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Capture of Trincomalee
Part of the War of the First Coalition
DateAugust 1795
LocationTrincomalee, then a Dutch colony in present-day Sri Lanka
8°32′56.79″N 81°14′15.78″E / 8.5491083°N 81.2377167°E / 8.5491083; 81.2377167Coordinates: 8°32′56.79″N 81°14′15.78″E / 8.5491083°N 81.2377167°E / 8.5491083; 81.2377167
Result British decisive victory
 Kingdom of Great Britain  Batavian Republic
Commanders and leaders
Peter Rainier Major Fornbauer

The Capture of Trincomalee was the taking by force of the port of Trincomalee in the island of Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka) by British forces on August 26, 1795. The principal fortress, Fort Ostenburg, held out until August 31.

On 23 July 1795 a squadron under Commodore Peter Rainier consisting of Suffolk, Hobart, Centurion, Diomede, with troop-transports, and sailed for Ceylon to take Trincomalee and other Dutch settlements on Ceylon. On 2 August 1795 Diomede, with a transport brig in tow, struck on a sunken rock and sank. She went down with all her stores on board but boats from the squadron saved her crew.

Although the loss of Diomede delayed the landing by a day, on 31 August the British captured Fort Ostenburg and with it complete control of Trincomalee. The British would go on to capture other Dutch settlements in India and Ceylon, but denying Trincomalee to the French was the most important objective.[1] The British held Trincomalee until Sri Lanka's independence in 1948.


  1. Parkinson, C. Northcote (1954) War in the Eastern Seas, 1793-1815. (London: George Allen & Unwin), p. 80.

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