Tuesday, April 05, 2005

English Captain: William Coleman

William Coleman served in the Restoration navy. William Coleman was second lieutenant on the 1st Rate Sovereign in 1665. Later in 1665, he was first lieutenant on the 3rd Rate Mary. In 1666, he was appointed captain of the 4th Rate Guinea. While at Tagus, a Frenchman boasted that he would attack and beat Coleman in the Guinea. It proved an idle boast, and Coleman took two prizes, which he burnt rather than risk being undermanned. Later in 1666, Prince Rupert and the Duke of Albemarle appointed him captain of the Hampshire. In 1668, he became captain of the 4th Rate Centurion. In 1669, he commanded first the 3rd Rate Princess and then the Portsmouth. In 1672, he commanded the 3rd Rate Gloucester (58 guns). He fought in the Battle of Solebay in the Gloucester, where he was assigned to Sir John Kempthorne's division. In May, before the fleet action, Coleman succeeded in escaping 30 Dutch ships, due to his skill and resourcefullness. In 1673, Prince Rupert appointed him to command the 3rd Rate Edgar. Later, on 26 March 1678, the King reappointed him to command the Edgar. Sources:
  1. William Laird Clowes, The Royal Navy: A History from the Earliest Times to the Present, Vol.II, 1898.

  2. Julian S. Corbett, “A Note on the Drawings in the Possession of The Earl of Dartmouth Illustrating The Battle of Solebay May 28, 1672 and The Battle of the Texel August 11, 1673”, 1908.

  3. 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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