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Admiral Sir George Rooke
1650 – January 24, 1709 (aged 59)
George Rooke.jpg
by Michael Dahl, painted c. 1705
Place of birth St Lawrence, Canterbury, Kent
Place of death St Lawrence, Canterbury, Kent
Allegiance England, Great Britain
Service/branch Royal Navy

Admiral Sir George Rooke (1650 – January 24, 1709), English naval commander, known for his service in the wars against France and particularly remembered today for his victory at Vigo Bay and for capturing Gibraltar for the British in 1704.

Early life

Rooke was born at St Lawrence, near Canterbury in 1650.[1] Entering the navy as a volunteer in 1672, he served in the Dutch Wars and became post captain in 1673.[1]

He became Rear Admiral in 1690, and fought at the Battle of Beachy Head.[1]

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 twelve of their ships.[1] He was knighted shortly afterwards.[1]

In 1693 he commanded the Smyrna convoy, which was scattered and partly taken by the French Admiral Tourville near Lagos Bay.[1]
Till the peace of Rijswijk (1697), he continued to serve in the Channel and Mediterranean. He commanded the Anglo-Dutch Squadron that attacked Copenhagen in conjunction with the Swedish fleet under Admiral General Hans Wachtmeister in 1700, which facilitated the landing of King Charles XII of Sweden and his army in Denmark in the opening phase of the Great Northern War.[1]

War of the Spanish Succession

With the opening of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1702, he commanded the unsuccessful allied expedition against Cádiz, but on the passage home destroyed the Spanish treasure fleet in the Battle of Vigo Bay, which won him the thanks of Parliament.[1]

He commanded the allied naval forces in the capture of Gibraltar in July 1704,[1] becoming military Governor of Gibraltar from July 24 to August 4.

On August 13, 1704, he attacked the French fleet off Málaga, the battle being drawn in tactical terms, but successful strategically in supporting the allies at Gibraltar.[1] On account of his health, he retired from the service in February 1705 and returned to his estate at St Lawrence near Canterbury where he died.[1]

A statue was raised to honour Rooke at Gibraltar in 2004, during the 300th anniversary celebration.

References

Government offices
Preceded by
None
Governor of Gibraltar
1704
Succeeded by
Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt
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