French ship Généreux (1785)

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Leander & Genereux.jpg
Le Généreux in action against HMS Leander
Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Flag of French-Navy-Revolution.svg Civil and Naval Ensign of France.svgFrance
Namesake: Generosity
Builder: Rochefort shipyard
Launched: 1785
Captured: by Britain, 1800
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
Acquired: 1800
Fate: Broken up in 1816
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Téméraire-class ship of the line
  • 1,966 tonnes
  • 3,260 tonnes fully loaded
Length: 55.87 metres (183.3 ft) (172 pied)
Beam: 14.90 metres (48 ft 11 in)
Draught: 7.26 metres (23.8 ft) (22 pied)
Propulsion: Up to 2,485 m2 (26,750 sq ft) of sails

Généreux was a French Téméraire-class 74-gun ship of the line. After capture she completed her career as part of the Royal Navy as HMS Généreux.



She was launched in 1785 at Rochefort. Under Louis-Jean-Nicolas Lejoille, she was one of only two ships to escape the British attack at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798, along with Guillaume Tell.

Shortly after the battle of the Nile, on 18 August 1798, she fell in with a smaller British ship of the line, HMS Leander of 50 guns. After a long battle, the Généreux captured the Leander, with the Leander suffering 35 killed and 57 wounded and the Généreux suffered around 100 killed and 180 wounded. [2]

In March 1799, Généreux escorted a convoy to Corfu. En route, her captain, Lejoille, decided to bombard Brindisi. He was killed in the ensuing exchange of fire, and lieutenant Claude Touffet took over. The city fell on 3 March after a two-hour battle. [3]

On 6 February 1800, Généreux, under Captain Renaudin, [4] departed from Toulon leading a squadron comprising the frigate Badine, the corvettes Sans Pareille and Fauvette, and the fluyt Ville de Marseille, under Rear-Admiral Jean-Baptiste Perrée. In the morning of 18 February, an English fleet chased the French squadron off Lampedusa island. In the ensuing Battle of the Malta Convoy, Perrée was killed, and Généreux covered the squadron, allowing Badine, Sans Pareille and Fauvette to escape, before striking her colours. Her battle ensign, a 16 m by 8.3 m tricolour, was given to the city of Norwich by Berry and Nelson. The flag has been preserved; its size and completeness marking it as a special artefact of the period. [5]

She became HMS Généreux and she was in Minorca in 1801 when she press-ganged a crew from the Walmesley. She engaged Spanish ships and she was intended to go to Egypt. Storm damage prevented this so she patrolled off what is now Libya. After taking part in an unsuccessful attack on the French island of Elba, she set sail from Minorca for Spithead after peace was declared. She arrived at Spithead on 27 July 1802. [6] She was finally broken up in 1816.

See also

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  2. Phillips, Michael (2013). "LEANDER (50) [1780]". Ships of the Old Navy. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  3. Dictionnaire des capitaines de vaisseau de Napoléon, Danielle & Bernard Quintin, SPM, 2003, ISBN   2-901952-42-9 , p. 350
  4. Fonds Marine, p.239
  5. "Flag captured in 1800 to go on display in Norfolk for the first time in more than a century"
  6. Hancock, N P (1991). "The life and work of the Reverend Benjamin Godwin: a Baptist response to the Oxford Movement". MPhil University of Nottingham: 14–15. Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2014.