Famous Warship: HMS Revenge (1577)
Patrick Harris -
HMS Revenge was Drake's flagship at Gravelines. It also has the distinction of fighting the most one sided battle in naval history. In 1591, it was part of the English fleet sent to curtail Spanish naval reconstruction after the Armada. This fleet was horribly stricken with sickness, and the fleet put into the Azores. Most of the crews were ashore. Then a Spanish fleet of 53 ships came upon the English at the harbour. Most of the English ships quickly slipped away, not willing to engage the stronger Spanish force, but not the Revenge. Her captain, Sir Richard Grenville, decided to wait in the harbour for his sick crewman on shore to return. When the Revenge did set out, she sailed straight at the Spaniards. The action that followed has passed into legend.
Within minutes the Revenge became totally surrounded. For fifteen hours her crew of 250 resisted several Spanish attempts to board her. The next morning, September 1st, saw only sixteen members of her crew alive. She lay disabled at the heart of the Spanish Fleet. Seeing no other way out, a mortally wounded Grenville ordered her scuttled.
However, the surviving crew of the Revenge disobeyed. They organized a surrender which guaranteed that the lives of her crew would be spared. HMS Revenge became the only English Ship to surrender in the Elizabethan Era. She later sank while being taken as a prize to Spain, with the lose of some 150 Spaniards.