HMS Somerset (1731)
|Ordered:||23 December 1725|
|Launched:||21 October 1731|
|Fate:||Broken up, 1746|
|General characteristics |
|Class and type:||1719 Establishment 80-gun third rate ship of the line|
|Tons burthen:||1,354 long tons (1,375.7 t)|
|Length:||158 ft (48 m) (gundeck)|
|Beam:||44 ft 6 in (13.56 m)|
|Depth of hold:||18 ft 2 in (5.54 m)|
|Sail plan:||Full rigged ship|
Lord George Rodney, later to triumph at the Battle of the Saintes in 1782, served in HMS Somerset in 1739 while preparing for his Lieutenant’s exams. The ship saw action at the Battle of Toulon in 1744. Toulon was an infamous engagement and consequently no battle honour was awarded. A combined Franco-Spanish fleet that had been blockaded in Toulon for two years finally put to sea, led by Admiral de Court de La Bruyère. The blockading British fleet under Admiral Thomas Mathews was roughly the same size as the Franco-Spanish fleet but fearing that the enemy fleet movement was designed to force him out of position and allow a troop convoy to reach Italy, Mathews ordered his fleet to attack before forming up into line. Admiral Richard Lestock, Mathew’s second in command, appears to have deliberately misunderstood his orders, and the resulting battle was indecisive, with the British taking more damage than they inflicted. Mathews was dismissed from the Navy for failing to obey permanent fighting instructions for battle.
Somerset was broken up in 1746.
- Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p169.
- 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.