British Squadron for the relief of Gibraltar


Fleet CommanderSir Charles Wager (1666-1743)TRN3
Fleet Formed24.12.1726TRN3
Fleet Disbanded9.4.1728TRN3

Introduction

The attitude of Great Britain with regard to the galleons provoked Spain to make great preparations for a siege of Gibraltar; and as that fortress was neither thoroughly armed nor properly held, corresponding measures had to be taken for its protection. A squadron of six men-of-war and two sloops" was fitted out at Portsmouth towards the end of 1726; seventeen companies of troops and large quantities of provisions and ammunition were embarked ; and on December 24th Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Wager (E.) hoisted his flag in the Kent, 70, and took command. He sailed on January 19th, 1727, and on February 2nd, having picked up the Stirling Castle, 70, on his way out, arrived in Gibraltar Bay, where he found Rear-Admiral Edward Hopsonn (R.), who had remained upon the station during the winter.

As the Spaniards, fifteen thousand strong, were seen to be working hard, troops, guns, and stores were landed; but no actual hostilities took place until after February 10th, when the enemy began a new battery within half gunshot of some of the defences of the place. Colonel Jasper Clayton, the Lieutenant-Governor, made a spirited remonstrance; but the Conde de las Torres, the Spanish commander-in-chief, returned an unsatisfactory and truculent answer; whereupon fire was opened from the Mole Head, and from Prince's and Willis's batteries ; and Sir Charles AVager, on the evening of the 11th, sent the Tiger, 50, Dursley Galley, 20, and Solebay, bomb, 6, to throw a flanking fire upon the Spanish lines from the eastward.

From that day the Spaniards prosecuted the siege in earnest; but as they had nothing larger than boats and small settees afloat in the Bay, they accomplished very little. Sir Charles, while always leaving a few vessels to enfilade the Spanish attack, frequently cruised in the Strait and off Cadiz ; and on those occasions his vessels made prizes of several merchantmen. On March 11th, moreover, the Boyal Oak, 70, being detached, took the new Spanish man-of-war, Nuestra Senora del Bosario, 46, which was on her way from Santander to Cadiz ; and, in the meantime, the small craft employed by the enemy within the Bay were from time to time nearly all seized. So matters went on, until, on June 16th, Sir Charles Wager, having heard that the preliminaries of peace had been agreed to, ordered a cessation of hostilities.

Sir Charles Wager, with part of his fleet, reached Spithead on April 9th, on his return from the Mediterranean

 



ShipJoinedLeftCommanderNotes
Berwick (70) 24.12.172613.2.1726/27 George Gordon (d.1731)Fleet disbanded
Lennox (70) 24.12.172623.2.1726/27 Digby Dent (c.1680-1737)Fleet disbanded
Tiger (50) 24.12.172621.4.1727 William Davies (d.1759)Fleet disbanded
Portland (50) 24.12.172621.4.1727 Alexander Geddes (d.1750/51)Fleet disbanded
Cruizer (8) 24.12.17269.4.1728 Edward Brookes (c.1676-1738)Fleet disbanded
Hawk (8) 24.12.17269.4.1728 Duncomb Drake (c.1695-1734)Fleet disbanded
Kent (70) 24.12.17269.4.1728 Charles Hardy (c.1680-1744)Fleet disbanded
Royal Oak (70) 24.12.17269.4.1728 Thomas Jacobs (c.1672-1748/49)Fleet disbanded
Colchester (50) 2.2.1726/279.4.1727The Hon. George Clinton (1686-1761)Fleet disbanded
Winchester (50) 2.2.1726/279.4.1728 James Luck (d.1730)Fleet disbanded
York (60) 2.2.1726/279.4.1728 William Smith (c.1674-1756)Fleet disbanded
Burford (70) 2.2.1726/279.4.1728The Hon. Charles Stewart (1681-1740/41)Fleet disbanded
Stirling Castle (70) 2.2.1726/279.4.1728 Nicholas Eaton (d.c.1729)Fleet disbanded
Dursley Galley (20) 2.2.1726/279.4.1728 George Purvis (1680-1748)Fleet disbanded
Thunder (6) 2.2.1726/279.4.1728 John Toller (d.1747)Fleet disbanded
Swallow (50) 2.2.1726/279.4.1728 Francis Dansays (d.1754)Fleet disbanded
Solebay (6) c.7.2.1726/279.4.1728 Thomas Durell (d.1741)Fleet disbanded
Torbay (80) 9.3.1726/279.4.1728 Nicholas Haddock (1686-1746)Fleet disbanded
Poole (32) 9.3.1726/279.4.1728The Hon. William HerveyFleet disbanded

DateEventSource
1727/01/19

Sailed from Portsmouth

 
1727/02/02Stirling Castle (70) joined the fleet 
1727/02/02Burford (70) joined the fleet 
1727/02/02York (60) joined the fleet 
1727/02/02Winchester (50) joined the fleet 
1727/02/02Colchester (50) joined the fleet 
1727/02/02Swallow (50) joined the fleet 
1727/02/02Dursley Galley (20) joined the fleet 
1727/02/02Thunder (6) joined the fleet 
1727/02/02

Arrived in Gibraltar Bay

 
1727/02/07Solebay (42) joined the fleet 
1727/02/11

Tiger, 50, Dursley Galley, 20, and Solebay, bomb, 6, were sent to throw a flanking fire upon the Spanish lines from the eastward.

 
1727/02/13Berwick (70) left the fleet 
1727/02/23Lennox (70) left the fleet 
1727/03/09Torbay (80) joined the fleet 
1727/03/09Poole (32) joined the fleet 
1727/03/11

The Royal Oak, having been detached, took the Nuestra Señora del Rosario (40)

 
1727/04/09Colchester (50) left the fleet 
1727/04/21Portland (50) left the fleet 
1727/04/21Tiger (50) left the fleet 
1727/06/16

Sir Charles Wager ordered a cessation of hostilities.

 

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