Item of the month: An Account of the loss of HMS Athenienne in October 1806

Athenienne, a 64 gun third-rate ship of the line saw service during the War of the Second Coalition in the French Revolutionary Wars. She also supplied the British fleet following the Battle of Trafalgar. She sank in 1806 with the loss of over 300 lives. GRE A2229 details an account of the loss of the ship on 20 October when it ran aground on a submerged reef in the channel between Sardinia, Sicily and Africa.

Durham University Library Special Collections, GRE A2229

Athenienne had left Sardinia at 5pm and was sailing to Malta. It was about 9.30 in the evening and the ship was travelling at a speed of around nine knots. It took less than half an hour before the lower decks filled with water and the ship listed to the starboard side. Around 100 men managed to escape in the launch boat and were discovered by a Danish brig the following morning. The remaining 347 men perished including Captain Robert Raynsford who refused to leave his ship.

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