HMS Trincomalee

built 1816 by Bombay Dockyard, Bombay, India

Ensign House flag


National Historic Fleet

Fighting Vessel



Museum based

Museum: floating





Web site








To be confirmed

17.48 feet (5.33 metres)

179.87 feet (54.86 metres)

13.48 feet (4.11 metres)



Laid down in Wadia shipyard in Bombay in 1816, together with her sister ship HMS AMPHIRITE and launched on 12 October 1817, TRINCOMALEE was one of 47 38-gun Leda class frigates built between 1800 and 1830. Nearly all of them were of oak, but the two Bombay ships were made of Malabar teak.

Her building had been delayed by the plans being lost on HMS JAVA which was sunk by USS CONSTITUTION, a second set of plans not arriving in India until two years later.

When TRINCOMLAEE reached Britain in 1819, she went straight into 'ordinary' for 26 years in Portsmouth harbour. In 1845 she was commissioned for service in areas which lacked adequate coaling stations for the new steam vessels. Her stern was modified to an elliptical style, and she was reclassified as a 26-gun Corvette.

In 1847 she served in the West Indies and then in the Eastern Campaign of the Crimean War. After patrols in the Pacific she was again paid off into ordinary in 1857. Three years later she became a Drill Ship for Royal Naval Volunteers. Between 1860 and 1897 she was moored, mast-less and with deckhouses in Sunderland then West Hartlepool and finally in Southampton. She was sold to shipbreakers in 1897.

The philanthropist G Wheatly Cobb bought HMS TRINCOMLAEE to replace the training ship FOUDROYANT which had foundered two years earlier on its way to take up a similar role, and renamed the ship FOUDROYANT. She was moored in Falmouth and later at Milford Haven and finally at Portsmouth. On Cobb's death on 1932 she was managed by the IMPLACABLE Committee of the Society for Nautical Research.

During the war the vessel was taken over for the training of Sea Cadets. In 1947 she was given back to her owners and became an adventure training base for Sea Cadets, Sea rangers, Sea Scouts and other youth groups. From 1957 to 1987 she was moored at the entrance to Haslar Creek, Portsmouth. The Foudroyant Trust later moved her further north to avoid her being rammed by submarines. Training was discontinued due to the poor state of the ship and lack of trainees. In 1987 the Foudroyant Trust transferred the ship to Hartlepool where a private yard had just paid off after restoring HMS WARRIOR 1860.

The restoration started in 1990 and the ship is currently open to the public in Hartlepool.

Previous names

  1. 1817 – 1901Trincomalee
  2. 1902 – 1992Foudroyant

Key dates

  1. 1816 Built by the East India Company for the Admiralty at the Wadia Shipyard in Bombay as a Leda Class Frigate
  2. 1817-1819 Escorted back to England by HMS FOWEY calling at Trincomalee in Ceylon
  3. 1819 Vessel decommissioned and placed ’in ordinary
  4. 1829 Dry-docked and re-coppered
  5. 1845 Vessel placed on reserve and modified to become a 26 gun Corvette
  6. 1847 Re-commissioned for service in the North American and West Indies Station mainly to police the outlawed Slave Trade but also assisting British Consuls in protecting British interests in Haiti and Cuba
  7. 1850 Crew paid off and vessel again put ‘in ordinary’
  8. 1852 Re-commissioned, sent to join the Pacific Squadron and charged with defending British interests
  9. 1854 War declared against Russia and vessel involved in operations to seek and destroy Russian frigates
  10. 1856 Returned to ‘showing the flag’ duties in the Pacific
  11. 1857 Paid off into ’ordinary’, her active service with the Fleet at an end
  12. 1860-1897 Served as a training vessel to train teenage Naval Volunteers in Sunderland, West Hartlepool and Southampton
  13. 1897 Sold to shipbreakers in Portsmouth but bought by Mr Wheatly Cobb to replace HMS FOUDROYANT lost in a storm off Blackpool
  14. 1902 After years of repair works at Cowes the vessel was towed to Falmouth for refitting and repainting and renamed TS FOUDROYANT
  15. 1902-1927 Served as a training vessel to introduce teenagers to basic nautical skills
  16. 1932 On the death of Mr Cobb, his widow presented the ship to the Implacable Committee of the Society for Nautical Research and it was towed to Portsmouth and moored astern of HMS IMPLACABLE to provide additional accommodation for the ship’s youth tra
  17. 1939-1945 Both vessels commissioned as store hulks and later as accommodation vessels for ‘hostilities only’ Naval ratings
  18. 1947 Vessel returned to owners and became an adventure training base for Sea Cadets, Sea Rangers and Sea Scouts
  19. 1957-1987 Moored at Haslar Creek, Portsmouth
  20. 1986 Training ship role completed
  21. 1987 Vessel moved to Hartlepool for restoration
  22. 1990 Restoration started
  23. 1992 The Foudroyant Trust became the HMS Trincomalee Trust with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as its patron
  24. 1993-2001 Restoration continued, completed and vessel opened to the public
  25. 2004 Won a Silver Award in the national finals of the Excellence in England Tourism “Oscars”
  26. 2011 Vessel is now the centrepiece of the displays at the historic quay


  1. 1972 Ships Monthly Wooden Walls - 1972 HMS Foudroyant
  2. 1972 Ships Monthly Two warships named Foudroyant
  3. 1975 Ships Monthly Ships Preserved No. 9: The Foudroyant
  4. 1978 Old Ships, Boats and Maritime Museums - Sullivan, Dick
  5. 1993 International Register of Historic Ships - Brouwer, Norman J
  6. 1994 HMS Trincomalee the last of Nelson's frigates - McIlwain, John
  7. 1994 HMS Trincomalee HNS Trincomalee from the Quarterdeck - McIlwain, John
  8. 1994 HMS Trincomalee Trimcomalee from the Quarterdeck:A second helping - McIlwain, John
  9. 1994 HMS Trincomalee The frigate HMS Triincomalee 1817 - McIlwain, John
  10. 1994 HMS Trincomalee - McIlwain, John
  11. 1998 Naval Review HMS TRINCOMALEE, the ship with nine lives.
  12. 2001 Classic Boat Royal Naval Frigate Trincomalee returns to her 1817 looks


  1. 1992 The National Heritage Memorial Fund awarded £300,000 for restoration works
  2. 1995-1996 The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £975,000 to complete the restoration of the vessel
  3. 1997-1998 The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £4,005,000 for completion of the restoration project
  4. 1997-1998 The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £116,250 for Development Study
  5. 2005-2006 The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £46,000 for the final costs towards the vessel's restoration
  6. 2006-2007 The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £5,000 towards the production od a 'Deck to Deck' guide and model of the vessel
  7. 2007-2008 The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £120,000  towards interpretation
If you are the owner of the vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information please contact

copper fastened:

a vessel whose plank fastenings are of copper rather than iron