The 74-gun ship of the line, HMS Colossus is a textbook case of how during the Age of Sail a captain could do everything exactly right and still end up with a shipwreck.
Colossus was bound home in December 1798 escorting a convoy from the Mediterranean. The ship was in a poor state of repair and when a gale arose around December 6. Knowing his ship could not ride out a full fledged storm, he sought shelter in St. Mary’s Roads, Scilly Isles (pictured above). He arrived in the harbor safely and secured the Colossus with three anchors. One of the anchor cables parted and Colossus grounded on shoals and subsequently broke up. Miraculously, only one man was lost during the incident.
The captain, George Murray, survived a court martial over the loss and went on to fight under Nelson at the Battle of St. Vincent and was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1808.
Researchers from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Maritime Archaeology Society have been at work on this site for some years and have produced an interesting report.