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Monday, November 14, 2005

Dutch Captain: Dirk Claeszoon van Dongen

Dirk Claeszoon van Dongen served the Admiralty of the Maze. He served with Tromp's fleet during the campaign leading up to the Battle of the Downs in 1639. He commanded a buss convoyer at the time. In early October 1639, soldiers were distributed in the fleet from garrisons. Dirk Claeszoon van Dongen's ship received 20 soldiers. In the Battle of the Downs, he started the battle in Tromp's squadron. His employment normally was to protect "the great fishery". In 1652, he was still employed on fishery protection duties, except that he was now a more senior officer. He commanded a squadron of 15 vessels on fishery protection duties. That included 5 vessels hired by the directors of the fishery. The general resolution of 10 May 1652 included 15 ships for the protection of the fishery out the 150 ships of the "great equipage". When the English frigates approached, Dirk van Dongen's ship drifted from the others. Apparently, he and Reynout Venhuysen surrendered to the English without fighting, when the English offered quarter. The two were eventually imprisoned. This would indicate that Van Dongen was the "admiral" and Venhuysen his "vice-admiral". Sources:
  1. Charles R. Boxer, The Journal of Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp Anno 1639, 1930.
  2. Johan E. Elias, Schetsen uit de geschiedenis van ons zeewezen, Vol.II, 1923.

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