Sunday, February 27, 2005

English Captain: John Wilgress

John Wilgress served in both the Commonwealth and Restoration navies. In 1656, he commanded the Blackmoor ketch (12 guns). In 1660, he commanded the Dutch prize Bear. After the Restoration, the King commissioned him to continue commanding the Bear. In 1664, he commanded the prize Hector (22 guns). Later in 1664, he commanded the East India Merchant (44 guns), which he commanded from 5 September 1664 until 12 December 1665. He fought in the Battle of Lowestoft, and then operated with the main fleet during the operation to Norway. He also fought in the engagements on 3 September and 9 September 1665. Late in 1665, he again he was appointed to command the Bear and then the Marmaduke, although this seems unlikely from the dates supplied by Frank Fox for his command of the East India Merchant. In 1666, Prince Rupert and the Duke of Albemarle appointed John Wilgress to command the House of Swedes (70 guns). He fought in the St. James's Day Battle, where he was assigned to Sir Jeremy Smith's division. In 1670, he commanded the Dutch prize Welcome. In 1671, he was appointed to command the Assistance. Andrew reports that John Wilgress was one of those men who had paid Samuel Pepys 30s. for an officer's commission. John Wilgress was one of those who was in the Edward Montagu's squadron that brought Charles II back to England for the Restoration. Sources:
  1. R. C. Anderson, List of English Naval Captains 1642-1660, 1964.
  2. R. C. Anderson, Lists of Men-of-War 1650-1700: Part I English Ships 1649-1702, 1966.
  3. Frank Fox, "Hired Men-of-War, 1664-7", Part II, The Mariner's Mirror Vol.84 No.2 (May 1998).
  4. Frank Fox, A Distant Storm: the Four Days' Battle of 1666, 1996.
  5. J.R. Tanner, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Naval Manuscripts in the Pepysian Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge, Vol.I, 1903.

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