Wreck Of HMS VICTORY Found
As a sailor I am always saddened when a shipwreck of significant social and historical value is located, but I feel the excitment for the finding at the same time. Saddness is for the crew and passengers (if there were any) who lost their lives, making the wreck a tomb symbol of those losses. Excitment because something of historical value from which we may learn something both of the ship and its loss and for the artefacts that it carries.
In this case, I think that my shiplore is lacking somewhat. I was not aware that HMS VICTORY had been lost at sea. I always thought she was tied up in Portsmouth (I think?).
U.S. firm wants 'immediate' access to British warship treasure
Ship could have $1B in gold on board
AFPFebruary 2, 2009
LONDON - The U.S. firm which claims to have discovered one of the greatest British warships ever lost at sea said Monday it was seeking "immediate" permission to begin recovering artifacts from the wreck.
Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration said it discovered the final resting place of the HMS Victory last year in the English Channel and notified the British Ministry of Defence as soon as the team concluded it was the man-of-war which sank in a storm in 1744 with a crew of 1,150.
The exploration company said it was negotiating a collaboration agreement with the British government, which claims sovereignty over the ship thought to have been the most impressive war vessel of its time.
"The money is not as important as the cultural and historical significance of the discovery. It is a monumental event, not only for Odyssey but for the world," Greg Stemm, Odyssey’s chief executive officer, told a news conference in London.
"It is probably the most significant shipwreck find to date. HMS Victory was the mightiest vessel of the 18th century and the eclectic mix of guns we found on the site will prove essential in further refining our understanding of naval weaponry used during the era," he added.
Odyssey said it feared the wreck was suffering substantial damage from natural erosion and extensive trawler-fishing and its contents could be lost unless they were brought to the surface as soon as possible.
The Victory’s archeological treasures are prized by salvagers because they are believed to include 100 brass cannons, thought to be engraved with dolphins and the monogram of King George II, and a substantial amount of gold and silver.
"Rather than staying frozen in time beneath the waves, this unique shipwreck is fading fast," marine archaeologist Sean Kingsley, director of Wreck Watch International, said in a statement from Odyssey.
"The Victory lies in an area of intensive trawling, and her hull and contents are being ploughed away by these bulldozers of the deep day in, day out."
Odyssey said it found the wreck 100 metres under the English Channel, nearly 100 kilometres from the Channel Islands site where the ship was historically believed to have been wrecked in a violent storm.
Jason Williams, executive producer of JMW Productions, which filmed the discovery, said: "Reports from the time say that the ship was carrying four tonnes of gold, around 400,000 sterling, which it picked up from Lisbon on its way to Gibraltar.
"Today this has a bullion value of 125 million pounds, but that is just its raw weight. That means it is worth about a $1 billion."
© Copyright (c) AFP
In fact, I found this on the HMS VICTORY website:
HMS VICTORY is the only surviving warship that fought in the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic wars. In the latter she served as Lord Nelson's flagship at the decisive Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Her career began some 40 years earlier. Ordered by the Navy Board on 6 June 1759 during the Seven Years' war, this first rate 100 gun ship was designed by the Surveyor of the Navy, Sir Thomas Slade. Building commenced at Chatham Dockyard on 23 July 1759 under Master Shipwright John Lock and was completed by Edward Allen on 7 May 1765.
1759, the "Annus Mirabilis" or year of victories, was the turning point of that war for Britain. Victories had been won on land at Quebec and Minden, and at sea off Lagos and at Quiberon Bay where Admiral Hawke, in a rising gale, smashed and drove ashore the French fleet. These facts may have been significant in the naming of the new battleship. 1759 was also the year that Pitt the Younger, later to become Prime Minister and the political bastion against France, was born and William Boyce wrote the song "Heart of Oak". The ship was actually named VICTORY on 30 October 1760. Her cost, when completed in 1765, amounted to £63,176 (a century later HMS WARRIOR 1860 cost £330,000). Ironically, in 1759, James Watt invented the steam engine with the separate condenser: within 70 years this innovation would bring about the demise of the sailing Man of War and allow the introduction of ships like HMS WARRIOR 1860.
AHA! :D:D Found more, from the LA Times:
In a news conference Monday in London, Greg Stemm, chief executive of Odyssey Marine Exploration in Tampa, Fla., said the company found the remains in 330 feet of water more than 60 miles from where the vessel was thought to have sunk -- exonerating the captain, Sir John Balchin, from the widespread accusation that he had let it run aground through faulty navigation.
"This is the naval equivalent of the Titanic, perhaps even more important than the Titanic," said marine archaeologist Sean Kingsley, director of Wreck Watch International, who consulted with Odyssey on the find. "It's the only intact collection of bronze guns from a Royal Navy warship in the world."
The ship, he added in a telephone interview, "was the equivalent in its day of an aircraft carrier armed with nuclear weapons. . . . When it disappeared off the face of the Earth, there was a collective gasp in the establishment and the general public."
Like the Titanic, the Victory had flaws that rendered it vulnerable to its fate: Its three-deck design was unusually top-heavy, making it susceptible to excessive rolling, and its timbers were not aged properly, leading to premature rot.
Those flaws were corrected when its successor, the sixth and last British warship named Victory, was designed and built three decades later for Admiral Lord Nelson.
By that time as well, the massive bronze cannons had given way to lighter, cheaper cannons made of steel, marking the end of an era.
NOW the story is clear.