The British Empire and its effect on Plymouth

Droits de l'Homme

This painting by Leopold Le Guen depicts the action where Edward Pellew's squadron of frigates isolated and forced a far larger French warship to hit the rocks off Brittany. The engagement lasted for more than 15 hours, in an increasing gale and the constant presence of the rocky Breton coast. The seas were so rough that the French ship was unable to open the lower gun ports during the action and as a result could only fire the upper deck guns, significantly reducing the advantage that a ship of the line would normally have over the smaller frigates. The damage the more manoeuvrable British vessels inflicted on the French ship was so severe that as the winds increased, the French crew lost control and the Droits de l'Homme was swept onto a sandbar and destroyed.

Empire in Your Backyard: Plymouth Article

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by Stephen Luscombe