HMS Implacable (1805) was a 74-gun ship of the line launched
24 March 1800 at Rochfort, France as Duguay-Trouin.
She was one of just four French ships that escaped capture during the
Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. However, two weeks later at the Battle of Cape Ortegal, Duguay-Trouin was less successful in her second attempted escape, this time chased down by HMS Hero & HMS Caesar, being battered & captured. French Captain Claude Touffet was killed during the fight with 154 men. In December 1805 she was commissioned into the Royal Navy and renamed HMS Implacable. Through 1808 and 1809 the ship spent time in the Baltic, besting
the Imperial Russian Navy 74-gun ship of the line Vsevolod. In September
1810 she made a year long voyage
from Cadiz, Spain to Havana, Cuba, returning with 6,000,000 dollars on board. From August to November
1840 Implacable participated in the bombardment and capture of Acre, and operations on the coast of Syria.
In 1844 HMS Implacable began a new career as a training ship, eventually becoming the second oldest ship in the Royal Navy, after HMS Victory. In
1908 King Edward VII intervened to save the ship from scrapping and in 1920 funds were raised and she underwent several restorations. Ten years later
there were large-scale protests against her disposal after the government consigned her to the scrapheap. An offer was made in 1947 to the French who also declined to spend the required money to turn her into a museum ship. On 2 December 1949 she was towed out east of the Isle of Wight and scuttled with full
honours, flying the ensigns of the French and Royal Navy. She was 149 years old.
Her figurehead and stern galleries are on display in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, while her capstan is on display at the maritime museum at Rochefort.
Public reaction to the ‘criminal action against the maritime history of Britain’ forced the government to support the preservation of Cutty Sark.