HMS Trincomalee

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Trincomalee in her current location in Hartlepool
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Trincomalee
Operator: Royal Navy
Ordered: 30 October 1812
Builder: East India Company, Bombay Dockyard
Laid down: 25 April 1816
Launched: 12 October 1817
Out of service: 1991
  • Foudroyant - 1903
  • Trincomalee - 1991
Status: Museum ship, Hartlepool, UK
General characteristics
Class and type: Leda-class frigate
Tons burthen: 1065.63 bm
Length: 150 ft 4.5 in (45.834 m) (gundeck)
125 ft 7.25 in (38.2842 m) (keel)
Beam: 39 ft 11.25 in (12.1730 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft 9 in (3.89 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 315 officers and men


  • Gundeck: 28 × 18 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 14 × 32-pdr carronades
  • Forecastle: 2 x 9 pdrs plus 2 × 32-pdr carronades

HMS Trincomalee is a Royal Navy Leda-class sailing frigate built shortly following the end of the Napoleonic Wars. She is now restored as a museum ship in Hartlepool, UK.


She was ordered on 30 October 1812 and was finally launched on 12 October 1817. Soon after completion she was sailed to Portsmouth Dockyard, where she arrived on 3 April 1819 and was promptly laid up in reserve. She was cut down to a 26-gun sixth-rate corvette at Portsmouth between April 1845 and September 1847, then fitted for sea service at a combined cost of £21,643.

After serving as a hulk, she was restored to her original appearance, and now serves as a museum ship.

The Trincomalee is one of two surviving British frigates of this era — her near-sister HMS Unicorn (of the modified Leda class) is now a museum ship in Dundee. The Trincomalee was built in Bombay, India in 1817 by the Wadia family [1] of shipwrights in teak, due to oak shortages in Britain as a result of shipbuilding drives for the Napoleonic Wars. The ship was named Trincomalee after an action in 1782 between the Royal and French navies off the Ceylon (Sri Lanka) port of that name.

Trincomalee finished her Royal Navy service as a training ship, but was 'reduced to reserve' in 1895 and sold for scrap 2 years later on 19 May 1897. However she was then purchased by George Wheatley Cobb, restored, and renamed Foudroyant in honour of HMS Foudroyant, his earlier ship that had been wrecked in 1897.[2] She was used in conjunction with HMS Implacable as an accommodation ship, a training ship, and a holiday ship based in Falmouth then Portsmouth and remained in service until 1991 when she was again restored and renamed back to Trincomalee. Until his death in 1929, the Falmouth-based painter Henry Scott Tuke used the ship and its trainees as subject matter.

The Trincomalee holds the distinction of being the oldest British warship still afloat as HMS Victory, although 52 years her senior, is in dry dock.

Now listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection, following her recent restoration the Trincomalee has become the centrepiece of the historic dockyard museum in Hartlepool, United Kingdom, known as 'Hartlepool's Maritime Experience', which also includes PS Wingfield Castle.

See also


Further reading

  • Andrew Lambert - Trincomalee: the last of Nelson’s frigates, Chatham Publishing, 2002, ISBN 1-86176-186-4

External links

Coordinates: 54°41′25″N 1°12′24″W / 54.69028°N 1.20667°W / 54.69028; -1.20667

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