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HMS Bellona

At least two ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Bellona.

The first HMS Bellona, 74, a third-rate, was the prototypical ship of the line used in the Napoleonic wars. She was built at Chatham, starting May 10, 1758, launched February 19, 1760, commissioned three days later, and left to join the squadron blockading Brest (this being the Seven Years War) on April 8.

Bellona was later detached to patrol off the Tagus River in Spain, and on August 13, while sailing with the frigate Brilliant, she sighted the French 74-gun ship Courageux in company with two frigates. The British ships pursued, and after 14 hours, caught up with the French ships and engaged, the Brilliant attacking the frigates, and Bellona taking on the Courageux. The frigates eventually got away, but the Courageux struck her colors, and was later repaired and taken into the Royal Navy.

In 1762 Bellona was paid off and did not see action again until 1780, during the American Revolutionary War. She was coppered at this time, one of the first British ships to receive the hull-protecting layer. Until 1783 she cruised in the North Sea and the West Indies, and participated in reliefs of Gibraltar.

Bellona was once again paid off, recommissioned briefly in 1789 in expectation of war with Russia, but didn't get into action again until 1793, when she went to the West Indies. In 1801 she missed the Battle of Copenhagen, having accidentally grounded in the shallows of the Kattegat. She continued to serve in the North Sea and Bay of Biscay until 1814, when she paid off for the last time and broken up, having served in the navy for over 50 years, an unusually long time for one of the old wooden ships.

The second HMS Bellona was a third-class cruiser launched in 1890 and commissioned in August 1894, and served in the Channel Squadron until she was sold in 1906.