1683 First officials appointed to open Jamaica Dockyard. Closed 1905.
1707 Association lost on Scilly Isles. Adm Sir Cloudesley Shovell reputedly killed by looters.
Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, 1650-1707 – Although he is generally best known for the manner of his death when his flagship the Association, together with Romney and Eagle, struck on the Scilly Isles on 22 October 1707, Shovell was quite remarkable for being one of the very few senior officers before this century to have risen in the Service entirely on his own merit. He was first reported by Sir John Narborough for gallant behaviour under fire and was later knighted for his conduct at Bantry in 1689. He was an admiral in 1690 at Beachy Head and at Gibraltar and Malaga in 1704. He was returning from an expedition to Toulon in 1707,which was an attempt to acquire a Mediterranean base for the Fleet, when one of the storms which made such a base so important caused his death.
1793 Agamemnon fought the French Melpoméne, three other frigates and a brig corvette 15 miles to the eastward of Cape San Lorenzo, Sardinia.
1800 Indefatigable and Fisgard captured the French Venus 90 miles N. by W. of Cape Belem.
1805 Vice-Adm Collingwood, who assumed command of the Fleet off Trafalgar after Nelson’s death, issued the following General Order from his temporary flagship, the frigate Euryalus, on the day after the battle:
‘The ever-to-be-lamented death of Lord Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronte, the Commander in Chief, who fell in the action of the 21st, in the arms of victory, covered with glory, whose memory will be ever dear to the British Navy, and the British nation; whose zeal for the honour of his King, and for the interests of his country, will be ever held up as a shining example for a British seaman – leaves me a duty to return my thanks to the Right Honourable Rear-Admiral, the captains, officers, seamen, and detachments of Royal Marines serving on board His Majesty’s squadron now under my command, for their conduct on that day; but where can I find language to express my sentiments of the valour and skill which were displayed by the officers, the seamen, and the marines in the battle with the enemy, where every individual appeared an hero, on whom the glory of his country depended; the attack was irrestible, and the issue of it adds to the page of naval annals a brilliant instance of what Britons can do, when their King and their country needs their service. To the Right Honourable Rear-Admiral The Earl of Northesk, to the captains, officers, and seamen, and to the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates of the Royal Marines, I beg to give my sincere and hearty thanks for their highly meritorious conduct, both in the action, and in their zeal and activity in bringing the captured ships out of the perilous situation in which they were, after their surrender, among the shoals of Trafalgar, in boisterous weather. And I desire that the respective captains will be pleased to communicate to the officers, seamen, and Royal Marines, this public testimony of my high approbation of their conduct, and my thanks for it.’
1805 Five Trafalgar prizes – Redoubtable, Bucentaure, Fougueux, Santissima Trinidad and Algésires – wrecked, and five more would be taken within a fortnight.
1809 Plover captured the French privateer Hirondelle 18 miles S.E. by S. of Lizard Head.
1821 Rising Star built for Chilean Navy sailed, first British-built steam warship to cross Atlantic.
1853 British and French fleets passed the Dardanelles, precipitating war between Russia and Turkey.
1860 Metropolitan Police from the 3rd Division took over security duties at Devonport Dockyard. Establishment: 1 superintendent, 5 inspectors, 21 sergeants and 125 PCs.
1870 Slow-burning ‘pebble powder’ introduced in RN.
1904 Russian Baltic Fleet fired on British trawlers off the Dogger Bank, on its way to Tsushima.
1926 Sloop Valerian foundered in hurricane off Bermuda.
1940 Destroyer Margaree (RCN), ex-Diana, transferred, sank in collision with SS Port Fairy in Atlantic (53-24N, 22-50W). Convoy OL 8.
1941 RFA Darkdale, oiler, torpedoed and sunk at anchor off Jamestown, St Helena by U-68 (16-00S, 05-37W). Thirty-seven crew and four gunners lost. The first ship sunk by a U-boat south of the Equator in the Second World War. Memorial plaque unveiled at St Helena 15 April 2001.
1942 Wellington B/179 sank U-412 in Norwegian Sea (63-55N, 00-24W).
1943 Destroyer Hurworth sunk by mine off Kalymnos Island (36-59N, 27-06E). Survivors landed in Turkey. Adrias (Greek), ex-Border, mined in same field and beached on Turkish coast. Refloated and reached Alexandria, but CTL.
1944 Heavy cruiser Australia (RAN) damaged by archetypal kamikaze attack.
1946 Destroyers Saumarez and Volage mined off Corfu.
The Corfu Incident
With the war in Europe over for some eighteen months, the Mediterranean Fleet of two carriers, five cruisers, eighteen destroyers and nine frigates, with a submarine and minesweeping flotilla and their attendant depot ships, were cruising, and visiting the Greek Islands which included Corfu. The cruisers Mauritius and Leander with the destroyers Saumarez and Volage were detached to negotiate the channel between Corfu and Albania where, six months before, Orion and Superb had been fired on from the Albanian shore. On passage through the channel Saumarez struck a mine which killed thirty-six of her company and damaged the ship so badly that she was subsequently scrapped. Leander and Mauritius cleared the channel immediately, leaving Volage to tow the stricken Saumarez back to Corfu. One and a half hours later Volage in turn struck a mine which killed eight men, but she was still able to tow over the bow, even though it had been blown off. She proceeded to tow Saumarez while steaming astern. The International Court of Justice decided that the mines had been laid after the end of hostilities in Europe and awarded Great Britain £1,000,000 in compensation, which has not yet been paid.