French ship Hector (1756)

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French Navy EnsignFrance
Name: Hector
Ordered: 2 July 1751[1]
Builder: Toulon[1]
Laid down: 23 July 1752[1]
Launched: 23 July 1755[1]
In service: June 1756[1]
Struck: 3 October 1782[1]
Captured: April 1782
Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: Hector
Acquired: April 1782 by capture
Fate: Damaged in battle September 1782. Sunk October 1782.
General characteristics
Class and type: Hector class ship of the line[1]
Displacement: 1450 tonnes[1]
Length: 53.3 m (175 ft)[1]
Beam: 14 m (46 ft)[1]
Draught: 7.1 m (23 ft)[1]
Propulsion: Sail
Armament: 74 guns[1]
Armour: Timber

The Hector was a 74-gun ship of the line of the French Navy, lead ship of her class.


Hector was launched on 23 July 1755, and commissioned under Captain Vilarzel d'Hélie.[1]

In 1757, the departed Toulon on 18 March, arriving in Louisbourg on 15 June.[1] Returning to Brest on 23 November with 5000 sick aboard, she spread the typhus to the town;[2] the ensuing epidemic caused 10 000 fatalities.[1] She was then decommissioned and stayed in the reserve in Brest.[1]

In July 1762, while cruising off Cap Français, she struck the bottom on a rock. The same spot had been the theatre of the wreck of Dragon on 17 March of the same year.[3]

Between 1763 and 1777, she was decommissioned in Toulon.[1] During the American War of Independence, she reactivated, sailing to the Delaware in July 1778.[1] She arrived at Newport on 8 August 1778.[1]

On 14 August 1778, Hector and the 64-gun Vaillant captured the bombship HMS Thunder.[1] The same day, she also captured the 16-gun HMS Senegal at Sandy Hook.[1]

Hector then took part in the Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779 and in the Siege of Savannah, before returning to Brest, arriving on 10 December 1779.[1] She was decommissioned in Lorient on 21 December, before rearming and thaking part in the Battle of the Chesapeake on 5 September 1781.[1]

During the Battle of the Saintes, from 9 to 12 April 1782, she battled HMS Canada and Alcide and was captured.[1] He captain, Lavicomté, died in the action.[1]

The British took her to Jamaica, where she was repaired and recommissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Hector.[1]

She took part in the Action of 5 September 1782, where she was damaged by the frigates Aigle and Gloire.[4]

Much damaged in this action and after suffering the 1782 Central Atlantic hurricane of 17 September, she sank on 4 October 1782.[1] The privateer Hawke saved 200 of her crew.[1]

See also[edit]

Sources and references[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Roche, p.238
  2. ^ Épidémie de typhus à Brest en 1757,
  3. ^ Roche, p.156
  4. ^ Guérin, Les Marins illustres, p.433