Saturday, February 18, 2006

The capture of the French Rubis by the English

In early September 1666, the French fleet, commanded by the Duke of Beaufort, set sail from Belle-Ile. The fleet consisted of about 40 warship and 15 fireships. The goal was to join the Dutch fleet under De Ruyter. The only problem was that De Ruyter had sailed for the shallows off Dunkirk on 8 September 1666. He warned the Duke of Beaufort to get his fleet back in port as soon as he could. The Duke had stopped at Dieppe to take on some 600 soldiers. On 14 September, he received De Ruyter's warning and headed for Brest. Th English were at sea off of Dungeness, and if the French had encountered them, they would have been defeated. Seven French warships did not receive the orders to withdraw, and they had an encounter with Sir Thomas Allin's White Squadron, thinking that the white flags were French. Most of the French escaped, but the Rubis (60 guns) was taken in a hard fight with Allin's Royal James, along with the Adventure, Foresight, and Monck. Frank Fox says that Sir Thomas Allin's ship lost more men than in the Four Days' Battle. Sources:
  1. R. C. Anderson, The Journals of Sir Thomas Allin, Vol.I 1660-1666, 1939.
  2. Frank Fox, A Distant Storm: the Four Days' Battle of 1666, 1996.

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