Honour - FIRST OF JUNE 1794

Date - 28/29-May and 01-June
Type - Fleet or Squadron Actions
Conflict - French Revolutionary War; 1793-1803

Description The action took place about 400 nautical miles (740km) west of Ushant. Between a Royal Navy Fleet of 34 ships-of-the-line under Admiral Howe, and a French Fleet under Admiral Joyeuse of 26 ships-of-the-line.

In France, upheaval from the French Revolution combined with a ruined harvest meant the country was starving. The French Fleet was escorting a large grain convoy from America.

On 28-May the French Fleet was sighted by HMS Queen Charlotte, with the French having the weather gauge. Three days of skirmishing followed as The British tried to break through to the merchant convoy to the south and on 30-May another four French ships-of-the-line joined.

At daybreak on 01-June the Fleets were about 4 miles apart and the British had gained the windward position. Howe ordered an unusual attack on the French line intended to break through at all points, attack from leeward and so destroy the French Atlantic Fleet.

Five British ships managed this but the remainder did not, which resulted in a general Melee. Surviving 12 French ships were able to withdraw to the East leaving the British with 11 ships capable of further battle.

The French had 6 ships captured and one sunk, with 4,000 killed and wounded plus another 3,000 captured.

The British suffered 1,150 casualties. As a result of battle damage the British were unable to go on, located and take the French grain convoy.

The British claimed victory having won the battle, the French claimed victory as the vital grain convoy successfully made port in France. 


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This page last edited - 10 March, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.