She is best known for her role as Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. HMS Victory is a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, ordered in 1758, and launched in 1765.
In December 1758, Pitt the Elder, in his role as head of the British government, placed an order for the building of 12 ships, including a first-rate ship that would become Victory. During the 18th century, Victory was one of ten first-rate ships to be constructed. The outline plans were based on HMS Royal George which had been launched at Woolwich Dockyard in 1756, and the naval architect chosen to design the ship was Sir Thomas Slade who, at the time, was the Surveyor of the Navy.
She additionally served as Keppel’s flagship at Ushant, Howe’s flagship at Cape Spartel and Jervis’s flagship at Cape St Vincent. She has been the flagship of the First Sea Lord since October 2012 and is the world’s oldest naval ship still in commission, with 242 years’ service as of 2020.
In 1922, she was moved to a dry dock at Portsmouth, and preserved as a museum ship in the Royal Naval Museum.