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Battle of the Lizard

10th October 1707
Part of : War of Spanish Succession (1701 - 1714)
Previous action : Battle of Toulon 29.7.1707 - 22.8.1707
Next action : Wager's Action 28.5.1708

 

Great Britain

 
British Squadron,
Sir Richard EdwardsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1688-1708
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Cumberland (80) 1695-1707
British 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Sir Richard EdwardsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1688-1708
Fleet Flagship Captured
Devonshire (80) 1704-1707
British 80 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
John WatkinsBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1694-1707
Exploded
Royal Oak (70) 1690-1710
British 70 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Baron WyldeBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1683-1707
Ruby (50) 1706-1707
British 50 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
The Hon. Peregrine BertieBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1697-1707
Captured
Chester (54) 1691-1707
British 54 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
John BalchenBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1685-1736
Captured
 

Royaume de France

 
French First Squadron,
René Trouin (Sieur du Gué)French
Naval Sailor
Ship Owner
Privateer
Service 1689-1734
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Lys (72) 1706-1747
French 72 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
 Squadron Flagship
L'Achille (64) 1705-1744
French 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Charles de Beauharnais de la BoischeFrench
Naval Sailor
Administrator
Marine
Service 1691-1748
Le Jason (58) 1704-1720
French 58 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
de Coursérac (Chevalier de Coursérac)French
Naval Sailor
Service 1703-1707
Le Maure (50) 1688-1710
French 50 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
Thomas Auguste Miniac (Sieur de la Moinerie )French
Naval Sailor
Ship Owner
Privateer
Service 1696-1712
L'Amazone (42) 1707-1748
French 42 Gun
4th Rate Frégate-Vaisseau de 2ème Ordre (Demi-Batterie)
Joseph de Nesmond de BrieFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1690-1714
La Gloire (38) 1707-1709
French 38 Gun
5th Rate Frégate-Vaisseau de 2ème Ordre (Demi-Batterie)
de la JailleFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1707-1708
 
French Second Squadron,
Claude de Forbin (Comte de Forbin-Gardanne)French
Naval Sailor
Service 1675-1715
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Mars (54) 1705-1721
French 54 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
 Squadron Flagship
Le Blakoual (52) 1705-1708
French 52 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Jean Alexandre de TourouvreFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1657-1707
Le Salisbury (50) 1703-1708
French 50 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Kerlo de l' IsleFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1706-1707
,
Louis-Isidore Andigné (Chevalier de Vezins)French
Naval Sailor
Service 1657-1707
Protée (48) 1700-1725
French 48 Gun
4th Rate Frégate-Vaisseau de 1er Ordre
1705 Renamed "Protée"
Henri Illiers (Comte d'Illiers)French
Naval Sailor
Service 1677-1707
Le Gerze (42) 1691-1717
French 42 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
François Cornil BartFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1688-1713
Le Griffon (48) 1705-1748
French 48 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
La Dauphine (60) 1706-1719
French 60 Gun
4th Rate Ship of the Line
Jacques Aymar de Roquefeuil (Comte de Roquefeuil)French
Naval Sailor
Administrator
Service 1681-1722
,
Jean de Gouyon-Beaufort (Chevalier de Gouyon)French
Naval Sailor
Privateer
Service 1690-1733
Le Fidèle (58) 1704-1712
French 58 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
HennequinFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1657-1757
 

Notes on Action


Description of the actionTRN2

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



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



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



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




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