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Battle of Tory Island


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Source: Berichard

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The Battle of Tory Island was a naval action of the French Revolutionary Wars, fought on 12 October 1798 between French and British squadrons off the northwest coast of County Donegal, then in the Kingdom of Ireland. The last action of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the Battle of Tory Island ended the final attempt by the French Navy to land substantial numbers of soldiers in Ireland during the war.

The Society of United Irishmen, led by Wolfe Tone, launched an uprising against British rule in Ireland in May 1798. At the request of the rebels, a small French force under General Humbert was landed at Killala, County Mayo, but by early September both this expedition and the rebellion had been defeated. Unaware of Humbert's surrender, the French despatched reinforcements on 16 September. Having missed one invasion force, the Royal Navy was on alert for another, and when the squadron carrying the reinforcements left Brest they were soon spotted. After a long chase, the French were brought to battle in a bay off the rugged County Donegal coast in the west of Ulster, very close to Tory Island. During the action the outnumbered French attempted to escape, but were run down and defeated piecemeal, with the British capturing four ships and scattering the survivors. Over the next fortnight, British frigate patrols scoured the passage back to Brest, capturing three more ships. Of the ten ships in the original French squadron, only two frigates and a schooner reached safety. British losses in the campaign were minimal.


Copyright: Creative Commons 3.0

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