HMS Illustrious (1789)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Illustrious.
Buckler's Hard Maritime Museum 25 - HMS Illustrious.jpg
Model of the HMS Illustrious at Buckler's Hard
Royal Navy EnsignGreat Britain
Name: HMS Illustrious
Ordered: 31 December 1781
Builder: Adams, Bucklers Hard
Laid down: September 1784
Launched: 7 July 1789
Fate: Wrecked, 1795
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Arrogant class ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1616 bm
Length: 168 ft (51 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 46 ft 9 in (14.25 m)
Depth of hold: 19 ft 9 in (6.02 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
  • 74 guns:
  • Gundeck: 28 × 32 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 28 × 18 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 14 × 9 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 4 × 9 pdrs

HMS Illustrious was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 7 July 1789 at Bucklers Hard.[1] She participated in the Battle of Genoa after which she was wrecked.


In 1793, Illustrious was involved in the Siege of Toulon. In 1795, she earned a Battle Honour in the Battle of Genoa, during which Captain Nelson aboard Agamemnon captured Ça Ira. Illustrious was badly damaged in the engagement with the van of the French fleet.


After the battle, Meleager was towing Illustrious when she broke free of her tow. Then the accidental firing of a lower deck gun damaged the ship so that she took on water.[2] She attempted to anchor in Valence Bay (between Spezia and Leghorn) to ride out the bad weather that had descended upon her. Her cables broke, however, and she struck on rocks and had to be abandoned.[2] Lowestoffe and Tarleton took off her stores, and all her crew were saved.[2] Her hull was then set on fire.[3]


  1. ^ a b Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p180.
  2. ^ a b c Gossett (1986), p.7.
  3. ^ Ships of the Old Navy, Illustrious.


  • Gossett, William Patrick (1986). The lost ships of the Royal Navy, 1793-1900. Mansell. ISBN 0-7201-1816-6. 
  • 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.
  • Michael Phillips. Illustrious (74) (1789). Michael Phillips' Ships of the Old Navy. Retrieved 1 November 2008.