Raid on Saint-Malo

5th June 1758 - 12th June 1758
Fought at : Brittany - France
Part of : Seven Years' War (1756/05/17 - 1763/02/10)
Previous action : Action of 26 May 1758 26.5.1758
Next action : The Siege of Louisbourg 6.6.1758 - 27.7.1758

A squadron of ships under Lord Anson and Admiral Hawke, totalling 24 ships of the line with support vessels and including an escort squadron under Commodore Howe escorted 130 transports carrying 13,000 troops. The target was Saint Malo and the expedition anchored in Cancale Bay and landed the troops. Saint Malo was not taken, although much other damage was inflicted. The fleet then spent the rest of June looking at other possible landing places including Le Havre, Caen and Cherbourg, but no landings were undertaken due to poor weather and French resistance and the whole enterprise abandoned in early July.


Great Britain

Channel Fleet, Lord George Anson (1st Baron Anson) (1697-1762)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Royal Anne (100) Sir William Burnaby (1710-1776)Fleet Flagship
Ramillies (90) Wittewronge Taylor (c.1719-1760)Squadron Flagship
Duke (90) Thomas Hanway (c.1715-1772)
Torbay (74) Augustus Keppel (1725-1786)
Barfleur (80) Samuel Graves (1713-1787)
Union (90) Michael Everitt (1716-bef.1776)
Newark (80) William Holburne (c.1711-1760)
Magnanime (74) Jervis Henry Porter (c.1717-1763)
Norfolk (74) Sir Piercy Brett (c.1710-1781)
Shrewsbury (74) Hugh Palliser (1721/22-1796)
Lennox (74) Francis Geary (1709-1796)
Torbay (74) Augustus Keppel (1725-1786)
Chichester (68) William Saltern Willett (d.1769)
Alcide (64) James Douglas (1703-1787)
Duc d'Aquitaine (64) Washington Shirley (1722-1778)
Dunkirk (60) Robert Digby (1732-1815)
Southampton (32) James Gilchrist (d.1777)
Actaeon (28) Michael Clements (1735-1797)
Tartar (28) John Knight (c.1712-1788)
Lowestoffe (28) Robert Haldane (d.1761)
Coventry (28) Carr Scrope (c.1719-1762)
Inshore Squadron, Richard Howe (1725/26-1799)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Swallow (14) John Lendrick (c.1724-1780) Escorting the 1st Division
Essex (64) John Campbell (1719-1790)Squadron Flagship Escorting the 1st Division
Diligence (10) Joseph Eastwood (d.1762) Escorting the 1st Division
Active (28) Richard Hughes (c.1724-1812)
Maidstone (28) Dudley Digges (d.1779) Escorting the 1st Division
Deptford (50) John Hollwall (c.1723-1775) Escorting the ordnance
Portland (50) Jervis Maplesden (c.1705-1781) Escorting the ordnance
Flamborough (20) Archibald Kennedy (1720-1794) Escorting the 2nd Division
Brilliant (36) Hyde Parker (1713/14-1783) Escorting the 2nd Division
Rose (20) Benjamin Clive (d.1764) Escorting the 2nd Division
Success (20) Paul Henry Ourry (1719-1783) Escorting the 2nd Division
Saltash (14) Walter Stirling (1718-1786)
Rochester (50) Robert Duff (1721-1787)
Speedwell (8) Joseph Fraine (d.1802)
Grace (10)  
Jason (30) William Paston (1731-1774) Lower deck guns removed
Pallas (36) Archibald Cleveland (d.1766)
Renown (30) George Mackenzie (d.1780)
Richmond (32) Thomas Hankerson (c.1712-1780)
Cormorant (8) Patrick Mouat (c.1712-1790)
Pluto (8) James Johnston (c.1711-1780) Fireship
Salamander (16) John Elphinstone (1722-1785) Fireship
Granado (8) Samuel Uvedale (1729-1808) Bomb
Infernal (14) James Mackenzie (c.1715-1789) Bomb

Notes on Action

At 8 A.M. on June 2nd, after a stormy but not unfavourable night, Howe sighted Cape La Hougue. The French were quickly alarmed, and, from his course, probably formed a shrewd guess as to his destination. The tides, and the frequent calms which supervened, compelled the British to anchor repeatedly, but on June 5th the entire force stood into Cancale Bay, six miles east of St. Malo. At 11 A.M. the Duke of Marlborough went in shore in a cutter to reconnoitre and was fired at. By 2 P.M. all the fleet was at anchor, and the signal was made for the flat-bottomed boats to be hoisted out. Howe shifted his broad pennant to the Success, 24, Captain Paul Henry Ourry, and stood in with the Rose, 24, Captain Benjamin Clive, Flamborough, 28, Captain Edward Jekyll, and Diligence, 16, Commander Joseph Eastwood, to silence the batteries, clear the beach, and cover the landing. This he did, and then signalled for part of the troops to disembark. The landing was effected in good order and without loss, in spite of some musketry fire from the enemy posted on a hill behind Cancale. These sharpshooters, however, soon fled as the troops advanced. More soldiers were afterwards landed, and before dark a large force was ashore. It lay on its arms for the night. The rest of the army, with the guns and stores, was landed on the 6th; and, at dawn on the 7th, the whole of it except one brigade, that of Major-General the Hon. George Boscawen, marched away in two columns. It is not intended here to follow the military movements on shore : it is only necessary to say that it was ultimately considered impracticable to attempt St. Malo, and that, after doing a great deal of damage, the army returned and re-embarked on the 11th and 12th. The loss up to that time had not been more than thirty killed and wounded.

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Jan Perry on Saturday 25th of April 2015 15:05

John Diston (or Dilton/Difton) was Master of one of the vessels involved in the landing and embarkation from Cancale. I have been unable to find reference to him. Where, please, might one find Marlborough's reports on the event or those of, perhaps, one of the other leaders such as Essington?

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