HMS Temeraire (1798)

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The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up by J. M. W. Turner, 1838.
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Temeraire
Ordered: 9 December 1790
Builder: Chatham Dockyard
Laid down: July 1793
Launched: 11 September 1798
Honours and

Participated in:

Fate: Broken up, 1838
Notes: Prison ship 1812-1815; receiving ship until 1836
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Neptune-class ship of the line
Tons burthen: 2121 bm
Length: 185 ft (56 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 51 ft (16 m)
Depth of hold: 21 ft (6.4 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship

98 guns:

  • Gundeck: 28 × 32 pdrs
  • Middle gundeck: 30 × 18 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 30 × 18 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 8 × 12 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 2 × 12 pdrs

HMS Temeraire was a 98-gun second-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 11 September 1798 at Chatham,[1] which fought at the Battle of Trafalgar. She was named after the French 74-gun ship taken at the Battle of Lagos in 1759, following the British custom of naming new ships after old prizes.

Prior to the signing of the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, a calm had fallen over the fleet with many expecting that after a number of years at sea, they could look forward to shore leave. Temeraire however, in late November 1801, was ordered to the West Indies under Admiral Campbell in order to keep an eye on Napoleon's intentions in the region, believing a large force was on its way to the area as Napoleon looked to gain wealth from colonies he was to regain in the Treaty. Many of the sailors were disappointed at seeing their opportunity to go home taken away from them and held a mutiny starting on 1st December 1801, running until the 11th. On 6th January 1802 the 14 suspected ringleaders were tried, found guilty and hanged. [2]

At Trafalgar, under the command of Eliab Harvey, she was next astern to Victory. Several of Nelson's officers, concerned for his well being, had suggested that Temeraire be allowed to break the line ahead of Victory. At first Nelson had agreed to this but it soon became apparent that he intended Victory to lead. As Temeraire "ranged up on Victory's quarter, Nelson ('speaking as he always did, with a slight nasal intonation') said, 'I'll thank you, Captain Harvey, to keep in your proper station, which is astern of the Victory"[3].

Temeraire was badly damaged as she fought to relieve Nelson's flagship. During the battle, Temeraire helped force the surrender of the French ship Redoutable and captured the French ship Fougueux.

Temeraire served as a prison ship from 1812 to 1815 and as a receiving ship until 1836 when she was briefly recommissioned. She was sold and broken up in 1838 at Surrey Canal Wharf, Rotherhithe[4], and some of her timbers were used to build a communion table and two bishop's chairs in St. Mary's Church, Rotherhithe.

She became famous as the subject of two paintings by J. M. W. Turner, one showing her at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, the other showing her being towed to the breaker's yard in 1838.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p183.
  2. Noel Mostert, The Line Upon A Wind - Chapter XXXII - p.421-427
  3. Oman, Nelson, p621.
  4. Rankin, Stuart (July 2004). Shipyards, Granaries and Wharves, Maritime Rotherhithe, History Walk B. London: Southwark Council. ISBN 090584937X. 


  • 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.
  • Oman, Carola (1947) Nelson. Hodder and Stoughton Limited, London [1996 edition ISBN 978-1557506184]

ja:テメレーア (戦列艦)