HMS Colossus

Naval Database

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Colossus, 1787
Type: 3rd rate ; Armament 74
Launched : 1787 ; Disposal date or year : 10 Dec 1798
Disposal Details : Dragged her anchor during a severe storm and was wrecked off the Scilly Islands

Apr / May 1793 departed under the command of Captain Charles Morice Pole, as a part of a squadron for the Mediterranean Fleet, then to be based off Toulon.

Jul 1793 captured the French privateer Vrai Patriot in the Mediterranean.

24 Sep 1793 arrived at Toulon, from Cagliari, with 350 Sardinian troops.

4 June 1794, Rear-admiral Montagu, Captain Charles Morice Pole, departed from Plymouth Sound with nine sail of the line and two frigates, to attempt to join Lord Howe and intercept a large French convoy from America. On the 8th, discovered and chased a French squadron, including 8 ships of the line, under the command of Rear-admiral Cornice, into bay of Bertheaume, and so stood back out to sea.

9 June 1794, sighted the French fleet of 19 sail of the line, returning from their recent meeting with the British fleet, which formed line-of-battle and briefly chased the squadron. With a squadron of equivalent rating on his other flank, Rear-admiral Montagu withdrew as quickly as the poor sailing qualities of the Ganges and Alexander would permit. Continued his search for a further 2 days, but failing in this, returned to Cawsand bay, Plymouth, on 12 June.

10 April 1795 Rear-admiral John Colpoys, while cruising with a squadron to the westward, gave chase to three French frigates. Colossus, Captain John Monkton, having got within gun-shot of one of them, opened fire, but the frigates, took different courses, two pursued by the Robust and Hannibal ; while the frigate Gloire was chased and taken by the Astrĉa. The French 36-gun frigate Gentille was captured on the 11th by the Hannibal.

12 Jun 1795 the Channel Fleet, under Lord Bridport, including the Colossus, Captain John Monkton, departed from Spithead for Quiberon bay. 22 Jun sighted the French fleet to west of Belle-Isle, and finding the French admiral had no wish for a fight, ordered the Fleet in chase and to engage as ships came up. During the chase the former British 74, Alexander was retaken, along with the French 74s Tigre and Formidable (subsequently renamed Belleisle). And so ended the Battle of the Isle de Groix.

20 Sep 1795 Lord Bridport remained with his fleet off the coast protecting the ill-conceived Quiberon Bay expeditions until 20 Sep, when he returned with 2 or 3 ships to Spithead, leaving Rear-admiral Harvey in command.

19 Jan 1797 detached from the Channel Fleet to Gibraltar.

6 Feb 1797 joined Sir John Jervis's squadron off Cape St.-Vincent.

12 Feb 1797 Colossus in collision with the Culloden.

14 Feb 1797 Jervis's action with the Spanish off Cape St Vincent.

31 Mar 1797 departed from Lisbon to blockade Cadiz.

Sep-Oct 1798 Nelson detached Alexander, Culloden and Colossus from Naples to join the combined squadron of Portuguese and British ships under the Marquess de Niza in the blockade of Malta which commenced circa 12 Oct.

10 Dec 1798 ISTR that an episode of the Time Team was dedicated to this shipwreck, although they experienced difficulties researching the actual wreck.