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Battle of Minorca (1756)
Aug 06, '21

Thomas Baillie (Royal Navy officer)

Thomas Baillie (died 15 December 1802), was an officer of the Royal Navy. He saw service in the Seven Years' War, rising to the rank of captain. He was later appointed to the office of Lieutenant-Governor of Greenwich Hospital, but became involved in the celebrated libel case R v Baillie after he made accusations of mismanagement in the running of the hospital. He was later appointed to the post of Clerk of the Deliveries of the Ordnance, which he held until his death in 1802.

The Baillies’ and Menorca

My father had the same capability as me in that he could remember his past lives. When he went to Southampton at aged 11 (1922) he saw a three masted sail Barque and he surprised that he knew details about the sails, masts and the rigging such that he could have sail her!


A barque, barc, or bark is a type of sailing vessel with three or more masts having the fore- and mainmasts rigged square and only the mizzen (the aftmost mast) rigged fore and aft. Sometimes, the mizzen is only partly fore-and-aft rigged, bearing a square-rigged sail above.

Sailing Boat

When is the British army he was stations for 3 years in Hong Kong and Shanghai (1935-38) he purchased his own sailing yacht for weekend trips around the islands with his mates. It represented true freedom from the army and civilisation. “I sail under my own flag and deck of my ship is my country; only at sea is a man truly free.”

He had the sea in his blood!

I learnt later that he had memories of being one of Sir Francis Drake sailors.


As a young boy my father took me to Southampton many times. He love Ocean going liners and on one occasion during in a tour by boat I saw the last true British battleship HMS Vanguard.

HMS Vanguard was a British fast battleship built in 2 October 1941, during the Second World War and commissioned after the war ended. She was the biggest and fastest of the Royal Navy's battleships, the only ship of her class, and the last battleship to be built by the Royal Navy.

In total we spent our holiday going to Cornwall, the Isle of Wight, Jersey Channel Islands and the Barcelona coast several times. It all made sense when I went to Menorca in (2015-16). For Menorca was slightly bigger version of Jersey and this explains it! My father had the same memory of Captain Thomas Baillie.

Battle of Minorca (1756)

The Battle of Minorca (20 May 1756) was a naval battle between French and British fleets. It was the opening sea battle of the Seven Years' War in the European theatre. Shortly after the war began British and French squadrons met off the Mediterranean island of Minorca. The French won the battle. The subsequent decision by the British to withdraw to Gibraltar handed France a strategic victory and led directly to the Fall of Minorca.

Principle Memory

My father drummed into me the principle of take the wind out of the sails of your opponent yacht/ship by coming to the windward side when overhauling in a race or battle. He we see Admiral Byng failing to do so! Byng was executed for his failure! It must of been an extremely memorable event!

Byng's execution is referred to in Voltaire's novel Candide with the line Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres – "In this country, it is thought wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others."

Thomas Baillie’s Ships

HMS Deptford (1732)

HMS Deptford was a 60-gun fourth rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built to the dimensions of the 1719 Establishment at Deptford Dockyard, and launched on 22 August 1732.

HMS Alderney (1757)

HMS Alderney was a 10-gun (later, 12-gun) Alderney-class sloop of the Royal Navy that saw active service during the Seven Years' War and the American Revolutionary War. Launched in 1757, she was principally deployed in the North Sea to protect British fishing fleets and merchant trade. In this capacity she captured two American privateers, Hawk in 1779 and the 12-gun Lady Washington in 1780. She was removed from Navy service at the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War, and sold into private hands at Deptford Dockyard on 1 May 1783. She became the whaler Alderney that operated between 1784 and 1797, when the Spaniards captured her off Chile.

Alderney is one of the four largest of the Channel Islands. Of which Jersey is the largest.

Alderney was designed to the dimensions and shape of HMY Royal Caroline (depicted, by John Cleveley the Elder, 1750).

HMS Tartar (1756)

For other ships with the same name, see HMS Tartar.

HMS Tartar was a 28-gun sixth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy.

HMS Tartar's Prize

HMS Tartar's Prize was a 24-gun sixth-rate of the Royal Navy, which saw active service between 1756 and 1760, during the Seven Years' War.

History in Stamps

A Philatelic History of the Royal Navy Pt 2 – 1700-1788

Ships of the Line

A Ship of the Line was a type of naval warship built from the 17th century through to the mid 19th century. These vessels where designed for the naval tactic of the line of battle where two opposing columns of warships maneuvered to fire their cannons from their broadsides. The introduction of steam propulsion brought an end to reliance on the wind for pure sail-driven vessels when maneuvering for battle and the term Ship of the Line fell into disuse. Ships were rated by their size, a First-Line ship being the largest and a Sixth-Line ship the smallest.

Naval Cannon Fire

With the introduction of Ships of the Line sailing down a line of attack firing broadsides, came the devastation of broadside cannons firing several different weights of cannon ★★★★★ and various forms of cannon shot, chains and linked cannon ★★★★★. These projectiles had a destructive effect on wooden hulls, masts, rigging and the crew. The French favoured long range fire to bring down masts and rigging thus disabling the enemy vessel.

The British favoured a closer attack with rapid fire of cannon ★★★★★ to shatter the hull below and above the water line of the enemy ship with devastating effect. Cannon ★★★★★ would enter the hull and careen around the interior of the ship leaving a swath of destruction. However, it was not only the ball that did damage, wood splinters from the wooden hull and interior generated terrible injuries to sailors below decks.

My father kept going on about hitting them between wind and water! He was a natural cricketer and played for Ripley Surrey Cricket Team after WW2. I scattered his ashes on the pitch at Ripley Easter 1976. It was where he was most happiest.

I my last school as Head of Science and Master of Fireworks I used to demonstrated Newton’s Third Law of Motion by mortaring cricket ball in Firework mortars at the cricket pitch! Thus proving the law which stated That to every action there is an equal a opposite reaction.

Aug 06, '21
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