HMS Lichfield (1746)

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Royal Navy EnsignGreat Britain
Name: HMS Lichfield
Ordered: 1 June 1744
Builder: John Barnard, Harwich
Launched: 26 June 1746
Fate: Wrecked, 1758
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: 1741 proposals 50-gun fourth rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 9791994 (bm)
Length: 140 ft (42.7 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 40 ft (12.2 m)
Depth of hold: 17 ft 2 12 in (5.2 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
  • 50 guns:
  • Gundeck: 22 × 24 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 22 × 12 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 4 × 6 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 2 × 6 pdrs

HMS Lichfield was a 50-gun fourth rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built at Harwich to the dimensions laid down in the 1741 proposals of the 1719 Establishment, and launched on 26 June 1746.[1] She was wrecked on the Barbary Coast of North Africa on 28 November 1758.[2]


Lichfield was built as a replacement to the previous HMS Lichfield which had been broken up in 1744, and used some of the timbers from that vessel.[2] In June 1756, under Captain Matthew Barton, Lichfield captured the French ship of the line Arc-en-Ciel off Louisbourg, Nova Scotia during the Seven Years' War.

In November 1758 Lichfield, was assigned to a squadron under the command of Commodore Augustus Keppel, with orders to transport troops to West Africa to capture the island of Gorée from the French.[3] The ship left Cork Harbour, Ireland on 11 November 1758 along with four larger ships of the line, and six smaller vessels.[a]

Lichfield was assigned to lead the squadron. At nightfall on the sixteenth day at sea her sailing master estimated their position as being around 350 miles (563.3 kilometres) from shore. This proved to be incorrect, as at dawn the following morning Lichfield ran aground on the Barbary Coast.[4]

According to the account of Lieutenant Southerland:

The ship was badly damaged, and broke apart during the day. Around 220 of the 350 crew managed to reach the shore. They were captured and held as slaves for 18 months until ransomed with other Europeans in April 1760.[5]



  1. ^ The ships in the squadron were Torbay (80), Nassau (70), Fougueux (64), Dunkirk (60), Lichfield (50), Prince Edward (44), Experiment (24), Roman Emperor (8) (fireship), Saltash (14), and the bomb vessels Firedrake (12) and Furnace (8).[3]


  1. ^ a b Lavery 2003, p172.
  2. ^ a b Ships of the Old Navy, Lichfield.
  3. ^ a b Beatson 1804, p.183
  4. ^ Rodger 1986, p.48
  5. ^ a b Andrus and Starr (ed.) 1813, pp.109-120.


  • Andrus and Starr, ed. (1813). "The loss of His Majesty's Ship Litchfield, of Fifty guns, on the Coast of Barbary, Nov. 30, 1758". Remarkable Shipwrecks; Or, A Collection of Interesting Accounts of Naval Disasters. Hartford, CT: Andrus and Starr. OCLC 1319586. Retrieved 18 March 2007.
  • Beatson, Robert (1804). Naval and Military Memoirs of Great Britain, from 1727 to 1783. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
  • Lavery, Brian (2003). The Ship of the Line - Volume 1: The development of the battlefleet 1650-1850. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0851772528.
  • Rodger, N. A. M. (1986). The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0870219871.

Further reading[edit]