George Rooke

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Admiral Sir George Rooke, 16501709 by Michael Dahl, painted c. 1705.

Sir George Rooke (1650January 24 1709), English naval commander, was born near Canterbury in 1650. Entering the navy as a volunteer, he served in the Dutch Wars and became post captain in 1673.

He became Rear Admiral in 1690, and fought at the Battle of Beachy Head. In May 1692 he served under Russell at the Battle of Barfleur, and he greatly distinguished himself in a night attack on the French fleet at La Hogue, when he succeeded in burning six of their ships. Shortly afterwards he received the honour of knighthood and a reward of £1,000. In 1693 he commanded the Smyrna convoy, which was scattered and partly taken by the French Admiral Tourville near Lagos Bay. Till the peace of Nymwegen (1697), he continued to serve in the Channel and Mediterranean. In 1702 he commanded the disastrous expedition against Cádiz, but on the passage home destroyed the Spanish treasure fleet in the Battle of Vigo Bay. With Sir Cloudesley Shovel he took part in the capture of Gibraltar on July 21 1704, becoming military Governor of Gibraltar from July 24 to August 4. On August 13 1704, he attacked the French fleet off Malaga, the battle being drawn. On account of the dissatisfaction expressed indirectly at the result of the contest, he retired from the service in February 1705.

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