Sunday, January 15, 2006

Dutch Fireship Commandeur: Willem Meerman

Willem Meerman served the Admiralty of Zeeland. He commanded the fireship Hoop (6 guns and a crew of 13 men) at the Four Days' Battle in June 1666. Cornelis Evertsen de Oude had been trying to capture John Harman's ship, the Henry. He had finally sent in two fireships, but they were beaten off and the fires had been extinguished thanks to John Harman not panicking. When Evertsen sent in Willem Meerman's fireship, the Hoop, John Harman had fired with the four culverins in the stern, using chain shot. The Hoop's main yard was hit and fell, causing the attack to cease. At the St. James's Day Battle in August 1666, he commanded the fireship Eendracht (2 guns and a crew of in Jan Evertsen's squadron. In June 1667, he commanded the fireship Hoop with the fleet. On 7 June 1672, he fought in the Battle of Solebay, where he commanded the fireship Middelburg. On 23 June, he was with the fleet while it was lying off Walcheren. Sources:
  1. Frank Fox, A Distant Storm: the Four Days' Battle of 1666, 1996.
  2. Carl Stapel, unpublished manuscript "Willem Meerman", 2005.

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