1757 - British operations in the Mediterranean

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1757 - British operations in the Mediterranean

The campaign took place from March to May 1757


In the Mediterranean, Rear-Admiral Charles Saunders had been left in command after Sir Edward Hawke returned to Great Britain on December 3, 1756.

In 1757, the French had only 8 ships of the line stationed in the harbours of the Mediterranean:

At the end of March 1757, Saunders heard that 4 ships of the line and 1 frigate, under M. du Revest, had sailed from Toulon.

On April 2, Saunders left Gibraltar to intercept them with the Culloden (74), Berwick (70), Princess Louisa (60), Guernsey (50) and Portland (50).

On April 5, at 5:00 p.m., Saunders sighted the French squadron to windward and formed his line. At sunset the French did the same, and began to fire at very long range. The British chased, and gained so much on the French fleet that the Guernsey (50) and Princess Louisa (60) were able to engage, but the French escaped in the darkness. The French squadron successfully passed the strait of Gibraltar and, towards the beginning of June, reinforced Louisbourg which was threatened by a British expedition.

In May, Vice-Admiral Henry Osborn arrived in the Mediterranean with reinforcements and assumed the command. Trade was well protected and many prizes were taken but no further fleet operations of any importance took place on the station during the year.

By June 1, the British had the following ships of the line operating in the Mediterranean:


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, p. 170

Other sources

Dull, Jonathan R.: The French Navy and the Seven Years’ War, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, Appendix F