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AJAX (74) Built in 1798, Rotherhithe.
Burnt in 1807.

  • 1798 Capt. J. H WHITSHED, 01/1798. (Rear Admiral in 1799) Capt. J. HOLLOWAY, 06/1798. Capt. J. PACKENHAM, 07/1798.
  • 1799 Capt. J. OSBORN, 04/1799. Capt. Hon. Alexander COCHRANE, 02/1799, with the Channel fleet.
    AJAX re-fitted in Plymouth in October 1799. She came into Plymouth Sound on 8 August 1800 and sailed again on the 12th. She took part in the expeditions against Quiberon, Belleisle and Ferrol in the summer of that year.
  • She afterwards joined Lord KEITH's fleet in the Mediterranean.
    On 1 March 1801 some 70 warships and transports carrying 16,000 troops anchored in Aboukir Bay near Alexandria.
    After a delay due to bad weather the disembarkation began on the 8th.
    Under the direction of Capt. COCHRANE 320 boats in double line abreast, flanked at each end by gunboats, pulled for the shore.
    Despite a destructive cannonade from French batteries, the 7,000 enemy troops were driven back from their positions and by the evening of the 9th. the whole army was ashore.
    Two seamen from AJAX were killed during the landing.
  • Sir Sidney SMITH was detached with 1,000 seamen to fight with the army.
    AJAX lost one seaman killed and two wounded in an action on the 13 March, and two seamen killed and two wounded on 21 March.
  • Letters from AJAX in Aboukir Bay dated 12 June 1801 stated that the fleet and the army were in the highest spirits; provisions of all kinds were cheap and plentiful, and the people were well disposed to the British allies.
  • A peace treaty having been signed at Amiens, AJAX returned to Plymouth from Egypt on 8 June 1802.
  • 1803 under repair at Chatham.
  • 1805 Capt. William BROWN.
    He was with Lord GARDNER at the beginning of April when Vice Ad. Sir Robert CALDER reported that storm damage had reduced his squadron at Ferrol to only five ships of the line so GARDNER detached AJAX, MALTA and TERRIBLE with supplies to reinforce his squadron.
  • Off Cape Finisterre on 22 July the squadron sighted the combined squadrons of France and Spain consisting of 20 sail of the line, three large ships armed en flute, five frigates and two brigs.
    Sir Robert stood towards the enemy with his force of 15 sail of the line, two frigates, a cutter and a lugger, and made signals for an attack on the centre.
    HERO led the line but then tacked without signal when she saw that the enemy had changed tack in the fog.
    AJAX following her, instead of supporting Capt. GARDNER in his gallant attack, dropped out to speak with CALDER in the PRINCE OF WALES and finished up in twelfth place behind GLORY.
    Repeated tacks by the two squadrons resulted in the enemy having the advantage of wind and weather during the whole day.
    The action lasted for more than four hours in fog which was very thick at times making signalling impossible and preventing CALDER from gaining a decisive victory.
    Two Spanish ships were captured, ST. RAPHAEL (80) and FIRME (74).
    AJAX had 2 killed and 16 wounded and lost a main yard.
  • On 21 October 1805 Capt. BROWN was absent attending the trial of Sir Robert CALDER for his conduct in July and AJAX was commanded by Lieut. John PILFOLD, her first lieutenant. She was in the weather division under Lord NELSON as they sailed to break the line of the combined fleet and closely engaged the 74-gun INTREPIDE with Capt. CODRINGTON in ORION on his starboard quarter.
    When the enemy hauled up athwart hawse of AJAX allowing ORION to come along side, Lieut. PILFOLD had to make way to avoid entanglement.
    He towed the prize clear but had to abandon her in the gale which followed the battle. She was ultimately destroyed by BRITANNIA as was the Spanish ARGONAUTA (80) by AJAX.
    AJAX lost two killed and nine wounded during the battle.
    Lieut. PILFOLD was promoted directly to Post Captain December.
  • Capt. BROWN's conduct during CALDER's battle meant that he was never given another sea-going command. He died, a Rear Admiral, in 1814.
  • 1806 Capt. Henry BLACKWOOD, 01/1806. Mediterranean.
    AJAX accompanied Sir John DUCKWORTH on the expedition against Constantinople, joining him at Valetta from off the coast of Sicily at the beginning of February 1807.
    On the evening of 14 February 1807, while anchored off the Island of Tenedos, she was discovered to be on fire.
    Within ten minutes thick smoke prevented any attempt to put out the fire and the flames coming up the main hatchway separated the fore and aft parts of the ship.
    Capt. BLACKWOOD, on the forecastle with some 400 of the crew, ordered them to jump overboard where they were picked up by the boats of the squadron.
    He jumped from the sprit-sail yard and was picked up by a boat from CANOPUS after about half an hour.
    Fourteen year old Norwich DUFF, later a post captain, being an indifferent swimmer, stayed hanging on to the sprit-sail yard until the flames forced him to drop into the sea where he also was picked up by a boat from CANOPUS.
    The Gunner, who had two sons on board, threw one of them into the sea, where he was picked up, but perished when he went to look for the other.
    A total of 384 were saved but Lieuts. MITCHELL and SIDTHORP; Capt. BOYD, RM ; Mr OWEN, the surgeon; Mr DONALDSON and the Master perished.
    The fire appeared to have started in the bread-room where, due to negligence by the purser and his assistant, a light had been left burning.
    AJAX burnt through the night before drifting on to the island of Tenedos where she blew up the following morning.
    Capt. BLACKWOOD, who then served as a volunteer in the ROYAL GEORGE, was cleared by a court martial.

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