Brilliant (36)

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Navies >> British Navy >> Brilliant (36)

Origin and History

The frigate was built at Plymouth dockyard on October 27 1757.

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

  • in 1759: captain Hyde Parker
  • in 1760 and 1761: captain James Logie (or Loggle)

The frigate was sold on November 1 1776.

Service during the War

At the end of May 1758, the frigate was part of commodore Howe's squadron who, from June 1 to July 1, escorted the amphibious expedition against the French coasts. From July 31 to September 19 1758, she probably took part in the second expedition against the French Coasts.

On July 2 1759, the frigate 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. In the afternoon of Tuesday July 3, Rodney arrived in the bay of Le Havre and steered his fleet into the channel of Honfleur. 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. 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.

By February 23 1760, the news of the French expedition against the Irish Coasts and of Thurot's raid on Carrickfergus had spread throughout Ireland. The Duke of Bedford, Governor of Ireland, sent expresses to all the principal ports in the northern part of Ireland to inform the captains of any of ships of the Navy that might be there of what had happened and to order them to march on Carrickfergus. At Kinsale one of these expresses found the frigates Aeolus (32), Pallas (36) and Brilliant (36) which had been driven from their station with Hawke's fleet on the coast of France. These at once put to sea and went north. On February 26 at Dublin, Captain Elliot, the senior captain of these 3 frigates, learned that the French were still at Carrickfergus and sailed with these 3 frigates. That same evening, he found himself off the mouth of Belfast Lough, but, the wind being contrary, he could not get in. On February 28 at 4:00 AM, Elliot got sight of Thurot's flotilla which was sailing for France as it rounded Copeland Island and gave chase. At 6:00 AM, Elliot caught up Thurot's squadron. At 9:00 AM, off the isle of Man, the 3 British frigates got up alongside Thurot's vessels. A few minutes later, the vessels of both squadrons were engaged. Almost immediately, the Blonde (32) and Terpsichore (26) abandoned combat and tried to escape, leaving the Maréchal de Belle-Isle (44) and Thurot alone against the 3 British frigates. The engagement lasted about 90 minutes before the 3 French vessels were forced to strike their colours. Thurot had been killed by a cannonball during the engagement and his vessel, the Maréchal de Belle-Isle (44), who had lost 155 men killed, was so badly damaged that it was feared she could sink before reaching the nearest harbour. In this action, the French lost 300 men killed or wounded while the frigate lost 11 wounded. The French prisoners were brought to Ramsey on the Isle of Man then to Belfast where they arrived on March 2.

On August 14 1761, the frigate engaged 2 French frigates: the Malicieuse (32) and Hermione (32). When the Bellona (74), after defeating the Courageux (74), came to the rescue of the Brilliant, the French frigates bore away. During this action, the Brilliant lost 5 men killed and 16 wounded.

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


Technical specifications
Guns 36
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Quarter deck ???
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Blasco, Manuel, British 5th Rates, 3 Decks Wiki

Phillip, Michael, Ships of the Old Navy

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