HMS VICTORY - 1765
The HMS VICTORY was a five-deck, three-masted ship of the line. She was a first-class vessel with three gun decks, 104 cannons and a crew of 850. The ship was designed by Sir Thomas Slade and built between 1759 and May 1765 at Chatham Shipyard. The launching took place on 7th May 1765, after which she layed at anchor in Medway for thirteen years without being put to any particular use.
In 1795 the HMS VICTORY sailed under the command of Admiral Hotham to the Mediterranean where she served successfully in combat at Cape Vincent. In February 1797, under Admiral John Jervis, she participated in the victorious Battle of Cape Vincent, only to be taken out of service temporarily upon to Chatham in November of the same year. In 1801, she went into dock for two years, during which time the vessel was given her present-day appearance. In 1805 the HMS VICTORY was Captain Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, and under his command she engaged in combat with Admiral Villeneuve’s ships, the BUCENTAURE and the REDOUTABLE.
In the afternoon, the BUCENTAURE sailed into the lee of the HMS VICTORY and presented her stern. As she sailed slowly past, the HMS VICTORY fired the 68 cannons on her fore deck knocking down everybody on deck and in the cabins of the BUCENTAURE. As there was no wind, the BUCENTAURE could not escape
Although the French defeat was decisive, a seaman firing from the main top of the REDOUTABLE fatally wounded Nelson who had been in command during the battle with Captain Hardy as his right-hand man.