Porto Farina, on the
Tunisian coast of Africa, was the scene of this battle in 1655. An English
fleet of twenty-four ships under the command of General-at-Sea Robert
Blake wearing his flag in the George was dispatched to the
Mediterranean to conduct reprisals against Barbary pirates for their
attacks on English shipping.
The Bey of Tunis rejected
Blake's demands for redress. Blake replied by bombarding the Bey's forts
before locating nine Algerian ships in nearby Porto Farina. He led a force
of fifteen ships, forced the entrance to the harbour, silenced more
batteries and destroyed all nine Algerian ships before withdrawing.
War With Spain 1655-60
Santa Cruz de Tenerife in
the Canary Islands was Robert Blake's swan song. He was the General-at-Sea
commanding a powerful squadron of ships which was blockading the port of
Cadiz when he received intelligence of the Spanish treasure fleet from the
West Indies having arrived at Santa Cruz. His ships weighed anchor and
twenty-three men-of-war set sail for the Canaries. On 20 April the fleet
arrived off Santa Cruz, a strongly fortified harbour where sixteen
galleons carrying Spanish treasure could be counted
Blake forced an entry into the harbour, under the well-positioned guns of
the fortress and the galleons, in a finely executed operation. He then
destroyed the Spanish fleet in a fierce battle, before extricating his own
fleet in a fine display of seamanship. Sixty men had been killed, and the
64-gun Speaker was severely damaged and had to be towed home. Five Spanish
ships had been taken and eleven more burnt or blown up. Rear-Admiral
Richard Stayner who had led the offensive into the harbour received a
Second Dutch War 1665-67
Lowestoft was one of the
classic battles of sail, fought on an enormous scale between an English
fleet of 109 ships commanded by James, Duke of York (the King's brother)
and 103 ships of a Dutch fleet commanded by Admiral Opdam (or Obdam) Jacob
vail Wassenaer, off the Suffolk coast about 40 miles south-east of
The Dutch fleet was marauding near the Dogger Bank at the end of May,
capturing a convoy of twenty English merchant ships, when James, Duke of
York received intelligence of the enemy activity. James, in his flagship
the Royal Charles (80), led the English fleet in weighing anchor from the
Gunfleet and proceeding to Southwold Bay. James had with him, commanding two of the enormous squadrons, the
Earl of Sandwich (Montagu) and Prince Rupert, two of the famous
Two days of manoeuvring these vast fleets preceded the battle, which was
joined at 4 am on 3 June, each fleet passing the other on opposite tacks,
each ship engaging as the enemy ships came into range. Soon the battle had
degenerated into a melee on a grand scale.
In the centre the two flagships Royal Charles and Eendracht (76), fought a
bitter battle, the latter just failing in an attempt to board James's ship
At one stage a chain shot killed many officers and men alongside James,
who was spattered with their blood. A chronicler (probably James's flag
captain Sir William Penn) wrote: "At 12 came A shot from Opdam yt
killed ye Earl of Falmouth [Charles Berkeley] Lord Musgrave [Muskerry] and
Mr Boyle [younger son of the Earl of Burlington]."
Eendracht then received a shot in her powder room and exploded with
devastating force. Only five of her complement of many hundreds were
rescued. With the death of Wassenaer, Vice-Admiral Jan Evertsen took
command. Another demoralizing blow to the Dutch was the death of
Vice-Admiral Kortenaer aboard the Groot Hollandia.
The English gradually gained the upper hand and the Dutch began to give
way. Ships fouled each other, and no fewer than seven Dutch ships were
lost by fire in this way.
With great skill Evertsen and Cornelis Tromp marshalled the Dutch fleet
into a controlled withdrawal towards the Texel and Maas estuary ,which was
reached by the late evening. They had lost thirty-two ships, only nine of
which were taken as prizes; their casualties amounted to about 4,000
killed and 2,000 taken prisoner.
The English losses were amazingly light by comparison. The Charity,
captured early in the battle, was the only ship lost. In terms of seamen,
283 were killed and 440 wounded.
John and Abigail John and Katherine
John and Thomas
Loyal Merchant Maderas
Nightingale (?) Old
Prudent Mary Rainbow
Royal Charles Royal
Exchange Royal James
St George Sapphire
ORFORDNESS 1666 (North
Second Dutch War 1665-67
was fought between an English fleet of eighty-nine ships and seventeen
fireships jointly commanded by Prince Rupert and the Duke of Albemarle,
and a smaller Dutch fleet of eighty-five ships, twenty fireships and ten
smaller vessels, all under the command of Admiral De Ruyter -the Dutch
Nelson. The result was a brilliant victory for the English, particularly
important because it came so soon after the defeat in the Four Days'
The long-drawn-out battle began at about lOam on St James's Day, 26 July,
in the North Sea about 40 miles south-east of Orfordness in Suffolk. After
two hours' battling Admiral Cornelis Tromp's rear squadron sailed out of
line, broke through the English line and became locked in combat with the
English Blue Squadron, the rear squadron, under Admiral Sir Jeremy Smythe
Smythe gained the upper hand and this battle-within-a-battle became
a pursuit of De Ruyter, progressing westward in a confused melee, while
the main battle between the opposing vans and centres headed nearly due
east. The Dutch van was in full flight by 3 pm and an hour later the
center gave way too, three flag officers, including Jan Evertsen, being
killed. But by then the English were too exhausted to take advantage.
Although retreating, De Ruyter handled the situation in a disciplined and
masterly fashion, even after his own flagship had been severely damaged.
Sporadic skirmishing occurred throughout the night and action flared up
briskly in the early daylight hours, but the Dutch continued their retreat
to the shoals of their coastline. The battle and pursuit were over.
The Dutch losses were considerable: twenty ships were lost, with 4,000 men
killed or drowned and 3,000 wounded. The only English ship lost was
Smythe's Resolution, and the casualties in men killed and wounded were
considerably lighter than the enemy's.
Happy Return Helverson
House of Sweeds
*John and Thomas
Land of Promise Leopard
Loyal London *Loyal
Third Dutch War 1672-74
is (or was) a long basin guarding the entrance to the ScheIdt estuary.
Two battles were fought here: the first between an Anglo-French fleet
commanded by Prince Rupert, with Admiral Sir Edward Spragge as
second-in-command, and a Dutch fleet commanded by the redoubtable Dutch
Admiral De Ruyter.The composition of these two fleets was as set out:
Ships of the
De Ruyter (centre)
of reconnoitering and manoeuvring Prince Rupert determined to attack De
Ruyter's fleet on 28 May, but the Dutchman emerged from the shoals with a
favourable wind to meet the Allied combined fleet approaching in line
abreast. For nine hours a fierce battle ensued, in the course of which De
Ruyter broke the French line but had to fall back to help the hard-pressed
Banckerts. Tromp (junior) also got into difficulties with the English van
and was obliged to transfer his flag three times during the day.
The fleets disengaged during the evening and anchored within sight of each
other. It was largely an inconclusive battle. The French lost two ships
during the day, while the Dutch Deventer (70) was so badly damaged that
she foundered during the night. But strategically few would argue with the
Dutch who claimed it as a victory.
Royal Charles Royal
St Andrew St
Third Dutch War 1672-74
The Texel was the scene of
the last battle of the Third Dutch War with the same adversaries: Prince
Rupert, Admiral De Ruyter, the Frenchman D'Estrees, Banckerts, Sir Edward
Spragge, Tromp - they had all fought
each other a couple of times earlier that summer of 1673. Once again the
brilliant De Ruyter thwarted an AngloFrench invasion of the Netherlands.
The Allied fleet was commanded by Prince Rupert. It numbered
ninety-two ships (the numbers are difficult to establish with certainty),
plus thirty fireships. De Ruyter marshalled a fleet of about seventy-five
ships of the line and frigates, plus about thirty fireships.
On the Allied side Prince Rupert commanded the centre, D'Estreesthe van
and Spragge the rear division.
On the Dutch side, De Ruyter commanded the centre, Banckerts the van and
Tromp the rear
Action was joined on 11 August when De Ruyter, having the weather gage,
attacked the superior Allied force. The whole of D'Estrees's van division
was separated from the main fleet by Banckerts' van and thrown into
confusion, so that it gave no support to the English
Thus the brunt of De Ruyter's attack fell upon the English centre and rear
divisions; both suffered hours of fierce fighting and dreadful damage.
Spragge and Tromp had a desperate duel. Each shifted his flag three times
during the day. Sadly, Spragge was drowned when the boat in which he was
transferring took a shot and sank
Eventually the two exhausted fleets drew apart, the English abandoning the
attempt to land troops, and licking serious wounds. No ships had been lost
but the damage suffered was enormous and the loss in men about 2,000..
De Ruyter's fleet also suffered serious damage, but no ships were lost and
his casualties were about half the English.
Prince Rupert was quick to give as the reason for defeat the lack, 1) of
French participation, but the real reason was the brilliance of De
Ruyter's tactics and his skilful handling of huge fleets in action.
Old James Pearl
Royal Charles Royal
St Andrew St
(ACTION OFF CABRITA, CABARETA POINT, LEAKE'S SECOND RELIEF OF GIBRALTAR)
War of the Spanish Succession 1702-13
resulted from a French attempt to land troops for the recapture of
Gibraltar. It was fought between a squadron of French ships of the line
under the command of Commodore Baron de Pointis, and a similar squadron
commanded by Vice-Admiral Sir John Leake.
The French squadron arrived in Gibraltar Bay, but a rising gale drove the
French force to leeward towards Marbella.
The British squadron layoff Cabrita Point 9 miles south-west of Marbella.
Leake had with him five ships of the line. At daybreak on 10 March Leake
surprised de Pointis.
The British Admiral had every advantage and he pressed home his attack
with speed and vigour. In a swift and skilful action the British took the
66-gun Ardent, the Marquis (66) and Arrogant (60).
Two more of the line, the flagship Magnanime (74) and Lys (66),
were driven ashore and burnt by their crews to avoid capture.
Leake had not only scored a remarkable victory but had saved Gibraltar
from attack and had enhanced his already high reputation.
Warspite (List incomplete.)
SADRAS 175829 April
Seven Years' War 1756-63
This was hardly a battle,
more like a scrappy indecisive encounter, with some damage to both sides.
The French had a naval base at Pondicherry on the Coromandel coast of SE
India, and the British had one at nearby Cuddalore, south of Madras
fronting on to the Bay of Bengal. The French Admiral Comte D'Ache in his
flagship Zodiaque (74) and Vice Admiral
Pocock in his flagship Yarmouth (64) commanded the respective light
squadrons Each sighted.the other at about 9 am as Pocock was preparing to
leave Port St David Roads. It was afternoon when contact was made and each
squadron of ships were in line. Seven British and nine French (one was a
36 gun frigate) opposed each other. Away to leeward the French had another
74 and a frigate.
Pocock opened fire at a range of "half a musket shot" of the
flagship. The British rear failed to give good support and later three
captains were court-martialled. The French line gave way but Pocock's
ships were unable to catch the fleeing ships.
The inconclusive nature of this encounter was attributed to the strict
adherence to the Fighting Instructions.
NEGAPATAM 17583 August
Seven Years' War 1756-63
Three months after the
indecisive encounter off Cuddalore in SE India (see SADRAS 1758),
another inconclusive action occurred between a British squadron commanded
by Vice-Admiral George Pocock and a French squadron commanded by Admiral
Comte D' Ache off nearby Negapatam. It could well have been named Pocock's
Pocock, in his flagship Yarmouth (64), and with another six of the
line, chased the Comte's nine of the line for several days before the
Frenchmen were finally brought to action at noon on 3 August.
A shot from Yarmouth carried away Zodiaque's (74) wheel
which caused the French flagship to collide with the Duc d'Orleans. Both
survived the experience. D' Ache managed to disentangle, and later to
disengage his ships. Under cover of darkness he thereupon retired to the
No ships had been sunk, but casualties on both sides were heavy.
PORTO NOVO 1759
Seven Years' War 1756-63
The scene of this battle was
25 miles south-east of Porto Novo on the Coromandel coast of India near
Cuddalore in a position 110 03' N 79° 45' E. It was fought between a
squadron of ten British ships commanded by Vice-Admiral George Pocock with
his flag in Yarmouth and the French Commodore D'Ache in Zodiaque with eleven ships.
This was the third battle in these waters and was in itself inconclusive,
but the final outcome was to Britain's advantage. The nine ships of the
line and Queenborough, the single frigate, were awarded the battle
World WarII 1939-45
Admiral Sir James
Somerville, commanding Force H in the Mediterranean, was entrusted with
the passage of a convoy of three.important merchant ships carrying tanks
and other mechanical transport to the Middle East. With his flag in Renown
(32,000 tons, 6 x 15") he had in company Ark Royal (22,000
tons, 36 aircraft), two cruisers and nine destroyers. Four corvettes gave
close escort to the merchantmen.
Off Cape Spartivento an Italian squadron commanded by Admiral Campioni was
encountered. It comprised the two battleships Vittorio Veneto (35,000
tons, 9 x 15") and Guilio Cesar (23,622 tons, lOx 12.6"),
seven heavy cruisers and sixteen destroyers.
An hour's engagement in which the heavy cruiser Berwick (9,750
tons, 8 x 8") and the Italian destroyer Lanciere (1,620 tons,
4 x ., 4.7") were damaged proved inconclusive on both sides and
Campioni broke away.
Because Somerville failed to pursue, a Board ", of Enquiry arrived in
Gibraltar even before Somerville had returned to port to question the
correctness of putting the safety of the convoy as the prime
consideration. Cunningham, C-in-C of the Mediterranean Fleet, objected at
this iniquitous action by the' Admiralty. The Board's finding was totally
in favour of Somerville.
BURMA 1944-45 October
May -August 1945
World WarII 1939-45
This Campaign Honour dates
from 1944, more than two years after the initial Japanese assault on the
country. The occupation had been effected with the speed and brutality
associated with Japan's entry into the war. British troops were driven
back to the Indian border and the Japanese rested on the Chindwin.
December 1943 saw a second Allied campaign launched on the Arakan, and the
Japanese launched an assault on India, investing Kohima and Imphal and
suffering horrendous casualties, estimated at 65,000.
The Arakan campaign down the coast was decisive. Ramree Island was
assaulted in January 1945. The Royal Navy and Royal Indian Navy gave full
support. Guns sited in caves overlooking the landing beaches were silenced
by Queen Elizabeth (32,700 tons, 8 x 15") supported by the cruiser
Phoebe (5,450 tons, 10 x 5.25") and the carrier Ameer (11,420 tons,
24 aircraft): the bombardment was the heaviest of the campaign. The
battleship fired 69 15" rounds.
Ramree became a springboard for the advance on Rangoon which was
captured in early May 1945, within days of peace being declared in Europe.
As if to mark the occasion the monsoon rains flooded the country. In three
months the Japanese in Burma were totally destroyed.
Campaign Honours: 1944-5:
FAA SQuadron: 815 ~
KOREA 1950 –51
Korean War 1950-53
The area covered by this
campaign award is the whole of the Korean coast.
North Korean forces launched an assault on South Korean positions at the
end of June 1950, precipitating a frustrating three-year war. The attack
was condemned by the United Nations, and fifteen member states, led by the
USA and including units of the Royal Navy, went to South Korea's aid. The
Commonwealth Task Force included RAN, RNZN and Canadian units as well as
RN: four store ships, twelve fleet oilers and the hospital ship Maine were
included. In a near-perfect amphibious operation at Inchon an invasion
force was thrown ashore covered by four carriers, two escort carriers,
seven cruisers, thirty-four destroyers and a great number of frigates and
minesweepers. North Korea had no navy and was thus vulnerable to sea-borne
attacks. These landings and subsequently the Inchon evacuation were the
two main features of the naval war. The objective of the landings was to
capture the capital, Seoul, and cut lines of supply. In 1950 70,000 men of
the US 10th Corps were landed from 550 landing craft. British naval
support was given by the cruisers Jamaica and Kenya (both
8,000 tons, 12 x 6"). During the operation Jamaica fired 1,290
rounds of 6" and 393 rounds of 4": Kenya fired 1,242
rounds of 6" and 205 rounds of 4". Jamaica also has the
distinction of being the first UN ship to shoot down an enemy aircraft.
Red China's involvement in the Korea War took place on 31 December 1950
and the war dragged on till an armistice was signed on 27 July 1953.
British ships took part in the evacuation -Kenya and Ceylon and
the two Australian destroyers Bataan and Warramunga.
Modeste Morecambe Bay Mounts Bay Murchison
Newcastle Nootka Ocean Opossum
Putaki St Bride's Bay Shoalhaven Sioux
Sparrow Sydney Taupo Telemachus
Theseus Tobruk Triumph Tutira
Tyne Unicorn Warramunga Whitesand Bay
Royal Fleet Auxiliaries:
Wave Premier Wave Prince
800,801,802, 804,805,807,808,810,812,817, 821, 825, 827, 898.