Wreck of HMS Victory found in English Channel

Bronze gun HMS Victory

By Thomas H. Maugh II

American salvagers say they have discovered the long-sought wreck of HMS Victory, the mightiest and most technologically advanced warship of its time, which sank during a violent storm in the English Channel in 1744.

Armed with as many as 110 massive bronze cannons and carrying a crew of 900 men and 100 supernumeraries, the Victory was lost with all hands and reportedly with a treasure of gold bullion whose value is estimated at $1 billion.

In a news conference Monday in London, Greg Stemm, chief executive of Odyssey Marine Exploration in Tampa, Fla., said the company found the remains in 330 feet of water more than 60 miles from where the vessel was thought to have sunk -- exonerating the captain, Sir John Balchin, from the widespread accusation that he had let it run aground through faulty navigation.

"This is the naval equivalent of the Titanic, perhaps even more important than the Titanic," said marine archaeologist Sean Kingsley, director of Wreck Watch International, who consulted with Odyssey on the find.

"It's the only intact collection of bronze guns from a Royal Navy warship in the world."


odyssey marine exploration HMS Victory Channel Islands British warship Maritime Heritage Foundation