Richard III is Killed at Bosworth Field

22 August 1485

King Richard III, the last king of the House of York, was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field, on this day in British history, 22 August 1485. The Battle of Bosworth Field was the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York that raged across England in the latter half of the 15th century. The battle was won by the Lancastrians whose leader, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, became the first English monarch of the Tudor dynasty. His opponent, Richard III, the last king of the House of York, was killed in the battle, and historians view Bosworth Field as marking the end of the Plantagenet dynasty, making it a defining moment of English and Welsh history.

maritimehistorypodcast:

Captain Cook Claims New South Wales for Britain

21 August 1770

Captain James Cook formally claimed eastern Australia for Great Britain and named it New South Wales, on this day in maritime history, 21 August 1770. Cook’s journal entry from 21 August 1770 reads:

"Having satisfied my self of the great Probabillity of a Passage, thro’ which I intend going with the Ship, and therefore may land no more upon this Eastern coast of New Holland, and on the Western side I can make no new discovery the honor of which belongs to the Dutch Navigators; but the Eastern Coast from the Latitutde of 38° South down to this place I am confident was never seen or viseted by any European before us, and Notwithstand[ing] I had in the Name of His Majesty taken posession of several places upon this coast, I now once more hoisted English Coulers and in the Name of His Majesty King George the Third took posession of the whole Eastern Coast from above the Latitude down to this place by the name of New South Wales, together with all the Bays, Harbours Rivers and Islands situate upon the said coast, after which we fired three Volleys of small Arms which were Answered by the like number from the Ship.”

Above is a map of the east coast of what was then called New Holland; the map was drawn up by Captain Cook during his first voyage.

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been cross-posting quite a few events from British naval and maritime history on here… Hopefully that’s cool with everyone and I wanted to share a link to the reason why they’ve been making so many appearances…. A project I’ve recently undertaken is a Maritime History Podcast which is now available on iTunes… Take a second to check it out if you would :) Support in the early stages of a podcast is crucial and any help to get the ball rolling would be awesome of you! The podcast even has a Tumblr page if you’re interested…

http://maritimehistorypodcast.tumblr.com

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USS Constitution Defeats HMS Guerriere

19 August 1812

USS Constitution defeated and sank HMS Guerriere on this day in maritime history, 19 August 1812. The single ship action was part of the War of 1812 which pitted 85 Royal Navy vessels against a fledgling American navy with only 22 commissioned vessels. After the outbreak of war, USS Constitution took three weeks to collect a fresh crew and on putting out to sea the ship narrowly missed being captured in between ships of a British squadron. After resupplying in Boston and raiding British merchant ships in Halifax, USS Constitution turned south and made for Bermuda. On the way, however, she ran into one of the British ships that had almost captured her, HMS Guerriere

The engagement favored the American ship which had larger guns and a thicker hull and, in the end, that is how it played out. HMS Guerriere sustained heavy damage before the ships’ masts became entangled and the two crews began firing muskets at one another. Eventually, the ships broke free but Guerriere’s foremast and mainmast both fell into the water, leaving the ship helpless and defeated, forcing the British to surrender. When the American Lieutenant boarded the Guerriere and asked if she was prepared to surrender, her captain responded “Well, Sir, I don’t know. Our mizzen mast is gone, our fore and main masts are gone - I think on the whole you might say we have struck our flag.” The American victory over the admittedly inferior French-built Guerriere still proved a boost to American morale early in the war.

maritimehistorypodcast:

The Battle of Lagos

18/19 August 1759

The two-day long Battle of Lagos began on this day in maritime history, 18 August 1759. Part of the Seven Years’ War, the battle was also part of Britain’s ‘Annus Mirabilis,’ a year when Britain saw multiple victories after having suffered numerous defeats in previous years. It came about after the French made plans to launch an invasion of England. Admiral Edward Boscawen was tasked with blockading the French fleet at Toulon but he was forced to refit and stock up on provisions at Gibraltar, and while there his lookout spotted the French fleet passing through the straights, en route for England. The British gave chase and over a two-day battle managed to sink two French ships-of-the-line and capture three others. The remainder of the French fleet scattered in various directions, their planned invasion having been stymied.

maritimehistorypodcast:

HMS Sybille Captures Espiègle

16 August 1809

HMS Sybille captured the French brig-corvette Espiègle on this day in maritime history, 16 August 1809. The Sybille had been built and originally christened ‘Sibylle' when it served as a frigate in the French Navy, but the ship was captured by HMS Romney in 1794. She served in the Royal Navy until 1833, capturing three French ships during that span, one of them being Espiègle on 16 August 1809. Espiègle was later commissioned HMS Electra. The text above is is taken from the London Gazette, where on 6 September 1808, Captain Clotworthy Upton announced his capture of Espiègle.

The Battle of the Spurs (Guinegate)

16 August 1513

The Battle of Guinegate (Battle of the Spurs) took place on this day in British history, 16 August 1513. Henry VIII of England, the Emperor Maximilian, and the Swiss, in 1513 entered into what they called the Holy League, an offensive alliance against France. Henry VIII landed at Calais in the month of July, and soon formed an army of 30,000 men. He was joined by the emperor with a good corps of horse and some foot soldiers. With an army of 50,000 men, they laid siege to the French town of Thérouanne. After a first French attempt to break the siege failed, the duc de Longueville led a second attempt to relieve the besieged town. On 16 August 1513 the French force was handily defeated by the Holy League at Guinegate. This battle was called the battle of Spurs, because, in the haste of the French horses to flee the battlefield, the French used their spurs more than they did their swords. The English king the laid siege to Tournai, which submitted in a few days.

King Macbeth is Killed at the Battle of Lumphanan
15 August 1057
The Battle of Lumphanan was fought on 15 August 1057, between Macbeth, King of Scotland, and Máel Coluim mac Donnchada, the future King Malcolm III. Macbeth was killed, having drawn his retreating forces north to make a last stand. According to tradition, the battle took place near the Peel of Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. Macbeth’s Stone, some 300 metres (980 ft) south-west of the peel, is said to be the stone upon which Macbeth was beheaded. The images above show the traditional locations of the Peel of Lumphanan and Macbeth’s Stone, respectively. King Macbeth is Killed at the Battle of Lumphanan
15 August 1057
The Battle of Lumphanan was fought on 15 August 1057, between Macbeth, King of Scotland, and Máel Coluim mac Donnchada, the future King Malcolm III. Macbeth was killed, having drawn his retreating forces north to make a last stand. According to tradition, the battle took place near the Peel of Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. Macbeth’s Stone, some 300 metres (980 ft) south-west of the peel, is said to be the stone upon which Macbeth was beheaded. The images above show the traditional locations of the Peel of Lumphanan and Macbeth’s Stone, respectively.

King Macbeth is Killed at the Battle of Lumphanan

15 August 1057

The Battle of Lumphanan was fought on 15 August 1057, between Macbeth, King of Scotland, and Máel Coluim mac Donnchada, the future King Malcolm III. Macbeth was killed, having drawn his retreating forces north to make a last stand. According to tradition, the battle took place near the Peel of Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. Macbeth’s Stone, some 300 metres (980 ft) south-west of the peel, is said to be the stone upon which Macbeth was beheaded. The images above show the traditional locations of the Peel of Lumphanan and Macbeth’s Stone, respectively.

The Battle of Blenheim

13 August 1704

The Battle of Blenheim, a major battle in the War of the Spanish Succession, was fought on this day in British history, 13 August 1704. French King Louis XIV hoped to seize Vienna and ransom it in return for peace with Austria, a result that would weaken the Grand Alliance. Instead, the Duke of Marlborough managed to march a massive army south to the Danube and engage Marshall Tallard’s Franco-Bavarian army that had effectively surrounded Vienna.

Marlborough’s force numbered slightly over 50,000, while the Franco-Bavarian army came in just under 60,000. Tallard did not expect Marlborough’s slightly outnumbered force to launch an attack, but when they did the French troops were caught unprepared. Marlborough led a brave charge that broke the soft center of the French line at Blenheim, splitting Tallard’s force in half and leading to  its defeat. At a cost of 12,000 casualties, the Allies captured 13,000 Franco-Bavarian troops (including Tallard) and killed, wounded, or caused to be drowned approximately 18,000 more. Vienna was saved, and the French had suffered their worst defeat in over 50 years in what ultimately became a turning point in the War of the Spanish Succession.

Image: The Duke of Marlborough at the Battle of Blenheim: The Surrender of Maréchal Tallard (National Trust)

King George IV is Born

12 August 1762

King George IV of the United Kingdom was born on this day in British history, 12 August 1762. George IV is remembered as a king more concerned with his lavish lifestyle than with ruling his kingdom. Although he did promote the growth of art and was instrumental in the foundation of the National Gallery and King’s College London, he did little in the government. From 1811 he served as Prince Regent after his father, George III, descended into his final mental illness. During George IV’s Regency and even after he took the throne in 1820, the government was run by Lord Liverpool, a PM who presided over the reality of governing during the Napoleonic Wars. George IV died in 1830.

The Battle of Amiens Concludes

11 August 1918

The Battle of Amiens came to a close on this day in British history, 11 August 1918. The battle itself was part of the Allied Hundred Days Offensive, a campaign that played a large part in bringing World War I to an end. The battle’s effect on both sides’ morale functioned as a turning point, and ultimately, Amiens saw a large number of surrendering German forces. This led Erich Ludendorff to describe the first day of the battle as “the black day of the German Army”. Amiens was also one of the first major battles involving armoured warfare and marked the end of trench warfare on the Western Front, fighting becoming mobile once again until the armistice was signed on 11 November 1918.

The painting above is 8th August, 1918 by Will Longstaff, Australian official war artist. It depicts a scene during the Battle of Amiens. The view is towards the west, looking back towards Amiens from behind a column of German prisoners of war being led into captivity. Meanwhile horse-drawn artillery are advancing to the east.

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Spanish Armada Defeated at Gravelines

8 August 1588

The English gained victory over the Spanish Armada at the Battle of Gravelines, on this day in maritime history, 8 August 1588. Spain had assembled a force of 130 ships with the aim of invading England, and after several smaller skirmishes in the English Channel, the English fleet assembled at Plymouth and the Spanish Armada was forced to drop anchor in a defensive formation off Calais. As the clock struck midnight into the morning of 8 August, Sir Francis Drake launched a fireship attack that forced the Spanish fleet to cut anchor and scatter. 

With the Armada scattered and forced into battle, Drake and the English fleet engaged them off the small port of Gravelines. Drake had devised a strategy to defeat the Spanish after he captured a ship and deciphered their main weakness. Because the Spanish battle tactic was to draw close and board an enemy ship as quickly as possible, their guns were not set up in an efficient manner. Thus, Drake decided to take advantage of the English maneuverability and remain at distance from the Spanish ships. For eight hours, the English ships remained at distance and drew Spanish fire, after which they maneuvered close and fired devastating broadsides, again falling back before the Spanish guns could reload. By 4:00 pm, the English had fired through all their ammunition and were forced to withdraw. The Spanish had lost five ships and suffered serious damage compared to the English. In victory, the English had averted the main Spanish threat, and it is popular knowledge that Spain suffered further losses as the Armada attempted to escape by sailing around Ireland and Scotland.

The Inaugural British Grand Prix

7 August 1926

The inaugural Royal Automobile Club Grand Prix was held on this day in British history, 7 August 1926. Also known as the 1926 British Grand Prix, the race took place at the Brooklands oval and was won by the French team of Louis Wagner and Robert Sénéchal who were driving a Delage 155B.

Birthday of Alexander Fleming

6 August 1881

Today is the birthday of Scottish biologist Sir Alexander Fleming, born on this day in history, 6 August 1881. Fleming received the 1945 Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery of the penicillin vaccine.

Tennyson’s Birthday

6 August 1809

Today is the birthday of English poet Alfred Tennyson, born on this day in British history, 6 August 1809. Tennyson is most remembered for his poetry, as he was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during the reign of Queen Victoria.