H.M.S. Bombay was a magnificent Second Rate of 84 guns laid down in the Bombay dockyard in May 1826 and launched on 17th March 1828. Built entirely of teak and in excellent condition after over thirty years at sea, she was one of numerous large ships-of-the-line chosen for conversion to screw propulsion in the aftermath of the Crimean War. Docked at Chatham in May 1860, she emerged a year later slightly increased in length and powered by a Humphreys & Tennant engine with which she could cruise at 10 knots.
Following her successful trials in March 1864, she was sent out to South America as flagship to Admiral Elliot. On the afternoon of 14th December 1864, Bombay was off Montevideo preparing for some target practice when a fire was reported below. Despite the admirable discipline of the pump crews, the fire took hold rapidly and soon the entire vessel was ablaze. At 5.00pm. the order to abandon ship was given and about two hours later, when the fire reached the magazine, Bombay blew up with the loss of two officers and ninety-five men. Fortunately, over five hundred lives were saved but it was nevertheless a serious peacetime disaster for the Royal Navy.