Devonport Naval Heritage Centre Newsletter June 2015


1st 1666-1st day of “4 Days Battle” between Admiral (ex Civil War General)G. MONCK’s English fleet & Admiral de RUYTER’s Dutch fleet, off North Foreland, the English coming off worst.

1794-“The Glorious 1st of June” when Admiral HOWE’s British fleet defeated Admiral VILLENEUVE’s French fleet, west of Ushant, by breaking through the French line – NELSON was not the 1st to use this tactic.

1813- SHANNON, under Captain P. BROKE, who had intensely trained his guns’ crews & fitted gun sights, defeated the US Navy’s CHESAPEAKE in just 11 minutes.

1939-Submarine THETIS sank in Liverpool Bay, with the loss of all her crew, after errors made during submerged acceptance trials.

1941-Naval evacuation of British forces from Crete, during which one of many ships sunk by air attack was Devonport built cruiser GLOUCESTER.

2nd 1663-English fleet under Admirals MONCK & R. DEANE started fighting a Dutch fleet under Admiral M.TROMP, off the Gabbard, defeating the Dutch a day later, one of the 1st Naval battles of the Anglo-Dutch War, challenging the Dutch for control of the oceans & trade.

3rd:1665-The Duke of York & Prince Rupert of the Rhine’s fleet defeated Dutch Admiral J. van WASSENA off Lowestoft.

1855-VC-Boatswain H. COOPER (MIRANDA) in action by an Allied squadron of ships destroying Russian Stores at TAGANMOGI, Crimean War.

4th 1666-Last day of the “4 Days Battle” (see 1st June), ending in a melee, both Fleets being exhausted, but overall the English came off worst, 2 flagships being sunk & Vice Admiral Sir C. MYNGS amongst those killed.

1673-Anglo-French Fleet, under Prince RUPERT & Vice Admiral Comte d’Estrees fought a Dutch Fleet under Admiral de Ruyter, following on from the battle off SCHOONEVELD on 28 May, the Dutch coming off best

5th 1916-HAMPSHIRE sunk by mines off the Orkneys, among those drowned being General Lord Kitchener & his Staff, who were embarked.

6th 1944-D-Day, Allied Forces landings in Normandy, Invasion of Europe.

7th 1761-Capture of BELLE ISLE, Carribbean, from the FRENCH, by Forces including 2 battalions of MARINES, their actions being commended to the King, gaining them the laurel wreath on their cap badge in commemoration.

1855-VC-Bombardier T.WILKINSON, Royal Marine Artillery, at Siege of Sevastopol.

1915-VC- Flt.SubLt. R.A.J.WARNEFORD RN Air Service, shot down Zeppelin LZ37, near GHENT, 1st RNAS VC.

1917-VC-Lt R.N.STUART RNR & Ord.Seaman W.WILLIAMS RNR (Q Ship PARGUST) in sinking Sub.UC29 near Valentia Island.

1944-Capture of PORT-en-BESSIN, France, by 47 Cdo. RM.

8th 1940=Carrier GLORIOOUS & escorting destroyers ARDENT & ACASTA, returning from Norway, sunk when caught unawares by German battle cruisers SCHARNHORST & GNEISENAU, which was hit by one of ACASTA’s torpedoes.

1982-Landing Ships SIR GALAHAD & SIR TRISTRAM abandoned after being heavily damaged by Argentine aircraft, Fitzroy Cove, Falklands.

9th 1931-Sub POSEIDON sunk in collision with SS YATA off WIE HAI WEI, China. 1st use of Davis Submarine Escape Apparatus.

1944-8 Allied destroyers, including Polish BLYSKAWICA, fought 4 German destroyers in the Channel, sinking 2 & badly damaging one.

11th 1942-Ending on 15th, a convoy to re-supply Malta was heavily attacked, only 2 out of 17 merchant ships reaching the Island, British losses being 1 carrier & 5 destroyers.

1944-CdoRM attack LE HAMEL & ROTS, France.

12th 1667-Dutch ships under Admiral van GHENT entered the Medway, over 3 days burning 5 English warships & capturing 2.

1869- Completion of MONARCH, 1st RN sea-going turret ship & 1st to have 12inch guns.

1982-42 & 45 Cdos RM, with 3 Para took MOUNT HARRIET, 2 SISTERS & MT.LONGDON, with Naval Gunfire Support.

13th 1797-End of the Nore Mutiny.

1940-15 Skua aircraft from ARK ROYAL attacked battle cruiser SCHARNHORST at TRONDHEIM, only 1 bomb hitting & 8 Skuas being shot down.

14th 1744-Commodorre G.ANSON (CENTURION) arrived at Spithead after circumnavigating the world, in 1 week more than 4 years.

1789-After the mutiny in BOUNTY, Captain W.BLIGH and those set adrift with him in an open boat, arrived at KUPPING, TIMOR, after a 3,618 mile voyage.

1982-Final assault on PORT STANLEY by 3 Cdo RM & 5 Infantry Brigades, with naval gunfire support from ACTIVE, Major General J.J.MOORE RM.

16th 1955-Sub SIDON sank in PORTLAND Harbour, after an experimental torpedo explosion. Albert Medal (posthumous)-Surgeon Lt.C.E.RHODES RN.

17th 1775-Battle of BUNKER HILL, N.America. 2 Battalions of Marines took part, adding to their noble reputation.

1919-VC-Lt A.W.S.AGAR RN (Coastal Motor Boat 4) torpedoed & sank Russian cruiser OLEG in KRONSTADT.

1940-Evacuation of British Expeditionary Force from N.W.France.

18th 1850-Naval Brigade in British attack on the Great Redan, Crimean War, Siege of SEVASTOPOL VCs-Captain W.PEEL RN , threw away a live shell & was wounded in placing the 1st assault ladder. Midshipman E.St.J. DANIEL RN , for gallantry in action, the award being rescinded several years later, due to his misconduct. Lt H.RABY RN, Able Seaman J.TAYLOR & Boatswain’s Mate H.CURTIS, for gallantry in rescuing, under fire, a wounded soldier.

1982-M Company 42 CdoRM recaptured SOUTH THULE.

20th 1944-George Cross-Temp.Lt. J.BRIDGE George Medal & bar RNVR, for bomb & mine disposal, later receiving a 2nd ba to his G.M.

1947-George Cross(ex Albert Medal)-Ldg.Seaman P.R.S. May(ST.MARGARETS), rescuing 7 men from a fume filled tank, MALTA.

21st 1594-Capture of CADIZ by an Anglo-Dutch Fleet, under the Earl of Essex & Lord Howard of Effingham, with the Admiral of Holland Jonkheer van DUYVENVOORDE.

1854-VC-Actg Mate C.D. LUCAS(HECLA)throwing overboard a live shell, during the bombardment of BOMARSUND.

1919-German High Seas Fleet scuttled at anchor, SCAPA FLOW.

22nd 1843-Purchase of DIANA,1st RN screw ship (propellor driven).

1893-Battleships VICTORIA rammed & sunk by CAMPERDOWN, during Mediterranean manoeuvres.

1923-Amalgamation of RM Artillery & RM Light Infantry to reform as the Royal Marines.

23rd 1925-George Cross (ex Extreme Gallantry Medal) Petty Officer R.CHAMBERS (TARANTULA) for bravery in support of the civil power, China.

24th 1340-Battle of SLUYS. An English Fleet under King Edward 3rd captured or destroyed the whole French Fleet, thus preventing an invasion of England, the King’s letter about this being the 1st Naval report of a battle.

1900-VC-Captain L.S.T.HOLLIDAY RM Light Infantry (ORLANDO) led a sortie from the beseiged PEKING British Legation.

25th 1908-INDOMITABLE, the RNs 1st Battle Cruiser, commissioned.

1909-British Royal Red Cross & King of Italy’s Silver Messina Medal-Sister F.PORTER, RN Nursing Service (MINERVA) for helping survivors of the MESSINA earthquake.

1950-Communist NORTH KOREA forces attacked SOUTH KOREA, crossing the 38th parallel border. Within 1 week, as part of United Nations forces, RN ships joined the war, attacking shipping and communications.

26th 1911-King George V recognised as Royal the Fleet Auxiliary Service.

27th 1941-George Cross-Lt G.G.TURNER & SubLt.F.H. BROOKE-SMITH, both RNVR, for bomb & mine disposal.

28th 1888-RN Engineers College KEYHAM opened, to train the 1st Engineer Cadets.

30th 1797-Nore Mutiny leader PARKER hanged onboard SANDWICH.


On 22nd June 1893, HMS VICTORIA, Vice Admiral Sir George TRYON’s Mediterranean Fleet flagship, led one column of 4 battleships in line ahead, with Rear Admiral MARKHAM, his 2nd in Command in HMS CAMPERDOWN, leading a column of another 4 battleships, on manoeuvres off the Lebanon.

TRYON wished to signal VICTORIA & CAMPERDOWN to turn 90 degrees towards each other, being followed in succession by the other ships in each column, 1,200 yards apart. TRYON’s plan was then, when the 2 columns were 400 yards apart, to signal all ships to turn together 90 degrees and to drop anchor simultaneously.

Although TRYON’s Staff suggested to him that columns 400 yards apart were too close for safety, they were not prepared to question his orders any further, so the signal was made. MARKHAM & his Staff were the only ones not to acknowledge receipt of the signal, indicating they did not understand it, as they realised the danger, so delaying execution of the order. TRYON then signalled CAMPERDOWN asking “What are you waiting for?” so MARKHAM at last acknowledged readiness to execute the turn, later saying he thought TRYON had some additional manoeuvre intended to avoid collision.

Halfway through the turn, although the 2 leading ships started emergency actions for collision, CAMPERDOWN’s ram bow punched a hole in VICTORIA, which sank, TRYON going down with his ship & 358 of his crew, 352 being rescued, including the ship’s Executive Officer, Cdr John JELLICOE, later WWI Grand Fleet C-in-C. TRYON’s last reported words were “It’s all my fault”.


A French TV company has recently requested for any information about Captain Samuel WALLIS, who commanded HMS DOLPHIN during a circumnavigation of the world, during which he discovered TAHITI. Although the Heritage Centre has no details of Captain WALLIS, it is noted online that he did, in 1767, drop anchor at TAHITI, then claiming possession of the islands for the King, naming them “King George III Islands”.

About a year later a French navigator landed on the opposite side of the islands, claiming them for the French King, being unaware that WALLIS had already claimed them for England.


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