Monday, November 21, 2005

English Captain: Ralph Wrenn

Ralph Wrenn served in the Restoration navy and continued in William and Mary's navy in the War of the English Succession. In 1672, he commanded the Hopewell fireship. In 1673, he commanded the Rose dogger. On 23 February 1675, the King appointed him as First Lieutenant of the Reserve. On 12 July 1677, the King appointed him to command the Young Spragge fireship. On 4 November 1679, the Commissioners appointed him as Lieutenant of the Kingfisher. He took part in a desperate fight with 7 Algerine pirates on 21 May 1681, in which his captain, Morgan Kempthorne, Admiral John Kempthorne's son, was mortslly wounded. Ralph Wrenn continued to command the ship and repelled further attacks. As recognition of his gallant fight, on 9 August 1681, Admiral Herbert appointed him to command the Nonsuch. On 23 May 1682, the Commissioners appointed him to command the Centurion. The King reappointed him to command the Centurion on 5 May 1685. King James II appointed him to command the Mary Rose on 26 July 1687. On 5 September 1688, the King appointed him to command the Greenwich. On 26 December 1691, he set sail for the West Indies to replace Commodore Wright, who had failed to take Guadaloupe. He was in the Norwich (46 guns) for the coming operations in the West Indies. On 21 February 1692, he fought a successful actiojn against a much larger French squadron and was successful in losing no ships, despite being outnumbered 18 to 7. He died on 26 March, after reaching Carlisle Bay the day before. Sources:
  1. William Laird Clowes, The Royal Navy: A History from the Earliest Times to the Present, Vol.II, 1898.
  2. 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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