Military Wiki
Admiral Sir George Rooke
by Michael Dahl, painted c. 1705
Born 1650
Died 24 January 1709(1709-01-24) (aged 59)
Place of birth St Lawrence, Canterbury, Kent
Place of death St Lawrence, Canterbury, Kent
Allegiance  Kingdom of England
 Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1672 - 1705
Rank Admiral of the Fleet

Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Rooke (1650 – 24 January 1709) was an English naval commander. He is known for his service in the wars against France and particularly remembered today for his victory at Vigo Bay and for capturing Gibraltar for England in 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession.

Early life[]

Sir George Rooke by Michael Dahl.

Rooke was born at St Lawrence, near Canterbury in 1650.[1] Entering the navy as a volunteer in 1672, he served in the Dutch Wars and became post captain in 1673.[1] He was promoted Rear Admiral in 1690 and saw action at the Battle of Beachy Head.[1]

In May 1692 Rooke served under Russell at the Battle of Barfleur and greatly distinguished himself in a night attack on the French fleet at La Hogue, when he succeeded in burning twelve of the enemy's ships.[1] He was knighted shortly afterwards.[1]

In 1693 Rooke commanded the Smyrna convoy, which was scattered and partly taken by the French Admiral Tourville near Lagos Bay.[1]
In 1696 he was appointed Admiral of the Fleet. Until the peace of Rijswijk (1697), he continued to serve in the Channel and Mediterranean. In 1700 he commanded the Anglo-Dutch Squadron that attacked Copenhagen in conjunction with the Swedish fleet under Admiral-General Hans Wachtmeister, which facilitated the landing of King Charles XII of Sweden and his army in Denmark in the opening phase of the Great Northern War.[1]

War of the Spanish Succession[]

After England declared war on France (15 May 1702) at the opening of the War of the Spanish Succession, Rooke commanded the unsuccessful Allied expedition against Cádiz (August/September 1702), but on the passage home he destroyed the Spanish treasure fleet in the Battle of Vigo Bay (23 October 1702), which won him the thanks of Parliament.[1] He commanded the allied naval forces in the capture of Gibraltar in July 1704.[1] Returning to sea, on 13 August 1704 he attacked the French fleet off Málaga, an engagement which in immediate terms resulted in a draw between the two sides, but strategically successfully supported the allied forces at Gibraltar.[1]

On account of his health, Rooke retired from the service in February 1705 and returned to his estate at St Lawrence near Canterbury, where he died in 1709.[1]

In 2004 a statue of Rooke was erected to his memory at Gibraltar as part of the 300th anniversary celebration of the capture of Gibraltar.



  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911) "Rooke, Sir George" Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.) Cambridge University Press 

Further reading[]

Rooke, Sir George (1897). The Journal of Sir George Rooke. London: Publications of the Navy Records Society. 

  • Hattendorf, John B., (2000). "Sir George Rooke and Sir Cloudesley Shovell" in Le Fevre, Peter and Harding, Richarddisambiguation needed, eds. Precursors of Nelson: British admirals of the eighteenth century. London: Chatham.
Military offices
Preceded by
Edward Russell
Admiral of the Fleet
Succeeded by
Sir Cloudesley Shovell

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