Honour - Four Days' Battle 1666

Date - 01/04-June
Type - Fleet or Squadron Actions
Conflict - Second Dutch War; 1665-67

Description The action was a prolonged battle fought in the southern part of the North Sea, between an English Fleet of 56 ships-of-the-line plus smaller vessels and a Dutch Fleet of 85 ships.

Although outnumbered, the English under the Duke of Albemarle , attacked the Dutch under Admiral de Ruyter, off North Foreland with light winds in their favour.

During the following running battle, the Dutch southern squadron was chased near to the French coast. The remaining Dutch ships under de Ruyter joined the action close action ensued. By the end of the first day the English withdrew too the west to repair damage.

At the start of the second day the English had about 40 effective ships against the Dutch who had about 80. Battle was joined with the fleets on opposite tacks. There was some confusion in the Dutch line but the English were unable to take advantage of this. The day ended with the English in full retreat.

During day three the English retreat continued and three ships were fired to prevent their capture. In addition the Royal Prince (90) ran aground on the Galloper Sands, was captured and burned. That night Prince Rupert with his squadron of about 20 ships joined Albemarle.

So on the morning of the fourth day the English had about 60 effective ships against the Dutch 78 ships and the battle continued. As the day wore on both fleets became exhausted, but Albemarle gained the weather advantage and so a degree of safety.

The battle was over and the Dutch withdrew during the evening.

Losses on both sides were enormous. The English lost 17 ships and about 8,000 men, the Dutch 6 ships and about 2,000 men.


HM Ships
Amity  Anne  Antelope  Assistance  Assurance 
Baltimore  Black Bull  Black Eagle  Bonaventure  Breda 
Bristol  Bryar  Centurion  Clove Tree  Convertine 
Crown  Defiance  Delft  Diamond  Dragon 
Dreadnought  Dunkirk  Essex  Expedition  Fairfax 
Fortune  Gloucester  Golden Phoenix  Golden Ruyter  Greyhound 
Hampshire  Happy Entrance  Happy Return  Helverson  Henrietta 
Henry  Hound  House of Swyte (or Sweeds)  Jersey  John and Thomas 
Katherine  Kent  Leopard  Lilly  Lion 
Little Katherine  Little Unicorn  Loyal George  Loyal Subject  Marmaduke 
Mary Rose  Matthias  Monck  Newcastle  Old James 
Oxford  Plymouth  Portland  Portsmouth  Prince 
Princess  Providence (i)  Providence (ii)  Rainbow  Reserve 
Revenge  Richard  Royal Charles  Royal James  Royal Katherine 
Royal Oak  Royal Prince  Ruby  Rupert  St. Andrew 
St. George  St. Paul  Sancta Maria  Seven Oaks  Spread Eagle 
Swallow  Sweepstakes  Swiftsure  Triumph  Unicorn 
Unity  Vanguard  Victory  Welcome  Yarmouth 
York  Young Prince  Zealand     
This page last edited - 27 March, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.