|Name:||HMS Royal Sovereign|
|Ordered:||3 February 1786|
|Laid down:||7 January 1774|
|Launched:||11 September 1786|
|Renamed:||HMS Captain, 17 August 1825|
|Fate:||Broken up, 1841|
|Notes:||Harbour service from 1826|
|Class and type:||100-gun first rate ship of the line|
|Tons burthen:||2175 (bm)|
|Length:||183 ft 10 1⁄2 in (56.0 m) (gundeck)|
|Beam:||52 ft 1 in (15.88 m)|
|Depth of hold:||22 ft 2 1⁄2 in (6.8 m)|
|Sail plan:||Full rigged ship|
HMS Royal Sovereign was a 100-gun first rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, [ citation needed ]which served as the flagship of Admiral Collingwood at the Battle of Trafalgar. She was the third of seven Royal Navy ships to bear the name. Designed by Sir Edward Hunt, she was launched at Plymouth Dockyard on 11 September 1786, at a cost of £67,458, and was the only ship built to her draught. She was known by her crew as the "West Country Wagon" due to her poor manoeuvrability and speed.
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through to the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside firepower to bear. Since these engagements were almost invariably won by the heaviest ships carrying the most powerful guns, the natural progression was to build sailing vessels that were the largest and most powerful of their time.
The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.
A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, characteristically a flag officer entitled by custom to fly a distinguishing flag. Used more loosely, it is the lead ship in a fleet of vessels, typically the first, largest, fastest, most heavily armed, or best known.
Royal Sovereign was part of Admiral Howe's fleet at the Glorious First of June, where she suffered 14 killed and 41 wounded.
Admiral of the Fleet Richard Howe, 1st Earl Howe, was a British naval officer. After serving throughout the War of the Austrian Succession, he gained a reputation for his role in amphibious operations against the French coast as part of Britain's policy of naval descents during the Seven Years' War. He also took part, as a naval captain, in the decisive British naval victory at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in November 1759.
The Glorious First of June[Note A] of 1794 was the first and largest fleet action of the naval conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the First French Republic during the French Revolutionary Wars.
On 16 June 1795, as the flagship of Vice-Admiral William Cornwallis, she was involved in the celebrated episode known as 'Cornwallis' Retreat'.
Admiral Sir William Cornwallis, was a Royal Navy officer. He was the brother of Charles Cornwallis, the 1st Marquess Cornwallis, British commander at the siege of Yorktown. Cornwallis took part in a number of decisive battles including the Siege of Louisbourg in 1758 and the Battle of the Saintes but is best known as a friend of Lord Nelson and as the commander-in-chief of the Channel Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars. He is depicted in the Horatio Hornblower novel, Hornblower and the Hotspur.
The first ship of the fleet in action at Trafalgar on 21 October 1805, she led one column of warships; Nelson's Victory led the other. Due to the re-coppering of her hull prior to her arrival off Cádiz, Royal Sovereign was a considerably better sailer in the light winds present that day than other vessels, and pulled well ahead of the rest of the fleet. As she cut the enemy line alone and engaged the Spanish three decker Santa Ana, Nelson pointed to her and said, 'See how that noble fellow Collingwood carries his ship into action!' At approximately the same moment, Collingwood remarked to his captain, Edward Rotheram, 'What would Nelson give to be here?'
A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong to the armed forces of a state. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faster and more manoeuvrable than merchant ships. Unlike a merchant ship, which carries cargo, a warship typically carries only weapons, ammunition and supplies for its crew. Warships usually belong to a navy, though they have also been operated by individuals, cooperatives and corporations.
HMS Victory is a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, ordered in 1758, laid down in 1759 and launched in 1765. She is best known for her role as Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805.
Cádiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia.
Royal Sovereign and Santa Ana duelled for much of the battle, with Santa Ana taking fire from fresh British ships passing through the line, including HMS Mars and HMS Tonnant, while nearby French and Spanish vessels fired on Royal Sovereign. Santa Ana struck at 14:15, having suffered casualties numbering 238 dead and wounded after battling Royal Sovereign and HMS Belleisle. Royal Sovereign lost her mizzen and mainmasts, her foremast was badly damaged and much of her rigging was shot away. At 2.20 pm Santa Ana finally struck to Royal Sovereign. Shortly afterwards a boat came from Victory carrying Lieutenant Hill, who reported that Nelson had been wounded. Realising that he might have to take command of the rest of the fleet and with his ship according to his report being "perfectly unmanageable", by 3 pm he signalled for the frigate Euryalus to take Royal Sovereign in tow. Euryalus towed her round to support the rest of the British ships with her port-side guns, and became engaged with combined fleet's van under Pierre Dumanoir le Pelley, as it came about to support the collapsing centre. Fire from the lead ships shot away the cable between Royal Sovereign and Euryalus, and the latter ship made off towards Victory. Royal Sovereign exchanged fire with the arriving ships, until Collingwood rallied several relatively undamaged British ships around Royal Sovereign, and Dumanoir gave up any attempt to recover some of the prizes, and made his escape at 4.30pm.
HMS Mars was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 25 October 1794 at Deptford Dockyard.
Lion was a Téméraire class 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the French Navy, which later served in the Royal Navy. She was named Lion on 23 April 1790 and built at Rochefort from August 1791 until June 1794. She was renamed Marat on 28 September 1793 and then Formidable on 25 May 1795, with the changing fortunes of the French Revolution.
At 4.40 pm one of Victory's boats, carrying Captain Henry Blackwood and Lieutenant Hill, came alongside and Blackwood reported Nelson's death to Collingwood. This left Collingwood in command of the fleet, and with a storm rising, and disregarding Nelson's final order to bring the fleet to anchor, Collingwood ordered Blackwood to hoist the signal to all ships to come to the wind on the starboard tack, and to take disabled and captured ships in tow. Royal Sovereign was by now almost or totally unmanageable and virtually uninhabitable. As she had most of her masts shot away she could not make signals. Having his ship too much disabled by enemy fire at just before of 6 pm Collingwood, who had succeeded Nelson in command of the fleet had to transfer himself and his flag to the frigate Euryalus, while Euryalus sent a cable across and took Royal Sovereign in tow for second time. At the end of the action Collingwood signalled from the frigate to the rest of the fleet to prepare to anchor. HMS Neptune took over the tow on 22 October, and was replaced by HMS Mars on 23 October. Royal Sovereign had lost one lieutenant, her master, one lieutenant of marines, two midshipman, 29 seamen, and 13 marines killed, and two lieutenants, one lieutenant of marines, one master's mate, four midshipman, her boatswain, 69 seamen, and 16 marines wounded.
Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Blackwood, 1st Baronet, GCH, KCB, whose memorial is in Killyleagh Parish Church, was a British sailor.
A frigate is a type of warship, having various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.
HMS Neptune was a 98-gun second rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She served on a number of stations during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and was present at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Royal Sovereign returned to duty in the Mediterranean the next year and remained on the blockade of Toulon until November 1811, when she was ordered to return home to the Channel Fleet. In 1812 and 1813 she was under the command of Rear Admiral James Bissett serving under Admiral Keith.
She was credited with the capture on 5 August 1812 of the American ship Asia, of 251 tons, which had been sailing from St. Mary's to Plymouth with a cargo of timber.Royal Sovereign shared the proceeds of the capture with all the vessels in Keith's squadron, suggesting that what happened was that Asia sailed into Plymouth unaware that the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States had broken out and was seized as she arrived, the formal credit going to the flagship.
After her useful active life she was converted to harbour service as a receiving ship at Plymouth before being renamed HMS Captain [ citation needed ]on 17 August 1825. Hulked in June 1826, Captain was finally broken up at Plymouth, with work being completed on 28 August 1841. Four of her guns were saved and are incorporated in the Collingwood Memorial in Tynemouth.
The Battle of Trafalgar was a naval engagement fought by the British Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars (1796–1815).
HMS Bellerophon was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. Launched in 1786, she served during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, mostly on blockades or convoy escort duties. Known to sailors as the "Billy Ruffian", she fought in three fleet actions, the Glorious First of June, the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Trafalgar, and was the ship aboard which Napoleon finally surrendered, ending 22 years of nearly continuous war with France.
Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood was an admiral of the Royal Navy, notable as a partner with Lord Nelson in several of the British victories of the Napoleonic Wars, and frequently as Nelson's successor in commands.
HMS Temeraire was a 98-gun second-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. Launched in 1798, she served during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, mostly on blockades or convoy escort duties. She fought only one fleet action, the Battle of Trafalgar, but became so well known for her actions and her subsequent depictions in art and literature that she has been remembered as The Fighting Temeraire.
HMS Euryalus was a Royal Navy 36-gun Apollo-class frigate, which saw service in the Battle of Trafalgar and the War of 1812. During her career she was commanded by three prominent naval personalities of the Napoleonic and post-Napoleonic period, Henry Blackwood, George Dundas and Charles Napier. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars she continued on active service for a number of years, before spending more than two decades as a prison hulk. She ended her career in Gibraltar where, in 1860, she was sold for breaking up.
Neptune was a Bucentaure-class 80-gun ship of the line of the French Navy. Built during the last years of the French Revolutionary Wars she was launched at the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars. Her brief career with the French included several major battles, though she spent the last 12 years of her life under the Spanish flag.
Indomptable ("Indomitable") was a Tonnant-class 80-gun ship of the line in the French Navy, laid down in 1788 and in active service from 1791. Engaged against the Royal Navy after 1794, she was damaged in the Battle of Trafalgar and wrecked near the Spanish city of Cadiz on 24 October 1805.
The Trafalgar Way is the name given to the historic route used to carry dispatches with the news of the Battle of Trafalgar overland from Falmouth to the Admiralty in London. The first messenger in November 1805 was Lieutenant John Richards Lapenotière, of HMS Pickle, who reached Falmouth on 4 November after a hard voyage in bad weather. He then raced to London bearing the dispatches containing the momentous news of Lord Nelson's victory and death in the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805.
HMS Swiftsure was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the British Royal Navy. She spent most of her career serving with the British, except for a brief period when she was captured by the French during the Napoleonic Wars in the Action of 24 June 1801. She fought in several of the most famous engagements of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, fighting for the British at the Battle of the Nile, and the French at the Battle of Trafalgar.
John Cooke was an experienced and highly regarded officer of the Royal Navy during the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary Wars and the first years of the Napoleonic Wars. Cooke is best known for his death in hand-to-hand combat with French forces during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. During the action, his ship HMS Bellerophon was badly damaged and boarded by sailors and marines from the French ship of the line Aigle. Cooke was killed in the ensuing melee, but his crew successfully drove off their opponents and ultimately forced the surrender of Aigle.
Admiral Sir William Hargood was a British naval officer who served with distinction through the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars, during which he gained an unfortunate reputation for bad luck, which seemed to reverse following his courageous actions at the battle of Trafalgar in command of HMS Belleisle.
Captain Edward Rotheram CB RN was a senior officer of the British Royal Navy, who served for many years during the American War of Independence, French Revolutionary War and Napoleonic Wars. During his service, Rotheram saw action at several major naval engagements, including as a lieutenant at the Glorious First of June in 1794 and as captain of HMS Royal Sovereign at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Although he was highly praised for his actions at both battles, he was not well regarded in the service, being once described by his admiral at Trafalgar, Cuthbert Collingwood, as "a man of no talent as a sea officer" and "a stupid man".
HMS Canopus was an 84-gun third rate ship of the line of the British Royal Navy. She had previously served with the French Navy as the Tonnant-class Franklin, but was captured after less than a year in service by the British fleet under Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. Having served for less than six months for the French from her completion in March 1798 to her capture in August that year, she would eventually serve for 89 years for the British.
William Prowse CB was an officer of the Royal Navy, who saw service during the American War of Independence, and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Rising from humble origins and joining the navy as an able seaman, he had a highly active career, serving under some of the most famous naval commanders of the age of sail, and participating in some of their greatest victories. He was at Grenada and Martinique under Byron and Rodney, the Glorious First of June under Howe; and commanded ships at Cape St Vincent under Jervis, Cape Finisterre under Calder and Trafalgar under Nelson. He finished his career by serving with distinction in the Mediterranean, and died with the rank of Rear-Admiral.
Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Dundas KCB was an officer of the Royal Navy, who saw service during the American War of Independence, and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. An effective frigate captain he made a number of small captures, but did not see action in any major fleet clashes, until he was present at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. He played an important role in relaying signals before the battle, and in towing dismasted British ships to safety afterwards. He had a largely uneventful career thereafter, rising through the ranks and eventually dying a vice-admiral.
Furet was an Abeille-class 16-gun brig of the French Navy, launched in 1801. HMS Hydra captured her on 27 February 1806, off Cadiz.
Neptuno was an 80-gun Montañes-class ship of the line of the Spanish Navy. She was built in 1795 and took part in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. She fought with the Franco-Spanish fleet in the battle of Trafalgar, and was wrecked in its aftermath.
William Lechmere was an officer of the Royal Navy who served during the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
Thomas Fortescue Kennedy was an officer of the Royal Navy who served during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.