2009 - Wreck of HMS VICTORY Found

2nd & 3rd February. It was announced in the News that the wreck of 100 gun ship-of-the-line, HMS Victory, had been found by the Florida-based firm of Odyssey Marine Exploration. This 100 gun ship was originally built in Portsmouth dockyard (see 1675) and launched bearing the name of Royal James, but was re-built at Portsmouth in 1731 and renamed HMS “Victory”.

The wreck was found at a depth of 330ft and nearly 30 miles from where she was thought to have foundered, taking with her Admiral Sir Robert Balchin and over a 1000 of her crew of which the majority came from Portsmouth. Victory was returning from Lisbon, Portugal, and was said to be transporting 100,000 gold Portuguese coins. Victory had been sent there to rescue a Mediterranean convoy that was blockaded by the French in the river Tagus at Lisbon. Reports from the times say the ship was carrying four tons of gold valued at £400,001 sterling and it is estimated that today this has a bullion value of £125 million pounds. The government legally own the wreck and any gold recovered, but Odyssey claimed they were in negotiations with the British government and expected to be rewarded with a percentage of the value recovered.