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1692 - Battle of Barfleur

The deposed ex-King James II, aided by Louis XIV of France, assembled a large army of 30,000 men and 500 transports at La Hogue with a French fleet in the Channel. But on 19th May 1692 the Anglo-Dutch fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Edward Russell (later the Earl of Oxford), consisting of over 100 ships-of-the-line, assembled at Portsmouth, sailed and defeated the French at the Battle of Barfleur. Some of the French fleet escaped and were driven into La Hogue and Cherbourg. On the night of 23rd May over 200 boats from the fleet attacked the French ships in La Hogue, which were at anchor under the protection of the fort at St Vast, leaving the town and fort burning after capturing and carrying away the French ships. It was to Portsmouth that the victorious fleet returned. Occasions like this, with their jubilation, helped cement the position of Portsmouth as “First Among Dockyards”.