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HMS Hercules

Five (at least) ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Hercules.

Hercules was a 74-gun ship of the line. Captain John Porter was in command in early 1759.

Hercules was a 78-gun ship of the line taken prize by the British in 1798 and broken up in 1810.

On December 26, 1852 Hercules departed on her way to Hong Kong to take up duties as a hospital ship. The gold rushes had put a premium on passenger ships to Australia, so she took 756 Scots civilian passengers to South Australia and Victoria for the Emigration Commissioners. Many of these were emigrating under duress from the trustees of the Boreraig, Suishnish and North Uist estates of Lord Macdonald. The voyage proved disastrous, beginning almost immediately with a horrific storm. The ship sought refuge at Rothesay. Soon after their second departure in early January 1853, outbreaks of smallpox and typhus were discovered, necessitating a three-month quarantine at Queenstown, County Cork. 56 people died, 17 orphaned children were returned home and many others were assigned to a dozen other ships, families being broken up in the process. The ship finally arrived in Adelaide in July 1853.

Hercules was a Colossus-class battleship built by Palmers, launched on May 10, 1910, and commissioned on July 31, 1911 at Portsmouth. She was a 20,000-ton dreadnought, mounting 10 12-inch guns and capable of 21 knots. She was the flagship for the 2nd Division Home Fleet and from July 1912 to March 1913 she was the flagship of the 2nd Battle Squadron. On March 22, 1913 she collided with a steamer. In August 1914 she joined the Grand Fleet and fought with the 6th Division at the Battle of Jutland. It was HMS Hercules which brought the Allied Armistice Commission to Kiel on December 3, 1918. In February 1919 she was placed in the reserve fleet, and was scrapped at Kiel in 1922.

Hercules was to be one of the six Majestic-class light fleet aircraft carriers. She was laid down October 12, 1943 and launched September 22, 1945, but work was suspended in May 1946. She was sold to India in January 1957, and commissioned March 4, 1961 as INS Vikrant.