Battle of the Dogger Bank (1781)


August 13, 2022

The Battle of the Dogger Bank was a naval battle between the Netherlands and Great Britain during the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War.


In 1776, Britain's American colonies declared their independence. The Dutch Republic recognized them, which led to a British declaration of war in 1780 and a blockade of the Dutch coast. Both the British and the Dutch traded with the Baltic Sea area during this time, and now that there was war, the grain fleets were protected with warships. The Battle of the Dogger Bank was a conflict between two of these fleets.


The battle took place on August 5, 1781 near the Dogger Bank, and ended in a draw. An English fleet under Admiral Hyde Parker attacked the Dutch navy escorting a convoy of merchant ships to the Baltic Sea. The Dutch under fleet captain Johan Zoutman repulsed the attack, but both sides were badly damaged, and the Dutch grain trade with the Baltic Sea region came to an end. The last naval battle of the Republic was thus a strategic defeat.

Reactions in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, which had not fought naval battles for a long time, the battle was celebrated as a great victory. Zoutman was honored all over the country and received a sword of honour. At the suggestion of Stadtholder Willem V, the Dogger Bank Medal was instituted; the first Dutch decoration to be worn on a ribbon. The decoration bore the text Pax quaeritur bello (one gets peace through war). Zoutman, his first officer Jan Hendrik van Kinsbergen, and the ship captains each received a gold copy. Officers received a silver copy with red-white-blue ribbon; midshipmen and non-commissioned officers also received a silver copy, but with an orange ribbon. The lower ranks received a sum of money. Many Dutchmen wore a special ribbon to commemorate the battle. At the age of 16, Anna Diersen wrote a hymn to the heroes of the Dogger Bank. Funds were set up to financially support the widows of the fallen sailors. From a merger of two of these, the training college for merchant mariners was financed in 1785. By Royal Decree of 8 July 1815, Van Kinsbergen was awarded the Grand Cross in the Military William Order, and Albert Kikkert became Commander in the Military William Order. An anonymous pamphlet about this naval battle was published in 1781, with the long title "The spirit of W.G. Focquenbroch, singing in a cheerful and pleasant melody, The Dutch sea heroes in the Zondagspak, or the fleeing English in the shirt" (16 pages in octavo). ). The battle was commemorated annually around August 5 by the patriots. The poet Jan Frederik Helmers wrote a hymn, Rhijnvis Feith a hymn and Hieronymus van Alphen a cantata on the occasion of the battle.

Rival ships


Hereditary Prince 54 (Braak) Admiral General 74 (Van Kinsbergen) Argo 40 (Staring) Batavier 50 (Bentinck) Admiral de Ruijter 68 (Flagship, Zoutman) Admiral Piet Hein 56 (Van Braam) Holland 68 (Dedel)

United Kingdom

Berwick 74 Dolphin 44 buffalo 60 Fortitude 74 (flagship) Princess Amelia 80 Preston 50 Bienfaisant 64