840) then commanded the Lionne (June 1841) and the Sarcelle (December 1843), ordered in particular to undertake hydrography of the coasts of Madagascar and the Comoros. He was attached to the Dépôt des cartes et plans in August 1845, and promoted commander in September 1846 and appointed in May 1847 second in command of the Armide in the experimental squadron. Commanding the Dupetit-Thouars in December 1847, in the division on the coast of West Africa, he was appointed, in June 1850, Governor of Senegal. He was promoted captain in December 1852 and made himself noticed by his energy. In February 1853, he led and expedition against the Bissagos Islands (now part of Guinea Bissau) provoked by the pillage of several French ships. Concerned about territorial expansion of the colony, he organized two campaigns in the regions of Podor and Dialmath (February-May 1854) in Upper Senegal. Member of the Conseil des Travaux (Works Council) in April 1855, Protet received, in March 1856, the command of the naval division on the west coast of Africa, flying his flag in the Jeanne d’Arc. In March 1859 he received a letter of appreciation for the happy outcome of the expedition in Senegal.
Assistant member of the Board of Admiralty and member of the Hydrographic Committee in May 1859. He left the following year for China seas where he commanded the Garonne and the Dryade, and where he took a major part in the operations by Vice-Admiral Charner’s squadron (capture of Tché-Fou, landing at Pétang). Promoted rear-admiral in January 1860, he made his mark on board the Forte and in February 1862, was promoted commander in chief of the China Sea division, flying his flag in the Renommée. Protet than led an active campaign against the Taiping rebels who were threatening Shanghai, defended by a joint Franco-British force. It was in a withdrawal operation that he was killed by a bullet right in the chest during the attack on Nekio on 17 May 1862.
1906 – Catinat
1906 – Kersaint
1910 – La Zelee
1914 – Zelee