HMS Cambridge (1755)

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The launch of HMS Cambridge, right, in 1755
(with HMS Royal George shown fictitiously, left).
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Cambridge
Ordered: 12 July 1750
Builder: Deptford Dockyard
Laid down: 29 August 1750
Launched: 21 October 1755
Commissioned: 17 January 1756
Honours and

Participated in:

  • Capture of Havana, 1762
Fate: Broken up in July 1808
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: 1750 amendments 80-gun third rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1,615 long tons (1,640.9 t)
Length: 166 ft (50.6 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 47 ft (14.3 m)
Depth of hold: 20 ft (6.1 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship

80 guns:

  • Gundeck: 26 × 32 pdrs
  • Middle gundeck: 26 × 18 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 24 × 9 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 4 × 6 pdrs

HMS Cambridge was an 80-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built at Deptford Dockyard to the draught specified by the 1745 Establishment as amended in 1750, and launched on 21 October 1755.[1]

Early career

Cambridge’s first captain was Sir Peircy Brett, who had previously been in command of HMY Royal Caroline. He was moved to the Cambridge in expectation of the outbreak of hostilities with France. With the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, Brett left the command in November or December 1756. He was replaced by Captain William Gordon. Gordon also did not spend long aboard Cambridge, leaving in April 1757 to take command of the newly launched HMS Princess Amelia. His successor was Captain Thomas Burnet, who was promoted to Post-Captain on 5 May. Cambridge then became Commodore Sir John Moore's flagship on the West Indies Station.[2]

Cambridge remained on this station for several years. In January 1759 Sir John was reinforced with a fleet dispatched from England under the command of Commodore Robert Hughes, consisting of eight two-deckers, a frigate and four bomb ketches. They were also transporting a number of troops under the command of General Peregrine Hopson. They were instructed to make attacks on French settlements in the West Indies. The first of these was a British expedition against Guadeloupe, for which Moore transferred his flag to HMS Woolwich. Cambridge, in company with HMS Norfolk and HMS St George, were ordered to attack the main citadel. The resulting attack lasted from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon, and succeeded in silencing the defences. After this success Commodore Hughes returned to Britain in June, taking Burnet and the Cambridge with him.[2]

Later operations in the Caribbean

The bombardment of Morro Castle on Havana - Lindsay is being rowed out from the Trent to take command of the Cambridge, right

Both Burnet and Cambridge were back in the West Indies later in 1759, Cambridge again serving as Commodore John Moore's flagship on the Leeward Islands Station. In 1760 Burnet was replaced by Captain William Goostrey, and Cambridge became the flagship of Rear Admiral Charles Holmes, who had replaced Moore and was commanding out of Jamaica. Cambridge then formed part of Sir George Pocock's fleet at the taking of Havana from the Spanish in 1762. During that action she, HMS Dragon and HMS Marlborough were ordered on 1 July to bombard and capture the Moro Fort. Cambridge's captain, William Goostrey, was killed by rifle fire from the fort and John Lindsay - then captain of HMS Trent - took over command whilst the battle was still in progress. Cambridge’s eventual casualties were 24 killed, including her captain, and 95 wounded.[3]

Return to Britain

By 1779 Cambridge was under the command of Captain Broderick Hartwell, and was serving as a guardship at Plymouth. Hartwell left the Cambridge in 1781 when he was appointed to be lieutenant-governor of Greenwich Hospital. During the Spanish armament of 1790 Cambridge became the flagship of Vice-Admiral Thomas Graves, and was commanded by Captain William Locker. Cambridge was reduced to harbour service in 1793 and continued as the Plymouth guardship, being commanded by a Captain Boger and serving as the flagship of Vice-Admiral Richard King from 1797. She also transferred survivors from the wreck of HMS Colossus in 1798 from the brigs which had initially rescued them to HMS Castor.[4] In 1800 Cambridge was the flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley.[2] She was broken up at Plymouth in July 1808.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p174.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Winfield. British Warships of the Age of Sail. pp. p. 33. 
  3. Phillips, Ships of the Old Navy
  4. ADM 51 1231 Captain’s log HMS Cambridge – Captain Richard Boyer, January 1790—December 1798, as quoted in Camidge, HMS Colossus.


External links