French ship Glorieux (1756)

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The view from Lady Juliana on the morning after the hurricane, featuring Glorieux along with HMS Centaur and HMS Ville de Paris
French Royal Navy EnsignFrance
Launched10 August 1756
CapturedAt the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April 1782
Great Britain
NameHMS Glorieux
Acquired12 April 1782
Commissioned13 April 1782
FateFoundered in a hurricane on 18 September 1782
General characteristics
Class and type74-gun third-rate ship of the line
Tons burthen1,718 (Builder's Old Measurement)
Length175 ft (53 m)
Beam47 ft 4 in (14.43 m)
Depth of hold21 ft 3 in (6.48 m)
Sail planFull-rigged ship
  • Gundeck: 28 × 32-pounder guns
  • Upper gundeck: 28 × 18-pounder guns
  • QD: 14 × 9-pounder guns
  • Fc: 4 × 9-pounder guns

Glorieux was a 74-gun ship of the line in the French Navy. Built by Clairin Deslauriers at Rochefort and launched on 10 August 1756, she was rebuilt in 1777.

French service[edit]

On 4 June 1781 Glorieux captured the cutter HMS Fly.

On 30 August 1781, she was with the French fleet under Admiral de Grasse. According to French sources, the British sloop Loyalist and the frigate Guadeloupe were on picket duty in the Chesapeake when they encountered the French fleet. Guadeloupe escaped up the York River to York Town, where she would later be scuttled.[1] The English court martial records report that Loyalist was returning to the British fleet off the Jersey coast when she encountered the main French fleet. The French frigate Aigrette, with the 74-gun Glorieux in sight, was able to overtake Loyalist.[2] The French took her into service as Loyaliste in September, but then gave her to the Americans in November 1781.[1]

On 12 April 1782 the ship, under command of Captain (Baron) D'Escars, faced first HMS Duke then HMS Formidable at the Battle of the Saintes. In her approach she nailed her white colours to the mast and a sergeant of the Auxerrois regiment tied his halberd and bravely stood at the head of the ship waving it. When shot in his right arm, he deftly caught the halberd in his left hand and continued to wave. He was later made an officer for his bravery.[3] Following the battle, despite the attempts of Denis Decrès aboard Richemont (previously a British ship) to give tow to the stricken vessel, she was captured.[4]

Towed instead to a British controlled port she was recommissioned her into the Royal Navy as HMS Glorieux or HMS Glorious the following day. She was rated as a third rate.


She sailed with the fleet for England on 25 July 1782 but was lost later that year in a hurricane storm off Newfoundland on 16–17 September, along with the other captured French prize ships Ville de Paris and Hector. Glorieux was lost with all hands, including her captain, Thomas Cadogan, son of Charles Cadogan, 3rd Baron Cadogan. This disaster to the fleet of Admiral Graves also saw the loss of HMS Ramillies, HMS Centaur, the storeships Dutton and British Queen, and other merchantmen from a convoy of 94 ships, with a total of over 3,500 men lost.


Heller SA has created a 1:150 scale model of Le Glorieux in its French guise.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Demerliac (1996), p.75, #481.
  2. ^ Hepper (1994), p.65.
  3. ^ Famous Fighters of the Fleet, Edward Fraser, 1904,p.120
  4. ^ Famous Fighters of the Fleet, Edward Fraser, 1904, p.120


  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8.
  • Demerliac, Alain (1996) La Marine De Louis XVI: Nomenclature Des Navires Français De 1774 À 1792. (Nice: Éditions OMEGA). ISBN 2-906381-23-3
  • Hepper, David J. (1994). British Warship Losses in the Age of Sail, 1650–1859. Rotherfield: Jean Boudriot. ISBN 0-948864-30-3.
  • Winfield, Rif, British Warships of the Age of Sail 1714–1792: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates, pub Seaforth, 2007, ISBN 1-86176-295-X

External links[edit]