01 September 2011

Sink me the Ship, Master Gunner!

This week is the 420th Anniversary of the Battle of Flores.  This Armada era naval engagement saw a British fleet try to capture a Spanish treasure fleet in the Azores, but they were outmatched and ultimately unsuccessful.  One of the British warships was the HMS Revenge.   She was commanded by Sir Richard Grenville, who had fought against the Spanish Armada, was cousin to both Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, and whose father had been the ill-fated Captain of the Mary Rose

During the engagement Revenge, was isolated, boarded, rammed and boarded again.  With her fighting Captain mortally wounded and with five enemy ships engaged against them, he ordered the Revenge scuttled as immortalised (romanticised?) in Lord Tennyson's poem 'A Ballad of the Fleet':
Sink me the ship, Master Gunner - sink her, split her in twain!
Fall into the hands of God, not into the hands of Spain!
but to his disgust, his crew disobeyed and struck their colours.  Sir Richard died of his wounds shortly after the battle, but the Revenge and her remaining crew did not survive him long - they were lost along with a dozen or more Spanish ships in a typhoon:
And the little Revenge herself went down by the island crags
To be lost evermore in the main.
Read Lord Tennyson's poem here:
and more about Sir Richard here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Grenville

Thanks to Der Feldmarschall for reminding me of this event with his recent post


  1. Nice historical background, thanks for sharing!

    Best regards Dalauppror

  2. There is always something more to learn. Thanks Paul for an interesting post.