1652 Boats of Leopard, Constant Warwick and Bonaventure cut out the Dutch (ex-British) Phoenix (38) at Leghorn. Adm Cornelius Tromp, son of Marten, nearly captured.
1757 Unicorn captured the French Hermione 180 miles N.W. of Cape Finisterre.
1797 Jason captured the French privateer Marie off Belle Ile.
1828 Board approved introduction of hexagonal machine-made biscuit baked at Clarence Yard.
1852 Capture of Pegu. Ships: Bengal Marine steamers Mahanuddy, Nerbudda, Damooda, and Lord William Bentinck and boats of Fox and Sphinx. Troops: 1st Bengal Fusiliers, 1st Madras Fusilier Regiment, 5th Madras Native Infantry, Bengal Artillery, Madras Sappers and Miners.
1868 Hercules, fifth of the name, completed, First battleship to have cables led on to the upper, instead of into the main deck, and first with three-calibre main armament.
1914 RNAS attacked the Zeppelin sheds at Friedrichshafen with three Avro 504s.
1918 Der Tag – the day the German Navy would defeat the Royal Navy - was the pre-war toast of German officers but in Royal Navy wardrooms and gunrooms it was occasionally drunk informally and in fun before and during the First World War. German High Seas Fleet arrived in the Firth of Forth en route to internment at Scapa Flow under the terms of the Armistice which suspended hostilities from 100 on 11 November. The Grand Fleet (370 warships, including 33 battleships and 90,000 men, with the Sixth Battle Squadron, comprising USN battleships, and some French cruisers) met the German units (9 battleships, 5 battlecruisers, 7 light cruisers and 49 destroyers) 40 miles E. of May Island and escorted them to an anchorage off Inchkeith.
Adm Sir David Beatty, C-in-C Grand Fleet, regarded the operation as a surrender – ‘Didn’t I tell you they would have to come out?’ – and at 1100 the general signal hoist was made in Queen Elizabeth, ‘The German flag will be hauled down at Sunset today, Thursday, and will not be hoisted again without permission. ‘Then, using Nelson’s own signal after the Nile 120 years earlier Beatty told the Fleet, ‘It is my intention to hold a service of thanksgiving at 1800 today for the victory which Almighty God has vouchsafed to his Majesty’s arms, and every ship is recommended to do the same.’
‘Whether Beatty had the right to make such a signal [i.e. referring to a 'haul-down'] has been questioned, but he was not concerned with legal niceties or the continental school of thought at such a moment’, wrote his biographer, Rear-Adm W.S. Chalmers. ‘He would organise the surrender in his own way, and being still at war, he felt that it would be intolerable to have enemy ships flying their national flag in a British harbour. So, at dusk, as the sky reddened ove the Scottish hills, and the buglers of the British Fleet sounded the call of “Sunset”, the ensigns of the Imperial German Navy fluttered slowly down for the last time. And darkness closed like a curtain on the final act of this mighty drama at sea.’
‘The surrender, if one may call it that, was one of the most decisive and dramatic events in the illustrious annals of British sea power’ – A. Marder, From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow, Vol. 5. p. 192.
Internment in the Firth of Forth, 1918. (RNM 1983/1288)
1939 Destroyer Gipsy mined leaving Harwich (51-57N, 01-19E). Beached but broken-backed. CTL. Captain and eight men buried in RN Cemetry near St Mary’s Church, Shotley.
1939 AMC Transylvania intercepted the German Tenerife, which scuttled herself to the west of Iceland.
1939 Light cruiser Belfast severly damaged by German magnetic mine in the Firth of Forth.
1941 Submarine Utmost torpedoed and severely damaged the Italian cruiser Luigi di Savoia Duca Degli Abruzzi in the Mediterranean: CTL. Utmost sunk a year later.
1942 Albacore 1/817 (Victorious) sank U-517 in N. Atlantic (46-16N, 17-09W).
1943 Crane and Fowey sank U-538 in N. Atlantic (45-40N, 19-35W). Convoy SL 139/MKS 30.
1947 P 511 foundered at her moorings in Kames Bay.
1958 The last Naval Discipline Act came into force. Enacted in 1957 it retained the original preamble, only slightly modified to read: ‘Her Majesty’s Navy, whereon, under the good Providence of God, the wealth, safety and strength of the Kingdom so much depent . . . an historical fact of life sometimes overlooked in any prolonged period of peace’. Thereafter, naval law was derived from the Armed Forces Acts, the Army and the Air Force Acts, no longer be a permanent statute, but subject to an annual continuation order and quinquennial review.
1997 Britannia sailed from London on last voyage to Portsmouth. Flew short paying-off pennant (227ft) in river but down-channel changed to her 412ft-long entitlement.