The Dutch in Medway

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The daring raid on the Medway in June 1667, when the Dutch navigated the treacherous shoals and sandbanks of the Thames estuary and the Medway and attacked King Charles’ ships laid up below Chatham, was one of the worst defeats in the Royal Navy’s history and a serious blow to the English crown. Perhaps the greatest humiliation was the removal by the Dutch of the flagship Royal Charles, towed down river after the raid and taken back to Holland. To this day, her stern piece resides in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The attack, intended to bring to an end to English procrastination at the peace negotiations in Breda, caused simmering resentment and eventually led to the Third Anglo-Dutch War. As Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary on 29 July 1667, “Thus in all things, in wisdom, courage, force, knowledge of our own streams, and success, the Dutch have the best of us, and do end the war with victory on their side.”

P. G. Rogers’ vivid account of the raid and its significance within the Second Anglo-Dutch War between Britain and the United Provinces of the Netherlands sheds a fascinating light on the English navy of Pepys’s day. Rogers’ particular knowledge of the Medway and the topography of Gillingham and Chatham enable him to describe the maneuvers at a detailed level.

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Editorial Reviews

"Rogers writes crisply and economically."—Warship, as part of the publication's Naval Books of the Year