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Author Topic: Medway Raid 1667  (Read 6665 times)
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Knouterer
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« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2016, 09:24:47 AM »

If anyone wants to watch it, here it is on Amazon. Contrary to what the box suggests, Charles Dance's role as King Charles II is rather peripheral. Be advised that it is in Dutch with English subtitles:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Admiral-Command-Conquer-Charles-Dance/dp/B00WUDIVVK/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1463991183&sr=1-1&keywords=admiral
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Knouterer
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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2016, 08:30:36 AM »

And for good measure, the designer who recreated those stern carvings for the movie. As the conservator of the Rijksmuseum in the video on the previous page explains, the Royal Charles itself was kept afloat for a few years but then broken up as the ship was too large for the shallow waters off the Dutch coast, which were the reason the Dutch throughout the 17th and 18th century did not build three-deckers for their navy (except for a limited number in 1682-1695, carrying between 90 and 96 guns)

http://vanhulzen.com/?p=2954 
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MichaelBully
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« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2016, 12:30:12 PM »

Thanks for all the posts about the De Ruyter film . I will try and watch it on line if can find it . It's quite a reminder that there were times when England - before the Act of Union- could lose control of the sea. Also  how vulnerable the country could become when the Royal Navy and sea defences were neglected, as the Medway Raid showed.
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Knouterer
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« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2016, 14:19:12 PM »

At the start of that film, it is proudly proclaimed that the United Seven Provinces were the only republic in the world at the time, which is a bit over the top I think. Venice, Genoa and Switzerland were also republics - sort of.
Better yet, England itself was a republic, or a "Commonwealth" to be precise, at the moment the story begins (1653, Battle of Scheveningen, where old admiral Maarten Tromp, played in the film by Rutger Hauer, was killed).

Nevertheless, when talking about the 17th century, it is clear which country historians mean when they mention "the Republic".
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Tim of Aclea
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« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2016, 11:09:15 AM »

Some on this site may be aware that I have been working my way through writing accounts of English battles from c500AD up to the Act of Union.  Most of them fall outside the South-East but I have posted those battles that do fall within the area.  I realise that there have already been far better qualified posts on this subject than I can come up with but, for what it is worth, below is my account of the Medway raid.  I also attach copies of a map and a couple of paintings.

Tim

The Medway Raid 10th to 13th June 1667
“I think the Devil shits Dutchmen” Sir William Batten on hearing of the Dutch raid

During the winter of 1666 into 1667 the English fleet was laid up.  Parliament would vote no more money claiming that they had voted £5,590,000 for the war and that the spending of £2,390,000 was unaccounted for.  The seamen stopped being paid and regularly rioted, while ships were left unrepaired and unsupplied.  The only way that senior officers could get anything done was through a process of cannibalisation.  The Dutch meanwhile, despite Holmes successful raid on them, were still able to raise the money to fit out their fleet for the coming year. 
Charles II, now having to finance the war out of his own moneys, decided to have the largest warships towed upstream out of reach of the Dutch and then laid up.  He would then use only frigates to guard the coastline and warn of any approach by the Dutch.  The idea was that the Dutch would, in theory, find no Royal Navy fleet to fight and the coast too strongly defended to attack.  Their supplies would get used up and they would sail home empty handed and out of pocket.  Meanwhile Charles put out feelers for an end to the war relying on the Dutch being distrustful enough of French intentions (with good reason) to agree to an easy peace. 
Johan de Witt was, however, determined to extract his revenge for Holmes raid before agreeing to any peace.  During 1664 and 1665 he had arranged for charts to be made of the channels in the Thames estuary.  He was searched for English prisoners or renegade republicans who could act as pilots for the Dutch fleet.  The Dutch admirals were though anything but convinced that a raid up the Thames was a good idea and feared getting trapped.  De Witt could not afford to leave the Netherlands himself and so therefore appointed his elder brother Cornelis with full powers to act on his behalf to make sure that De Ruyter and the other admirals carried out the attack in accordance with Johan de Witt’s wishes.
On 7th June the Dutch fleet sailed for the Thames.  The main Dutch fleet commanded by de Ruyter in the Zeven Provincien (80) lay at the mouth of the river while a squadron of seventeen smaller warships, four fireships and some other boats supported by 1,000 soldiers sailed up the river as far as Gravesend.  On 10th June the Dutch landed troops to take the Sheerness fort that protected the entrance to the River Medway where the main Royal Navy warships were laid up.  The Dutch found the fort to be incomplete with only a small garrison.  The guns were so poorly mounted as to be effectively useless.  A supporting English frigate fired one broadside and then retreated when the Dutch sent in a fireship, the garrison followed suit and fled.
On the Tuesday 11th June Monck arrived at Chatham on the Medway and was dismayed at what he found.  There were few of the 800 soldiers who should have been there to conduct the defence, many of the thirty boats that should have been available to defend the river had fled and the chain laid across the river at Gillingham, sagged badly.  The first-rater the Royal Charles formally the Naseby (80) could have aided the defences if it had been resupplied, but it was not.  Monck ordered that it to be towed further upstream but, due to a shortage of ships, this never happened.  He also ordered fireships to be sunk to strengthen the chain and shore batteries built on either side of the river to cover the chain.  However, the solid oak planks that the guns should have been laid on to absorb their recoil were not available. 
On Wednesday 12th June the Dutch attacked the chain led by the fourth-rater Vrede (40) supported by two fireships.  The Vrede sailed for HMS Unity (42) formally the Dutch warship Enndracht guarding the chain giving it a broadside and then boarding it while one of the fireships broke the chain.  The fireships, now set alight, were then sailed into the other English ships.  Dutch frigates sailed up and opened fire on the shore batteries whose response was ineffectual due to the wheels of the guns driving into the softwood planks that they were mounted on.  The Dutch captured the Royal Charles and that afternoon the victorious commanders met on board her with Cornelius de Witt composing an account to be sent back to his brother of the success so far.  Monck could only look on in horror and, taking what few men he could find with him, retreated to Upnor Castle.
The first-rate Royal Oak (100), second-rate Loyal London (80) and second-rate Royal James (82) all now lay at the mercy of the Dutch and, to prevent their capture, Monck ordered them to be run aground and holed.  However, on Thursday 13th June a force of Dutch fireships guarded by four frigates sailed towards them and set them all alight.  One man, a Scottish captain Archibald Douglas refused to desert the Royal Oak and perished in the flames.  The poet Andrew Marvell, who had previously penned an ode to Cromwell’s exploits in Ireland, now composed one on Douglas’ death.
Monck continued to do what he could with the pitiful forces at his disposal, having some ships moved further upstream and others beached to hamper the Dutch.  They now, however, having come in range of the guns of guarding Chatham decided to pull back on the ebb tide taking the Royal Charles with them.  The English seamen watching could only marvel at the skills of the Dutch as they manoeuvred the ship into the Thames Estuary.  The number of ships lost by the Royal Navy was not actually that large, but it included all the first and second-raters other than Royal Sovereign at Portsmouth.  It was viewed as a national humiliation and many must have thought that it was a humiliation that would have never been allowed to happen if Oliver Cromwell rather than Charles II had been in charge.  No doubt such thoughts were in the minds of the former Cromwellian and Royalist admirals as they blamed each other for the disaster. 
On the positive side, the Dutch failed to destroy the Chatham dockyards which would have taken far longer to replace than the lost ships and the raid in the direction of Gravesend failed to achieve anything.  Additionally the Dutch attack on the Landguard fort near Harwich was repulsed with heavy loss and the Royal Charles was never to be used against the Royal Navy – the Dutch found that it floated too deep in the water to be of use in their channels and it was scrapped.  Charles II proved correct in his estimation that, because of threatening moves by the French, the Dutch would accept a fairly easy peace and this proved to be the case.  There had, however, to be a scapegoat for the defeat and, as this could not be Charles II, his chief minister Clarendon, who had actually opposed the war, was lined up for impeachment.  Being well aware of the fate of Charles I’s chief minister Strafford, who was impeached and executed in 1641, Clarendon fled abroad to write his history of the Civil Wars.

In 2014, just before the Scottish referendum, the BBC TV ‘Historian’ Dan Snow wrote a polemic justifying the Act of Union in 1707 between England and Scotland and the continued United Kingdom by portraying England as weak prior to then.  To justify this view, he referred to the Medway raid that occurred forty years before and the French defeat of the English Royal Navy in 1690.  He, however, failed to mention that in 1692 the Royal Navy had inflicted a decisive defeat on the French Navy and that, by the time of the Act of Union, the English Royal Navy had far surpassed both the Dutch and French navies in strength.  It was by then the dominant oceanic sea power with a strength of more than 300 warships including more than 100 ships of the line.

There are 3 attachment(s) in this post which you cannot view or download
1667 Medway Het_verbranden_van_de_Engelse_vloot_voor_Chatham_-_The_Dutch_burn_down_the_English_fleet_before_Chatham_-_June_20_1667_Peter_van_de_Velde.jpg
1667 Medway Raid r.jpg
1667 MedwayThe_Dutch_burn_English_ships_during_the_expedition_to_Chatham_Raid_on_Medway_1667Jan_van_Leyden_1669-1280x480.jpg
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MichaelBully
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« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2017, 23:23:44 PM »

It seems that the Medway Raid is going to be highlighted in 2017.

 "Medway will be “in flames” to mark the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway.

Medway will welcome visitors from far and wide as the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway is commemorated through a fortnight of events including spectacular displays, one off exhibitions and VIP visits from Thursday, June 8, to Saturday, June 17.

The battle in June 1667 led to a huge investment in new ships and dockyard facilities, laying the foundations of British supremacy at sea for the next 200 years and contributing to the country’s economic success and the growth on the empire............................"

http://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway/news/two-weeks-of-celebrations-to-118626/
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Pete
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« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2017, 15:51:22 PM »

In dredging the River Medway for the purpose of deepening the channel, just below Gillingham Pier, the workmen noticed that a considerable quantity of wood has been brought up in the buckets, and examination has conclusively proved that the pieces are portions of a ship which is conjectured to have been one of those engaged in the historical fight in the Medway between the Dutch and English fleets. Several chain shots, too, have been found, together with a few very old-fashioned bottles, a number of broken tumblers of ancient pattern, and several bones of human beings.

Flintshire Observer 30/5/1889

DISCOVERIES IN THE MEDWAY.
Further relics of the Dutch incursion in the Medway have been brought to light by the dredging operations proceeding in the river. The keel of a Dutch vessel, measuring between 20ft. and 30ft. long, and a large piece of woodwork, supposed to be one of the hatchways, have been brought up. Up to the present as much material as would fill two lighters has been recovered and is all being carefully stowed away. A round shot, weighing about 71b., is among the relics.

Flintshire Observer 13/6/1889


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Longpockets
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« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2017, 19:26:54 PM »

It would appear the tourist promoters and the media have taken possession of this encounter and have decided to market it as "The Battle of the Medway". I had previously known this event the as " The Medway Raid " or " The Dutch Raid on the Medway ". Have I been mislead for all these years? I am sure I will be put straight.
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MichaelBully
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« Reply #23 on: March 30, 2017, 22:19:30 PM »

Longpockets, I've always counted the incident as a raid rather than a battle. I understand in Dutch it is known as , 'De tocht naar Chatham' , 'The trip/ excursion to Chatham'.  ( 'De strijd' is the usual Dutch for 'battle').
Of course there were a number of Anglo-Dutch battles during that era but I don't think the contemporary sources classified the event as a 'battle' !
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Tim of Aclea
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« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2017, 10:23:02 AM »

The books I have on it treat it as a raid or an assault and not as a battle and that is how I referred to it in my account posted above. 

Tim
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