Chatham (50)

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Navies >> British Navy >> Chatham (50)

Origin and History

The ship was built at the Portsmouth dockyards and launched on April 25 1758.

During the Seven Years' War, the ship was under the command of:

  • in 1759: captain John Lockhart
  • in 1761: captain Thomas Lynn

In 1793, the ship was placed on harbour service.

In 1805, the ship was transformed into a powder hulk.

In 1810, the ship was renamed Tilbury.

The ship was broken up in May 1814 at Chatham.

Service during the War

On May 18 1759, some 45 km southeast of Audierne bay, the ship along with the Venus (36) and Thames (32) attacked and captured the French frigate Aréthuse (36) which was in transit between Rochefort and Brest. On July 2, the ship was part of the squadron of rear-admiral George Brydges Rodney who sailed from St. Helen's to destroy the flat-bottomed boats and the supplies which had been collected at Le Havre for the projected invasion of England. On July 4 at sunrise, Rodney began the bombardment of Le Havre and of the flat-bottomed boats. The bombardment lasted for 52 hours until July 6 at 8:00 AM and 1,900 shells and 1,150 carcasses were fired on the town. Le Havre burnt furiously for 6 hours despite the continual efforts of several hundred men to extinguish the fire. This attack totally destroyed any French preparations in this town for the invasion of England. Rodney, with some of his frigates, remained off the port of Le Havre for the rest of the year, and captured numerous prizes. On November 20, the ship took part in the decisive battle of Quiberon where the last French operational fleet was destroyed. On November 22, the ship was among the British vessels sent to set the Soleil Royal (80) and Héros (74) on fire. The French, however, anticipated him by themselves burning the former.

In 1761, the ship served in India as part of rear-admiral Cornish's squadron who stopped in Bombay for a refit. The squadron then tried to rendezvous with reinforcement expected from Great Britain. After a while, Cornish returned to Madras to resupply. However, the Chatham (50) and the York (60) could not keep up with the rest of the squadron and were forced to sail for Cape Good Hope where they learned that the reinforcements had been cancelled.

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1760 to 1762


Technical specifications
Guns 50
Gundeck 22 x 24-pdrs
Upper gundeck 22 x 12-pdrs
Quarterdeck 4 x 6-pdrs
Forecastle 2 x 6-pdrs
Crew 350
Length at gundeck 147 ft (44.8 m)
Width 40 ft 3 in (12.3 m)
Depth 17 ft 8 in (5.4 m)
Displacement 1052 tons (1069 tonnes)


Blasco, Manuel, 3 Decks Wiki – British 4th Rates

Phillips, M., Michael Phillip's Ships of the Old Navy


N.B.: the section Service during the War is derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.