HMS Colossus (1803)

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Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Colossus
Ordered: 13 January 1798
Builder: Deptford Dockyard
Laid down: May 1799
Launched: 23 April 1803
Honours and

Participated in:

Fate: Broken up, 1826
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: 74-gun third rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1889 tons (1919.3 tonnes)
Length: 180 ft (55 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 48 ft 10 in (14.88 m)
Depth of hold: 21 ft (6.4 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship

74 guns:

  • Gundeck: 28 × 32 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 30 × 24 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 12 × 9 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 4 × 9 pdrs

HMS Colossus was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched from Deptford Dockyard on 23 April 1803. She was designed by Sir John Henslow as one of the large class 74s, and was the only ship built to her draught. As a large 74, she carried 24 pdrs on her upper gun deck, as opposed to the 18 pdrs found on the middling and common class 74s. She took part in the Battle of Trafalgar, and was broken up in 1826.[1][2]


Colossus fought at Trafalgar under Captain James Nicoll Morris, in Collingwood's lee column. After sustaining fire from the enemy fleet, she eventually ran by the French Swiftsure, 74, and became entangled with Argonaute, 74. Towards the end of the exchange of fire between the two ships, Captain Morris was hit by a shot from one of Argonaute's guns, just above the knee. Argonaute broke free from Colossus after this, whilst the British ship was engaging both Swiftsure and the Spanish Bahama, 74, on her other side. Bahama surrendered when Colossus brought down her main mast, and Swiftsure did likewise after combined fire from Colossus and Orion brought down her main and mizzen masts.[2]

In 1815 Colossus was placed in Ordinary at Chatham. She was eventually broken up in 1826.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lavery, Ships of the Line vol. 1, p. 184.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ships of the Old Navy, Colossus.


  • Michael Phillips. Colossus (74) (1803). Michael Phillips' Ships of the Old Navy. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  • 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.

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