HMS Implacable, Survivor of Trafalgar & WWII – Scuttled in 1949

Here is a video of the scuttling of HMS Implacable in 1949.  She was originally the French Navy’s Téméraire-class ship of the line Duguay-Trouin, launched in 1800.  The Duguay-Trouin fought in and survived the Battle of Trafalgar, only to be captured by the British in the Battle of Cape Ortegal and renamed Implacable.  When scuttled in 1949,  HMS Implacable was the second oldest ship of the Navy after HMS Victory. There were major protests against her disposal, but given the post-War austerity, the British government decided against the cost of her restoration. In 1947 the British government had offered her to the French, who also declined the offer based on restoration costs.  The Implacable’s figurehead and stern galleries were removed prior to scuttling and are on display in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, while her capstan is on display at the maritime museum at Rochefort.

The protests over the scuttling of HMS Implacable are believed to have contributed to the British government’s decision to preserve the clipper ship Cutty Sark.   Thanks to Andrew Reinbach for pointing out the video on Facebook.

Sabordage HMS Implacable ex Duguay Trouin

This entry was posted in Current, History, Lore of the Sea, Ships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to HMS Implacable, Survivor of Trafalgar & WWII – Scuttled in 1949

  1. Andy Hall says:

    Thanks for this — I hadn’t seen the footage of the event, only still images.

    C. Nepean Longridge used a number of photos of Implacable in his book, Anatomy of Nelson’s Ships which is actually a guide to modeling H.M.S. Victory, but does contain some good construction detail that’s applicable to similar vessels. It’s been superseded and supplemented by many books since, but it’s still a good one to have around.

  2. Jeremy says:

    What is the other ‘old’ ship in the video (seen between 1:15 and 1:51)? Did she suffer the same fate?

  3. André van der Goes says:

    It leaves me sick at heart to see such a giant and historic relic being scuttled. These days, I´m re-reading Patrick O´Brian´s Jack Aubrey cycle and just hit upon Charlton Heston´s (!) commentary as printed in “HMS Surprise”. His comparison of O´Brian to Homer sing of great deeds done, makes looking at this video feel a bit as if watching Troy burning…

  4. A Bond says:

    It’s a pity that this and most likely the other ship shown in the movie footage could not be made into floating museums… so few of the tall ships have survived that now some countries are making reproductions of them….. Holland and France come to mind….

  5. Howard Shakespeare says:

    Does anybody know if the location of the sinking was recorded? If so, have divers ever visites the wreck?

  6. David Owen says:

    I was a Royal Marine in Portsmouth Eastney Barracks, but for two weeks I was on the Royalist a Cruiser at anchor in the Solent.
    We were selected as a guard of honour on a Destroyer to present arms as a bugler played the last post, as an attempt was made to scuttle the ship.
    ,At the time I thought very little of the occasion, just part of the job.But now in my eighties I think it was very sad.

  7. Kyle Morley says:

    The other old warship moored in line with the Implacable is almost certainly the Foudroyant, not Nelson’s Foudroyant but the frigate Trincomalee that replaced the original Foudroyant as a training ship after she was wrecked, and for a time assumed her name (actually, so did the Implacable, but that is a complicated story). The Trincomalee happily survives to this day in Hartlespool, restored and back under her original name.

  8. Larry Chestnut says:

    My great, great, great grandfather was a midshipman on the Dungran Tourin (when it was in French navy. His name was Louis Leon Chasteauneuf. He was captured in the battle in 1805, taken to England and never returned to France.

    I was very sorry to hear of the ship’s sinking.

  9. says:

    I conceive you have mentioned some very interesting details ,
    appreciate it for the post.

  10. John Morgan says:

    I have just come across this whilst researching some pictures we have by Sir Frank Brangwyn RA.

    He made several images of this fine ship.

  11. Gary Ashley says:

    To say the ship was destroyed at a time of austerity is not valid the reason eas the RN as usual and the MOD are just not worthy of conserving the nation’s heritage, just arrogance on part of these people ,for instance look at the smirk of the sailor as he hits the detonator, and it was a failure and in the end the sad ship was bombed to break it up ,they could not even sink the old warrior decently

  12. Brian Dawson says:

    Just come across this piece.AS a boy I remember reading about this wonderful old ship and the decision to destroy it

    How vey sad!!