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Regulators at Trafalgar

NelsonThis page will give information on HMS Tonnant and her Regulators

Royal Navy Police and Regulating Branch Museum

HMS Tonnant

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HMS Tonnant


Surname First Name Rating Age in 1805 Place of Birth
Davis Alexander Master at Arms NK St Barrows Cork



HMS Tonnant was built at Toulon in 1791 and taken from the French at the Battle of the Nile, where she was dismasted in a fight with HMS Majestic and, being unable to escape, had no option but to surrender. Taken into British service she represented the largest type of two decker then in service, and was the only 80 gun ship in Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar.

In 1803, Tonnant joined the British squadron blockading the port of Ferrol, and in the battle formed part of Admiral Collingwood’s column being fourth in line. As she broke through the line of the combined French and Spanish fleet Tonnant discharged a full broadside into the stem of the Spanish Monarca (74 guns) doing dreadful damage. Monarca dropped away and struck her colours but Tonnant was unable to take possession, and Monarca re-hoisted them, for which she paid dearly when engaged by HMS Bellerophon. Captain Tyler then headed for the Algesiras (74 guns), which was the flagship of the French Admiral Magan. The two ships collided and the battle was fought at such close quarters, that the Tonnant’s crew played fire hoses on the side of the Algesiras to prevent flame from her guns setting alight to her planking. The Tonnant’s crew suffered severely on deck from sharpshooters stationed on the masts of the Algesiras, but the masts were brought down throwing the French crewmen overboard. Algesiras’s crew endeavored to board Tonnant but were beaten back, and she in turn was taken by boarding and surrendered at 2.15. She had taken 169 casualties compared to Tonnant’s 76.

The Tonnant continued the battle and engaged the Spanish San Juan Nepomuceno (74 guns), which surrendered at 2.30, but the prize party sent to take possession were swamped in their boat, and the opportunity was lost. In the storm that followed the battle the crew of the Algesiras retook their ship and managed to reach Cadiz, but, being badly damaged, she was never able to leave port again. Tonnant reached Gibraltar on the 28th October, and after returning to England for further repairs rejoined the fleet.


Source of Information

National Archives - Trafalgar

The inforamtion on the Regulators at Trafalgar pages was obtained from the National Archives online facility. If you wish to research you Family History in relation to Trafalgar the site has a wealth of information that may be of assitance. Please select the National Archives image above. The RN Police and Regulating Branch Museum express their gratitude to the Archives