HMS Britannia (1762)

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HMS Britannia entering Devonport harbour RMG PW7951.jpg
Britannia on the Hamoaze entering Devonport harbour
Royal Navy EnsignGreat Britain
NameHMS Britannia
Ordered25 April 1751
BuilderPortsmouth Dockyard
Laid down1 July 1751
Launched19 October 1762
  • HMS Princess Royal – 6 January 1810
  • HMS St. George – 18 January 1812
  • HMS Barfleur – 2 June 1819
FateBroken up, 1825
General characteristics [1]
Class and type1745 Establishment 100-gun first rate ship of the line
Tons burthen2116
Length178 ft (54.3 m) (gundeck)
Beam51 ft (15.5 m)
Depth of hold21 ft 6 in (6.6 m)
Sail planFull-rigged ship
Complement850 officers and men
  • 100 guns:
  • Gundeck: 28 × 42 pdrs
  • Middle gundeck: 28 × 24 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 28 × 12 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 12 × 6 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 4 × 6 pdrs

HMS Britannia, also known as Old Ironsides, was a 100-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy.


She was ordered on 25 April 1751 from Portsmouth Dockyard to the draught specified in the 1745 Establishment.[1] Her keel was laid down on 1 July 1751 and she was launched on 19 October 1762. The cost of building and fitting totalled £45,844/2s/8d. Her main gundeck armament of twenty-eight 42-pounder guns was later replaced by 32-pounders. In the 1790s ten of her quarterdeck guns and two of her forecastle guns were replaced by the same number of 32-pounder carronades. She was third of seven ships to bear the name Britannia.


Britannia was first commissioned in September 1778, and saw service during the War of American Independence. From 1793 to 1795 she was the flagship of Vice-Admiral Hotham. She fought at the Battle of Cape St Vincent and at the Battle of Trafalgar, where she carried the flag of Rear-Admiral of the White William Carnegie, Earl of Northesk. She lost 10 men killed and 42 wounded at Trafalgar, and following that battle she was laid up in ordinary in the Hamoaze at Plymouth in 1806. The ship was renamed on 6 January 1810 as HMS Princess Royal, then on 18 January 1812 as HMS St George and once more on 2 June 1819 as HMS Barfleur.[1] She was known as Old Ironsides long before USS Constitution.[2]


She was broken up at Plymouth in February 1825.


  1. ^ a b c Lavery, Ships of the Line, vol. 1, p. 173.
  2. ^ Fraser, Edward 'Old Ironsides' and the third in command in Champions of the Fleet, John Lane, London and New York, 1908


  • Lavery, Brian (2003) The Ship of the Line – Volume 1: The development of the battlefleet 1650–1850. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-252-8.

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