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Nelson in the News

Who Was Nelson?


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Copyright Vicki Hassona 2013




Lion (left) capturing the Santa Dorotea 

64-gun 3rd rate ship-of-the-line.

  • Launched in 1777.
  • Sold and broken up in 1837.
  • Commanded by Capt. William Cornwallis, she took a poorly Nelson home in September 1780.


  • 6th July 1779: Fought at the Battle of Grenada.  A French fleet under Admiral D'Estaing had just captured the island (in the West Indies), and the British under Admiral Jack Byron went to try to take it back.  Byron didn't know how superior in numbers the French fleet was to the British (25 French to British 21) and so gave the order for a general chase without forming a line, while the French formed a line of battle.  Once he realised how big the French fleet was, Byron gave the order to form a line, but this led to the attack being too disorganised.  The Lion (under Capt. William Cornwallis) became separated from the fleet and, very badly damaged, had to flee to Jamaica to avoid being captured.  The battle was a decisive victory for the French.
  • 1780: Flagship of Capt. William Cornwallis during two actions off Monti Christi in San Domingo.  The first, in March, was against a small French squadron that had been escorting a merchant convoy, and was indecisive.  The second was against a larger French squadron which was escorting the troops of Rochambeau (later to become one of the Founding Fathers of the USA) but the French weren't particularly interested in attacking and continued on with their mission.  In September, Lion carried Nelson back to England to recover from illness.
  • 1781: Went to North America.  In 1782, captured the French 40-gun frigate Aigle.
  • Sept 1792: Under Capt. Erasmus Gower, escorted the Hindostan to take the British ambassador to China.
  • 1796: in the North Sea, under Capt. Manley Dixon.  In December, rescued the crew of the Reunion, which had been wrecked.
  • 1797: was involved in the Nore Mutiny.
  • 1798: In the Mediterranean.  On the 15th of July, under Capt. Manley Dixon, she fought, alone, four Spanish frigates, and captured the Santa Dorotea.  The three others escaped.
  • 1799: Joined Nelson's squadron off Palermo. (Capt. Manley Dixon)
  • 1800: With the blockade of Malta.  On the 31st March she (under Capt. Manley Dixon), with the Penelope and Foudroyant (which Nelson was on board of) captured the Guillaume Tell, the only remaining escapee from the Battle of the Nile.
  • 27th Dec 1807: Captured the French privateer Reciprocite off Beachy Head (south of England).  (Capt. Robert Rolles)
  • 1811: Involved in the capture of Java in Indonesia from the French and Dutch (Capt. Henry Heathcote).
  • 1816: Became a sheer hulk.
  • 1837: Sold to be broken up.
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