Newbury has had three ships named after the Berkshire market-town. The first ship to be named Newbury was a 52-gun Speaker-Class Frigate in 1654, it was one of the ships in the English fleet during the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The second ship to carry the name was a First World War Minesweeper in 1916. The third and last ship to be named after the town was a Steam Merchant Ship built in 1927, the ship served in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War.
HMS Newbury (1654)
HMS Newbury, a 52-gun Speaker-Class Frigate, built for the Commonwealth of England.
- Displacement: 766 tons
- Length: 117.5 ft (35.7 m) (keel)
- Beam: 35 ft (10.6 m)
- Depth of hold: 14.5 ft (4.3 m)
- Propulsion: Sails
- Sail plan: Full rigged ship
- Crew: 220
- Armament: 52 guns (22 x Culverin, 4 x Demi-Cannon, 26 x Demi-Culverin, 8 x Saker)
December 1652 An order was placed at a cost of £5,408 10s 0d for a third-rate Frigate to be built at Graves shipyard at Limekiln Dock, located on the northern bank of the River Thames at Limehouse, London. The ship was built as a 52-gun Speaker-Class Frigate to the design of Christopher Pett.
30th June 1654 The Frigate was completed and launched at the shipyard of Mathew Graves, and named after the two Parliamentarian victories of the First Battle of Newbury and the Second Battle of Newbury.
1656 Robert Blake became the Captain and Commanding Officer on HMS Newbury.
The Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (1657)
20th April 1657 HMS Newbury saw active service in the English fleet during the Anglo-Spanish War (1654-1660) in the Canary Islands. Admiral Robert Blake (1598-1657) led the attack at Santa Cruz de Tenerife with a fleet of 23 ships, of which HMS Newbury was one. They sailed in to the harbour which was defended by a castle, that was armed with 40-guns. After a long battle, at 3pm all 16 of the Spanish ships (2 x galleons, 9 x merchant ships, 5 x other vessels) in the harbour were sunk, ablaze or had surrendered. The Spanish ships that had surrendered were set ablaze and sunk on the orders of Admiral Blake, before being faced with the castle firing upon the English feet during the exit of the harbour. No English ships were lost during the battle, but 48 men were killed and 120 suffered wounds.
Renamed to HMS Revenge
May 1660 After a restoration, HMS Newbury was renamed to HMS Revenge.
Several Captains served on the Frigates during a short period: Thomas Teddeman (1620-1668) in 1663, Robert Fairer, and Charles Herbert in 1664.
14th March 1664 The Frigate carried the flag of the senior captain of Prince Rupert's white (van) squadron, commanded by Captain Robert Holmes (1622-1692).
HMS Revenge saw active service in numerous sea-battles during the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars, as summarised below:
Battle of Lowestoft (1665)
13th June 1665 The Dutch were trying to prevent a second English blockade of their ports. The Dutch sent a fleet of 103 ships commanded by Lieutenant-Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam, to meet the English fleet of 109 ships commanded by James, Duke of York that was 40 miles east of the port of Lowestoft, Suffolk. The weather did not help either side with shifting winds that made it difficult for both sides to keep formation, the Dutch suffering the most. The two fleets opened fire on each other within a small area of sea, with broadsides resulting in devastating carnage. The Duke of York narrowly escaped death when a cannonball decapitated a row of courtiers standing behind him. The Dutch Lieutenant-Admiral was less fortunate, he was killed when his flagship Eendracht exploded.
On news of the Dutch Lieutenant-Admiral's death, the captains began to flee for home with some ships colliding in the panic to distance themselves from the English. The English then finished off the crippled Dutch ships with fireships. The battle was a hard-fought English victory, only having lost one ship and 300-500 men killed. The Dutch had eight ships sunk, 2,000-2,500 men killed, nine ships captured, and 2,000 men taken prisoner.
14th June 1665 Captain Arthur Langhorne (d.1666) took command of HMS Revenge until 9th September 1665.
Battle of Vågen/Bergen (1665)
3rd August 1665 HMS Revenge was the flagship of an English fleet that attacked a Dutch merchant and treasure fleet, at Vågen the main port area of neutral Bergen in Norway. Due to a delay in orders the Norwegian commanders took the side of the Dutch, being they did not know about the secret intentions of the King of Norway and Denmark.
Eight heavy ships of the Dutch fleet were positioned to give broadsides at the English, that were in a leeward position and which gave them a better range. The weather played in favour to the Dutch due to the strong southern wind and rain, it blew the smoke from the English cannons back towards the English fleet blinding them resulting in the Dutch ships being rarely hit.
The English ships that were positioned at the north of the battle had to shoot along the bay at Bergen, an English shot landed in a fortress killing four people. The commandant of the 125-gun Norwegian fortress responded by firing back at the English fleet. The English had a far bigger force that consisted of about 600 cannon and 2,000 men, but the ships facing the Dutch were poorly positioned to return fire at the Norwegian fortress.
The battle ended after three hours of mercilessly pounding with the defeat of the English fleet, which retreated suffering much damage but without losing any ships. The treasure fleet was relieved by the a Dutch fleet 17 days later. The English had 112 killed and 309 wounded, the Dutch convoy suffered some damage to their ships, 25 killed, 70 wounded, and another ten were killed in the city.
13th September 1665 John Hart became Captain, until 21st October 1665.
1666 HMS Revenge was refitted as a 58 gun Third-Rate Ship of the Line, with an increase in crew of 300 men. The armament of the Frigate consisted of: 22 x Demi-Cannon, 4 x Culverin, 30 x British Demi-Culverin, 10 x Saker 2 x 3-Pounder, 1 x Minion. The crew increased to 300.
25th October 1665 Captain John Harman (d.1673) took command of the ship of the newly renovated Frigate.
Four Days' Battle of the Galloper Sand (1666)
1st June 1666 False intelligence to King Charles II (1630-1685) had led the English to divide their fleet of 80 ships by sending 24 ships to meet a phantom French fleet of 36 ships that had supposedly sailed from Toulon.
Thomas Elliott was the Captain of HMS Revenge, one of the 56 English ships under the command of George Monck was sent to the mouth of the River Thames to meet the Dutch Fleet of 85 ships lead by Michiel de Ruyter.
The sea was too rough in the morning for the larger ships to use their lower tier of larger guns, but Monck decided to use the wind to attack even though some of his force had not reached the Dutch to engaged with maximum effect. Three English ships were sunk of which HMS Swiftsure was one that had Vice-Admiral Sir William Berkeley onboard, the Dutch lost one ship. During the evening a fireship attack on the flagship HMS Henry of Vice-Admiral John Harman, the flagship managed to escape. The Dutch Admiral Cornelis Evertsen was killed from being fired upon from HMS Henry before sailing back to port.
Second day - the day was no better for the English, Monck only had 34 seaworthy ships at the end of the day, while the Dutch received reinforcements with 12 ships.
Third day - Monck abandoned three of the most damaged ships, and managed to stay ahead of the pursuing Dutch as he retreated to the west. The 24 ships that were sent to meet the phantom French force had returned, Monck now had a fleet of around 60 ships.
Fourth day - the outnumbered English fleet suffered under the fire of the Dutch fleet, luckily for the English the wind blew in their favour to escape into a fog bank, both fleets had expended their ammunition. The four day battle was the biggest sea battle of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, and had ended up a Dutch victory. The English had ten ships sunk, 1,500 sailors and two Vice-Admirals killed, and 2,000 were taken by the Dutch as prisoner. Dutch had four ships destroyed by fire, over 1,550 men killed, including Lieutenant-Admiral Cornelis Evertsen, Vice-Admiral Abraham van der Hulst, and Rear-Admiral Frederik Stachouwer.
St. James Day Battle (1666)
25th July 1666 Both the English and Dutch fleets closed in together and formed a line opposite each other, the Dutch line was curved and the ship were unevenly distributed. At 10am both sides clashed with each other, during the battle three Dutch Admirals were killed. The English flagships HMS Royal Katherine and HMS St. George had both been forced out of the battle, while De Ruyter's own Dutch flagship had been dismasted. The Dutch centre gave way, but the English were in no position to take advantage of that until the evening. De Ruyter had restored some order to his squadron, and then set fire to two badly damaged ships, and then retreating to shallow waters of the Dutch coast.
The Dutch had lost four admirals, two major ships and most of their fireships, and had suffered as many as 7,000 casualties, the English had lost HMS Resolution and at least six of their fireships. The English victory gave complete control of the seas off the Dutch coast, using the Dutch anchorage at Schooneveld and then sailing north up the coast seizing merchant ships.
7th December 1666 Thomas Elliott became Captain, then the Vice-Admiral of the Blue Sir Edward Spragg (d.1673) took command on 28th December 1667.
14th December 1670 Cruising off Formentera in company with the fifth-rate 28-gun HMS Little Victory, Captain Leonard Harris (d.1680) sighted two Algerine men-of-war and their prize. HMS Revenge was disguised in hopes that the enemy would allow her to come up with them, the pirates saw through his disguise being that HMS Revenge was a heavy looking ship. The chase lasted for three days, during that period Sir Edward Spragge transferred a hundred of his men and some extra ammunition to the Little Victory, which allowed the ship to overhaul one of the pirates. The enemy ran themselves ashore, but was boarded and got off undamaged. The other ships that had previously parted company, were no longer seen.
Battle of Bugia (1671)
8th May 1671 Sir Edward Spragge onboard HMS Revenge lead a small English fleet and attacked a group of Barbary ships in the harbour of Bugia in Algeria. The Corsairs had set up a beam across the harbour mouth. The English ships stayed outside the boom, firing on the town of Bugia and the Barbary ships. The 28-gun HMS Little Victory, 6-gun HMS Eagle and 4-gun HMS Rose sailed over the boom and was set alight as they travelled in to the harbour, the Barbary ships became utterly consumed by the flames from the English fireships.
Seven pirate ships and three Algerine corsairs were destroyed, the town of Bugia also suffered with 360 being killed.
Battle of Sole Bay (1672)
28th May 1672 The English fleet were at Sole Bay carrying out repairs, and taking on supplies before moving on to blockade the ports of the Dutch. The French were at war with the Dutch, King Charles II entered in an alliance with France. Anglo-French fleet was under the command of James, Duke of York (1633-1701), the French fleet was anchored off Dunwich.
The Dutch fleet arrived in small units, by 8am the English fleet was spread out and could not get into a tight formation to give a broadside, thus becoming easy targets for the Dutch. HMS Royal James, the Earl of Sandwich’s flagship was attacked by Groot Hollandia (captained by Jan van Brakel), repeatedly cannoned the hull. The Royal James drifted away, sinking, and was attacked further by Dutch fireships. The Earl's burnt body was found some weeks later, recognisable by his clothing still bearing the Order of the Garter.
The battle carried on most of the day, with the arrival of the French fleet, the Dutch retreated. The outcome of the first battle of the Third Anglo-Dutch War, was the English lost two ships and 2,000 men, and the two Dutch ships were sunk, two captured, and 1,800 men killed. The Dutch had prevented the English blockading their ports, and the Dutch claimed the Battle as a victory.
5th June 1672 Sir John Ernle took over as Captain on HMS Revenge, until 3rd July 1673.
First Battle of Schooneveld (1673)
28th May 1673 The English and French had a combined fleet of 81 ships, while the Dutch fleet numbered 52 ships, under the command of De Ruyter.
Prince Rupert sent 35 smaller ships from the combined Anglo-French fleet to attack the Dutch fleet at their anchorage in shallow waters, de Ruyter was prepared for the attack and forced the allies back towards their main fleet in some disorder. The battle started at mid-day in shallow waters which favoured the Dutch fleet over the course of the battle that lasted 10 hours. The Dutch fleet retired back into Schooneveld, the Allied fleet anchored two miles to the north-west out to sea. The Allies lost a French ship, the Dutch had a badly damaged ship that sank while at anchor the following day.
After an inconclusive battle, both the Anglo-French and Dutch fleets spend the next week repairing their ships that had suffered damaged during the battle.
Second Battle of Schooneveld (1673)
4th June 1673 The day started off with the wind in favour of the Dutch fleet, de Ruyter decided to launch an attack on the Anglo-French fleet lead by Prince Rupert. The Allied fleet moved northwest to force the Dutch away from the shallow water, this move left the Allied fleet in a ragged line.
The battle started at 5pm, and would go on until 10pm with both sides not suffering heavy damage or loss of ships, the Dutch had 216 men killed and 285 wounded, the allies had similar losses. The Dutch fleet withdrew back to the their coast, while the Anglo-French fleet stayed out to sea just of the Dutch coast until the following morning when they withdrew back to port for repairs to be carried out.
1673 HMS Revenge had an order to be rebuilt.
19th September 1678 HMS Revenge came to the end of her very eventful life, she was condemned and then broken up.
HMS Newbury (1916)
HMS Newbury, a Racecourse-Class Minesweeper that was built for the British Royal Navy during the First World War.
- Displacement: 823 tons
- Length: 235 ft (72 m)
- Beam: 29 ft (8.8 m), 58 ft (18 m) at the paddles
- Draught: 7 ft (2.1 m)
- Propulsion: Inclined compound. Cylindrical return tube. 1,400 hp (1,000 kW)
- Speed: 15 knots (17 mph; 28 km/h)
- Range: 156 tons coal
- Complement: 50 men
- Armament: 2 × 12 pounder guns
September 1915 The Royal Navy's first paddle minesweeper was ordered for the British Royal Navy from the shipbuilders A & J Inglis Ltd, founded by Anthony Inglis and his brother John in Glasgow, Scotland. The Racecourse-Class was built to the design of the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company (Troon and Ayr, Ayrshire).
3rd July 1916 The ship was launched with the name of HMS Newbury, and given the pendant number of 899.
14th August 1916 Captain was Lieutenant R.N.R. in Command George W. Thomson.
17th April 1917 Captain was Lieutenant-Commander R.N.R. Alexander D. Thomson.
The Dover Straits Raid
15th February 1918 HMS Newbury was one of the ships in the Dover Patrol supporting the Dover Strait minefield. A number of mines had been laid in line at various depths, creating a barrage across the Dover Strait from Folkestone to Cape Gris Nez on the French Coast. The barrage was to stop the German submarines from using the English Chanel to gain access to the North Atlantic.
At 1am, seven German Kaiserliche Marine Destroyers were sent on a raid against the Dover Patrol. Once the leading destroyer came abreast of HMS Newbury, the paddle-minesweeper received devastating fire from the destroyer, causing the depth charges onboard to explode, resulting in heavy damage and casualties. Other ships of the Dover Patrol then came under a half-an-hour of heavy fire from the destroyers, with another British paddle-minesweeper and six drifters being damaged, a trawler, two motor-launches, and seven drifters were sunk. HMS Newbury was towed back to Dover with 17 men injured and nine dead.
September 1918 HMS Newbury was given a new pendant number of T.26 and served with the mine clearance service.
January 1921 She was one of 13 minesweepers lying, paid off at Rosyth.
March 1922 The Royal Navy sold the ship.
1923 The ship had reached the end of her useful life, and was broken up. She had been one of the 32 Racecourse-Class paddle minesweepers to serve in the Royal Navy during the First World War.
S.S. Newbury (1927)
S.S. Newbury, a small 5,102 ton steam merchant ship that served in the British Merchant Navy during the Second World War.
- Displacement: 5,102 tons
- Length: 405 ft (123.4 m)
- Beam: 53 ft (16.2 m)
- Draught: 27 ft (8.4 m)
- Propulsion: 1 x 3 Cylinder Triple expansion steam engine, 3 single boilers, 9 corrugated furnaces, single shaft, 1 screw.
- Speed: 11 knots (12.6 mph; 20 km/h)
- Complement: 45 men
- Armament: Armed merchant ship
- Yard Number: 369
- IMO/Off. Number: 149773
- Call sign: KVPM
1927 The steam merchant ship was built and launched at the shipbuilders R. Duncan & Co. Ltd. at Port Glasgow, Scotland.
Battle of the Atlantic
15th September 1941 S.S. Newbury, owned by Alexander Capper & Co Ltd of London, transporting 6,800 tons of coal from Cardiff, Wales in an Atlantic Convoy (ON-14) on route across the North Atlantic to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
At 8:16am, the merchant ship had become a straggler of the convoy travelling at a speed of 6.5 knots, and was stuck by a torpedo fired from the German Kriegsmarine Type VIIC U-Boat U-94. Oberleutnant zur See Otto Ites of the German submarine observed that the crew of the stricken vessel abandoned ship and boarded lifeboats before the ship sank 800 miles southeast off Cape Farewell, Greenland.
The crew of S.S. Newbury, Captain Theodore Pryse OBE, 38 seamen and six gunners were never found.