Anne Hilarion de Tourville
|Anne Hilarion de Costentin, comte de Tourville|
Amiral Anne-Hilarion de Costentin, comte de Tourville, Musée de la Marine.
|Born||24 November 1642
|Died||23 May 1701
Maréchal de France
At age 17, as a Knight of Malta, he fought his first naval battle on a frigate of the Order of Malta.
At 25, he joined the French Royal Navy and started an active career, fighting the 1673 campaign of the Franco-Dutch War on the Sans-Pareil, at the Battle of Agosta where he was in command of the Syrene, and later in command of the Sceptre.
He served under Abraham Duquesne during the campaigns of 1676, and became a commander in 1690 during the War of the Grand Alliance. He put his flag on the Soleil-Royal, where it would stay until the battle of La Hougue in 1692. At the Battle of Beachy Head (Victoire de Béveziers), 1690, he defeated an Anglo-Dutch fleet, sinking and capturing 15 enemy ships.
On 29 May 1692, at Barfleur, with only 45 ships, he inflicted heavy losses on an English and Dutch fleet 97 ships strong, but was forced to retreat. He himself suffered heavy losses after the battle when fire ships attacked the French ships of the line immobilised for repairs in Cherbourg.
Honours and tributes
Tourville retired after the Peace of Ryswick and died in Paris on 23 May 1701, regarded as a national hero.
A number of French naval vessels from the 18th through 20th centuries were named in Tourville's honour.
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