Built in 1763, Plymouth.
Wrecked in 1811.
- 1784 Com.
Andrew MITCHELL, East Indies. She returned to England at the end of 1785.
- 1793 Capt. (later Lord) GAMBIER.
On 1 June she was with Lord HOWE at the great battle with Ad. Villaret's fleet.
The DEFENCE bore up for the enemy as soon as the signal was made and found herself so far in advance that one officer suggested that they should bring to until the others caught up.
Capt. GAMBIER declined, saying that the signal had been made and he would obey it.
DEFENCE was the first ship to cut through the enemy line and was quickly surrounded.
Her main and mizzen masts fell and her opponents, MUCIUS and TOURVILLE, passed ahead to aid their van ships. She was then attacked by the REPUBLICAIN and, after losing her foremast, asked PHAETON to take her in tow.
William WEBSTER, master; John FITZPATRICK, boatswain; eleven seamen and four soldiers were killed; John ELLIOT, master's mate; William DILLON, midshipman; twenty-five seamen and ten soldiers were wounded.
- 1794 Capt. WELLS, 10/1794.
- 1798 Capt. John PEYTON, 06/1798, Mediterranean.
With Rear Ad. NELSON's squadron as he searched for the French fleet.
On 12 June they were off Corsica and on the 17th. at Naples.
On the 28th. no news could be found of the French at Alexandria so NELSON made for Syracuse.
The French were finally located at anchor in Aboukir Bay on 1 August.
In the subsequent battle DEFENCE lost four killed and eleven wounded.
Her fore-topmast was shot away.
- On 14 August ORION, BELLEROPHON, MINOTAUR, DEFENCE, AUDACIOUS, THESEUS and MAJESTIC, under Capt. Sir James SAUMAREZ, stood out of the road and set off for Gibraltar with six prizes.
They arrived on 14 September.
- 1799 Capt. Lord H. PAULET, 01/1799.
- 1800 With Rear Ad. Sir John WARREN's squadron off Brest.
- On the evening of 10 June 1800 two boats each from DEFENCE, RENOWN, FISGARD and UNICORN left FISGARD to attack a convoy lying at St. Croix, a fort on Penmark Point.
Lieut. STAMP commanded DEFENCE's boats.
Under heavy fire they brought out 3 armed vessels and 8 others loaded with supplies for Brest.
Twenty others were run up on to the rocks.
The prizes were taken into Plymouth by UNICORN on the 18th.
- Boats from RENOWN, DEFENCE and FISGARD attacked a convoy in the Quimper River on 22 June.
When the enemy retired up stream they landed and blew up a battery and other works.
DIAMOND ran on some rocks and knocked a hole in her bottom during the attack but returned safely to Plymouth for repairs.
- In September Rear Ad. CALDER was appointed to the command of the flying squadron off Brest.
CAESAR, EXCELLENT, MARLBOROUGH, DEFENCE and ELEPHANT.
- On 1 October a brig cartel arrived in Plymouth from Nantes with 114 British seamen and marines which had been taken prisoner in July when endeavouring to cut out a convoy from the Ile de Noirmoutier, 20 miles south of St. Nazaire.
They had been stranded on the mud when the tide went out and several were killed.
including the coxswain of DEFENCE, and wounded when French troops fired on them.
- DEFENCE came into Plymouth on 11 November having sprung her bowsprit in a gale.
- In the spring of 1801 DEFENCE was in the Baltic but because of the preparations for invasion being made along the French coast she was recalled, with five other 74's, to join the Channel fleet off Brest.
- 1803 under repair at Chatham
- 1804 Flagship of Rear Ad. Edward THORNBOROUGH, commander of the cruiser squadron off the Texel with SCORPION and BEAVER under his orders.
- 1805 Capt. George HOPE, Cadiz.
DEFENCE was in Vice Ad. COLLINGWOOD's lee division at the battle of Trafalgar on 21 October. She engaged the French BERWICK and then, when that ship hauled off after less than half an hour, opened her broadside on the SAN ILDEFONSO and compelled her to strike her colours.
DEFENCE lost seven killed and twenty-nine wounded.
With SAN ILDEFONSO, BAHAMA and SWIFTSURE, DEFENCE anchored on the night of 26 October and rode out the gale which wrecked a number of the prizes.
- 1807 Capt. Charles EKINS, Sheerness.
Off Copenhagen in August.
When the Danish frigate FREDERICKSCOARN (32) sailed from Elsinore on the night of the 14 August, Ad. GAMBIER sent DEFENCE and COMUS in pursuit.
COMUS was the better sailor in light winds and came up with the Danish frigate and boarded her after an action lasting 45 minutes.
When DEFENCE arrived it was all over so she took on board 100 of the prisoners.
- 1811 Capt. David ATKINS.
On 5 July 1811 a Danish flotilla of 17 gunboats and 10 heavy row boats launched an attack on a convoy escorted by DEFENCE, CRESSY, DICTATOR, SHELDRAKE and BRUIZER, while they were passing Hielm Island.
Four gunboats were captured without loss to the convoy.
- On 16 December 1811 a fleet of about 150 merchant ships sailed from Wingo, near Gothenburg, under the escort of VICTORY, flagship of Ad. SAUMAREZ, St. GEORGE, flagship of Ad. REYNOLDS, DREADNOUGHT, VIGO, CRESSY, ORION, HERO, DEFENCE and other smaller ships-of-war.
As it was blowing a gale, Ad. SAUMAREZ ordered HERO and some of the smaller ships to return to Wingo with part of the merchant fleet, and when ST. GEORGE lost her masts, when off the Lolland in the Belt, DEFENCE and CRESSY were ordered to keep close to her.
- The three ships battled against the gale for five days in the North Sea until, on the morning of the 24th., ST. GEORGE and DEFENCE were driven ashore on the coast of Jutland, in the district of Ringkobing.
DEFENCE went to pieces within half an hour and all on board were drowned except for five seamen and a marine who saved themselves on pieces of the wreck.
- Capt. ATKIN's body was recovered when it was washed ashore.
The other officers lost were Lieuts. J. H. BAKER, PEEVOR, PHILPOT, NELSON, and De LISTLE; Mr MABSON, master, Mr NICHOLSON, purser. CRESSY and the other ships arrived safely.