George Rooke

George Rooke

Infobox Military Person
name=Admiral Sir George Rooke

caption=by Michael Dahl, painted c. 1705
died=death date and age|1709|01|24|1650|01|01
placeofbirth=St Lawrence, Canterbury, Kent
placeofdeath=St Lawrence, Canterbury, Kent
allegiance=England, Great Britain
branch=Royal Navy

Admiral Sir George Rooke (1650 – January 24 1709), English naval commander, was born at St Lawrence, 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 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.

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.

He commanded the allied naval forces 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 Málaga, the battle being drawn in tactical terms, but successful strategically in supporting the allies at Gibraltar. On account of his health, not, as many thought, at the dissatisfaction expressed indirectly at the result of the contest, he retired from the service in February 1705 and returned to his estate at St Lawrence, where he died.

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



* "The Journal of Sir George Rooke" Publications of the Navy Records Society. London, 1897.

* John B. Hattendorf, "Sir George Rooke and Sir Cloudesley Shovell" in Peter Le Fevre and Richard Harding, eds. "Precursors of Nelson: British admirals of the eighteenth century." London: Chatham, 2000.

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