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Battle of the Lizard

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years ago

The Battle of the Lizard

21st October 1707 (9th October 1707 os)


The British squadron of Commodore Richard Edwards

Ship's NameGunsCommanderNotes


Devonshire80John Watkins
Royal Oak76Baron Wyld
Chester50John Balchen
Ruby50Peregrine Bertie
The French Fleet

Rene Duguay-Trouin's Division

Ship's NameGunsCommanderNotes







Claude de Forbin-Gardanne's division

Ship's NameGunsCommanderNotes











Description of the action taken from Clowes the Royal Navy Vol II

On October 9th, 1707, a fleet of about one hundred and thirty sail, bound for Lisbon with merchandise, warlike stores, and horses, sailed from Plymouth under convoy of the Cumberland, 80, Commodore Richard Edwards, Devonshire, 80, Captain John Watkins, Royal Oak, 76, Captain Baron Wyld, Chester, 50, Captain John Balchen, and Ruby, 50, Captain the Hon. Peregrine Bertie. By that time Du Guay Trouin, who had been cruising against the Portuguese in the Atlantic, and had also captured several British vessels, had returned to Brest with his six ships. There Forbin, returning from his northern expedition, had joined him; and the two commanders had received orders to put to sea together against the Portugal convoy. Forbin's division still consisted of eight of the nine men-of-war which had been engaged in the affair of May 1st; Du Guay Trouin's was made up of the Lys, 72, his own ship, Achille, 64, Jason, 54, [HMXMS Maure (1688)||Maure], 50, Amazone, 40, and Gloire, 38. The French had thus fourteen men-of-war to pit against the British five; and about six hundred guns to pit against the British three hundred and thirty-six.


The French fell in with the convoy off the Lizard on October 10th; and the British captains, in order to give time for the merchantmen to save themselves, engaged the enemy with great stubbornness, and studiously intercepted him. In point of fact very few of the merchantmen were taken; but in other respects the result of the action was most serious. The Cumberland struck to the Lys, the Chester to the Jason, and the Ruby to the Amazone. The Devonshire, after making a running fight with five vessels until the evening, blew up; and, of all on board, only two men were saved. As for the Royal Oak, she was run foul of by the Achille, each ship losing her bowsprit by the shock; and, having repulsed an attempt to board, she got away with a loss of but twelve men killed and twenty-seven wounded. Picking up a few straggling merchantmen, she reached Kingsale in safety with them.


Captain Edwards, after his release from captivity, was brought before a court-martial, which honourably acquitted him Captain Watkins perished with nearly nine hundred of his men; Captain Wyld, who was deemed to have misbehaved himself, especially in breaking the line, was sentenced to dismissal from the service; but was subsequently, and perhaps deservedly, restored to it. Captain Balchen returned to England, and was absolved by a court-martial from all blame for the loss of his ship. Captain Bertie did not live to return, but died while still a prisoner in France.


There seems to have been lack of good feeling and loyal cooperation between Du Guay Trouin and Forbin; and there is much reason to believe that, had they worked together better than they did, not a single ship, either of the escort or of the convoy would have escaped them.





B029The Royal Navy - Vol IIWilliam Laird Clowes

Comments (2)

deslandesherve@... said

at 7:20 pm on Jan 17, 2009

escadre FORBIN : just 6 vaisseaux.
MARS 54 Guns . Crew : 431...............FORBIN.
BLACWALL 50 Guns . Crew : 374.........Tourouvre.
SALISBURY 50 Guns . Crew : 353.........Bart.
PROTEE 46 Guns . Crew : 361.............de Beaujeu.
GRIFFON 44 Guns . Crew : 349...........de Nangis.
DRYADE 32 Guns . Crew : 102............de Van Crombrugghe.
Source : C.de la Ronciére & Mémoires de Duguay Trouin et de Forbin.

deslandesherve@... said

at 11:39 pm on Jan 15, 2009

LYS 74 Guns .Crew :631.......Duguay Trouin
ACHILLE 66 Guns . Crew :525........de Beauharnais.
JASON 54 Guns . Crew : 426..........de Courserac.
GLOIRE 40 Guns . Crew :317..........de la Jaille.
AMAZONE 36 Guns . Crew : 314......de Nesmond.
MAURE 54 Guns . Crew : 377.........Moinerie- Miniac
source : c. de la Ronciere & mémoire de Duguay Trouin

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