Colchester (50)

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

Origin and History

The ship was built by Robert Carter at Southampton and launched on September 20 1746.

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

  • from May 1755: Captain Arthur Gardiner
  • from 1756: Captain Lucius O'Brien
  • from July 1759 to 1760: Captain Robert Roddam

The ship was found to be unfit for duty in 1762 and broken up in February 1773.

Service during the War

On May 17 1756, an indecisive action was fought between the Colchester (50) and Lyme (28), and the French ships Aquilon (42), and Fidèle (24). The French ships were standing in for Rochefort in charge of a convoy, when, quite near the forts, they were sighted by the British and chased. The convoy was ordered to make the best of its way, and the men-of-war gave battle to cover its retreat. The ships paired off, the Colchester engaging the Aquilon, while the frigates fought it out together; but so equal were the forces on both sides, that, when they parted by mutual consent, and with heavy loss, no definite result had been arrived at as the outcome of seven hours' hard pounding. The Colchester had been set on fire during the combat and managed to return to Falmouth with great difficulty.

On March 10 1757, the ship sailed to meet the East Indiamen at St. Helena and then escorted a convoy to England.

On March 12 1758, the ship sailed to meet the East Indiamen at St. Helena.

In August 1759, the ship took part in the blockade of Port Louis.

On March 7 1760, the ship sailed to meet the East Indiamen at St. Helena.

From 1760 to 1762, the ship was employed on the Channel service.


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 not available
Length at gundeck 140 ft (42.7 m)
Width 40 ft (12.2 m)
Depth 17 ft 2 in (5.2 m)
Displacement 978 tons


This article contains texts from the following book which is now in the public domain:

  • Clowes, Wm. Laird, The Royal Navy – A History from the Earliest Time to the Present, Vol. III, Sampson Low, Marston and Company, London: 1898, p. 291

Other sources

Harrison, Simon; Three Decks - Warships in the Age of Sail

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


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