Terrible (74)

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Origin and History

The ship was built by F. Coulomb in 1737 in Toulon (France) and launched in 1739.

The ship was taken from the French off Cape Finisterre on October 14 1747 and renamed HMS Terrible.

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

  • from July 5, 1756: Captain Richard Collins
  • from November 22, 1759: Captain John Montagu (later Admiral)

The ship was taken out of commission on April 15 1760 and was broken up in 1763 (a new ship with the same name had been launched on September 4 1762 at Harwich).

Service during the War

In July 1756, Captain Richard Collins took command of the ship in Portsmouth.

In 1757, the ship was part of admiral Holbourne's squadron. On April 17, she sailed from St. Helens with 96 sail in sight. On April 25, she arrived off Cork in Ireland. On May 8, she left Cork and sailed for Halifax for the planned expedition against Louisbourg. On July 10, she arrived in Halifax where the entire squadron was finally at anchor, making its junction with Hardy's squadron. She remained in Halifax until July 31. On August 1, the combined fleet being ready, she sailed for Louisbourg. On August 20, the British fleet arrived near Louisbourg and observed the French positions. Louisbourg had already been reinforced by three French squadron and Governor Loudon canceled the whole enterprise. On August 24, the ship returned to Halifax, Loudon left Holbourne's squadron off Louisbourg till September 25. Meanwhile, till September 10,the Terrible remained at Halifax. On September 16, her log records her "€œoff Gabarras Point"€ near Louisbourg. On September 24, the British squadron observing Louisbourg was shattered by a most terrible storm. After this strong gale, Terrible's log records six feet of water in her hold and observed "many other ships in distress"€. After this failed campaign most of the British fleet returned to Great Britain in a very bad condition. However, Terrible did not follow it but instead returned to Halifax where she overwintered until March 5 1758.

At the beginning of 1758, on March 6, Terrible's log recorded her off Louisbourg. Meanwhile, a fleet had assembled at Portsmouth under the command of Admiral Edward Boscawen for a new expedition against Louisbourg and had then set sail for Halifax on February 19. This fleet arrived in Halifax on May 9 and the Terrible eventually joined it. On May 28, the fleet sailed from Halifax and arrived in sight of Louisbourg on June 1. Between June 16 and 30, Terrible's log records her anchored in Gabarras Bay. Throughout the siege of Louisbourg, the fleet actively supported the British army and the fortress finally surrendered on July 26. From July 31 until August 15, Terrible's log records her anchored in Louisbourg Harbour. On August 16, she sailed for England. On September 19, she arrived off Spithead. Terrible remained off Spithead and was then moved into Portsmouth Harbour to be prepared and supplied to sail with Admiral Charles Saunders' fleet for Halifax.

On February 14 1759, the ship sailed from Spithead in Great Britain as part of the fleet destined for the expedition against Québec. On April 21, when the fleet finally reached Louisbourg, it was to find the harbour blocked with ice, so that the fleet made for Halifax instead. The voyage had been long and tedious and, on May 14, Terrible arrived in Chebucto Bay after a stormy passage. On May 15, she moved into Halifax Harbour where she remained until June 2. Meanwhile, most of the fleet had sailed for Louisbourg in May. From June 1 to 6, this fleet gradually left the harbour of Louisbourg and sailed for Québec. Meanwhile, on June 3, the Terrible sailed from Halifax for Québec and "moored in Coudres Roads" between July 1 and 17 while the main British fleet of vice-admiral Saunders was already anchored on the southern shore of Isle-d'Orléans since June 26. On July 21, Terrible finally arrived off the east end of Isle-d'Orléans and Isle-Madame and remained moored in this area for the duration of the campaign to capture Quebec. In early August, Terrible sent a contingent of 25 men and three midshipmen under the command of 1st Lieutenant William Chads down river to support attacks by Brigadier Murray's troops at Pointe aux Trembles on August 8 on the north shore of the Saint-Laurent River, another attack on August 10 on the south shore and on August 19 at Deschambault. Chads was commended for his bravery (National Archive E 192/6) by Captain Collins that was endorsed by Admiral Holmes. On September 18, the town finally surrendered. On September 26, Terrible left Québec. On October 10, she ran aground off Isle-aux-Coudres. On November 12, she returned to Spithead where she remained until December 25. On November 22, Captain John Montagu assumed command. On December 25, Terrible sailed for Chatham.

On January 9 1760, the ship moored at Chatham where she remained until April 15 when she was taken out of commission.


Technical specifications
Guns 74
Gun deck 28 x 36-pdrs
Upper gun deck 30 x 18-pdrs
Quarter deck and Forecastle 16 x 8-pdrs
Crew 630
Length 156 feet (47.55 m.)
Width 43 feet (13.11 m.)
Depth 21 feet (6.40 m.)
Displacement 1500 tons (1361 metric tons)


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

Deschênes, Ronald, Répertoire des vaisseaux de ligne français 1682-1780

HMS Terrible Captain's Log ref. ADM 51/978 and E 192/6 both held at The National Archive, Kew, London

Phillip, Michael, Ships of the Old Navy

Wikipedia, HMS Terrible

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


David Chads for additional information on this ship and her captains