NOSTALGIA: Bottom blown out of Trafalgar veteran too costly to maintain

Implacable was a French ship named Duguay-Trouin when launched in 1800.

Sunday, 25th February 2018, 7:10 pm
It is 1949 and HMS Implacable has her heart ripped out as her main mast is lifted from her hull. Picture: Robert James Collection

She took part in the Battle of Trafalgar and escaped but was ultimately captured by the British at the little-known Battle of Ortegal.

This was where the Royal Navy rounded up stragglers from Trafalgar and on November 4 took four prizes including the Duguay-Trouin. She was then enrolled into the British navy and renamed HMS Implacable.

She later became a training ship and at one time was the second oldest ship in the navy after HMS Victory of course.

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The magnificent stern piece from the Implacable. It is well worth seeing.

In 1949, because of lack of funds, Implacable was towed out to sea and scuttled, an act of vandalism in my opinion.

British and French flags flew side by side as she went down. Explosive charges blew her bottom out and she now rests on the seabed off the Isle of Wight in St Catherine’s Deep.

I would have thought the French government might have had a say in the matter and tried to save her but it appears not.

In the photograph on the facing page we can see her main mast that once carried yardarms that set sail to take her into the Battle of Trafalgar, being lifted.

Like HMS Victory before her Implacable was anchored in the harbour and visitors needed to be ferried out to her. Picture: Robert James Collection

The massive dockyard crane would not have been dreamed of 150 years previously when she was constructed.

Her hull stands high out of the water as all her guns had been disposed of. The fore and mizzen mast await disposal.

The beautiful stern piece was saved and can now be seen in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and is well worth viewing.

The magnificent cranes are a sight to behold. Were they operated by special workers and paid extra wages?

In 1979-80 Leigh Park United won the Portsmouth Senior Cup semi-final beating Locks Heath 3-1. Did they win the competition? Back row l to r: Geoff White, Jim Farrell, Dave Rock, Pete Camfield, Dick Cade, Phil Camfield. Front; Mick Metcalf, Jim Scullion, Bryan Burnett, Steve Cade, Mick Leeson. Picture: Ralph Cousins collection

Is there anyone who was there when Implacable was scuttled or who perhaps worked on her in the dockyard? I would like to talk to you.

Below we see Implacable’s stern piece on display at Greenwich.

At least someone saw sense to save something from the ship. It took my breath away when I first clapped eyes on it. It’s magnificent.

Like HMS Victory before her, Implacable was anchored in the harbour and received many visitors, but they needed ferrying to her.

The magnificent stern piece from the Implacable. It is well worth seeing.

This was one of the tasks of Robert James’s grandfather Ralph Davidson seen here wearing the white cap.

In the background are Robert’s grandmother and mother who used to help with cooking aboard Implacable.

Like HMS Victory before her Implacable was anchored in the harbour and visitors needed to be ferried out to her. Picture: Robert James Collection
In 1979-80 Leigh Park United won the Portsmouth Senior Cup semi-final beating Locks Heath 3-1. Did they win the competition? Back row l to r: Geoff White, Jim Farrell, Dave Rock, Pete Camfield, Dick Cade, Phil Camfield. Front; Mick Metcalf, Jim Scullion, Bryan Burnett, Steve Cade, Mick Leeson. Picture: Ralph Cousins collection