British Squadron for the relief of Gibraltar


Fleet CommanderSir Charles Wager (1666-1743)TRN3
Fleet Formed1726/12/24TRN3
Fleet Disbanded1728/04/09TRN3

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

 



ShipJoinedLeftCommander
Berwick (70) 1726/12/241727/02/13George Gordon (d.1732)
Lennox (70) 1726/12/241727/02/23Digby Dent (d.1737)
Tiger (50) 1726/12/241727/04/21William Davies (d.1759)
Portland (50) 1726/12/241727/04/21Alexander Geddes (d.1750/51)
Cruizer (8) 1726/12/241728/04/09Edward Brookes (d.1738)
Hawk (8) 1726/12/241728/04/09Duncomb Drake (d.1734)
Kent (70) 1726/12/241728/04/09Charles Hardy (c.1680-1744)
Royal Oak (70) 1726/12/241728/04/09Thomas Jacobs (d.1748/49)
Colchester (50) 1727/02/021727/04/09The Hon. George Clinton (1686-1761)
Winchester (50) 1727/02/021728/04/09James Luck (d.1730)
York (60) 1727/02/021728/04/09William Smith (c.1674-1756)
Burford (70) 1727/02/021728/04/09The Hon. Charles Stewart (1681-1740/41)
Stirling Castle (70) 1727/02/021728/04/09Nicholas Eaton (d.c.1729)
Dursley Galley (20) 1727/02/021728/04/09George Purvis (1680-1748)
Thunder (6) 1727/02/021728/04/09John Toller (d.1747)
Swallow (50) 1727/02/021728/04/09Francis Dansays (d.1754)
Solebay (42) 1727/02/071728/04/09Thomas Durell (d.1741)
Torbay (80) 1727/03/091728/04/09 
Poole (32) 1727/03/091728/04/09The Hon. William Hervey

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.

 

Sources


IDDescriptionAuthorType
TRN3The Royal Navy : a history from the earliest times to the present Vol IIIWilliam Laid ClowesDigital Book