HMS Victory was a terrible and awe-inspiring sight to both enemies and allies. It has become one of the most famous ships in the world and is still in commission in the Royal Navy to this day; as of 2019 a total of 241 years of service.
HMS Victory was a First Rate Ship-of-the-Line, the most powerful type of ship of her day. She had three gun decks mounting 100 guns. The Royal Navy had always built very large ships to fight major fleet battles. The French and Spanish navies did not tend to build First Rates until after the American War of Independence in 1783. Though launched in 1765 she was not commissioned until 1778. This long period of weathering meant her timbers were well seasoned and are a major reason for her long life.
Though launched on 7th May 1765 HMS Victory, the ship was not commissioned until 1778. Over a period of 34 years, between 1778 and 1812, HMS Victory took part in five naval battles. Commissioned for service in the American War of Independence, Victory fought in the First and Second Battles of Ushant and the Battle of Cape Spartel. During the French Revolutionary War, she was Admiral Jervis’ flagship at the Battle of Cape St Vincent. In 1805 she achieved lasting fame as the flagship of Vice-Admiral Nelson in Britain's greatest naval victory, the defeat of the French and Spanish at the Battle of Trafalgar.