Royal Navy On This Day 30 June …..

1690  Battle of Beachy Head. Anglo-Dutch fleet (thirty-four and twenty-two respectively) under Adm the Earl of Torrington (Sovereign) and Adm Cornelis Evertsen (Hollandia) fought Vice-Adm Comte de Tourville (Soleil-Royal), who had seventy-three ships and eighteen fireships.

Torrington was reluctant to attack until ordered to do so. The battle lasted from 09.00 to 17.00, the Dutch in the van and he in the centre. Torrington interdicted the French, who doubled on the van, but allowed them to drift away, for which he was court-martialled, though acquitted.


Battle of Beachy Head
Steel engraving by Jean Antoine Théodore de Gudin.

1696  Sir Christopher Wren and John Evelyn laid foundation stone of Greenwich Hospital ‘precisely at 5 o’clock in the evening. Mr. Flamsteed the King’s Astronomical Professor observing the precise time by instruments’.


Greenwich Hospital


Sir Christopher Wren in Godfrey Kneller’s 1711 portrait


Portrait of John Evelyn by Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1687

1704  Captain John Quelch was an English pirate who had a lucrative but very brief career of about one year. His chief claim to historical significance is that he was the first person to be tried for piracy outside of England under Admiralty Law and thus without a jury. These Admiralty courts had been instituted to tackle the rise of piracy in colonial ports where civil and criminal courts had proved ineffective.

Pirate John Quelch‘s standard, the Flag of St George.

piratestrial (1)

The Arraignment, Tryal, and Condemnation of John Quelch provides a transcript of what is perhaps Boston’s earliest trial for piracy.


An account of the behaviour and last dying speeches of the six pirates, that were executed on Charles River, Boston side on Fryday June 30th 1704 . . . ,” broadside printed by Nicholas Boone, Boston, Massachusetts, 1704. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Broadsides and Printed Ephemera Collection.

On Friday, 30th June 1704, six men were hanged in Boston in what was the first trial for piracy by the British Admiralty Court outside of England. The Arraignment, Tryal, and Condemnation of John Quelch provides a transcript of what is perhaps Boston’s earliest trial for piracy.  The court proceedings provide a detailed account of the events leading up to Quelch’s capture, as well as of the crimes committed Quelch and his crew.

John Quelch (and his mutinous pirate crew of the Charles) were marched on foot through Boston to Scarlet’s Wharf accompanied by a guard of musketeers, various officials, and two ministers, while in front was carried a silver oar, the emblem of the Lord High Admiral. Upon reaching the gallows, the minister gave the pirates a long and fervent sermon.
All of the pirates showed repentance on their faces except Captain Quelch. Before he was hanged, Quelch stepped up while holding his hat and bowed to the spectators. He also gave a short address and warned them, “They should take care how they brought money into New England to be hanged for it.”

In July of 1703, Governor Joseph Dudley granted a privateering license to Captain Daniel Plowman of the Charles and sent the ship to attack French and Spanish vessels near Newfoundland and Arcadia.  However, while the ship was still in Massachusetts, Captain Plowman became extremely ill and was confined to his quarters by the rebellious crew.  Plowman’s lieutenant, John Quelch, was chosen to be the new captain by the crew and the ship’s course was changed.  Plowman was thrown overboard, whether dead or alive seems uncertain, and Quelch led the crew of theCharles on what would be nearly a year-long piracy spree against Portuguese ships in the Caribbean and off the coast of South America.

Between August of 1703 and February of 1704, Quelch and the crew of the Charles attacked and captured no fewer than nine Portuguese vessels off the coast of Brazil, stealing a wide variety of goods and valuables and committing a number of other crimes including murder.  Precise dates are given for each of the nine attacks, as well as detailed descriptions of the crimes committed and the goods stolen.  The various commodities stolen from the different ships include gold dust, sugar, molasses, rum, rice, textiles, pottery, and a large quantity of coined Portuguese money.  Quantities are listed for the goods taken, and values also provided, offering insight into the monetary value of these goods around the turn of the eighteenth century.  A value of thirty pounds is given for one of the ships, which had apparently been sunk by Quelch and his crew.

The court record also provides historical information on Africans enslaved both in British and Portuguese colonies during this period.   A number of slaves of African descent are referred to in the records both as the property of the crew and as plunder from piratical raids.  At least three slaves are referred to in a letter of John Colman, provided in the appendix to the court proceedings, to colonial authorities in the West Indies.  Two of them, named Charles and Caesar, are mentioned by Colman as the property of a Colonel Hobbey.  The third, named Mingo, is listed as belonging to Captain Plowman himself.  Colman mentions the three men in a plea to the colonies of the West Indies to secure the goods on board the Charles and prevent them from being stolen by the mutinous crew.  Colman asks for the return of the men “and their shares,” and it is unclear whether this means that Charles, Caesar, and Mingo had any actual share in the goods on the ship, or whether it means the shares of their respective owners.

At least two more enslaved men were captured by Quelch and his crew during several of their attacks on Portuguese ships.  Joachim, a slave aboard a Portuguese brigantine taken by theCharles, was valued at twenty pounds.  Joachim is described as baptized, possibly as a Catholic given his ownership by a Portuguese master, though this is not expressly stated.  He is the only slave in the record described as baptized.  Emmanuel, a slave valued by the court record at forty pounds, was the property of a Portuguese commander named Bastian whose ship was captured by Quelch and his crew near the River Plate (Rio de la Plata) in South America.  Bastian was shot and killed during the attack, apparently by Christopher Scudamore the ship’s cooper, according to the testimony of Emmanuel.  For a time Joachim and Emmanuel served the crew, but were both sold to crew members at some point during the voyage.  Joachim was purchased by one George Norton, and Emmanuel was purchased by Benjamin Perkins, both for undisclosed amounts.

During the trial itself, three members of the crew, Matthew Pymer, John Clifford, and James Parrot, testified against Quelch in court and so avoided prosecution.  The transcript also repeatedly states that the English and Portuguese crowns had recently become allies at the time of Quelch’s crimes, further exasperating the case against him.  Among those presiding over the trial were Governor Joseph Dudley and Samuel Sewall, First Judge of the Massachusetts-Bay Province.  John Quelch, John Lambert, Christopher Scudamore, John Miller, Erasmus Peterson, and Peter Roach were sentenced to hang.  The execution was carried out “in Charles River; between Broughton’s Ware-house, and the Point.”

Joachim and Emmanuel were both called upon to testify against Quelch and certain members of his crew.  Emmanuel specifically identified Christopher Scudamore as the murderer of his master Bastian, while both men testified that Quelch and his crew ordered them to claim that they had been Spanish slaves rather than Portuguese upon returning to Boston in order to cover up the crimes against Portuguese ships.  Charles, Caesar, and Mingo were all charged with piracy along with the crew, though they were found not guilty.  Charles and Caesar were presumably returned to their master, Colonel Hobbey, while the fate of Mingo is not recorded.  The fates of Joachim and Emmanuel following the trial are not recorded either.  It is interesting to note that though they were considered property, slaves were still called upon to testify in an important trial like free men.

Several important documents and letters are provided in the appendix, including Captain Plowman’s commission from Massachusetts Governor Joseph Dudley as well as his instructions.  In the commission, Dudley explains to Plowman that he is “Hereby Authorizing you in and with the said Briganteen and Company to her belonging, to War, Fight, Take, Kill, Suppress and Destroy, any Pirates, Privateers, or other the Subjects and Vassals of France, or Spain, the Declared Enemies of the Crown of England, in what Place soever you shall happen to meet them.”  Plowman is warned that “Swearing, Drunkenness and Prophaneness be avoided,” and that no one, even enemies of the British crown, “be in cold Blood killed, maimed, or by Torture or Cruelty inhumanly treated contrary to the Common Usage or Just Permission of War.”  Also included are correspondence between Plowman and the Charles’ owners John Colman and William Clarke regarding Plowman’s illness and his growing mistrust of the crew.

Taking place during Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713), the crimes of John Quelch and the crew of the Charles should be viewed in the context of the affairs between the European colonial empires in the New World at the dawn of the eighteenth century.  Licensed by Governor Dudley as a “private man-of-war,” the Charles was expressly instructed to attack the ships of “Her Majesty’s enemies,” namely France and Spain.  Instead, the crew mutinied against their licensed captain and, to the chagrin of Governor Dudley and British colonial authorities, they attacked the ships of Britain’s ally Portugal.  It is clear from the text that these crimes are taken very seriously not only as acts of piracy, but as an embarrassment to the crown.

1707  Rear-Adm Sir John Norris (Torbay) forced the passage of the Var, France.

(c) National Maritime Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

John Norris by Godfrey Kneller in 1711

(c) National Maritime Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

1797  Nore Mutiny leader Richard Parker, President of the “Floating Republic” at the Nore, hanged aboard HMS Sandwich (98)


18th century illustration Richard Parker about to be hanged for mutiny. (image from the Newgate Calendar)

1803  HMS Vanguard  (1787)(74) Cptn. James Walker, and HMS Cumberland (1774)(74) captured French frigate Créole off Ile Tortuga.

In 1803, under the command of Captain James Walker, Vanguard was operating out of Jamaica on the Blockade of Saint-Domingue. On 30 June, Cumberland and her squadron under Captain Henry William Bayntun were between Jean-Rabel and St. Nichola Mole in the West Indies, having just parted with a convoy when they spotted a sail of what appeared to be a large French warship. Cumberland and Vanguard approached her and after a few shots from Vanguard the French vessel surrendered, having suffered two men badly wounded, and being greatly outgunned. She proved to be the frigate Créole, of 44 guns, primarily 18-pounders, under the command of Citizen Le Ballard. She had been sailing from Cape François to Port au Prince with General Morgan (the second in command in San Domingo), his staff, and 530 soldiers, in addition to her crew of 150 men. The Royal Navy took her into service as HMS Creole.

The London Gazette, 13th September 1803

While the British were taking possession of Créole, a small French navy schooner, under the command of a lieutenant and sailing the same course as Créole, sailed into the squadron; she too was seized. She had on board 100 bloodhounds from Cuba, which were “intended to accompany the Army serving against the Blacks.”

1808  HMS Capelin (1804) Schooner (6), Lt. Josias Bray, wrecked on sunken rock off entrance of Brest Harbor.

1814  USS Alligator (1813) schooner sank in Port Royal Sound during a heavy storm.

1815  USS Peacock (1813), Captain Lewis Warrington, takes HMS Nautilus, last action of the War of 1812.

On 30 June, she captured the 16-gun brig Nautilus, under the command of Lieutenant Charles Boyce of the Bombay Marine of the East India Company in the Straits of Sunda, in the final naval action of the war. Boyce informed Warrington that the war had ended. Warrington suspected a ruse and ordered Boyce to surrender. When Boyce refused, Warrington opened fire, killing one seaman, two European invalids, and three lascars, wounding Boyce severely, as well as mortally wounding the first lieutenant, and also wounding five lascars. American casualties amounted to some four or five men wounded. When Boyce provided documents proving that the Treaty of Ghent ending the war had been ratified, Warrington released the prize, though at no point did he in any way inquire about the Boyce’s condition or that of any of the injured on NautilusPeacock returned to New York on 30 October. A court of inquiry in Boston a year later exonerated Warrington of all blame. In his report on the incident, Warrington reported that the British casualties had only been lascars.

1914  Adm Sir George John Scott Warrender, departing with a RN squadron from the Imperial German Navy regatta at Kiel, made to his hosts ‘Friends in the past, friends for ever’, which proved five weeks later to have been an unfortunate signal.


Vice-Admiral Sir George John Scott Warrender of Lochend, 7th Baronet, KCB, KCVO (31 July 1860 – 8 January 1917)

1915  Destroyer HMS Lightning (1895) sunk by mine off the Wielingen lightvessel, Zeebrugge.


HMS Lightning (1895)

1917  Destroyer HMS Cheerful (1897) sunk by mine 6 miles S.S.E. of Lerwick  while on patrol off the Shetland Islands she struck a contact mine that had been laid by German submarine UC-33. She sank with the loss of 44 officers and men in position (60°02′N 01°07′W)


HMS Cheerful (1897) a 30-knot, three-funnel torpedo boat destroyer built by Hawthorn Leslie.


SM UC-33

1940  First offensive operation mounted from Malta after Italy entered the war on 10 June: Swordfish of 830 NAS attacked oil refineries Augusta, Sicily.

1941  River gunboat HMS Cricket (1915) severely damaged by German dive-bomber north of Mersa Matruh. Towed to Alexandria and became a floating AA battery.

1942  Submarine depot ship HMS Medway (1928) sunk by U-372 off Alexandria (31-03N, 30-35E). Ninety torpedoes and all spare machinery for submarine flotillas moving to Haifa were lost.


Submarine depot ship HMS Medway (1928)


Conning tower emblem U-372 (Coat of Arms of Viersen)


1944  Canso A/162 (RCAF) and Liberator E/86 sank U-478 in Norwegian Sea (63-27N, 00-50W).

1944  Fought immediately after the successful Allied landings from 6th June 1944, The Battle of Cherbourg ends with the surrender of the strategically valuable port to American forces. A few German troops cut off outside the harbour defences held out until 1st July.
The Germans had so thoroughly wrecked and mined Cherbourg that the port was not brought into limited use until the middle of August; although the first ships were able to use the harbour in late July.


Aerial photograph of Cherbourg, France, 1944.

1948  40 Commando RM acting as the rearguard in the Protectorate in final withdrawal from Palestine.

1950  Carrier Triumph, cruisers Belfast and Jamaica, destroyers Cossack and Consort, and sloops Black Swan, Alacrity and Hart in first engagement in Korean waters.

1954  First adopted as the war flag on 15th May 1870 but falling into disuse at the end of WW2, the Japanese ‘Rising Sun’ flag with a red circle close to the middle (offset to the lanyard) and 16 red rays in a Siemens star formation was re-adopted on 30th June 1954, as the war flag and naval ensign of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
The JMSDF also employs the use of a masthead pennant. First adopted in 1914 and readopted in 1965, the masthead pennant contains a simplified version of the naval ensign at the hoist end, with the rest of the pennant colored white. The ratio of the pennant is between 1:40 and 1:90.

The flag is considered offensive in countries which were victims of Japanese aggression (specifically in China and the Koreas) where it is considered to be associated with Japanese militarism and imperialism.


Naval ensign, flown by ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy (1889–1945) and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. (1954–present)

1961  Closure of Royal Victoria Yard, Deptford. Opened in 1742 and responsible for storing and blending the Navy’s rum.


Royal Victoria Yard, Main Gate entrance c.1920.


Deptford Dockyard painted in the late-eighteenth/early-nineteenth century by Joseph Farington


A 1623 map of Deptford Strond with annotations by John Evelyn showing Sayes Court in the bottom left corner and Deptford Green as “The Common Greene” just above centre-left (click for larger version)

1964  Royal Naval Armament Depot, Mombasa, closed. AFO 147/64.

1966  Polaris School opened at Faslane.

1969  The RAF’s ‘V-force’ relinquish the ‘Quick Reaction Alert’ role and responsibility for Britain’s strategic nuclear deterrent passes to the Polaris missile submarines of the Royal Navy.

1969  HMS Bristol (D23), Type 82 destroyer, launched at Swan Hunter and Tyne Shipbuilders. Only one of planned four of class completed; intended as escorts to the cancelled CVA-01. The first RN ship to take the Ikara ASW missile to sea and the last three-funnelled British warship.

See 22 March 1993.



1986  The MV Kingsabbey crashes into Southend pier, creating a 70-foot gap which severs the new pier head from the rest of the pier, destroys the boathouse used by the lifeboat service and caused major structural damage due to the destruction of iron piles and supporting girders. It was reported that a man who was in the pier toilets at the time of the collision only just made it out before they tipped over the edge!


MV Kingsabbey


Damage to pier.

1988  HMS President, shore-based HQ of London Division RNR in St Katherine’s Dock, opened by Adm Sir John Woodward, C-in-C Naval Home Command.



1997  At 23:30 hrs (local time) the Hong Kong handover ceremony officially began with the Prince of Wales reading a farewell speech on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II. Moments before midnight the British national flag and Hong Kong colonial national flag were slowly lowered to the British national anthem, symbolising the end of British colonial rule in Hong Kong.
At midnght, British sovereignty of Hong Kong was officially transferred from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese national flag and new Hong Kong regional flag were simultaneously raised to the Chinese national anthem.
Prince of Wales and  Mr Chris Patten, embarked in HM Yacht Britannia at 0022 1 July, completing British withdrawal. Ship sailed at 0045 and, with Royal Marine band playing Rule Britannia and , amplified by ship’s broadcast, she led Chatham, Peacock, Starling, Plover and RFA Sir Percivale out of harbour. Group rendezvoused with seventeen ships of Ocean Wave Task Group commanded by Rear-Adm Alan West, which had been standing by over the horizon. All ships steamed past Britannia on 1 July.

2003  Conspicuous Gallantry Cross: L Cpl Justin Thomas (24) of 40 Cdo RM for ‘his outstanding bravery and inspirational leadership’ during a Commando attack near Basra. Operation Telic.


The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC) is a second level military decoration of the British Armed Forces.


L-Cpl Thomas performed an ‘act of selfless bravery’

      During the attack Thomas’s troop came under effective and sustained fire from the enemy in a previously undetected location, which left many of his comrades exposed. Moving from a comparatively safe position, Thomas climbed onto his open-topped vehicle to man the pintle-mounted machine-gun and he returned fire for fifteen minutes, enabling twenty other members of his troop to move safely into cover and regroup. This act of selfless bravery ensured that the troop were able to extract themselves without loss of life from enemy fire in order to launch a successful counter-attack.


Operation Telic Campaign Medal for Service in Iraq. The medal is made of cupro-nickel and bears on the obverse the crowned image of the Queen. The reverse shows an ancient Assyrian Lamussu sculpture above the word Iraq. The 1.5 inches (38 mm) wide ribbon is a sand colour with three central stripes of black, white and red.

         See 7 February 1995, 30 April 2003.

2009  MV Demas Victory, a Dubai-based supply ship servicing offshore oil and gas platforms, sank in rough seas, 10 nautical miles off the coast of the Qatari capital city of Doha at around 06:30 hrs (local time).
The captain had put in a request to re-enter Doha Port, however, officials advised that the ship remain at anchor due to the conditions. The ship capsized three minutes later after it was hit by a huge wave.
At the time of its sinking, the MV Demas Victory was carrying 9 crew and 26 others, with most of them asleep in their cabins. Only five people were rescued (they were on deck or in the wheelhouse at the time of the accident) and six bodies recovered.


Offshore supply vessel MV Demas Victory (now Etihad) in 2007. – Wrecked On This Day …..

Royal Navy On This Day 29 June …..

1417  The Earl of Huntingdon’s squadron took four Genoese carracks in the Channel.

1502  On 29th June, with a hurricane brewing, Christopher Columbus arrived at Santo Domingo hoping to find shelter, but was denied port, and the new governor refused to listen to his storm prediction. Instead, while Columbus’s ships sheltered at the mouth of the Rio Jaina, the first Spanish treasure fleet sailed into the hurricane.
Columbus’s ships survived with only minor damage, while 29 of the 30 ships in the governor’s fleet were lost to the 1st July storm. In addition to the ships, 500 lives (including that of the governor, Francisco de Bobadilla) and an immense cargo of gold were surrendered to the sea.

1534  During his first voyage to the New World (1534), French navigator and explorer Jacques Cartier becomes the first European to reach the island now known as Prince Edward Island – located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, west of Cape Breton Island, north of the Nova Scotia peninsula, and east of New Brunswick. As part of the French colony of Acadia, the island was called Île Saint-Jean.

Jacques_Cartier_by_Hamel (3)

Portrait of Jacques Cartier by Théophile Hamel, ca. 1844. No contemporary portraits of Cartier are known.

1757  James Cook passed for Master.

1758  HMS Renown (30) took French Guirlande (22)

1776  First privateer battle of the American Revolutionary War is fought at Turtle Gut Inlet near Cape May, New Jersey, resulting in an important, early naval victory for the Continental Navy, and the future “Father of the American Navy”, Captain John Barry. The battle also marked the first American casualty of the war in New Jersey, Lieutenant Richard Wickes, brother of Captain Lambert Wickes. It was the only revolutionary war battle fought in Cape May County.


An 1801 Gilbert Stuart portrait of Barry.

1793  Joseph Ludwig Franz Ressel is born in Chrudim, Bohemia, Austrian Empire. His father was a native German speaker, while his mother was a native Czech. After completing his education, Ressel would go on to become an inventor and a forester for the Austrian government, supplying quality wood for the Navy. He would design and test one of the first working ship’s propellers (for which he was granted a patent in 1827), and would become involved in the development of steam-powered boats to such a degree that a monument to him in a park in Vienna commemorates him as “the one and only inventor of the screw propeller and steam shipping”.


Joseph Ludwig Franz Ressel

jun29_Ressels_screw (1)

Ressel’s patent application described his invention as a “never-ending screw which can be used to drive ships both on sea and rivers.”

1798  Jason (38) and Pique (36) Cptn. David Milne, captured the French Seine (38) to the northward of Ile de Ré. Mermaid (32) was in company. They all grounded near Pointe de la Trenche and Pique was bilged so it was necessary to destroy her.

1800  Anson, escorting a convoy, captured the Spanish Gibraltar and Salvador in Gibraltar Strait.

1807  Uniform regulations for masters and pursers made by Order in Council.

1811  4 Danish gunboats, under Lt. Broder K. B. Wigelsen, took HMS Safeguard (14), Lt. Thomas England, off Randers fjord.

1890  Alexander Parkes, a chemist, metallurgist and inventor from Birmingham, England, died on this day, aged 76 years. The son of a brass lock manufacturer, Parkes was apprenticed to Messenger and Sons, brass founders of Birmingham, before going to work for George and Henry Elkington, who patented the electroplating process.
In the 1850’s Parkes’s experiments with cellulose fibers and nitric acid led to the discovery of cellulose nitrate. This led to his invention of Parkesine, the world’s first man-made plastic. Patented in 1855, Parkesine (later known as xylonite) was used in the production of (amongst other things) ornaments, knife handles, and fishing reels.

In total Parkes held at least 66 patents on processes and products mostly related to electroplating and plastic development.
He is buried in West Norwood Cemetery although his memorial was removed in the 1970’s.


Alexander Parkes (29th December 1813 – 29th June 1890).

1940  Destroyers Dainty and Ilex sank the Italian submarine ebi Scebeli in central Mediterranean. A valuable intelligence haul.

1940  Sunderland L/230 sank the Rubino in Ionian Sea (39-10N, 18-49E) and another Sunderland of the same squadron the Argonauta (34-2N, 19-00E). First RAF Coastal Command success on A/S patrol.


1940  HMS Enterprise (D52) took bulk of bullion from Bank of England to Canada though the Captain did not qualify for Plate Money. Operation FishEnterprise was the fastest cruiser in service. First light cruiser to carry 6in twin turret.


HMS Enterprise (D52)

1940  Williamette Valley, taken up from trade as a ‘freighter’, i.e. a decoy, and sailing as Edgehill, sunk in N. Atlantic.

See 21 June 1940.

1941 HMAS Waterhen (D22) (RAN) attacked by aircraft off Sollum (32-15N, 25-20E). Taken in tow by HMS Defender (H07) but sank early on the 30th. First RAN war loss.


HMAS Waterhen (D22), with HMAS Stuart in background

1941  HMS Arabis (K73) (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, RNR), HMS Malcolm (D19) (Cdr. C.D. Howard-Johnston, DSC, RN), HMS Scimitar (H21) (Lt. R.D. Franks, RN), HMS Speedwell (J87) (Lt.Cdr. J.J. Youngs, OBE, RNR) and HMS Violet (K35) (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Nicholson, RNR) sank U-651 (Kapitän zur See Peter Lohmeyer) in N. Atlantic (59-52N, 18-26W). Convoy HX 133.

1942  HMS Thrasher (N37) (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian sloop Diana (1568 tons, built 1940) north of Tobruk, Libya in position 33°30’N, 23°30’E.


Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, RN CO HMS Thrasher (N37)

At 1125 hours (time zone -3) masts were sighted in position 33°21’N, 23°20’E, bearing 360° distance eight nautical miles away. The ship appeared to be coming straight towards. Five minutes later it could be seen that the vessel was a small auxiliary travelling at high speed. This ship must be carrying a very important cargo.

At 1144 hours six torpedoes were fired from 600 yards. No less than four hits were obtained and the ship sank quickly. There was an immediate counter attack by motor torpedo boats (these had not been seen previously). 17 depth charges were dropped. At 1240 hours Thrasher returned to periscope depth. At the place of the attack a few rafts were seen as well as two motor torpedo boats.


HMS Thrasher (N37) underway

1944  Cooke, Domett, Duckworth, Essington and Liberator L/224 sank U-988 off the Channel Islands (49-37N, 03-41W).

1944  Destroyers Tenacious, Terpsichore and Tumult bombarded a look-out station south of Valona (40-19N, 19-23E).

Korea, 1950-3

On 25 June 1950 the Communist North Korean Army attacked the South Koreans across the 38th parallel. Within a week the Royal Navy was operating in Korean waters, sinking coastal shipping and attacking communications ashore. The Chinese reinforced the North Koreans and advanced into North Korea during the winter, driving the United Nations forces back. Allied sea power was used to the full, both in launching seaborne air attacks against North Korean forces, and in evacuating and landing troops as required. Russian-built MiG jet fighters were deployed against the Fleet Air Arm in Korea. Lt P. Carmichael shot down the first Russian MiG to be destroyed by the Royal Navy and, remarkably, by a piston-engined aircraft.

See 9 August 1952.

1986  Richard Branson‘s 72-ft powerboat, Virgin Atlantic Challenger II, smashed the world record for the fastest surface crossing of the Atlantic when it reached the Bishop Rock, off the Isles of Scilly, just after 19:30 BST.
Although the voyage was completed more than two hours faster than the previous record-holder, SS United States, Branson was denied the Blue Riband by the trustees of the award because he had broken two rules of the competition – he had stopped to refuel en route and his vessel did not have a commercial maritime purpose.
However, as the Blue Riband is only awarded for westbound crossings, cynics speculated whether this was part of a ‘plan’ to maximise publicity for the relatively new Virgin Atlantic Airline, with the Virgin boss playing the role of “the valiant but hard done-by Brit”.


Travelling eastbound, Virgin Atlantic Challenger II sets a new transatlantic crossing record, 29th June 1986.

2002  The so-called Second Battle of Yeonpyeong occurs between North Korean and South Korean patrol boats along a disputed maritime boundary near Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea in 2002. Following a similar confrontation in 1999, two North Korean patrol boats crossed the contested border and engaged two South Korean patrol boats.

Both the North Korean and South Korean flotillas took casualties from the action. Thirteen North Koreans were killed and twenty five wounded, while four South Korean sailors died and nineteen were injured. A damaged South Korean craft later sank while under tow, while a damaged North Korean vessel was able to limp its way back to port.
Both sides laid blame on each other and South Korea demanded an apology from North Korea.


A PKM 301 Chamsuri class patrol boat, marked to replicate the battle-damaged PKM 357 following the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong on 29 June 2002, on display at the War Memorial of Korea – Wrecked On This Day …..

Royal Navy On This Day 28 June …..

1491  Henry VIII of England is born at the Palace of Placentia (Greenwich Palace), Greenwich, on the banks of the River Thames, downstream from London. The Palace was demolished in the seventeenth century and replaced with the Greenwich Hospital (now The Old Royal Naval College).
As King, Henry is traditionally cited as (one of) the founders of the Royal Navy. He would also develop a somewhat disturbing addiction to wedding cake…


King Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger,Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

1550  Appointment of Edward Baeshe as first surveyor of Victuals by letters patent at a fee of £50. Resigned in debt in May 1586.

1598  Abraham Ortelius died on 28th June 1598. His death, and burial, in St Michael’s Præmonstratensian Abbey church in Antwerp, were marked by public mourning.
The Flemish cartographer and geographer, generally recognised as the creator of the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World), is also believed to be the first person to imagine that the continents were joined together before drifting to their present positions.


Abraham Ortelius (14th April 1527 – 28th June 1598),
Painting by Peter Paul Rubens.


Islandia, from Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. 1590

1745  Cdre Warren of a New England colonial army captures Louisbourg, New France, after a forty-seven-day siege (New Style).

Occurring between 11th May – 28th June 1745 (30th April – 16th June, Old Style), the New Englanders’ landward Siege of Louisbourg (present-day Cape Breton Island), supported by Commodore Warren’s fleet, comes to an end when the French capitulate following 47 days (6 weeks and 5 days) of siege and bombardment.
News of the victory reached Governor Shirley in Boston on 3rd July which, coincidentally, was commencement day at Harvard (usually a day of celebration in itself). All of New England celebrated the taking of France’s mighty fortress on the Atlantic.
Louisbourg was returned, over the objections of the victorious colonists, to French control after the 1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.


The Capture of Louisburg, 28th June 1745.


The Capture of Louisburg, 1745 by Peter Monamy.

1762  Defiance and Glasgow captured the Spanish Venganza and Marte off Mariel, Cuba.

1776  Bombardment of Fort Moultrie, Charleston. Ships: Bristol, Experiment, Active, Solebay, Actacon*, Syren, Sphinx, Friendship, Ranger, Thunder, St Lawrence.

*Grounded and had to be burned by her own crew.

1803  Boats of Loire cut out the French Venteux at Ile de Bas, France. [m]

1810  Boats of Amphion, Active and Cerberus cut out twenty-five gunboats at Porto Grado, Trieste. [m]

1814  Reindeer (18) taken by the American Wasp (22) 240 miles W. of Ushant.

1859  Wood screw gunvessel Cormorant sunk by the Peiho Forts, having gone to the aid of Plover on the 25th.

See 1 July 1850.

1888  Engineer Cadets introduced, to be trained at Keyham.

See 1 July 1880.

1902  The U.S. Congress passes the Spooner Act, authorizing President Theodore Roosevelt to acquire rights from Colombia for the Panama Canal.

1904  Built by Alex Stephen & Sons Ltd of Linthouse, Glasgow, SS Norge, a Danish passenger liner sailing from Copenhagen, Oslo and Kristiansand to New York, mainly with emigrants, ran aground on Hasselwood Rock, close to Rockall, and sank in 1904. It remained the biggest civilian maritime disaster in the Atlantic Ocean until the sinking of the RMS Titanic eight years later.

The final death toll was 635, among them 225 Norwegians. The 160 survivors spent up to eight days in open lifeboats before rescue. Several more people died in the days that followed rescue as a result of their exposure to the elements and drinking the salt water.


The SS Norge. The wreck of Norge was located off Rockall in July 2003.

1918  Submarine HMS D 6 sunk by UB-73 N. of Inishtrahull Island, west of Ireland.

D6 (1)



Kapitänleutnant Karl Neureuther – CO of UB-73

1919  The Treaty of Versailles is signed in Paris, bringing fighting to an end in between Germany and the Allies of World War I.


The Treaty of Versailles, Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany.

Cover of the English version.

1940  Force H, assembled in short order to replace French maritime power in the western Mediterranean, formed at Gibraltar: Hood (flag of Vice-Adm Sir James Somerville hoisted 30 June), Ark Royal, Valiant, Resolution, Arethusa and four destroyers. Somerville reported directly to the Admiralty and his ships had the ambiguous status of a ‘detached squadron’ to avoid chain-of-command difficulties with either C-in-C Mediterranean or with Adm Sir Dudley North, Flag Officer North Atlantic, who flew his flag ashore at Gibraltar. Adm Sir Dudley North, Flag Officer North Atlantic, who flew his flag ashore at Gibraltar.

(c) National Maritime Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Force H off Gibraltar in 1940 by Rowland Langmaid.

(c) National Maritime Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation.

1940  7th CS, under Vice-Adm J.C. Tovey (Orion), chased three Italian destroyers, sinking Espero in central Mediterranean (35-18N, 20-12E). Ships: Gloucester, Liverpool, Neptune, Orion, and Sydney (RAN).

1941  Cruiser HMS Nigeria and destroyers HMS Bedouin and HMS Tartar boarded, rummaged and sank the German weather ship German weather ship Lauenberg to the great benefit of Naval Intelligence Division.


HMS Tartar‘s boarding party prepares to board the weather ship Lauenburg north east of Jan Mayen.


The Lauenberg is sunk by Royal Navy gunfire.

1956  With extensive damage to her bow, following a collision with USS Eaton (DD-510) during May, USS Wisconsin (BB-64) immediately put in at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard the for repairs.
The repair process was accelerated because their was a ‘spare’ 120-ton, 68-foot bow section available for the uncompleted Iowa-class battleship Kentucky.


Kentucky being towed to the scrapyard; note her missing bow.


Kentucky ship’s bow being transported on a large crane barge from Newport News, Virginia, to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, circa May-June 1956. It was used to repair USS Wisconsin (BB-64), which had been damaged in a collision with USS Eaton (DD-510) on 6 May 1956. Tug closest to camera is Alamingo (YTB-227). Tug on other side of barge is Apohola (YTB-502).

Once the ‘new’ bow arrived by barge from Newport News Shipyard in Virginia, the Norfolk shipyard personnel worked around the clock to complete the repair operation in 16 days, grafting the new bow onto the old battleship.
On 28th June 1956, the ship was ready for sea and able to carry out her midshipman training cruise as scheduled.




Official incident Log of the event.

1961  Launch of HMS Leander (F109), name-ship and first of class of twenty-six frigates, at Harland and Wolff, Belfast. Commissioned 27 March 1963.



1976  First Supply Officer promotion to Admiral Sir Peter White, already the first to sit on the Board.


Admiral Sir Peter White GBE (25 January 1919 – 22 May 2010) was a Royal Navy officer who ended his career as Chief of Fleet Support.

Paymasters (known informally as “blanket stackers”) provide secretarial, accounting, legal and other administrative service within the Navy. White’s years as Chief of Fleet Support (1974-77) were the culmination of a decade’s work to rationalise and modernise the Royal Navy’s property and infrastructure at home and abroad – his responsibilities included dockyards, aircraft repair yards and naval establishments.

The works programme to replace antiquated and worn-out facilities left over from the Second World War cost more than £100 million a year. Despite great pressure to reduce the overall defence budget, White planned a new computing centre (near Devizes); he opened new workshops in the Royal dockyards, built new shore accommodation, and made the fleet’s shoreside infrastructure fit for purpose.

These achievements came against a background of devaluation of the pound, strikes, large-scale thefts in Portsmouth, the discovery of asbestos in outlying depots and the escalating cost of refitting ships.

White was a master of committee work, dealing skilfully with politicians and trades unionists; he said that on occasions he felt that he “became more a civil servant and industrialist than a naval officer”.

Peter White was born on January 25 1919, the son of a bank manager whose family had farmed near Temple Cowley, Oxfordshire, for generations. Educated at Dover College, he entered the Navy as a special entry cadet in 1937 – but because he failed his mathematics exam he was obliged to become a paymaster.

Prewar he served on the China Station in the cruiser Birmingham and also in gunboats on the Yangtze. China was, he later wrote, a schoolboy’s dream of adventure. In Hankow he ran a French Jesuit spy; in the tiny gunboat Bee on the Upper Yangtze he helped rescue missionaries; and returning overland his train was bombed by the Japanese.

Back in England he came top in his Paymaster’s examinations and was awarded the Gedge medal (named after Staff Paymaster JT Gedge, the first British officer to be killed in the First World War; he died on August 6 1914 when his ship was mined in the Thames).

In 1940 White saw action off Norway and during the evacuation from Dunkirk, as well as on convoy duties in the North and South Atlantic.

After three and half years in Birmingham, when he rose from cadet to lieutenant, White joined the Home Fleet flagship, the battleship King George V, as secretary to the chief of staff. King George V was involved in the hunt for the Bismarck, and White spent many hours analysing Ultra messages from the Admiralty; he was one of the very few during the war who were aware of this invaluable intelligence.

In December 1943 he was mentioned in despatches for his part in maintaining the operations plot during the Battle of North Cape, when the German battleship Scharnhorst was sunk. Immediately afterwards White was lent to the staff of the Senior British Naval Officer, North Russia. He later referred to this period as “a grim four months”. Then, as now, hospitality and business with the Russians involved much drinking, and White – who did not speak his hosts’ language – was taught to toast his hosts by crying in Russian: “I love you!”

After the Normandy landings, where he served in the cruiser Belfast, and some months in London during the V1 and V2 blitz, White returned to the Far East in the cruiser Swiftsure. He was present at the Japanese surrender ceremony on the American battleship Missouri on September 2 1945, and afterwards set out by Jeep to liberate a number of prisoner of war camps in Japan.

He witnessed the ruins of Nagasaki, finding the sight of decomposing bodies rigid in the positions in which they had died more gruesome than anything he had seen as a midshipman in Shanghai in 1938.

After the war White served as secretary to Michael Denny for nearly 20 years as Denny progressed from Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel and Director of Personal Services, to Flag Officer (Destroyers) in the Mediterranean, Third Sea Lord and Controller of the Navy, Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet, and, finally, chairman of the British Joint Services Mission in Washington, DC. White often served one or two ranks above his substantive rank, and wore a full captain’s uniform from the age of 29.

After Denny retired, in 1960-61 White held his only appointment as a Supply Officer (in the actual rank of commander), at the Faslane submarine base. He was a student at the Imperial Defence College in 1964 and commanded the ratings’ new entry school, HMS Raleigh at Torpoint, in 1965-66.

Between 1967 and 1969 White was principal staff officer to two Chiefs of Defence Staff, Field Marshal Sir Richard Hull and Marshal of the RAF Sir Charles Ellworthy.

White was promoted to rear-admiral and appointed Director of Fleet Services in 1969. Three years later he became Port Admiral at Rosyth, and in 1974 he began a three-year spell as Chief of Fleet Support. He was appointed MBE in 1944; CBE in 1960; KBE in 1976; and GBE in 1977.

From 1977 he worked for many years as an associate director of the Industrial Society. He was chairman of the Officers’ Pension Society from 1982 to 1990; a member of the foundation committee of the Gordon Boys’ School (1979-89); and an associate director of Business in the Community from 1988 to 1996.

Peter White married, in 1947, Audrey Wallin, who died in 1991. In 2007 he married Joan Davenport, who survives him with two sons of his first marriage.

1977  Silver Jubilee Review of the Fleet at Spithead by The Queen, Lord High Admiral. Largest RN ship Ark Royal. First Spithead fleet review to include nuclear-powered vessels but the first without battleships present.

See 26 June 1897.




Anchorage Chart Silver Jubilee Review of the Fleet, Spithead – 28th June 1977.

None of this impressive list of RN ships at the 1977 Jubilee Review remained in service in 2004.


Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal

1991  The MOD announced details of Gulf campaign medals. The reverse based on Second World War Combined Operations badge; ribbon based on that of Africa Star, with the colours of the three Services at either side, separated by a strip of pale buff representing the desert.


Ribbon of the Gulf Medal.


Ribbon of the Gulf Medal with palm for Mentioned in Dispatches

Gulf-Medal-204-Jan-Feb-v02 – Wrecked On This Day …..

Royal Navy On This Day 27 June …..

1588  Spanish Armada arrives at Calais.

The fleet was composed of 130 ships, 8,000 sailors and 18,000 soldiers, and bore 1,500 brass guns and 1,000 iron guns. The full body of the fleet took two days to leave port. It included twenty-eight purpose-built warships, of which twenty were galleons, four galleys and four (Neapolitan) galleasses. The remainder of the heavy vessels were mostly armed carracks and hulks together with thirty-four light ships.

1734  First official recognition of the title Commodore as a temorary rank made by King George II. ‘Our Will and Pleasure therefore is . . .That Commodores with Broad Pendants have the same Respects as Brigadiers General, which is, to have one Ruffle.’

The rank of commodore was at first a position created as a temporary title to be bestowed upon captains who commanded squadrons of more than one vessel. In many navies, the rank of commodore was merely viewed as a senior captain position, whereas other naval services bestowed upon the rank of commodore the prestige of flag officer status; commodore is the highest rank in the Irish Naval Service, for example, and is held by only one person. In the Royal Navy, the position was introduced to combat the cost of appointing more admirals—a costly business with a fleet as large as the Royal Navy’s at that time.

1745  A chance naval encounter on 27th June (15th June, Old Style) at Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, probably affected the outcome of the Siege of Louisbourg, New France, during King George’s War.

In the harbour at Tatamagouche, Resolution (12 guns, 50 crew), under the command of Captain David Donahew of New England, later supported by Captain Daniel Fones in the Tartar (14 guns, 100 crew); and Captain Robert Becket in the Bonetta (six guns), surprised a French convoy led by Paul Marin de la Malgue, comprised of 4 ships and 50 Indian war canoes (A combined force of 1200 men) en route from Annapolis Royal to Louisbourg.

After a fierce two-hour battle, the French ships withdrew and the surviving Indians were driven ashore. The British reported there was a “considerable slaughter” of the French and natives.
Without the relief of the convoy, Duchambon surrendered Louisbourg to New England the following day.

1756  Surrender of Minorca. Restored in 1763, retaken 1798 and ceded 1802.

1796  HMS Inconstant (36) saved British residents at Leghorn.

1798  Seahorse captured the French Sensible 36 miles E.S.E. of Pantelleria in eight minutes.

1806  Capture of Buenos Aires by Cdre Sir Home Riggs Popham (Diadem) and Maj-Gen William Carr Beresfor. Ships and vessels: Diadem, Raisonnable, Diomede, Narcissus, Encounter. Troops: R.A., 71st Regiment, 20th Light Dragoons, St Helena Artillery, St Helena Regiment. A Naval Brigade was landed.

1809  Cane fought the Franco-Neopolitan Ceres in Naples Bay until her captain was wounded and she had expended all her ammunition. [m]

1811  HMS Guadaloupe (16), Joseph Swabey Tetley, engaged French Tactique (16) and Guepe (8) off the Cap de Creux.

1812  Royal Marines of Leviathan, Imperieuse, Curacoa and Eclair captured two batteries at Alassio and Laigueglia, Italy. The ships destroyed a convoy of eighteen sail.

1829  Monkey captured the Spanish slaver Midas S.W. of Little Stirrup Cay, Great Bahama Bank.

1834  Voyage of HMS Beagle (1831-36): Mr. George Rowlett, the Purser, died on 27th June  after a long illness and was buried at sea. He was 38 years old.

1860  Repulse of a British attack on the Maori pah at Puketakauere. Naval Brigade of wood screw corvette  Pelorus, with the flank companies of the 40th Regiment and detachments of Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers.

1898  More than three years after his departure, Joshua Slocum returned to Newport, Rhode Island on 27th June, having completed the first solo-circumnavigation, covering a distance of more than 46,000 miles with his rebuilt 36′ 9″ rigged sloop oyster boat, Spray.
Slocum’s return went almost unnoticed. The Spanish-American War which had begun two months earlier dominated the headlines. After the end of major hostilities, many American newspapers published articles describing Slocum’s amazing adventure.

In 1899 he published his account of the epic voyage in his now famous book, ‘Sailing Alone Around the World’.


A static model of Joshua Slocum’s boat, Spray.

1900  Capture of the Chinese Arsenal, Tientsin Naval Brigade from cruisers Endymion and Orlando.

1905  During a break from gunnery practice, near Tendra Island off the Ukrainian coast, sailors start an uprising aboard the pre-dreadnought battleship ‘Potemkin’, when the ship’s second in command (allegedly) threatened to shoot crew members for their refusal to eat the rotten and infested food they had been served. The rebellion by the crew against their oppressive officers (during the Russian Revolution of 1905), later came to be viewed as an initial step towards the Russian Revolution of 1917, and was the basis of Sergei Eisenstein’s silent film ‘The Battleship Potemkin’ (1925).

1917  On a voyage from New York to London with general cargo, the Cunard-owned British passenger steamer Ultonia, (built by C. S. Swan & Hunter, Ltd., Newcastle in 1898), was 190 miles southwest of Fastnet when she was sunk by the German submarine U-53. 1 person was lost in the incident.


The SS Ultonia.


U-53 in Newport, Rhode Island 7 October 1916

1918  Canadian hospital ship HMHS Llandovery Castle, built in 1914 in Glasgow as RMS Llandovery Castle  for the Union-Castle Line, was a  on a voyage from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, England when she was torpedoed off southern Ireland by German submarine U-86, in violation of international law.
When the crew took to the lifeboats, U-86, surfaced, ran down all the lifeboats except one, and shot at the people in the water. Only the 24 people in the remaining lifeboat survived. They were rescued shortly afterwards and testified as to what had happened. Among those lost were fourteen nursing sisters from Canada.



SM U-86. sank in two years 32 ships for a total of 119,411

After the war, in 1921, the captain of U-86, Lieutenant Helmut Patzig, and two of his lieutenants, Ludwig Dithmar and John Boldt, were arraigned for trial in Germany on war crimes. The case became famous as one of the “Leipzig trials“. Patzig left the country and avoided extradition; and though Dithmar and Boldt were convicted and sentenced to four years in prison, they both escaped. At the Court of Appeal, both lieutenants were acquitted on the grounds that the captain was solely responsible. On 27 June 1918, U-86 sighted a Canadian hospital ship, HMHS Llandovery Castle, off the southern coast of Ireland.Llandovery Castle, a former liner of the Union Castle Line, had been requisitioned and converted into a hospital ship. In compliance with the laws of war accepted by all of the European combatant nations – including Germany – at that time, Llandovery Castle had been marked with painted and lighted Red Crosses to signify its status as anoncombatant vessel. Despite these markings U-86, under Patzig’s command, successfully torpedoed Llandovery Castle. The sinking hospital ship put out lifeboats, but only one lifeboat and its 24 passengers survived. Multiple witnesses from the survivors reported that the submarine had surfaced and then, under Patzig’s command, had systematically rammed and sunk other lifeboats, and then machine-gunned survivors in the water. This was confirmed in the war crimes trial that followed in Germany after the war, where Patzig’s subordinates were found guilty. 234 persons aboard Llandovery Castle were dead.

This story told by Llandovery Castle survivors was extensively publicized as First World War propaganda throughout the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States during the remaining months of the war. The victorious Allies believed Patzig was a war criminal, but left the task of prosecution to the former commander’s fellow citizens. By returning, in 1921, to his place of birth in the Free City of Danzig, Brümmer-Patzig evaded the jurisdiction of the German courts, and pre-empted court proceedings against him. The indictment against Patzig was quashed in absentia in 1931 as an acknowledgment by the German courts of the enactment, by the Reichstag, of two laws of amnesty that applied to his case. Thus, no testimony was taken in a court of law to set forth Patzig’s point of view on the atrocity.

1939  Capt Lord Louis Mountbatten appointed to command the destroyer Kelly.

See 23 August 1939.


1940  Destroyers Dainty, Defender and Ilex sank the Italian submarine Console General Liuzzi S. of Crete (33-46N, 27-27E).

1941  Submarine HMS Triumph (N18) sank the Italian S/M Glauco in Atlantic (35-06N, 12-41W).

triumph being launched

HMS Triumph (N18)

1941  Corvettes Celendine, Gladiolus and Nasturtium sank U-56 in Atlantic (60-24N, 29-ooW). Convoy HX 133.

1941  GC: Lt Geoffrey Gledhill Turner, GM, RNVR, Sub-Lt Francis Haffey Brooke-Smith, RNVR, (Gazette date). Bomb and mine disposal.

1942  Convoy PQ 17 sailed for Russia. Eleven of thirty-six merchant ships arrived.

1944  HMS Pink, corvette, torpedoed by U-988 E.N.E. of Barfleur. Towed to Portsmouth, but CTL.

1959  The day after Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the St. Lawrence Seaway with President Eisenhower, she attended dedication ceremonies in Massena, New York, with U.S. Vice-President Richard M. Nixon.

1988  On 27th June, U.S. Navy guided-missile frigate, USS Samuel B. Roberts (crippled by a mine in the Persian Gulf during April 1988) was loaded onto the Mighty Servant 2, a semi-submersible heavy lift ship owned by Dutch shipping firm Wijsmuller Transport and carried back to Newport, costing $1.3 million.
Arriving at the BAth Irin Works yard on 6th October 1988, the repair job was unique: the entire engine room was cut out of the hull, and a 315-ton replacement module was jacked up and welded into place. She undocked 1st April 1989 for sea trials.


MV Mighty Servant 2 with USS Samuel B. Roberts aboard from Dubai to Newport, Rhode Island in 1988. – Wrecked On This Day …..

Royal Navy On This Day 26 June …..

1690  First recorded use of the phrase ‘a fleet in being’, by the Earl of Torrington.

1748  HMS Fowey (44), Cptn. Francis William Drake, wrecked in the Gulf of Florida.

1766  HMS Saint Lawrence lost, off Ingonish

1795  Nine ships commanded by Cdre Sir John Borlase Warren in Pomona (44) covered landing of French royalists in fifty transports in Quiberon Bay, an eventual fiasco.

1798  HMS Seahorse (38), Cptn. Edward James Foote, captured French frigate Sensible (32) off the coast of Sicily.

1799  HMS Alcmene (32), Cptn. H. Digby, captured French privateer Conrageux (28), Jean Bernard, off the coast of Portugal.

1806  Boats of Port Mahon cut out the Spanish letter of marque San Jose from Puerto Banes, Cuba.

1808  Boats of HMS Standard (64), Cptn. Thomas Harvey, captured Italian gunboatVolpe and French dispatch boat Leger off Corfu.

1809  Cyane and L’Espoir, with twelve British and Sicilian gunboats captured or destroyed twenty-two Neapolitan gunboats at Ischia in Bay of Naples. [m]

1814  Boats of Maidstonel and Sylph destroyed an American turtle (torpedo) boat on Long Island.

1830  Accession of King William IV.

1842  Southampton (60), Conch and detachments of the 25th and 27th Regiments quelled the Boer insurrection at Port Natal.

1854  Prometheus, wood paddle sloop, recaptured the British brig Cuthbert Young, taken by Riff pirates, in Zara Bay, 10 miles S.W. of Cape Tres Forcas.

1855  Racehorse, sloop, recaptured the British lorcha Typhoon at Lam Yit. Her boats captured three pirate junks in Pinghai Bay and the vicinity.

1857  Queen Victoria held the first VC investiture in Hyde Park, decorating sixty-two of the eighty-five men gazetted. Thirteen of the twenty-seven RN and RM recipients had been attached to Naval Brigades.
The first presentation was made in order of the Services. The Senior Service, the Royal Navy, including the Naval Brigade, Royal Marines, followed by the various Regiments of the Army.

From: David Pogson Sent: 11 March 2005 09:43 To: Emma Goodey Subject: FW: Youngsters meet Princess -----Original Message----- From: []  Sent: 10 March 2005 17:42 To: David Pogson Subject: Youngsters meet Princess Hi David - Please see the attached pics from Boarshaw on Monday.  If you would be kind enough to credit Pixmedia for the images, I would be grateful. Would you like to be included on the distribution list  for pics from future events? Kind regards Simon C Apps Managing DIrector Pixmedia Ltd Caption: Boarshaw youngsters Anthony Leach and Daniel Cooper chatting to The Princess Royal when she officially opened the new YIP. Credit: Pixmedia This image is provided free of charge for editorial use and is approved by Crime Concern PLEASE NOTE: THE ABOVE MESSAGE WAS RECEIVED FROM THE INTERNET AND HAS BEEN CERTIFIED VIRUS-FREE.

Queen Victoria distributing the first Victoria Crosses in Hyde Park, 26 June 1857, by George H. Thomas.

Due to his superior rank, Commander Henry Raby was the first man to physically receive the Cross at the inaugural investiture, however the first person ever to be awarded a VC for his actions (but fourth in line at the ceremony) was Lieutenant Charles Lucas RN.

Royal Navy
1.   Commander Henry James RABY RN (Naval Brigade)
2.   Commander John BYTHESEA. RN.
3.   Commander Hugh Talbot BURGOYNE. RN.
4.   Lieutenant Charles Davis LUCAS. RN. (The first person to actually win the VC)
5.   Lieutenant William Nathan Wrighte HEWETT. RN. (Naval Brigade)
6.   Gunner John ROBARTS RN.
7.   Boatswain Joseph KELLAWAY. RN.
8.   Boatswain Henry COOPER. RN.
9.   Seaman Joseph TREWAVAS. RN.
10. Seaman Thomas REEVES. RN. (Naval Brigade).
11. Boatswain’s Mate Henry CURTIS. RN. (Naval Brigade).
12. Captain of the Mast George INGOUVILLE. RN.

Royal Marines
13. Lieutenant George Dare DOWELL. RM Artillery
14. Bombardier Thomas WILKINSON. RM Artillery.

1867  Tule of Master abolished by Order in Council. Masters became Navigating Lieutenants. Second Masters became Navigating Sub-Lieutenants and Masters’ Assistants became Navigating Midshipmen. Senior Masters had already assumed the title of Staff Captain and Staff Commander in 1863.

1897  The Diamond Jubilee Review of the Fleet at Spithead by the Prince of Wales. The high point of the British Empire. The Fleet, under the command of Adm Sir Nowell Salmon. VC, C-in-C Portsmouth, with his flag in Renown, included 21 battleships, 44 cruisers and 70 torpedo boats – 165 ships and 38,577 personnel.

The event was ambushed by the dramatic intervention of Charles Parsons’ steam-turbine-powered yacht Turbinia, which raced down the ordered lines of international warships at over 30 knots, demonstrating to the world the future of marine engineering. It was a publicity triumph in which the British naval staff was undoubtedly complicit. Within the year the Admiralty had ordered the first RN turbine-powered warships from Parsons: Viper, experimental TBD, which was launched on 6 September 1899, and Cobra, also engineered by Parsons.

1942  The maiden flight of the Grumman F6F Hellcat. The first prototype, XF6F-1 (02981) was powered by a Wright Cyclone radial engine when it took off on 26th June 1942. Towards the end of July, the second prototype, XF6F-3 (02982), would be tested with a more powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp.


The unpainted Grumman Hellcat XF6F-1 (02981) prior to its first flight.

1944  Destroyer Bulldog sank U-719 in N.W. Approaches (55-33N, 11-02W).

1944  Liberator N/86 sank U-317 off south-west Norway (62-03N, 01-45E).

1944  Italian Gorizia, like Bolzano on the 22nd, sunk, but by an Anglo-Italian manned chariot.

1959  HMY Britannia, with The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh embarked, sailed up the St Lawrence River, led by the frigate Ulster, for the formal opening of the St Lawrence Seaway. Comprising of a system of locks, canals and channels to link the North American Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River with the Atlantic Ocean, the 2,300-mile St Lawrence Seaway (aka the Great Lakes Waterway), had opened to commercial traffic several weeks earlier, on 25th April 1959.The frigate Salisbury visited Cleveland, Ohio, the first British warship on Lake Erie, 10 September 1813.


St. Lawrence Seaway Opening Ceremony HM The Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh and President Eisenhower.

The Queen and US President Dwight D Eisenhower have inaugurated the 2,300-mile St Lawrence Seaway in Canada that links the Atlantic with the Great Lakes in North America.

Crowds cheered and waved flags, church bells rang out, sirens wailed and bands played as the Royal Yacht Britannia began the first leg of the journey from Montreal harbour to the Atlantic Ocean.

On board were the Queen, representing Canada, and President Eisenhower who could be seen chatting together on deck and waving to the crowds.

Balloons and fireworks were released when the ship’s bow passed a symbolic gate at St Lambert Lock made of old timbers from the lock of the Lachine canal which was built to bypass the Lachine rapids. The seaway takes a different route avoiding the rapids and rendering the Lachine canal obsolete.

Then all the whistles and sirens of ships in Montreal harbour went off.

‘In love with the Queen’

At one point an American congressman called to the president from the lock side: “We have all fallen in love with the Queen, Ike!”

Earlier, the Queen as head of the Commonwealth welcomed President Eisenhower to Canada at Montreal airport.

After inspecting a Royal Canadian Air Force guard of honour they took an open-top car to the St Lawrence River.

There the two heads of state were each presented with a commemorative book with the names of the men who built the seaway.

The Queen then made a speech welcoming the president and his wife to Canada to mark the inauguration of a “great joint enterprise between our two countries”.

She acknowledged the project would open up the centre of America to world trade and enhance Canadian commerce in the process.

1986  Entrepreneur Richard Branson begins his second attempt to claim the transatlantic crossing record for Britain. He and his team left New York at dawn on board their 72 ft powerboat Virgin Challenger II, for the 3,000-mile voyage.
Hoping to recapture the Blue Riband for the UK – (at the time) held by liner SS ‘United States’ since 1952 for a crossing in three days and 10 hours – the team must reach Bishop’s Rock, off the Isles of Scilly, by 21:00 BST on 29th June.

jun26_VAC2_NYC (1)

Richard Branson piloting Virgin Atlantic Challenger II‘ in New York Harbour, 1986.

1994  The ‘BOS 400′, a French Derrick/Lay Barge was being towed from Pointe-Noire in the Republic of Congo to Cape Town, South Africa, by the Russian tugboat ‘Tigr’. During a storm on 26th June 1994, the tow-rope broke loose causing the ‘BOS 400′ to run aground off Duiker Point near Sandy Bay.
At the time of the stranding, the ‘BOS 400′ was one of the most powerful crane barges in the world capable of lifting 1200 tons and valued at over $70 million. Despite several towage attempts, the shipwreck was considered a total loss as salvors were able to recover little from the wreck.


The wrecked ‘BOS 400′ on the rocks at Duicker Point, South Africa.

1997  RN elements serving at various NATO headquarters in southern Italy commissioned as Agrippa at a cermony on Nisida Island off Naples. First new RN ship name in Mediterranean for a generation.

See 31 March 1994.

Junior rates wore Centurion cap tallies until the Gosport establishment paid off 31 March 1994. Pay accounts were thenceforth held locally. Agrippa, the first in the RN, recalls Roman sea general Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa who defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra at Actium and held sway over the Mediterranean with a Roman galley fleet based at Miseno near Nisida Island. – Wrecked On This Day …..

Royal Navy On This Day 25 June …..

1610  On 25th June, Henry Hudson‘s ill-fated fourth voyage reached what is now the Hudson Strait at the northern tip of Labrador. Believing they may have finally found the elusive Northwest Passage, the explorers on board Discovery would follow the southern coast of the strait, entering Hudson Bay at the beginning of August.


This speculative portrait from Cyclopedia of Universal History is one of several used to represent Henry Hudson.


A full-size replica of Henry Hudson‘s Discovery. The original ship had previously been used in the 1607 founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in what was to become the United States of America.

1658  The Battle of Rio Nuevo began on the island of Jamaica, between Spanish forces under the former Spanish governor of Jamaica, Don Cristóbal Arnaldo Isasi, and English forces under governor Edward D’Oyley during the Anglo-Spanish War (1654 – 1660).
The invading Spanish were hoping to retake the island (lost in 1655) for the Spanish crown, but instead, they were repulsed and routed by the English defenders in a pitched battle lasting two days. The Battle of Rio Nuevo is the largest battle to be fought on Jamaica.
The island would eventually be ceded to England by Spain in full in 1670 at the Treaty of Madrid.


University of Florida Digital Collections.

Jamaica Under the Spaniards (Abstracted from the Archives of Seville)(See pages 75 to 80)

1667  Victory over anchored French Squadron, under Admiral Joseph de la Barre, at Martinique by British fleet, under Rear-Admiral Sir John Harman. At least eight French ships were burnt and several more were sunk.

1746  Cdre Edward Peyton (Medway) fought nine French ships under Comte Mahe de La Bourdonnais (Achille) 27 miles off Negapatam, Madras. Ships: Harwich, Lively, Medway, Medway’s Prize, Preston, Winchester. Not a very creditable action, which led to the recall of the Commodore.

1754  John Jervis (later Earl of St Vincent) moved to HMS Severn (50) as a Midshipman.

1755  HMS Mars (64), Cptn. John Amherst, grounded and wrecked while going into harbour at Halifax NS.

1756  Foundation of the Marine Society to recruit men and boys for the Royal Navy: the oldest public maritime charity in existence.


Plaque marking site of the foundation of The Marine Society.

1776  Capt James Cook sailed from Sheerness in Resolution for Plymouth at the start of his third and last voyage to the Pacific.

See 12 July 1776.

1786  Russian navigator Gavriil Pribylov discovers St. George Island of the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, during a search for the breeding grounds of northern fur seals. St. George Island was the first of the Pribilofs to be discovered. It was named after Pribylov’s ship, the ‘St. George’.


Pribylov discovered the islands of St. George and St. Paul in 1786–87; they and surrounding small islets were later named after him.

1795  HMS Dido (28), Cptn. George Henry Towry, and HMS Lowestoffe (32), Cptn. Robert Gambier Middleton, engaged Minerve (40) and Artemise (36). Minerve was taken.

1803  HMS Endymion (50), Cptn. Hon. Charles Paget, captured French corvette Bacchante (18), Lt. Vaisseau.

1808  HMS Porcupine (22), Cptn. Hon. Henry Duncan, captured French letter of marque schooner Nouvelle Enterprise (6) south of Bastia.

1809  HMS Cyane (22), Cptn. Thomas Staines, and HMS Espoir (18), Robert Mitford, engaged Ceres.

1813  Capture of Hampton by boats of HMS Marlborough (74), Cptn. C. B. Ross, and squadron.

1859  Unsuccessful attempt by Rear-Adm James Hope (Chesapeake) to force a passage up the Peiho. Attack on the Taku forts repulsed.

‘Blood is thicker than water’ – Adm Josiah Tattnall, USN, explaining to his Secretary of the Navy why he had taken his flagship to help in the Peiho River.

1900  His Serene Highness (HSH) Prince Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas of Battenberg, the future Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten of Burma, born at Frogmore House, Windsor. The youngest child and the second son of Prince Louis of Battenberg and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. In June 1917, when the Royal Family stopped using their German names and titles and adopted the more British-sounding “Windsor”, he would acquire the courtesy title by which he would become familiar – Lord Louis Mountbatten.

Mountbatten (2)

Lord Louis Mountbatten

Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma


Frogmore House, Windsor Great Park A delightful Royal residence in Windsor Great Park with Victoria & Albert’s Mausoleum in the grounds. Open to the public a few days each year.

         See 27 August 1979, 5 September 1979.

1907  Tartar, Tribal-class destroyer, the first warship launched by John I. Thornycroft at Woolston, Southampton, following the firm’s move from Chiswick.

See 14 June 2003.

1908  Indomitable commissioned. First battlecruiser and first of the name.

1909  Royal Red Cross awarded to Sister Florence Porter of QARNNS for work in Minerva at Messina.

See 1 January 1909.

1920  Destroyer Fraser (RCN) sunk in collision with light cruiser Calcutta in the Gironde (45-44N, 01-31W). (Evacuation from Bordeaux area.)

1941  Submarine Parthian sank the French submarine Souffleur off Beirut (33-49N, 35-26E).

1944  Frigates Affleck and Balfour sank U-1191 (50-03N, 02-59W) and frigate Bickerton sank U-269 off Lyme Bay (50-01N, 02-59W).

1944  US Navy and Royal Navy ships bombard Cherbourg to support United States Army units engaged in the Battle of Cherbourg. The Allied force attacked German fortifications and engaged in a series of duels with coastal batteries, providing close infantry support, which General J. Lawton Collins extended for an hour.

Allied reports agreed that the most effective naval gunnery was small ship direct fire support of infantry. While the bombardment force’s heavy guns neutralised twenty-two of twenty-four assigned navy targets, none were destroyed. German batteries were eliminated as a threat when the infantry captured them.


USS Texas (BB-35) in San Jacinto State Park, October 2006. Shown above in her 1945 paint scheme, Texas was the flagship of the 2nd Task Group at the Battle of Cherbourg.

1950  The start of the Korean War. North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel and went on to capture the South Korean capital, Seoul, and much of South Korea.

See 2 July 1950.

1960  Two cryptographers working for the United States National Security Agency left the US for a vacation in Mexico, from where they would defect to the Soviet Union (via Havana) on board a Russian freighter.
On 5th August, the Pentagon announced that the former US Navy servicemen had not returned from vacation and said “there is a likelihood that they have gone behind the Iron Curtain.” In September 1960, the defectors appeared at a news conference in Moscow and announced they had requested asylum and Soviet citizenship.

1975  Frigate Salisbury completed the last Beira Patrol.

See 27 February 1966, 19 December 1967.

The purpose of the patrol, initiated in 1966, was to enforce an oil embargo on Rhodesia, which had unilaterally declared independence from Britain. The oil importation port of Beira in Portuguese Mozambique was blockaded by the Royal Navy for about ten years. The blockade was not very effective because Rhodesia received oil through South Africa. The patrol was not only a major drain on naval resources, but it was uneventful and boring for the ships’ companies. To relieve the tedium, an intership sports competition was launched in late 1968, probably by the destroyer Dainty, the trophy for which was the Beira Bucket. This was full of holes to emphasize the open-ended nature of the commitment. The need for the patrol ended with the independence of Mozambique in June 1975. The Beira Bucket is preserved in the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth.


The Beira Bucket – Intership games trophy.

1981  John Nott, who succeeded Francis Pym as Secretary of State for Defence in January 1981, introduced 1981-2 Defence Estimates in ‘The Way Ahead’ White Paper. Drastic proposals to cut ships and personnel and reduce dockyard facilities dismayed the nation and the Navy. Number of destroyers and frigates to be cut to about fifty, including eight in reserve; only two of the new carriers (Invincible and Illustrious) to be retained (Ark Royal still building); Fearless to go in 1984, Intrepid in 1982; manpower to be cut by 8,000-10,000 by 1986; Chatham Dockyard to be closed and Portsmouth much run down by March 1984. Most significantly, the carrier Hermes was to be sold to India and the ice patrol ship Endurance to be withdrawn from the South Atlantic. Both these decisions are generally acknowledged to have influenced the Argentine Junta’s decision to proceed with Operation Rosario, the invasion of the Falkland Islands in the following April.



The review which took place under Sir John Nott’s tenure at the MoD ran from January to June 1981. It was conducted in the international context of a Soviet military build-up and the domestic context of a severe economic downturn and the introduction of cash planning to control public spending. As our predecessors put it, in their Report on the 1981 Statement on the Defence Estimates (SDE)—
The Secretary of State in his introduction says that the right balance must be re-established “between inevitable resource constraints and … necessary defence requirements”. In other words, the Government’s commitments to spend money on defence have outstripped the availability of funds …

The Nott review confirmed the decision to proceed with the purchase of the Trident system from the USA to replace Polaris as the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent. The Territorial Army and the other reserve forces were to be merged and rebuilt to meet the requirement for home defence, which was also to be reinforced by a new fighter aircraft (eventually the Eurofighter programme). The British Army of the Rhine was to be held at the level of 55,000 but to be re-equipped. The main cuts under the Nott review were to fall on the Navy which, although it took on the Trident submarines, was to lose around one fifth of their 60 destroyers and frigates. Despite the supposed abandonment of the carrier programme, three so-called ‘through deck cruisers’ had been built, designated as the Invincible Class. One of these three carriers and the two amphibious ships Fearless and Intrepid were also to be cut. Out-of-area, or expeditionary, warfare capacity was therefore to be further significantly reduced. With Trident, greater reliance was once again to be placed on the strategic nuclear deterrent as the counter to the Soviet threat (together with an increased submarine fleet), and the overall force structure emphasised the UK’s increasing expectation of acting only as part of NATO for overseas expeditionary operations.
These proposals were rapidly scotched by the experience of the Falklands conflict in the Spring of 1982, which was commented on by our predecessors in three separate Reports. In the White Paper on the lessons of that conflict, published in December 1982, it was announced that the 5th Infantry Brigade was to become an airborne force including an all-arms assault parachute capability of two battalion groups (withdrawn under the Mason Review);Fearless and Intrepid were to be retained in service. The third aircraft carrier (HMS Invincible) was to be retained, and the number of destroyers and frigates held at around 55. The White Paper concluded by signalling a return to ‘flexibility and mobility’, but as an extra rather than a central feature of force structure—
The many useful lessons we have learned from the Falklands Campaign … do not invalidate the policy we have adopted following last year’s defence programme review. The Soviet Union—its policies and its military capabilities—continues to pose the main threat to the security of the United Kingdom and our response to this threat must have the first call on our resources. Following the Falklands Campaign, we shall now be devoting substantially more resources to defence than had been previously planned. In allocating these, we shall be taking measures which will strengthen our general defence capability by increasing the flexibility, mobility and readiness of all three Services for operations in support of NATO and elsewhere.

However, by 1985, our predecessors were commenting—
Our concern that there might be difficulties in managing the Defence Budget into the 1990s has … turned into the strongest suspicion that there will indeed be … cancellations, slowing-down of acquisitions and the running-on of equipment beyond its economic life-span. The evidence we have received from the Ministry has not allayed our fears … A likely consequence is that important issues will be decided as a result of short-term financial considerations and not in the context of a long-term view of defence requirements or by weighing priorities in a sensible manner. We have drawn attention in this Report to substantial pressure developing on the defence budget over the coming years, and have no doubt that this will require some hard decisions. We are told that there is no immediate need for a major defence review; but we fear that the cumulative effect of managing the defence budget in the manner endorsed in the White Paper may result in a defence review by stealth.

This call for a defence review was to be a constant theme of the Defence Committee over the next decade, but was to remain unanswered until 1997. The government preferred to adopt, in the face of a dramatically changed international security environment, a process of almost continuous review.

1997  Jacques-Yves Cousteau died of a heart attack on 25th June 1997 in Paris, aged 87. Following a Roman Catholic Christian funeral, he was laid to rest in the family vault at Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France.

The former French naval officer, was an explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the Aqua-Lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie française.
Possibly best known for his television series ‘The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau’ featuring his work on board the research vessel ‘Calypso’, his legacy includes more than 120 television documentaries, more than 50 books, and an environmental protection foundation with 300,000 members.


Jacques-Yves Cousteau
(11th June 1910 – 25th June 1997).

2003  Frigate HMS Iron Duke intercepted the Panamanian-registered MV Yalta in the Caribbean, carrying 3.7 tons of cocaine worth £2.5 million destined for Europe. The arrest was made by the US Coastguard, put on board by Iron Duke.


NOTE FACE BLURRED BY MoD Embargoed to 2359 Sunday September 27 Undated handout photo issued by the Ministry of Defence of a member of HMS Iron Duke's boarding team as he guards seized cocaine on the MV Cristal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday September 27, 2009. The Portsmouth based frigate, HMS Iron Duke, has made the largest seizure of cocaine ever recorded by the Royal Navy. The warship, working with the supply ship Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Fort George, seized over five and a half tonnes of cocaine in an operation off the coast of South America. It was the third major counter narcotics success for HMS Iron Duke in the region. See PA story DEFENCE Cocaine. Photo credit should read: MoD/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

Armed surveillance: A Royal Navy member of HMS Iron Duke‘s boarding team guards the seized cocaine

2013  June 25th marks the third international ‘Day of the Seafarer’, an official United Nations observance day.
This year’s theme for Day of the Seafarer is ‘Faces of the Sea’, which the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is celebrating with a social media campaign, calling on all supply chain partners, including those beyond the maritime sector, to help highlight the sheer diversity and scale of products used in everyday life that travel by sea, and to recognise the importance of the people that deliver them; more than 1.5 million seafarers.


The IMO ‘Day of the Seafarer’ logo & campaign banner.

The International Maritime Organisation is again organising the Day of the Seafarer on 25 June to recognise the key contribution of seafarers to our everyday lives. The day will provide an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to seafarers all over the world. For further information about how you can particpate in the day please click here – Toolkit for Day of the Seafarer 2015 – Wrecked On This Day …..

Royal Navy On This Day 24 June …..

1340  The Battle of Sluys, also called Battle of l’Ecluse, was fought on 24th June 1340 as one of the opening conflicts of the Hundred Years’ War.
Taking place in front of the town of Newmarket or Sluis, (French Écluse), on the inlet between West Flanders and Zeeland, the French fleet of about 200 vessels under the command of the Breton knight Hugues Quiéret (admiral for the king of France) was virtually destroyed by the English Fleet commanded in person by King Edward III, giving the English fleet complete mastery over the channel. Christopher  recaptured. King Edward IIIs letter of 28 June to the Black Prince may count as the first naval dispatch.


A miniature of the battle from Jean Froissart’s Chronicles, 15th century.

1497  John Cabot (Matthew) discovered Newfoundland.


John Cabot in traditional Venetian garb by Giustino Menescardi (1762). A mural painting in the Sala dello Scudo in the Palazzo Ducale,

1667  The Raid on the Medway comes to an end on this day. Taking place from 19th to 24th June (9th to 14th 1667 O.S.), the Dutch had successfully bombarded and captured the town of Sheerness, sailed up the River Thames to Gravesend, and then up the River Medway to Chatham, where they burned three capital ships and ten lesser naval vessels and towed away HMS Unity and HMS Royal Charles, pride and normal flagship of the English fleet.

The raid led to a quick end to the Second Anglo-Dutch War and a favourable peace for the Dutch. It was the worst defeat in the Royal Navy’s history, and one of the worst suffered by the British military.


Dutch Attack on the Medway, June 1667, by Pieter Cornelisz van Soest, painted c.1667.
The captured ship Royal Charles is right of centre.

1746  HMS Saltash (14) foundered off Beachy Head

1777  (Sir) John Ross (CB) is born. The son of the Rev. Andrew Ross of Balsarroch, minister of Inch, near Stranraer, and Elizabeth Corsane, daughter of Robert Corsane, the Provost of Dumfries. In 1786, aged only nine, he would join the Royal Navy as an apprentice. He would serve in the Mediterranean and the English Channel and with the Swedish Navy, eventually becoming known as an Arctic explorer.

1779  Spanish & French forces begin the Great Siege of Gibraltar during the American War of Independence. Combined Franco-Spanish fleets blockaded the garrisoned 5,382 British troops from the sea, while on land, an enormous army was engaged in constructing forts, redoubts, entrenchments, and batteries from which to attack the Rock – with expectations that the capture of Gibraltar would be relatively quick.
In reality, the siege would be the largest action fought during the war in terms of numbers, and at three years and seven months, it is the longest siege endured by the British Armed Forces.


One of the many guns and embrasures within The Rock of Gibraltar.

1795  Dido (28) and Lowestoffe (32) captured the French Minerve (38) 150 miles north of Minorca. Artemis (36) escaped. [m. bh]

1801  Swiftsure (74) taken by the French Indivisible, Dix-Aout, Jean-Bart and Constitution 20 miles off Libyan coast. Recaptured at Trafalgar.

1833  USS Constitution enters drydock at Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, MA, for overhaul. The ship was saved from scrapping after public support rallied to save the ship following publication of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem, “Old Ironsides.”

1840  Repulse of landing party of Favourite when attacking a stockade at Tongatabu. Friendly Islands.

1869  Wearing of beards and moustaches sanctioned, but not one without the other.

1900  VC: Capt Lewis Stratford Tollemache Halliday. RMLI (Orlando). During the Boxer Rebellion, when the British legation at Peking was besieged. Halliday, though wounded, led a sortie to chase off some attackers.

1911  King George V’s Coronation Review of the Fleet at Spithead. One hundred and sixty-seven RN ships commanded by Adm Sir Francis Bridgeman, and eighteen foreign vessels.

1916  Body of Cdr Loftus William Jones, killed in command of the destroyer Shark at Jutland, 31 May 1916, recovered off Swedish coast and buried in village churchyard, Fiskebakskil. Awarded posthumous VC 6 March 1917, when facts of action established. Memorial in St Peter’s Church, Petersfield.

1917  Redcar and Kempton, paddle minesweeper, mined off Spindle Bay. N. of Gravelines.

1919  Minesweeper Sword Dance mined in Dvina River, northern Russia.

1920  Start of operation against Turks on south coast of Sea of Marmara. Iron Duke, Marlborough, Benbow, Stuart, Montrose, Shark, Sportive and Speedy.

1937  Adm Sir William Fisher C-in-C Portsmouth died. Buried at sea off The Nub.

See 26 March 1875.

1941  Sloop Auckland sunk by German dive-bombers 20 miles E. of Tobruk (32-15N, 24-30E). One hundred and sixty-two survivors rescued by sloop Parramatta (RAN).

1942  Minesweeper Gossamer sunk by German aircraft in Kola Inlet, north Russia (68-59N, 33-03E).

1943  Liberator H/120 sank U-194 in N. Atlantic (58-15N, 25-25W). Convoy ONS 11.

1943  Starling, sloop, sank U-119 and sloops Wild Goose, Woodpecker, Wren and Kite sank U-449 in Bay of Biscay (45-00N, 11-59W).

1944  MGBs 659 and 662 and MTB 670 sank Croatian TB T-7 in N. Atlantic.

1944  Swift, destroyer, sunk by mine in Sword area, 5 miles N. of Oustreham, Seine Bay, Operation Neptune.

1944  Destroyers Eskimo and Haida (RCN) and Liberator O/311 (Czech) sank U971 off Ushant (49-01N, 05-35W).

1944  VC: Flt Lt David Ernest Hornell, RCAF, in Canso P/162 (RCAF) sank U-1225 off Norway (63-00N, 00-50W).

Consolidated ‘Canso’ 9754 ‘P’ of No.162 Sqdn. RCAF, operating from Wick, Scotland, with Flt. Lt. D.E. Hornell and crew, was on sea patrol near the Faroes in the North Atlantic, when it was attacked and badly damaged by the German U-boat U-1225.
Flt. Lt. Hornell succeeded in counter-attacking the U-1225 (which sank with all 56 crew-members), before bringing his blazing aircraft down on the heavy swell. The one serviceable dinghy could not hold all the crew so they took it in turns in the water. When the survivors were rescued 21 hours later, two crew members had died and Flt. Lt. Hornell was blinded & weak from exposure & cold – he died shortly after being picked up, and posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for inspiring leadership, valour and devotion to duty.


Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Consolidated PBY-5A ‘Canso’, painted in the colours and markings of 9754 ‘P’ of No.162 Sqdn RCAF, and dedicated to Flt. Lt. David Hornell, VC.

1981  The Humber Bridge, near Kingston upon Hull, England, is opened to traffic, three weeks ahead of it’s official opening by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II.
Spanning the Humber (the estuary formed by the rivers Trent and Ouse), the 2,220 metre single-span suspension bridge, connecting Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, would hold the title for the world’s longest single-span suspension bridge for 17 years.


Dutch registered cargo vessel Lady Helene passing beneath the Humber Bridge on her way up the estuary, bound for Goole. – Wrecked On This Day …..

Royal Navy On This Day 23 June …..

1372  Sir John Hastings, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, KG‘ attempt to relieve La Rochelle failed: Castillian fleet destroyed his squadron.


Sir John Hastings, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, KG

1565  The commander of the Ottoman navy, Turgut Reis (aka Dragut), dies from injuries sustained several days earlier whilst attacking the recently-built Fort St. Elmo (which controlled the entrance of the Grand Harbour) during the Siege of Malta.
The end of the Tigne promontory (Malta), where Turgut established his first battery for the bombardment of Fort St. Elmo in 1565, is now called Dragut Point.
Several warships of the Turkish Navy and passenger ships have been named after Turgut Reis


Portrait of Turgut (Dragut) Reis

1611  The mutinous crew of Henry Hudson‘s fourth voyage allegedly set Henry, his teenage son John, and seven crewmen (men who were either sick and infirm or loyal to Hudson) adrift from the Discovery in a small shallop, an open boat, effectively marooning them in what is now Hudson Bay.
The mutineer’s journal reports that they provided the castaways with clothing, powder and shot, some pikes, an iron pot, some meal, and other miscellaneous items.
The only record of the ‘mutiny’ is from the mutineers themselves. Henry Hudson and his companions aboard the shallop were never seen again, and their fate remains unknown.

The last voyage of Henry Hudson *oil on canvas *214 x 183,5 cm *before 1881

John Collier’s painting of Henry Hudson with his son who were cast adrift with seven companions after a mutiny on Henry Hudson’s icebound ship.

1745  Bridgewater, Sheerness and Ursula captured two Dunkirk privateers and their seven prizes off Ostend.

1795  Adm Lord Bridport (HMS Royal George) fought Rear-Adm Louis Thomas Villaret de Joyeuse (Peuple), with only twelve ships, Battle of Groix off Ile de Groix, Brittany.

Alexander_Hood,_1st_Viscount_Bridport_by_Lemuel_Francis_Abbott (1)

Lord Bridport – Admiral Alexander Hood, 1st Viscount Bridport, KB

Younger brother of Admiral Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood. (see 12 December). The Hoods are very confusing; the two viscounts had a pair of younger cousins, brothers with the same Christian names, though in their case, Alexander (1758-98) who died on active service as a captain was the elder and Sam (1762-1814), who died as a vice-admiral and the 1st Baronet, the younger.

      Son of the rector of Butleigh in Somerset, the elder Alexander was taken to sea in gratitude for the ecclesiastical hospitality enjoyed by a benighted post-captain to Plymouth on his way to join his ship in 1741. Promoted lieutenant in 1746, he was ‘made post’ in 1756 and distinguished himself as an aggressive captain in single-ship actions. Promoted to the Flag List in 1780, he assisted in the relief of Gibraltar in 1782 and two years later was second-in-command to Howe (see 1 June) for which he received an Irish peerage. Temporarily in command in 1795, he routed a stronger squadron off L’Orient and was raised to the English peerage. Succeeded Howe in 1797 but was relieved in 1800 by St Vincent as a result of a change of Government, a political manoeuvre for which he was consoled by a Viscountcy and the appointsments of Vice-Admiral of England and General of Marines. His monument instructs its student:

For his bravery, for his abilities,

For his advancement in his profession,

For his attachment to his King and Country,

Consult the annals of the British Navy in which they are written in indelible characters.

1798  HMS Rover ran aground off Gulf of St. Lawrence.

1800  Boats of Rear-Adm. Sir John Borlase Warrens’ squadron, HMS Renown (74) Cptn. Eyles, HMS Fisgard (44), Cptn. T. Byam Martin, and HMS Defence (74), Cptn. Lord H. Paulet, attacked a convoy in the Quimper River. When the enemy retired up stream they landed and blew up a battery and other works.

1804  Fort Diamond taken by two boats of a French privateer in Roseau Bay, St Lucia.

1808  HMS Porcupine (22), Cptn. Hon. Henry Duncan, drove ashore and destroyed a French vessel at Civita Vecchia.

1812  HMS Belvidera (36), Cptn. Richard Byron, engaged and escaped from USS President (44), Commodore John Rodgers, USS Congress (38), Cptn. John Smith, and USS United States (44), Stephen Decatur. 100 miles to the southward of Nantucket.

1813  Boats of HMS Castor (32), Cptn. Charles Dilkes, cut out French privateer Fortune off Catalonia.

1822  Drake, brig sloop, wrecked off Newfoundland.

1849  Sharpshooter, iron screw gunvessel, captured the slaver Polka at Marcahe, Brazil.

1876  Robert Napier, aged 85, died at West Shandon. The Scottish engineer, often called ‘The Father of Clyde Shipbuilding’, had fallen ill shortly after the loss of his wife the previous year, and never fully recovered. He was buried in the family vault in the Parish Churchyard of Dumbarton.

During his lifetime, Robert Napier put Glasgow to the forefront of iron shipbuilding by winning valuable and influential ship orders and investment for construction and engineering improvements.
With the Canadian shipping tycoon Samuel Cunard, he planned steam-powered vessels for transatlantic service and helped set up the company to run them. He also proved the economy and versatility of steam-powered vessels to the Admiralty.

Former employees of Napier, including James Thomson and George Thomson, Charles Randolph and John Elder, established their own firms and continued to build on the reputation of the Clyde as a centre for quality marine engineering and the most important centre for iron shipbuilding in Britain.


Robert Napier (21st June 1791 – 23rd June 1876).

1906  HMS Agamemnon (1906) launched at Beardmore. With Lord Nelson (Palmers, 4 September 1906), the last British battleships powered by reciprocating engines.


Here, two naval vessels are being fitted out at William Beardmore’s shipyard. The ship on the left is the pre-dreadnought battleship HMS Agamemnon which was launched on 23rd June 1906 and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 25th June 1908, the first capital ship to HMS Agamemnon be built by William Beardmore & Company. On the right is the Russian armoured cruiser Rurik which had been launched at Vickers shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness on 4th November, 1906 and then brought to Dalmuir for fitting out. With the approach and outbreak of the Great War, production at the shipyard was ramped up considerably and concentrated mainly on escort vessels and landing craft although the battleships HMS Benbow (1914) and HMS Ramillies (1917) were completed in addition to HMS Argus (1918), the world’s first purpose-designed aircraft carrier, having a full-length flat top flight deck. Aircraft and aircraft engines were also manufactured at Dalmuir, including the Sopwith Camel and Sopwith Pup, built under licence. Beardmore’s also produced its own aircraft as well as arms and armaments. In the 1920’s, the main focus was on building passenger and cargo vessels to replace war losses but with the post-war slump and the advent of the Great Depression, the shipyard was forced to close in 1930. ( Photograph courtesy of the Graham Lappin Collection. )

1913  Flag of Rear-Adm George Edwin Patey, first Australian Flag Officer, hoisted at Portsmouth.


Admiral Sir George Edwin Patey KCMG, KCVO (24 February 1859 – 5 February 1935)

1915  Submarine HMS C24 (with trawler Taranaki) sank U-40 off Aberdeen (57-00N, 01-50W). First use of a decoy ship by RN against U-boats. The ruse, suggested by his Secretary, Cdr Frank Spickernell, was applauded by Beatty but ‘a dirty trick’ to Kapitanleutnant Gerhard Furbringer, CO of U-40 and one of the three survivors.




Several C class boats at Barrow. C-23 (53), C-24 (54) and C-21 (51) are the only boats that can be identified.


Kapitanleutnant Gerhard Furbringer. CO Kaiser liche SM-U-40

1918  British Expeditionary Force in destroyer Syren and Penelope landed at Murmansk, north Russia.

1925  GC (ex-EGM): PO Robert Mills Chalmers (river gunboat Tarantula) for bravery in support of the civil power in China.

1940  Pathan (RIN) sunk by unknown cause off Bombay (16-56N, 72-45E).

1940  Italian S/M Galvani sunk by sloop Falmouth in Gulf of Oman (25-55N, 56-55E).

1940  Destroyers Kandahar and Kingston and sloop Shoreham sank the Italian S/M Torricelli off Perim, Red Sea (12-34N, 43-16E). Destroyer Khartoum damaged by unrelated explosion of torpedo airvessel, caught fire and was beached on Perim Island (12-38N, 43-42E).

1940  Under the command of Sergeant Henry A. Larsen, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police vessel St. Roch, a wooden schooner powered by sails and an auxiliary engine, departs from Vancouver, British Columbia, at the beginning of the first successful west-to-east navigation of Northwest Passage.
However, taking a treacherous southerly route through the arctic islands, RCMPV St Roch would become trapped in the ice for two winters, eventually completing the feat in October 1942.


RCMPV St Roch sailing the Northwest Passage 1940.

1944  Scylla, light cruiser, mined off Normandy: CTL. (Constructive total loss or written off).

1955  Striking seamen failed to delay the departure of the RMS Queen Elizabeth ocean liner which left Southampton for New York at 13:58 BST. The 83,673 ton Cunard liner sailed with a full crew and 1,300 passengers despite last minute attempts to persuade her staff to join the industrial action.
The unofficial strike, which began on 31st May in Liverpool, had seen sailings cancelled from Southampton and Liverpool, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.


Stern view of the RMS Queen Elizabeth.

1986  Cdr David Tall took command of Turbulent. His brother, Jeff, had commanded Churchill since November 1984. They became the first brothers to command nuclear-powered submarines concurrently. Both later commanded Polaris submarines: Jeff, Repulse and David, Resolution. David Tall’s crew hold the record for the longest continuously dived submarine patrol in RN history (108 days). – Wrecked On This Day …..

Royal Navy On This Day 22 June …..

1372  Battle of La Rochelle, in which the Earl of Pembroke was defeated by a Castilian fleet under Ambrosio Bocanegra, Admiral of Castille.


The Naval Battle of La Rochelle, Chronicle of Jean Froissart, 15th Century.

1633 The Holy Office in Rome forces Galileo Galilei to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe in the form he presented it in, after heated controversy.


Emblem of the Papcy.

1675  1675: The Royal Greenwich Observatory dates its foundation from two warrants issued under the name of Charles II. In March 1675 John Flamsteed was appointed ‘Royal Observator’ to the King, and on the 22nd June another warrant authorised the construction of ‘a small observatory within our royal park at Greenwich’.
Contemporary copies of both documents are preserved in the Royal Greenwich Observatory archives. The first warrant stated that Flamsteed was ‘…to apply himself…so as to find out the so much desired longitude of places…’ and the second gave the purpose of the construction of the observatory to be ‘…in order to find out the longitude of places…’


The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England.

1757  George Vancouver is born in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England, fifteen months before Horatio Nelson at nearby Burnham Thorpe. He would go on to become an English officer of the British Royal Navy, protége of Cook and naval surveyor exploring and charting North America’s northwestern Pacific Coast regions, including the coasts of contemporary Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon as well as the Hawaiian Islands and the southwest coast of Australia.

1796  Apollo and Doris captured the French Légére 50 miles West of Ushant.

1798  HMS Aurora (28), Capt. Henry Digby, destroyed French corvette Egalite (20)

1798  Princess Royal packet, carrying mails to New York, beat off the French privateer Aventurier.

1807  In early 1807, a handful of British sailors (some of American birth) deserted their respective ships, then blockading French ships in Chesapeake Bay, and joined the crew of the USS Chesapeake, a 38-gun wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate.
On 22nd June, in an attempt to recover the British deserters, Captain Salusbury Pryce Humphreys, commanding HMS Leopard, a 50-gun Portland-class fourth rate, hailed the Chesapeake and requested permission to search her. Commodore James Barron of the Chesapeake refused, and the Leopard opened fire.
Caught unprepared, Barron surrendered, and Humphreys sent boarders to search for the deserters. The boarding party seized four deserters from the Royal Navy (three Americans and one British-born sailor) and took them to Halifax, where the British sailor, Jenkin Ratford, was hanged for desertion.
Commodore James Barron, was subsequently court martialed and convicted for not being prepared for action.


The incident between USS Chesapeake (left) and HMS Leopard (right), sparked the ‘Chesapeake-Leopard Affair‘, contributing to the war of 1812.

1813  Boats of Castor cut out the French privateer Fortune at Mongat, near Barcelona.

1813  Unsuccessful attack by boats of British squadron under Admiral Warren on Craney Island at Portsmouth, Virginia.

1815  Napoleon abdicated as French Emperor, four days after Waterloo.

See 15 July 1815.

1865  Confederate raider Shenandoah fires last shot of Civil War in Bering Strait.

1891 – The Price of Blind Obedience

Signal hoisted in Flagship Victoria: ‘First division after course in succession 16 points [180 degrees] to port preserving the order of the division.

‘Second division alter course in succession 16 points to starboard preserving the order of the division.’

By semaphore Camperdown signalled to Victoria. ‘Do you wish the evolution to be performed as indicated by signal?’ but before it could be sent, Victoria signalled to Camperdown, ‘What are you waiting for?’

Board of Inquiry

‘Markham: It then flashed across my mind that there was only one interpretation of the signal and that was that I was to put my helm down and turn 16 points to starboard and the Victoria would ease her helm and circle round outside my division. I was all the more led to believe this as the signal to the second division. I conferred hurriedly with the flag captain and Captain Johnstone. They were both on m way of thinking, and seeing that was the only safe way of performing the evolution I hoisted the signal . . .

The court: With the columns at six cables apart, supposing the ships to turn towards each other with their full helm, did the absolute certainty of a collision occur to you?

Markham: Most certainly.’

1893  Mediterranean Fleet Flagship HMS Victoria (Vice-Adm Sir George Tyron) rammed and sunk by HMS Camperdown (Rear-Adm A.H. Markham) off Tripoli, Syria. 1st Div. (Stbd): Victoria, Nile, Dreadnought, Inflexible, Collingwood, Phaeton. 2nd Div. (Port): Camperdown, Edinburgh, Sans Pareil, Edgar, Amphion.

During the annual British Mediterranean Fleet exercises, off Tripoli in Syria (now part of Lebanon), the Admiral-class battle ship HMS Camperdown accidentally rammed the fleet flagship, HMS Victoria, when the commander of the fleet, Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon ordererd two parallel lines of ships to turn toward each other. Following the collision with Camperdown, Victoria sank quickly, taking 358 crew with her, including Vice-Admiral Tryon. Amongst the 357 survivors, was second-in-command, John Jellicoe, later commander-in-chief of the British Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland.


Royal Navy battleship HMS Victoria being towed down the River Tyne from the Armstrong, Mitchell & Co. shipyard at Elswick, c.1888.

1900  Capture of the Hsiku Arsenal, China. Naval Brigade from Aurora, Centurion, Endymion.

1917  Observer officers to wear RNAS uniform with wings instead of eagles on their sleeves.

1923  Amalgamation of RMA (Blue Marines) and RMLI (Red Marines) to reform he Royal Marines, by Admiralty Fleet Order. Confirmed by Order in Council 11 October.

On 1 August of that year the RMLI’s Forton barracks at Gosport were closed (later to become HMS St Vincent, which closed as a naval establishment in December 1968) and Eastney barracks became the home of Portsmouth Division, Royal Marines until 1991. The ranks of Gunner and Private were replaced by Marine.

1937  RN Photographic Branch instituted.

1937  Ajax, light cruiser, from Nassau to Trinidad in support of the civil power.

1940  Flt. Lt. George Burge of the Royal Air Force, flying a Gloster Sea Gladiator nicknamed ‘Faith’, claims the first Italian bomber aircraft destroyed over Malta. ‘Faith’ is one of three crated Sea Gladiators left on Malta by the Fleet Air Arm, which are hurriedly assembled at the outbreak of hostilities with Italy. For some time they represent the only fighter defence of the naval dockyard and the island. They are quickly nicknamed ‘Faith’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Charity’.

1940  Armistice signed by France and Germany. Use of French Biscay ports greatly increased U-boat threat in Atlantic.

1940  Hired A/S yacht Campeador V (‘gallant little Campeador‘ – Churchill), manned by elderly volunteers, sunk by mine off Portsmouth.

1944  Bolzano, an Italian heavy cruiser out of commission but prepared by Germany for use as a blockship, sunk by chariots at Spezia.

1973  Skylab 2 (aka SL-2 and SLM-1), the first manned mission to Skylab, the first U.S. orbital space station. After 28 days in space the mission ended successfully on June 22nd when the Skylab 2 astronauts splashed down in the Pacific Ocean about 835 miles southwest of San Diego, Calif., just a few mils from the primary recovery ship, U.S.S. ‘Ticonderoga’ (CVS-14).
The manned Skylab missions were officially designated Skylab 2, 3, and 4. Miscommunication about the numbering resulted in the mission emblems reading Skylab I, Skylab II, and Skylab 3 respectively (a simple mistake that anyone could make – it’s hardly rocket-science!).


Skylab, seen from the departing Skylab 2 spacecraft.

2004  Capt Carolyn Stait promoted commodore, the first woman to hold this substantive rank in the RN. Appointed Naval Base Commander (Clyde) 23 June. She was a dedicated proofreader of the first edition as a 3/O WRNS.


         See 27 June 1734, 26 September 1958, 29 October 1997, 10 January 2002. – Wrecked On This Day …..

Royal Navy On This Day 20 June …..

1597  Stranded in the Arctic since his ship (and expedition) became trapped by ice, Dutch navigator and explorer Willem Barentsz died at sea in a small boat whilst studying charts. It is not known whether Barentsz was buried on the northern island of Novaya Zemlya or at sea.


The Death of Willem Barentsz by Christiaan Julius Lodewyck Portman (c.1836).

1631  The Sack of Baltimore took place on June 20st, 1631, when the village of Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland, was attacked by North African pirates from the North African Barbary Coast. The attack was the biggest single attack by the Barbary pirates on Ireland or Britain. The attack was led by a Dutch captain turned pirate, Jan Janszoon van Haarlem, also known as Murad Reis the Younger. Murad’s force was led to the village by a man called Hackett, the captain of a fishing boat he had captured earlier, in exchange for his freedom. Hackett was subsequently hanged from the clifftop outside the village for his conspiracy.

1743  Cdre George Anson (Centurion) captured the Spanish Nuestra Senora de Cavadonga off Cape Espiritu Santo, Philippines, a prize said to be worth £400,000 even then. [bh]

See 6 June 1762.

1747  Kent, Hampton Court, Eagle, Lion, Chester, Hector, Pluto and Dolphin captured forty-eight sail out of 170 of a French West Indies convoy 400 miles N.W. of Cape Ortegal.

1774  John Day lost in first submarine experiment in Plymouth harbour.

1781  HMS Castor (32) and HMS Crescent (28), Cptn. T. Packenham, Lt. John Bligh (act.), badly damaged from a previous engagement taken by French Gloire (40) and Friponne (36). HMS Flora (36), Cptn. William Pere Williams, escaped

1783  Fifth and final battle between Vice-Adm Sir Edward Hughes (Superb) and Cdre Chevalier de Suffren (Cleopatre), with fifteen of the line and three frigates, off Cudalore. A French victory: Hughes retired to Madras having failed in his attack on Cuddalore while Suffren, with an inferior force, remained there.

See 17 February 1782, 12 April 1782, 6 July 1782, 3 September 1782.

1783  The Battle of Cuddalore. British fleet of 18 ships, under Admiral Sir Edward Hughes, engaged French fleet of 15 ships, under the Bailli de Suffren, off the coast of India. It took place after peace had been signed but before the news had reached India. It was the final battle of the American Revolutionary War.

1809  Boats of Bellerophon cut out three vessels and stormed a Russian battery at Hango (Hanko), Finland.

1809  HMS Agamemnon (64), Cptn. Jonas Rose, ran on shore and wrecked in Maldonado Roads, Rio de la Plata.

1813  Fifteen U.S. gunboats engage HMS Junon (38), Cptn. James Sanders, HMS Narcissus (32), Cptn. John Richard Lumley, and HMS Barrossa (36), Cptn. William Henry Shirreff, in Hampton Roads, VA.

Capture of Dignano by boats of HMS Elizabeth (74), Cptn. Leveson Gower.

1815  Trials of Fulton I, built by Robert Fulton, are completed in New York. This ship would become the US Navy’s first steam-driven warship.

1819  Twenty-seven days after she left port at Savannah, Georgia, the U.S. hybrid sailing ship/sidewheel steamer SS Savannah arrives at Liverpool, England, to become the first steam-propelled vessel in the world to cross the Atlantic Ocean – although most of the journey was made under sail.

Savannah was originally built as a sailing packet at the New York shipyard of Fickett & Crockett in 1818. While the ship was still on the slipway, Captain Moses Rogers persuaded a wealthy shipping firm from Savannah, Georgia, to purchase the vessel, convert it to a steamship and gain the prestige of inaugurating the world’s first transatlantic steamship service. ‘Savannah’ was therefore equipped with a steam engine and paddlewheels in addition to her sails.
In spite of her historic voyage, Savannah was not a commercial success as a ‘steamship’ and was converted back into a sailing ship shortly after returning from her tour of Europe.


A static model of the Savannah – arguably the first steamship to cross the Atlantic.

1822  HMS Drake Sloop (10), Charles Adolphus Baker, wrecked off the coast of Newfoundland.

1837  Queen Victoria succeeds to the British throne. Her reign (of 63 years and seven months) would be a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and be marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.

1842  Medusa (IN) and Phlegethon (Ben. Mar.), with a boat each from Columbine and Cornwallis, captured eight war junks and destroyed two batteries in the Yangtze 30 miles above Shanghai.

1849  Boat of Pilot captured a pirate junk off Ockseu Island.

1849  Niger, screw sloop, towed Basilisk, wood paddle sloop, stern-first at 1.46 knots. Although the famous Rattler-Alecto trial had been held four years earlier, the issue was clearly still unresolved.

See 3 April 1845.

1895  The 61-mile long Kiel Canal (known as the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal until 1948), crossing the base of the Jutland peninsula in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, was officially opened by Kaiser Wilhelm II on 20th June for transiting from Brunsbüttel to Holtenau.

The German Imperial yacht ‘Hohenzollern’, with the Kaiser and Kaiserin on board, then led a convoy of 24 ships down the canal to Holtenau for a ceremony the next day. At Holtenau, the canal was named the Kaiser Wilhelm Kanal (after Kaiser Wilhelm I), and Wilhelm II laid the final stone.
The opening of the canal was filmed by British director Birt Acres and surviving footage of this early film is preserved in the Science Museum in London.


The German Imperial yacht ‘Hohenzollern’

1914  SS Bismarck, built by the Blohm & Voss shipbuilders in Hamburg, Germany, was launched on 20th June by Countess Hanna von Bismarck, the granddaughter of the 19th century German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. During the launching ceremony Countess Bismarck had difficulty breaking the bottle of champagne herself and Kaiser Wilhelm II had to assist.
The third and largest member of German HAPAG Line trio of transatlantic liners, her completion was delayed by WW 1.
In 1920 SS Bismark was turned over to Great Britain as compensation for the sinking of the HMHS Britannic.


The launching of Bismarck on 20th June 1914. She would later become the White Star liner RMS Majestic – at 56,551 gross register tons, she would be largest ship in the world until completion of the SS Normandie in 1935.

1917  Vernon‘s wireless section became Experimental Department of the Signal School at Portsmouth.




1917  Salvia (Q 15) sunk by U-94 in E. Atlantic (52-25N, 16-20W).

1921  Seagoing elements of NZ naval forces became the New Zealand Division of the RN, by Order in Council.

1940  Destroyer Beagle landed a demolition party at Bordeaux.

1940  Submarine HMS United (P44) sank Italian AMC Olbia off Cape Spartivento.



1943  King George VI visited Malta in cruiser Aurora, travelling as ‘Mr Lyon’.

1944  The Battle of the Philippine Sea concludes with a decisive U.S. naval victory, which effectively eliminating the Imperial Japanese Navy’s ability to conduct large-scale carrier actions. The air battle was nicknamed the ‘Great Marianas Turkey Shoot’ by American aviators for the severely disproportional loss ratio inflicted upon Japanese aircraft by American pilots and anti-aircraft gunners.


The carrier Zuikaku (center) and two destroyers under attack by U.S. Navy carrier aircraft, 20th June 20, 1944.

1944  First German ‘oyster’ mine dealt with at Fluc-sur-Mer.

1944  GC: T/Lt John Bridge, GM and bar, RNVR, for bomb and mine disposal. (Gazette date.)

1944  Capt Frederick John Walker awarded third bar to his DSO. His HSD (Higher Submarine Detector) PO W.H. ‘Darby’ Kelly was awarded an equally exceptional third bar to his DSM.

1945  The United States Secretary of State approves the transfer of Wernher von Braun and his team of Nazi rocket scientists to America.

1947  GC (ex-AM): LS P.R.S. May (St Margarets) for rescuing seven men in fume-filled tank at Malta.

1968  New Zealand White Ensign introduced.


1982  HMS Illustrious (R06) commissioned. The first RN warship to be commissioned at sea.



H.R.H. Princess Margaret reviews the colour guard at the commissioning ceremony of HMS Illustrious (R06).

         See 11 January 1954.

1983  First OASIS fit ashore accepted, at Dolphin. Onboard Automatic data processing Support in Ships and Submarines.

2005  Following a successful campaign (launched in 2003) by Paul Gelder, editor of Yachting Monthly magazine, Sir Francis Chichester’s record-breaking yacht, ‘Gipsy Moth IV’ was rescued from her dry-dock ‘grave’ at Greenwich.
After a £400,000 restoration, ‘Gipsy Moth IV’ was relaunched on 20th June 2005 – In order for her to circumnaviate the globe for a second time, in observance of the 40th anniversary of Chichester’s epic voyage.

In September 2005 ‘Gipsy Moth IV’ embarked on a 21-month educational round-the-world voyage with the Blue Water Round the World Rally, via the trade wind route and the Panama and Suez Canals (not the Capes as had been followed in its first circumnavigation).

jun20_Gipsy_Moth_IV (1)

A limited edition (250 pieces) model of ‘Gipsy Moth IV’ – The base is made from mahogany taken from the original keel timber of ‘Gipsy Moth IV’, with part of any sale going towards maintaining the famous rebuilt yacht.

The yacht’s restoration and the second circumnavigation are described in Paul Gelder’s 2007 book, “Gipsy Moth IV: A Legend Sails Again”. – Wrecked On This Day …..

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