Defiance (60)

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Navies >> British Navy >> Defiance (60)

Origin and History

The ship was built at Deptford and launched in 1744.

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

  • from 1755 to May 20 1756: captain Thomas Andrews (killed in action off Minorca)
  • in November 1759: captain Patrick Baird

The ship was sold in 1766.

Service during the War

In 1755, the ship was fitted out at Plymouth. She was part of Boscawen's squadron sent off Newfoundland to intercept the French reinforcements sent to Canada. On June 8, she took part to the capture of the Lys (64) which was armed en flute with only 22 guns and transported 8 companies of the battalions of La Reine Infanterie and Languedoc Infanterie.

In 1756, the ship was part of Byng's squadron sent to relieve Fort St. Philip besieged by a French amphibious force who had invaded the island of Minorca. The squadron set sail from England on April 10. On May 2, it arrived at Gibraltar. On May 8, Byng's squadron left Gibraltar. On May 19, it came into sight of Fort St. Philip. The Defiance captured a French tartan transporting four officers and 152 privates of the French army. The French fleet then advanced to meet Byng. Early on May 20, the ship chased two French tartans bringing reinforcements to the French squadron and captured one of them. Later the same day, the ship took part to the battle of Minorca where several British ships were seriously damaged but none was lost on either side. The Defiance herself lost 14 men killed, among which captain Andrews, and 49 wounded. On May 24, after a council of war, Byng gave orders to return to Gibraltar, abandoning Minorca to its fate. The squadron arrived at Gibraltar on June 19.

In 1757, the ship was part of admiral Holbourne's squadron which left Ireland on May 5 for the planned expedition against Louisbourg. By July 10, the entire squadron was finally at anchor before Halifax where it made its junction with Hardy's squadron. However on August, when the combined fleet was ready to set sail, Louisbourg had already been reinforced by three French squadron and governor Loudon canceled the whole enterprise. Holbourne's squadron stayed off Louisbourg till September 25 when it was shattered by a most terrible storm. It then returned to Great Britain in a very bad condition.

At the beginning of 1758, the ship was part of the fleet who assembled at Portsmouth under the command of admiral Edward Boscawen for the renewed expedition against Louisbourg. On February 19, this fleet set sail for Halifax and finally arrived there on May 9. On May 28, the fleet sailed from Halifax and arrived in sight of Louisbourg on June 1. Throughout the siege of Louisbourg, the fleet actively supported the British army and the fortress finally surrendered on July 26.

On November 20 1759, the ship was present at the decisive battle of Quiberon who eliminated any serious threat from the French navy for the rest of the war.

To do: campaigns from 1760 to 1762


Technical specifications
Guns 60

N.B.: reported with 64 guns in 1757 by "Complete History"

Gun deck ???
Upper gun deck ???
Quarter deck and Forecastle ???
Crew 400
Length ???
Width ???
Depth ???
Displacement ???


Anonymous, A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 202-205, 233-235

Clowes, Wm. Laird, The Royal Navy – A History from the Earliest Time to the Present, Vol. III, Sampson Low, Marston and Company, London: 1898, pp. 140-142, 146-160

Phillip, Michael, 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.