The Wreck of HMS Sceptre and the Danish warship Oldenborg in Table Bay on 5 November 1799

By Søren Nørby, published February 2022


During a hurricane off Cape Town on 5 November 1799, the Royal Navy ship of the line HMS Sceptre was driven ashore and wrecked with the loss more than two-thirds of its crew. Just a few hundred metres from where Sceptre was lost, lay the Danish ship of the line Oldenborg. The two 64-gun ships were the same age and of similar size and design. Even though the Danish warship was hit by the same storm and was also wrecked, the captain managed to save all 446 men on board. This article tells the story of what happened on that fateful night and tries to explain why the fate of the two ships was so different.

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Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Eighteenth C) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Lifesaving & Coastguard

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