Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Navies >> British Navy >> Portland (50)
Origin and History
The ship was built at Limehouse and launched in 1744.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the ship captured the French Auguste (50) on February 26 1746.
During the Seven Years' War, the ship was under the command of:
- in 1756: captain Patrick Baird
- from May 21 1756 to 1759: captain Jervis Maplesden
- in November 1759: captain Marriot Arbuthnot
The ship was sold in 1765.
Service during the War
In 1756, the ship was part of a small squadron stationed at Minorca. When a French amphibious force proceeded to the invasion of Minorca, this squadron managed to escape the French fleet on April 23, leaving the harbour after bringing in about ten captured French merchant vessels. It arrived at Gibraltar on May 2. The ship then joined admiral Byng's squadron which sailed from Gibraltar on May 8 to relieve Fort St. Philip besieged by the French. On May 19, the squadron came into sight of Fort St. Philip. The French fleet then advanced to meet Byng. On May 20, the ship took part in the battle of Minorca where several British ships were seriously damaged but none was lost on either side. After a council of war, Byng gave orders to return to Gibraltar, abandoning Minorca to its fate.
On April 2 1757, the ship was part of Saunders' squadron which left Gibraltar to intercept the French squadron of M. du Revest. The latter was attempting to gain the Atlantic with reinforcements for Louisbourg. On April 5, the British squadron sighted the French. A minor engagement followed but the Portland was not involved. The French squadron managed to get away and to successfully passed the strait of Gibraltar.
At the end of May 1758, the ship 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.
In May 1759, during the naval operations in the Mediterranean, the ship was part of admiral Edward Boscawen's squadron who blockaded Toulon to prevent the French squadron from leaving without being detected and followed. At the beginning of July, Boscawen was compelled to go to Gibraltar for provisions and repairs. On August 4, Boscawen finally reached Gibraltar. On August 5, de la Clue set sail from Toulon to make a junction with de Conflans' fleet at Brest. On August 17, de la Clue's fleet (10 ships of the line, 2 50-gun ships and 3 frigates) passed the straits of Gibraltar where it was sighted by the Gibraltar (20). Alarmed, Boscawen set sail from Gibraltar to intercept de la Clue. On August 18, the ship took part in the victorious battle of Lagos. During the engagement, she lost her foretopmast and dropped astern. As soon as his fleet had repaired damages, Boscawen returned to Great Britain, in accordance with his instructions, taking with him a large part of his squadron including the Portland (50). On November 20, 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. On November 22, the ship was among the British vessels sent to set the Soleil-Royal (84) and Héros (74) on fire. The French, however, anticipated it by themselves burning the former.
To do: campaigns from 1760 to 1762
Castex, Jean-Claude, Dictionnaire des batailles terrestres franco-anglaises de la Guerre de Sept Ans, Presse de l'université Laval, Québec: 2006, pp. 438-443
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. 146-160, 170
Fortescue J. W., A History of the British Army, Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899, pp. 291-295
Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VI, Paris, 1891, pp. 3-19
Phillips, M., Michael Phillip's Ships of the Old Navy
- "Battle of Minorca"
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.