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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

English Captain: John Fortescue, Sr.

John Fortescue, Sr. served in the Restoration navy. In 1661, he commanded the Colchester. On 9 December 1661, he took a message to Sir Thomas Allin at Cadiz. In early September 1662, he was in the Downs. The Colchester seems to have been used for carrying passengers (or prisoners) and dispatches. In late 1662, he commanded the Hound, although Anderson's book of Sir Thomas Allin's journals indicates that John Fortescue was still in the Colchester. On 24 May 1665, the Duke of Albemarle appointed him as captain of the hired ship Loyal Subject. He commanded her until 15 September 1666. At the time of the Battle of Lowestoft, the Loyal Subject was lying in the Medway, fitting out. His first assignment was to convoy returning East Indiamen from Kinsale, along with the Baltimore. He joined the fleet on 6 September and took part in the action on 9 September. The Loyal Subject was kept in service for the Winter Guard, and was a convoyer "for the Hamburg trade". John Fortescue fought in the Four Days' Battle, where the Loyal Subject (56 guns) was severely damaged. He had been assigned to Sir Thomas Teddiman's division in the Blue Squadron. He was wounded in the battle. The ship was not repaired and was released on 15 September. In 1667, he commanded the Dutch prize Charles V (Carolus Quintus). In 1668, he commanded the French Victory. 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.
  3. Frank Fox, "Hired Men-of-War, 1664-7", Part II, The Mariner's Mirror Vol.84 No.2 (May 1998).
  4. J.R. Tanner, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Naval Manuscripts in the Pepysian Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge, Vol.I, 1903.

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