Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ron van Maanen's translation from Brandt

Ron van Maanen has kindly made available his translation of text from Brandt's biography of De Ruyter about the VOC ship Vogelstruis, which I have slightly edited:

Het leven en bedryf van den heere Michiel de Ruyter. G. Brandt, Amsterdam, 1687

At the battle at Plymouth 28 february 1652 the Struis or Struisvogel was commanded by Douwe Aukes with 40 guns and 200 men, E.I.C.- chamber Amsterdam. In the fight she came in the middle of the British fleet and her scared crew wanted to surrender. Her captain threatened to his crew to blow her up. Her crew started to fight again, destroying two British ships (800 men drowned)and heavily damaging a third. An other version is that she was attacked by two British warships, doing nothing, let them come alongside, than giving the first a broadside which sank it, the second a broadside which caused it to flee. Suddenly she was entered by a third one with so many men that her crew wanted to surrender and Aukes threatened to blow the ship up. After a heavy fight the free themselves and join the Dutch fleet again.

28 february 1653 she was part of the fleet commanded by M.H. Tromp which fought against the British commanded by Blake. De Struisvogel was now commanded by Kornelis Adriaensz van Kruik from Schiedam which fought together with De Ruyter and Sweers against 7 or more British ships until the evening. After fighting with several ships she was hardly manned and lost her masts. When Tromp saw this he ordered commandeur Gideon de Wiltdt to tow her away to safety. Due to low winds he didn’t succeed. Her decks were shattered with blood, wounded and dead, and 80 dead men could be seen. From the 40 sailors from Schiedam, of which the youngest as 20 years old, only 3 remained. The British stopped plundering fearing she would sink. The next day she was found by the British drifting as a empty hull with no sails and hardly any crew left and was brought into Portsmouth. Brandt wrote about Kruik that he was a very brave man.

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