The story of HMS Bellerophon is a record of the many and varied duties which the Royal Navy had to carry out in the period 1793 – 1815. It was involved in the first great fleet action of the War and was involved in the last moments of the struggle with the surrender of Napoleon.
The 74-gun ship was the standard unit in the line of battle, Bellerophon was one of the most distinguished with a fine fighting record. Having fought at ‘The Glorious First of June’; the battle of the Nile and at Trafalgar the ship saw more than her share of fierce ship-to-ship encounters. In between there were the varying duties of blockade and escort carried out with service in the Channel, the Mediterranean, the North Sea, the Baltic and the West Indies. The ship saw every type of service which fell to the Navy in that period.
All the many and various aspects of the ship’s life are covered from construction through maintenance and refits to final disposal. Sadly the ship could not be been saved like Victory and the ship and her fine record were confined to the history books.
HMS Bellerophon – or ‘`Billy Ruffian’ to her crew – was a typical ship of the line of the Napoleonic Wars. The 74-gunner fought on the Glorious First of June and was with Nelson at the Nile and Trafalgar. Her most famous hour, though, came when she carried her old enemy, Napoleon Bonaparte, into exile after his downfall at Waterloo.
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