HMS Blenheim (1761)

Drawing of Blenheim from the year she was launched. Original in the collections of the Royal Museums, Greenwich.

Ship Class
Ship Type

HMS Blenheim was launched 5 July, 1761, as a 90-gun second rate Sandwich-class ship of the line. She spent twenty-five of the next thirty-three years in reserve, and saw no action until 1794, when she fought in the Battle of Hyères Islands. This was followed by the Battle of Cape St. Vincent in 1797, but Blenheim was found to be in very poor condition by 1801. She was reduced to 74 guns, reclassified as a third rater, and sent to the Mediterranean. On the night of 16 November, 1803, Blenheim, assisted by HMS Drake, landed marines in La Marin. The marines captured the fort, blowing up its magazine. At the same time, sailors captured the privateer Harmonie, which had brought in a prize ship. Blenheim returned to England in 1804, and headed for the Indian Ocean the following year. She skirmished with a couple of French ships in August, but her condition was deteriorating again (she was forty-five years old in 1806) and by 1807, she was described as requiring constant pumping to keep afloat. Nevertheless, Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Troubridge insisted on continuing to use Blenheim as his flagship as he headed out to take command at the Cape of Good Hope. Blenheim was last seen 5 February, 1807, by HMS Harrier. She was in the company of HMS Java, and there were no further confirmed sightings of either ship. Both are believed to have foundered in a storm off Madagascar.