On 29 August 1782 Admiral Kempenfelt at Spithead
was preparing his flagship, the Royal George
, to sail to the relief of Gibraltar. It was an old vessel and patched up for service. When her guns were run over to one side to give the ship a list and enable repairs to the hull to be made, she sank at once, drowning the admiral and up to 800 crew and families. The vessel was never recovered and was eventually blown up.
J. A. Cannon
Royal George, British naval vessel that sank on Aug. 29, 1782, while undergoing repairs at Spithead. Its commander, Admiral Richard Kempenfelt, and about 800 sailors and visitors were drowned. The incident is commemorated in William Cowper's poem
"On the Loss of the Royal George."