SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION: EAST KENT BRANCH

Boat of the Month

HMS VICTORY

This opening page would normally focus on a submarine connected to one of our members or one built at Chatham Dockyard.
The exception is the month of October when the Worlds Oldest Commissioned Warship will take center stage.

Designed by Thomas Slade, Victory was laid down in 1759 at the Royal Dockyard Chatham and took six years to build. Her birthplace and a marvellous exhibition called The Wooden Walls which allows you to see a ship of the line being built, from the selection of trees to completion can be seen at the Chatham Historic Dockyard.

On completion (at a cost of £63,176) in 1765 she was put into reserve. This period of her life lasted for thirteen years.
In 1778 following the start of the American war of Independence, Victory was commissioned as the flagship of Admiral Keppel.
During her refit in 1780, 3923 copper plates weighing 17 tonnes were placed on her bottom.
In 1781 flying the flag of Admiral Kempenfelt she was at the victory off Ushant when an entire convoy of troopships bound for the West Indies, was captured.

1782 saw Victory in the role of flagship for Admiral Howe at the relief of Gibraltar. The Great Siege had lasted four years.
In 1793 Victory was the flagship of Lord Hood, Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean.

1800 saw Victory return to Chatham for what turned out to be The Great Repair. At a cost of £70,933 she was modernised into the ship we know today.
Upon completion of this major refit in May 1803 under the command of her new Captain, Thomas Hardy, she sailed for Portsmouth.
On 16 May 1803 Victory sailed for the Mediterranean as Nelsons Flagship.

21 October 1805 Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Nelson.
Victory arrived back in Portsmouth in December 1805 having been towed home.

Repairs were carried out at Chatham before Victory was again commissioned in 1808. For the next four years she saw service in the Baltic and off the coast of Spain.

On 20 December 1812 her life at sea came to an end when she was paid off at Portsmouth.
Although Victory received another refit, she was put into ordinary until being made Flagship of the Port Admiral in 1824.
In 1831 Victory was destined for disposal but someone from her past came to the rescue. Requested by his wife to save Victory from the breakers, the First Sea Lord, none other than her old Captain, Hardy, refused to sign the warrant.
1889 saw Victory become Flagship of the Commander-in-chief, Portsmouth.
Victory was taken into her present dock, for preservation in 1922 and opened to the public in 1928.

War would take its toll on her one more time. In 1941 she was damaged by a bomb which exploded close by.

HMS VICTORY:  INFORMATION
Laid Down
1759
Timber
100 acres of woodland (Mostly Oak)
Sails
32 different sails
Total length of Rigging
27 Miles
Height of Main Mast
205 feet from waterline
Commissioned
1778
Length (feet)
227
Beam (feet)
52
Displacement (tons)
3500
Speed (knots)
8
Armament
Lower Deck:    30 x 32-pounders
Middle Deck:    28 x 24-pounders
Upper Deck:    30 x long 12-pounders
Quarter Deck:    12 x short 12-pounders
Forecastle :    2 x 68-pounder carronades
                   2 x medium 12-pounders
Compliment at Trafalgar
821
11 Officers
48 Non Commissioned Officers including 22 Midshipmen
80 Petty Officers
204 Able Seamen
195 Ordinary Seamen
90 Landsmen
40 Boys
4 Royal Marine Officers and 149 Marines.