1760 - British naval operations in the West Indies
The campaign lasted from January to December 1760
At the beginning of 1760, the British squadrons in the West Indies were disposed as follows: Commodore Sir James Douglas relieved Commodore John Moore on the Leeward Islands station and Rear-Admiral Charles Holmes relieved Vice-Admiral Thomas Cotes at Jamaica.
On the Leeward Islands and Jamaica stations the French had too feeble a force to attempt anything of moment. Indeed, only one action that was fought in the West Indies in 1760 calls for mention here.
In the autumn, Rear-Admiral Holmes learnt that a French convoy, escorted by 5 frigates, was about to sail from Cap-Francois for Europe.
Holmes despatched the Hampshire (50) under Captain Coningsby Norbury, the Boreas (28) under Captain Samuel Uvedale and the Lively (20) under Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland, to intercept them.
On October 16, the French put to sea from Cap-Francois, the escort consisting of:
On October 17 at dawn, the British ships sighted and chased them, but closed very slowly until evening, when the breeze freshened. At midnight the Boreas (28) engaged the Sirène (30), but, being disabled aloft, fell astern.
On October 18 at 2:00 p.m., the Boreas (28) came up with the Sirène (30) off the east end of Cuba. A hot action then began, and at 4:40 p.m. the Sirène (30) struck, having lost 80 killed and wounded. The Boreas (28) had lost but 1 killed and 1 wounded. In the meanwhile the Hampshire (50) and Lively (20) had been in chase of the other frigates. Soon after daybreak, the Lively (20), by using her sweeps, got alongside of the Valeur (26), and, after 90 minutes, forced her to surrender, she having lost 38 killed and 25 wounded, and the Lively (20) but 2 wounded. Both the Sirène (30) and Valeur (26) were added to the British Navy under their own names. The Hampshire (50) at 3:30 p.m. got between the Duc de Choiseul (30) and the Prince Edward (30), but the former, having the advantage of the wind, got into Port-de-Paix. The latter ran ashore and struck, but was, nevertheless, subsequently burnt by her crew.
On October 19, the Hampshire (50) and Lively (20) were about to attack the Fleur de Lys (30), which lay in the bay to leeward of Port-de-Paix, when the French saved them the trouble by abandoning and burning the ship.
This article is essentially a compilation of texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Clowes, Wm. Laird: The Royal Navy – A History from the Earliest Time to the Present, Vol. III, Sampson Low, Marston and Company, London: 1898, pp. 224-226