HMS Colossus (1803)

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Warspite (1807), Colossus (1803).jpg
Hull plan for Colossus and Warspite
Name: HMS Colossus
Ordered: 13 January 1798
Builder: Deptford Dockyard
Laid down: May 1799
Launched: 23 April 1803
Honours and
Fate: Broken up, 1826
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: 74-gun third-rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 18884794 (bm)
Length: 180 ft (55 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 48 ft 10 in (14.88 m)
Depth of hold: 21 ft (6.4 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
  • 74 guns:
  • Gundeck: 28 × 32 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 30 × 24 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 12 × 9 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 4 × 9 pdrs

HMS Colossus was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched from Deptford Dockyard on 23 April 1803. She was designed by Sir John Henslow as one of the large class 74s, and was the name ship of her class, the other being Warspite.[2] As a large 74, she carried 24 pdrs on her upper gun deck, as opposed to the 18 pdrs found on the middling and common class 74s. She took part in the Battle of Trafalgar, and was broken up in 1826.[1][3]

Napoleonic Wars[edit]

On 27 August 1803 Colossus recaptured the East Indiaman Lord Nelson, which the French privateer Belone had captured two weeks before and which Seagull had fought to the point of surrender.


Colossus fought at Trafalgar under Captain James Nicoll Morris, in Collingwood's lee column. After sustaining fire from the enemy fleet, she eventually ran by the French Swiftsure, 74, and became entangled with Argonaute, 74. Towards the end of the exchange of fire between the two ships, Captain Morris was hit by a shot from one of Argonaute's guns, just above the knee. Argonaute broke free from Colossus after this, whilst the British ship was engaging both Swiftsure and the Spanish Bahama, 74, on her other side. Bahama surrendered when Colossus brought down her main mast, and Swiftsure did likewise after combined fire from Colossus and Orion brought down her main and mizzen masts.[3]

War of 1812[edit]

On 24 March 1812 Colossus in company with Tonnant, Hogue, Poictiers and Bulwark captured the Emilie.[4]

On 5 January 1813 Colossus, the frigate Rhin and the brig Goldfinch captured the American ship Dolphin.[5] A little over a month later, on 11 February, Rhin and Colossus captured the American ship Print.[6]


In 1815 Colossus was placed in ordinary at Chatham. She was eventually broken up in 1826.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Lavery, Ships of the Line vol. 1, p. 184.
  2. ^ Winfield (2004) p.40
  3. ^ a b Ships of the Old Navy, Colossus.
  4. ^ "No. 16705". The London Gazette. 20 February 1813. p. 381. 
  5. ^ "No. 16768". The London Gazette. 28 August 1813. p. 1710. 
  6. ^ "No. 16782". The London Gazette. 28 September 1813. p. 1946.