One of the world’s greatest maritime mysteries was solved when Odyssey Marine Exploration discovered the shipwreck of HMS ‘Victory’, lost in 1744 under the command of Admiral Sir John Balchin.
‘Admiral Balchin’s ‘Victory’ was the mightiest and most technically advanced vessel of her age. She was lost during a storm with all hands and was the last Royal Navy warship to be lost at sea with a complete complement of bronze cannon. Two of the greatest admirals in English history, Sir John Norris and Sir John Balchin called her their flagship. Research indicates that ‘Victory’ sank with a substantial amount of gold and silver aboard. Odyssey discovered the site nearly 100km from where the ship was historically believed to have been wrecked on a reef near the Channel Islands. In an operation conducted in cooperation with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), Odyssey has completed an archaeological pre-disturbance survey of the site, conducted limited test trenching, and recovered two bronze cannon to confirm the identity of the shipwreck. The cannon recovered include a twelve-pounder featuring the royal arms of George II and a four-tonne, 42-pounder bearing the crest of George I. The huge 42-pounder recovered is the only known example of a gun of this type and size currently in existence on dry land. The only other artefacts recovered to date were two small brick fragments that were brought into US federal court in order to file an admiralty arrest of the site. The twelve-pounder bronze cannon recovered from the shipwreck site of HMS ‘Victory’, on the deck of the Odyssey Explorer.