Constructed to a Henslow design, H.M.S. Apollo was the nameship of a small class of seven frigates, all but one of which were ordered on 2nd March 1793 within a month of the declaration of war with Revolutionary France. Apollo herself was built in Perry's Yard at Blackwall, on the Thames, and she was launched on 18th March 1794 just one year after her keel was laid. Measured at 984 tons and 146 feet in length with a 39 foot beam, she carried a main armament of 28-18pdrs. on her upper deck plus ten smaller calibre guns on her quarter-deck and fo'c'sle.
Entering service with a complement of 270 officers, men and boys, Apollo, like every other frigate in the fleet, was in constant demand for many different roles. Sadly, however, her career proved a short one when, on 7th January 1799, she was wrecked in the North Sea. She had been cruising off the Dutch coast and was approaching Den Helder at about 6.45 in the morning when she ran aground on the Haak Sands disguised under a heavy swell. Her sails were thrown back, which moved her but did not free her, and several guns were jettisoned in an attempt to lighten her but to no avail. As the tide ebbed, she began to settle and was abandoned as a wreck. At the subsequent court martial, the pilot, John Bruce, was found "to have shown a want of skill" and dismissed from the service.