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HMS Victory is a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, ordered in 1758, laid down in 1759 and launched in 1765.

She is best known for her role as Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805.

She additionally served as Keppel's flagship at Ushant, Howe's flagship at Cape Spartel and Jervis's flagship at Cape St Vincent.

After 1824, she was relegated to the role of harbour ship.

In 1922, she was moved to a dry dock at Portsmouth, England, and preserved as a museum ship.

She has been the flagship of the First Sea Lord since October 2012 and is the world's oldest naval ship still in commission with 240 years service by 2018.

The outline plans were based on HMS Royal George which had been launched at Woolwich Dockyard in 1756, and the naval architect chosen to design the ship was Sir Thomas Slade who, at the time, was the Surveyor of the Navy.

In 1759, the Seven Years' War was going well for Britain; land victories had been won at Quebec and Minden and naval battles had been won at Lagos and Quiberon Bay.

It was the Annus Mirabilis, or Year of Miracles (or Wonders), and the ship's name may have been chosen to commemorate the victories Once the ship's frame had been built, it was normal to cover it up and leave it for several months to allow the wood to dry out or "season".

The end of the Seven Years' War meant that Victory remained in this condition for nearly three years, which helped her subsequent longevity.

On the day of the launch, shipwright Hartly Larkin, designated "foreman afloat" for the event, suddenly realised that the ship might not fit through the dock gates.

Measurements at first light confirmed his fears: the gates were at least ​ inches too narrow.