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Action off Brighthelmstone

Page history last edited by Cy 13 years, 10 months ago

Action off Brighthelmstone

1st May 1707

Page Heirarchy:Home:Naval Battles :Flotilla Actions


The British Squadron
Convoy Escort of Post Captain Baron Wylde
Ship Name Guns Commander Notes
Royal Oak 70 Baron Wylde Flagship
Hampton Court 70 George Clements  
Grafton 70 Edward Acton  
The French Squadron
French Squadron of Claude de Forbin-Gardanne
Ship Name Guns Commander Notes
Mars 54   Flagship
Blackwall 48 de Tourouvre  
Salisbury 50 de Vezins  
Protee 50 d'Illiers  
Jersey 48 Francois Bart  
Griffon 44 de Nangis  
Dauphine 60 Roquefeuil  
Fidele 58 d'Hennequin  


Notes on Action
Prologue The Royal Navy Vol II
In the spring of 1707, Forbin cruised in the North Sea with the Mars, 54, his own flagship Blackwall, 54, Salisbury, 52, Protee, 48, Jersey, 46, Griffon, 44, Dauphine, 44, Fidele, 44, and another man-of-war, besides four corvettes or " barques longues," and several small privateers. On May 1st, the Royal Oak, 70, Captain Baron Wyld, Hampton Court, 70, Captain George Clements, and Grafton, 70, Captain Edward Acton, left the Downs with a convoy of about forty merchantmen bound to the westward. On the same day, off Brighthelmstone, Forbin, who had doubtless had his eye for some time upon the convoy, came up with and attacked it.
Description of the action taken from Clowe The Royal Navy Vol II The Royal Navy Vol II
Says the official English account: "the Grafton was boarded by three men-of-war of fifty-six guns, who carried her after a warm dispute of half an hour. The Hampton Court was attacked by one of the men-of-war, and afterwards boarded by two others; from which, with great difficulty, she disengaged herself; but, as she was bearing away, fell in with two fresh ships which shot away her mainmast and foretop-mast. The Royal Oak, Captain Baron Wyld, commander, came up to her assistance, but, finding her ensign struck, made the best of her way to save herself, having eleven feet water in the hold, and being very much shattered. In the engagement he had received several shots under water from two French men-of-war, of fifty and fifty-six guns, that were on board him above half a quarter of an hour; but he plied them so warmly that they were forced to sheer off, not without being much disabled." The Royal Oak made her way back as far as Dungeness, where she beached herself. She was ultimately saved; but both the Hampton Court and the Grafton were carried into Dunquerque. Captain Clements, mortally wounded by a shot in the belly, had continued to fight his ship until he had fallen senseless on her deck, and until she had lost two hundred of her people killed and wounded. Soon after the vessel was taken possession of, a young midshipman, " taking an opportunity of the confusion which prevailed at that time, and the greater attention of the enemy to the plunder than the care of their prisoners, caused his poor dying commander to be conveyed through a porthole into the longboat, which happened to be astern. He himself followed with seven others of the crew. They concealed themselves under the thwarts as well as they could, till the Hampton Court and the enemy's squadron had drifted so far with the flood as to render it safe for them to take to their oars, when, by a very happy but almost incredible exertion, they reached Rye on the 3rd of May." Captain Clements died in the boat. Captain Acton also perished, fighting with the utmost gallantry. According to Forbin, the privateers took twenty-two of the merchantmen. The French losses were very heavy, and among the dead was Captain de Vezins, of the Salisbury. This affair caused great excitement in England, it being generally assumed that the disaster might have been avoided if the Admiralty had caused itself to be properly informed of the movements of the enemy, and if it had provided adequate convoy. But Captain Wyld was not blamed; and he was, indeed, as soon as his ship had been refitted, again employed on similar service.
Other Vessels The Royal Navy Vol II
Also present were an unidentified French Man of War, (possibly the Dryade 40), 4 Barque-Longue of 8 Guns & 60 men and several privateers


Id Link or Description Author
B029 The Royal Navy Vol II William Laid Clowes


Last Updated :2009/01/13 at 12:49:39 by Cy

Comments (1)

deslandesherve@... said

at 7:15 pm on Jan 12, 2009

french escadre
MARS 60 Guns . Crew 400 ................FORBIN
SALISBURY 50 Guns.prize. Crew 330....de Vezins
BLACKWALL 54 Guns.Prize.Crew 350...de Tourouvre
PROTEE 48 Guns . Crew 330.............D' Illiers
JERSEY 40 Guns.prize. Crew 280.......françois Bart
DAUPHINE 56 Guns . Crew 380.........Roquefeuil
DRYADE 40 Guns . Crew ? .........Van Crombrugghe
GRIFFON 44 Guns . Crew 320 .........de Nangis
FIDELE 56 Guns . Crew 380 ............d'Hennequin
4 barques longues 8 Guns & Crew 60.
English Prize before :
SALISBURY :taken :21/04/1703 by Saint Pol Hecourt
BLACWALL :taken: 31/10/1705 by Saint Pol Hecourt
JERSEY / GERSEY: taken :28/12/1691 near guadeloupe
source : C.de la Ronciere & Memoires de Forbin

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