Battle of Medway / Tocht naar Chatham 2017
The English: "Our most Glorious Defeat"
UK/NL EVENT: Battle of Medway / Tocht naar Chatham
In June 2017, the 350th year since this battle took place, it will be commemorated in England ànd the Netherlands in a glorious & festive way.
After a Grand opening many events will evolve: exhibitions, sailing events, demonstrations by both navies, rowing marines, an historical service in Rochester Cathedral, Dickens Festival, re-enactments, fireworks, all during the Dutch Week in and around the Dockyard Maritime Museum. Exhibitions and symposia in both countries. Follow the links below.
Battle of Medway, UK June 8-17th 2017
Latest information on UK events. Join the conversation on Twitter #BoM350 or #TnC350.
8/6: Two “de Ruyter Memorial” sailing events, sponsored by Scheepvaart Museum, will be organized from the Navy Harbor in Flushing to muster on the Medway, followed by a spectacular entrance in Chatham. The first fleet arriving June 8th, the second fleet June 14th. Details in "Sail-in...Again". Many (sailing)contests will be organized for both fleets 8-17th.
10/6: UK/NL Navy demo's & Dutch Marines Rowing Challenge, a team of former Dutch marines, will challenge the English Marines in a rowing event on the Medway. The finish line will be a floating chain, sponsored by Van Oord, an international dredging and marine contractor.
11/6: This Sunday an historical service will be held in Rochester Cathedral. The service will also include the inauguration of the first mayor of the new city Medway. Music by the Breda Mens Choir and the Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy. Dickens Festival in Rochester 9-11th.
10-17/6: On the grounds of the Dockyard Museum and around the basins 1, 2 and 3 a Dutch Week will be held. Info: Medway Council.
17/6: Medway in Flames, re-enactment & fireworks as Grand finale of the Dutch Week over at Upnor Castle.
In the Netherlands multiple exhibitions (att.) and two conferences will follow. The Rijks Museum will host a symposium June 19th (by invitation only, afternoon/early evening program) and Vrienden van de Witt in conjunction with the Naval Dockyards Society June 24-24th at the Navy Establishment Amsterdam. (next to Scheepvaartmuseum)
More activities listed in documents below.
Sponsor our initiative to develop a comic book and provide lectures at schools about the events leading to, the execution of and the resulting peace treaty in Breda after the Battle of Medway.
Launched April 18th 2017 the album has a role in the educational program of Rijksmuseum and Dockyards museum. The participating classes can look forward to a challenging competition with a unique prize!!!
NL/UK SCHOOLS: can book a lecture about the Battle of Medway by a descendant of the Admiral and get free copies of the comic book. Minimal costs for the schools and comic books for free. info: email@example.com
- schools get lecture by descendant Adm Michiel de Ruyter
- attending pupils get free copy comic book (max 100/lecture)
- we will support you in finding a sponsor for the speaker
- lectures in NL to take place from mid April
- lectures in UK June 7-18th and at schools in July
To book a lecture or order the comic book email our foundation.
Temporary offer: You can order directly with us for 10 euro's per copy plus porto. All proceeds go to our Foundation. For information contact us.
Crossing the Chain
Dutch Marines Rowing Challenge, a team of former Dutch marines, will Saturday 10th June challenge the English Marines in a rowing event on the Medway between Upnor Castle and Rochester Bridge, finishing at Nelson's Gate on the Dockyard terrain.
Dutch dredging and marine contractor Van Oord supports this race by designing a floating "chain" that will act as finish line.Other parties can participate by signing up via us.
The Jewellery & Silversmithing Department at the University for the Creative Arts in Rochester are planning to re-imagine the Chain Across the Medway as a celebration of hand skills, community, collaboration and connection. Over 300 yards long and together with the Dutch Vakschool Schoonhoven and the Rietveld Academy. Rochester, Schoonhoven & Rietveld have dedicated part of their educational program to this project. The resulting chains will be shown in Nr3 Slip at the Dockyard Maritime Museum from July 12th. (att.)
Admiral Holmes executed a brutal attack on the island of West-Terschelling in August 1666, sinking 150+ merchant vessels and destroying half the island and its inhabitants. States Pensionary Johan de Witt wanted to retaliate by taking up an old plan to invade London by sailing up the Thames. This plan was to be executed just months after the plague and a fire had devastated the City.
Admiral of the Fleet Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter (Immensi Tremor Oceani: Great Terror of the Oceans) advised him on a slightly different plan. He knew the English fleet would be at anchor and unguarded in the Thames estuary: the River Medway.
De Ruyter sails his ships to Upnor Castle where one of his captains, Jan van Brakel, breaks through a chain across the river. It is still a mystery how he accomplished this historic feat: either by sinking the floating barges the chain was resting on or using Marines to unlock one side. An investigation into the precise location of this chain is still underway in the British Admiralty Archives. Dutch Archives were burned in the 19th century.
Rowing was the primary means of getting the huge ships up the river Medway. Against current, tide and wind the ships were not able to sail to Chatham unassisted. By rowing the anchors to the maximum length of their chains, dropping them and hauling them in while pulling the fregates with rowboats at the same time it took the fleet more than a week form Sheerness to Upnor Castle.
After dredging parts of the River Medway with the help of local pilots (the Dutch paid them) a large part of the fleet was able to get close to Chatham. The fleet passes some ships sunk by the English to block his passage and take two ships, Unity and the flagship Royal Charles, back to the Netherlands. During the final battle at Upnor Castle the first 50 Dutch casualties resulted in a retreat to the Thames estuary. De Ruyter concluded that there was no use in overstaying his visit after destroying the combined English fleet and taking Unity and Royal Charles as loot to the Netherlands. The stern-piece of the latter can still be seen in the Rijksmuseum.
The rest of the English fleet is totally destroyed. It turns out the English navy will, after this rejuvenation, lay the foundation for its supremacy in years to come. (Benedictio In Dissimulant: good comes from setback)
The Battle of Medway sets in motion the end of the Second AngloDutch War and a, for the Dutch favorable, peace treaty is signed in Breda shortly afterwards. Sovereignty is guaranteed for the Dutch.
The English still call this "our most glorious defeat".
The Breda peace treaty was signed a month later and will be celebrated August this year.
The “de Ruyter Memorial Zeiltocht”, sponsored by Scheepvaart Museum, will be organized from the different ports in the Netherlands to muster on the Medway, followed by a spectacular entrance in Chatham.
Sailing contests on the Medway for both fleets during the week. Different classes can participate.
Since the capacity of Chatham, Gillingham and Rochester is limited, sequential visits are arranged. Available berths are blocked for other events or individual ships. The French have already been sent away...
For every fleet a point of contact (POC) is available. Zeezeilschool Scheveningen has ships available for active passengers.
Fleet 1: 6/6 > 13/6 (with own ship, cruise or act passenger)
- Highlights: Grand Opening, Navy Demos, Rowing Marines, Dickens Festival, Rochester Cathedral
- Wednesday 7th - muster ivo Queenborough anchoring
- Thursday 8th - salute Upnor Castle prior to Grand opening
- Tuesday 13th - "no later than" departure Medway
- Coordination of berths & sponsoring. (program tbd)
- POC: St Michiel de Ruyter, Frits de Ruyter de Wildt, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Site: this one, actually.
- NOTE: Cruises fully booked (hammocks...)
- TIP: Still spots available for active passengers. See below.
Cruise (& active passengers)
The Morgenster (background picture) and zeillogger Iris are scheduled to sail Scheveningen - Chatham vv and will be on location June 8-11. Morgenster will lead the Sail-in, with HNLMS Urania, SS G Stephenson, MV Waddenzee and three Admiralstender 890 in close formation.
- POC: Jan Linssen, email@example.com
- Do not contact ships directly in relation to this event, please.
- Morgenster cabins fully booked, hammocks still available.
- Zeillogger Iris fully booked
Zeezeilschool Scheveningen has 4 ships available for +/- 4 active passengers.
- Program iaw fleet1, fleet2 or both.
- POC: Pieter Visser, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fleet 2: 12/6 > 18/6 (with own ship)
- Highlights: Dutch Week, Medway in Flames
- Monday June 12th - muster Flushing
- Wednesday 14th - entrance Medway
- Sunday 18th - approx. departure Medway
- Coordination of berths, sponsoring & program
- POC: NVvK, Sietske Cnossen, email@example.com
- Site: www.kustzeilers.nl en infosheet onderaan de pagina
- Almost filled, so be quick!!!
Four separate locations are available for berthing: alongside, on moorings, behind locks or even bottoming at low tide.
These locations are: Chatham Marina, Upnor Sailing Club, Medway Yacht Club and Gillingham Marina. Each has its own specifications which will be shared separately on request.
Jet Stream Tours will provide a shuttle-boat and boat-taxi. On land busses will routinely pass these marinas during the event.
Historizon organizes an "overland" journey to Chatham. See document below.
Please contact relevant POC directly for further information.
What's our Role?
The Foundation participates
The "Stichting Michiel de Ruyter" is closely involved in the organization of the events in England and the Netherlands. We hold a coordinating role in close cooperation with the English and Dutch organizations, such as musea and governments.
The design of a commemoration coin, development of a comic book and general planning are the responsibility of the Foundation itself.
Interested in a lecture? Contact us for details.
Want to stay in the loop?
Visit our full site by following the link in the top right corner of this page "naar volledige website" and subscribe to our newsletter. We will keep you informed on a regular basis of all the events organized by our Foundation and especially the Chatham 350 commemoration in 2017.
Promoting Dutch products
Make Chatham unforgettable
Through your support the Foundation Michiel de Ruyter can bring the cultural heritage of the Battle of Medway (Tocht naar Chatham) to the attention of the general public. By our actions and initiatives we hope to make a larger population enthusiastic about our history and the lessons it holds for the present. The comic book, lectures at schools and commemorations we organize are made possible by your contributions.
Please help us realize those goals by donating to our "culturele ANBI Stichting".
Do you want to donate?
Ask for a meeting with one of our board members for any special requests or donate directly to:
Stichting Michiel de Ruyter, NL30ABNA0642367582 ref Chatham350
Use the link in the heading or the button on this page.
The Foundation is a "Culturele ANBI". Check local tax rulings for the advantages.
Documenten & Links
BoM350: NL Program description
An description of events, exhibitions, symposia and shows organized in the Netherlands
BoM350: NL program schedule
An overview including bilateral events. (UK&NL)
BoM350: UK flyer
This flyer gives you a good idea of the scale and timeline of events between June 8-17 in the UK.
An overland historic journey from June 7-11 with own transportation and accommodation. Several events included.
Infosheet Vloot 2
Periode 14-18 juni op de Medway. De NVvK (Kustzeilers) organiseert de 2e intocht. Gesponsord door het Scheepvaartmuseum.
Jewellery Chain across the Medway
English initiative to re-imagine the Chain across the Medway in jewellery. 300 yards long!!!
Speciaal voor deze herdenking wordt een stripboek gemaakt. Dit stripboek zal centraal staan in het educatieve programma van zowel het Rijksmuseum als de Dockyards in Chatham en wordt in het Nederlands en Engels uitgebracht. U kunt deze productie steunen of u op voorhand aanmelden voor een exemplaar via uitgeverij Strip2000Reserveren