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Anchor 58

Battle of Negapatam

On the 6th July 1782 during the American War of Independence (1775-83) this battle was the third of a series of four actions awarded a battle honour in the East Indies between the British Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes and the French Admiral Pierre Suffren, to establish naval supremacy in the Indian Ocean.


The French intended to capture the British base at Negapatam and Hughes sailed from Trincomalee on Ceylon's (Sri Lanka) north-east coast to intercept.


The two squadrons each comprised 11 ships-of-the-line.


The British squadron comprised the flagship HMS Superb together with Burford, Eagle, Exeter, Hero, Isis, Magnanime, Monarca, Monmouth, Seahorse, Sultan and Worcester


The battle was fierce and casualties heavy but no ships were taken or sunk. However, while the captain of the French ship Severe (64) struck his colours to HMS Sultan, his crew refused to surrender, fought off the British and rejoined their squadron.


In the evening both squadrons anchored inshore to lick their wounds.


The French were later able to retire to the north but their attempt to take the British base was abandoned.

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