The French Flagship - L'Orient in Toulon Harbour -1797

The French 118-gun three-deckers were the largest fighting ships in the world at that time, considerably greater in size than the renowned Spanish four-deck Santissima Trinidad that fought at St Vincent and Trafalgar.

Originally launched as the Dauphin Royal in 1790 and then given the more revolutionary title of Sans Culotte, L'Orient was again renamed in 1798 in honour of Napoleon's Expedition to the East. Ironically, the deep draught of this tremendous ship compelled the French to use the open waters of Aboukir Bay rather than Alexandria Harbour, and may also have prevented Brueys from anchoring his ships closer into shore and thereby stopping the British passing inside.

Reconstruction of the wreck in Aboukir Bay - 1998       The Rudder - the pintle still carries her original name

One of Orient's six 36-pdr Obusiers                                 Breaking surface for the first time in 200 years

(Photographs from Frank Goddio's 1998 Aboukir Bay expedition website - see links)