HMS Victory 1744 — a rare gift to Foundation

The wreck of the his­tor­i­cal­ly impor­tant HMS Vic­to­ry from 1744 has been gift­ed to the Mar­itime Her­itage Foun­da­tion.

King George I’s crest stamped on a can­non in situ on the sea bed, part of the wreck of HMS Vic­to­ry (1744) [Pic­ture: Copy­right Odyssey Marine Explo­ration]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The ship, which pre­cedes Admi­ral Nelson’s flag­ship pre­served at Portsmouth His­toric Dock­yard, sank in a storm in 1744 with the loss of over a thou­sand crew. 

HMS Vic­to­ry (1744) was dis­cov­ered on 2 Feb­ru­ary 2009 by the US deep-sea explo­ration com­pa­ny Odyssey Marine Explo­ration in the west­ern Eng­lish Chan­nel at a depth of 80 metres, out­side British and French ter­ri­to­r­i­al waters. 

The find was of unique impor­tance to British naval her­itage as the remains of British ‘First Rate’ war­ships from this peri­od of his­to­ry are rare. 

After a peri­od of joint con­sul­ta­tion between the Min­istry of Defence and the Depart­ment for Cul­ture, Media and Sport, and a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion peri­od, an agree­ment has been reached with the Mar­itime Her­itage Foun­da­tion for the Trust to under­take the future man­age­ment of the wreck site. 

In its day, the ship rep­re­sent­ed the pin­na­cle of naval tech­nol­o­gy, and was fit­ted with a com­plete arse­nal of bronze cannons. 

Min­is­ter for Defence Per­son­nel, Wel­fare and Vet­er­ans Andrew Robathan said: 

‘Loss of HMS Vic­to­ry’, 4 Octo­ber 1744, by Peter Mon­amy [Pic­ture: Nation­al Mar­itime Museum/Caird Fund]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

“The gift of the 1744 HMS Vic­to­ry to the Mar­itime Her­itage Foun­da­tion should give bet­ter pro­tec­tion to the wreck which is very impor­tant to British naval her­itage. We wel­come the agree­ment of the Trust to assume respon­si­bil­i­ty for this unique part of our mar­itime history.” 

HMS Vic­to­ry (1744) was a 100-gun First Rate ship of the line launched in 1738 and was the flag­ship of Admi­ral Sir John Balchin when he led a force to relieve a French block­ade of the Riv­er Tagus in Por­tu­gal, where a British con­voy with stores for Gibral­tar had been pre­vent­ed from reach­ing its destination. 

The block­ade was lift­ed, the French retreat­ed to Cadiz and Admi­ral Balchin escort­ed the con­voy to Gibral­tar. On the res­cue fleet’s return jour­ney a storm sep­a­rat­ed HMS Vic­to­ry from the rest of the fleet and the ship and her crew were not seen again. 

The Mar­itime Her­itage Foun­da­tion is a reg­is­tered char­i­ty, the chair­man of which is Lord Lingfield. 

It has been estab­lished espe­cial­ly to recov­er, pre­serve and dis­play in pub­lic muse­ums arte­facts from HMS Vic­to­ry (1744) and to pro­mote knowl­edge and under­stand­ing of our mar­itime her­itage, par­tic­u­lar­ly through edu­ca­tion­al projects. 

The foun­da­tion will be sup­port­ed by an advi­so­ry group, with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Eng­lish Her­itage and the Nation­al Muse­um of the Roy­al Navy. 

The group will advise on the extent to which actions pro­posed by the Foun­da­tion are con­sis­tent with the archae­o­log­i­cal prin­ci­ples set out in Annex A to the UNESCO (Unit­ed Nations Edu­ca­tion­al, Sci­en­tif­ic and Cul­tur­al Organ­i­sa­tion) Con­ven­tion on the Pro­tec­tion of the Under­wa­ter Cul­tur­al Heritage. 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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