HMS Fortitude (1780)
|Ordered:||2 February 1778|
|Laid down:||4 March 1778|
|Launched:||23 March 1780|
|Fate:||Broken up, 1820|
|Notes:||Prison ship from 1795|
|General characteristics |
|Class and type:||Albion-class ship of the line|
|Tons burthen:||1645 bm|
|Length:||168 ft (51 m) (gundeck)|
|Depth of hold:||18 ft 10 in (5.74 m)|
|Sail plan:||Full rigged ship|
Under Captain Richard Bickerton, Fortitude served in the Channel. In April 1781 she participated in the second relief of Gibraltar. In May 1871, during the Fourth Anglo–Dutch War, Vice Admiral Hyde Parker's shifted his flag from HMS Victory to Fortitude. On 5 August, Fortitude fought in the Battle of Dogger Bank as Parker's flagship. After a desperate, bloody battle in which neither combatant gained any advantage, both sides drew off.
In 1793, under Captain William Young she sailed for the Mediterranean to join Admiral Sir Samuel Hood's fleet there.
On 7 February 1794 HMS Fortitude and HMS Juno attacked a tower at Mortella Point, on the coast of Corsica. The tower, though manned by only 33 men and heavily damaged by the ships' guns, held out for two days before surrendering to land-based forces under Sir John Moore. The design of the tower so impressed the British that they made it the model for Martello Towers that they would later construct in Great Britain and many of their colonies.
Under Captain Thomas Taylor Fortitude was involved in actions off Genoa (13 March 1795) and Hyères (13 July 1795). The action on 13 March resulted in Admiral William Hotham's British Mediterranean fleet chasing the French fleet and capturing the Ça-Ira and the Censeur, with the two fleets then sailing off in opposite directions. The action on 13 July was even more indecisive with the British capturing a French 74-gun ship. Admiral Hotham resigned on 1 November 1795.
On 25 Sep 1795, the Fortitude, set sail for Britain in a large convoy. On 7 Oct 1795, off Cape St.-Vincent the convoy sighted a large French squadron, which sailed in chase. In the subsequent exchange the French recaptured Censeur along with 30 ships of the convoy. The rest continued on England.