Monday, March 15, 2004

Dutch prizes in the English navy during the First Anglo-Dutch War

There were a considerable number of captured Dutch ships that served in the English navy during the First Anglo-Dutch War. A considerable number were captured warships, but many were merchant ships that were suitable as warships.

During July 1652, Robert Blake captured or destroyed approximately 12 Dutch warships engaged in fishery protection duties. The number is approximate, because there is evidence that at least one more ship was captured at that time (the Marcus Curtius). Only one other captured the rest of the year. That was the Maria, captured at the Battle of the Kentish Knock.

In the first month or so of the war, Dutch warships in English ports were seized, along with some ships returning from overseas. One of these, the Rotterdam Admiralty ship, the Prinses Roijaal Maria probably served in the English navy as the Princess Maria.

I think it is extremely likely that most Dutch prizes carried their Dutch armament in English service. In at least one case, the Rozeboom, the two brass 24-pounders where removed for use on board a larger english ship. As the Rosebush, she had to carry on with only the 24 smaller guns of the original 28 guns. Others, such as the Sampson (26 guns), probably carried their original Dutch armament.

In the case of the Vogelstruis, the big East Indiaman captured at Portland, the ship was so heavily damaged in two hard-fought battles, that she only served as a hulk in the English navy (although for an extended period). In any case, she was built for the East India trade (as a Retourschip), and was built to merchant ship standards, although substantial enough for round trips to the East Indies.

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