Rooke, Sir George

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Rooke, Sir George

British Rear-Admiral (1690-92), Vice-Admiral (1692-93), Admiral (1693-96), Admiral of the Fleet (1696-1702), Vice-Admiral of England (1702-05)

born May 1650, near Canterbury, Kent, England

died 24 January 1709 (O.S.), near Canterbury, Kent, England, Great Britain


George Rooke was the son of Colonel Sir William Rooke and Jane Finch.

In 1672, at the beginning of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), Rooke entered the navy as volunteer. He was soon promoted to lieutenant and appointed to the the London (96). On June 7, he was at the Battle of Solebay. He was then transferred to the Royal Prince (100).

In 1673, Rooke became post-captain. From 7 to 14 June, he took part in the Battle of Schooneveld. On 13 November, he was promoted to captain of the Holmes which served in convoy duties.

Rooke briefly served in the army.

In April 1677, Rooke became captain of the Nonsuch (36). In October, he conveyed Prince William of Orange to England.

In July 1680, Rooke transferred to the Hampshire (46) and served in the Mediterranean.

In April 1683, Rooke transferred to the St David (54) and served in the Channel.

In April 1688, Rooke transferred to the Deptford (50) and served in the Mediterranean.

In 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), Rooke commanded the squadron which raised the siege of Londonderry. On 11 May, he took part in the Battle of Bantry Bay.

In 1690, Rooke was promoted to rear-admiral. On 10 July, he fought at the battle of Beachy Head where he commanded the rear division of the centre squadron.

On 20 January 1692, Rooke was promoted to vice-admiral. From 29 May to 4 June, he served under Russel at the battle of Barfleur where he commanded the vanguard division of the rear squadron. He then greatly distinguished himself in a night attack on the French fleet at La Hogue, when he succeeded in burning six of their ships.

On 20 February 1693, Rook received the honour of knighthood and a reward of £1000. In June, he commanded the Smyrna convoy, which was scattered and partly taken by the French Admiral Tourville at the Battle of Lagos. In July, Rooke was promoted to admiral.

In May 1694, Rooke was appointed a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty.

In August 1695, Rooke was appointed commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean Fleet.

In April 1696, Rooke returned to England where he was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet shortly afterwards and was appointed commander of the Channel Fleet. When a French squadron managed to escape from Toulon and reach Brest, Rooke was criticised.

In the Autumn of 1698, Rooke was elected Tory Member of Parliament for Portsmouth.

In the Spring of 1700, Rooke took command of an Anglo-Dutch squadron which joined a Swedish squadron. In August, this fleet covered the landing of the Swedish Army in Denmark by attacking Copenhagen.

In January 1702, Rooke was appointed a member of the council of the Lord High Admiral. Later the same year, he was promoted to Vice-Admiral of England.

At the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1702–1713), in 1702, Rooke commanded the expedition against Cádiz, and on the passage home destroyed the Plate fleet in the Battle of Vigo Bay.

In December 1703, Rooke conveyed Archduke Charles of Austria (the Habsburg pretender to the Spanish succession) to England.

In August 1704, Rooke with Cloudesley Shovel took part in the capture of Gibraltar. On 24 August, Rooke attacked the French fleet in the indecisive Battle of Málaga.

In February 1705, on account of the dissatisfaction expressed indirectly at the result of the Battle of Málaga, Rooke retired from the service.

In 1708, Rooke abandoned his seat in Parliament.

Rooke died at Lawrence House in Canterbury on 24 January 1709.


This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 23, 1911 – “Rooke, Sir George”

Other sources

WikipediaGeorge Rooke]