Loss of the Victory Man-of-War, The
DESCRIPTION: "Good people all, pray give attention. "When we first from Spithead sailed convoy to Lisbon bound," the ship is the best in the navy. But she is left behind in a storm off Scilly. Eventually wreckage is found with the name Victory. There is much mourning.
EARLIEST DATE: 1891 (Ashton-Sailor)
KEYWORDS: ship wreck disaster death
1744 - Loss of HMS Victory, flagship of Admiral Sir John Balchin/Balchen
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Ashton-Sailor, #42 insert, "The Loss of the Victory Man-of-War" (1 text)
NOTES: Not, obviously, about Nelson's flagship, which still exists. But the Royal Navy had had six earlier ships named Victory, two of them first-rates, according to Lincoln P. Paine, Ships of the World: An Historical Encylopedia, Houghton Mifflin, 1997, p. 550. Given that the song mentions Admiral Balchen, and the firing of ninety guns, and over a thousand losses, it seems clear that the ship of 1744 is meant.
There is disagreement in my sources about whether his name was spelled "Balchin" or "Balchen." It seems to be agreed that he lived from 1670 to 1744. He became an admiral in 1743, and was knighted in the next year.
"In July, 1744, during the War of the Austrian Succession, 1740-58, Balchen was ordered to relieve a convoy of supply ships that was blockaded in the Tagus River by a powerful French squadron. Balchen forced the enemy to withdraw and escorted the rescued ships to Gibraltar. On the voyage home his ship was caught in a storm and sank in circumstances that remain obscure. All 1,100 men on board, including Admiral Balchen, were lost" (Anthony Bruce and William Cogar, An Encyclopedia of Naval History, 1998 (I use the 1999 Checkmark edition), p. 30).
This ship, incidentally, was discovered on the ocean floor in 2008, finally revealing the details of its fate and the exact place it sank. - RBW
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