Admiral Sir Richard Haddock (1629 to 1715]

Although Admiral Haddock’s legacy is assured within the Royal Navy, perhaps his greatest historical legacy is that his story impressed the Belgian author Hergé sufficiently for the Admiral to be used as the inspiration for a character in The Adventures of Tintin .

Admiral Richard Haddock coincides exactly with Hergé’s creation of the fictional Captain Haddock’s flamboyant ancestor Sir Francis Haddock in ‘The Secret of the Unicorn’.

Prior to the outbreak of the third Anglo-Dutch War in 1672 Richard Haddock became captain of the 100-gun HMS Royal James on 18 January of that year; he was her captain at the Battle of Solebay on 28 May. The Royal James was the flagship of Admiral Sir Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich .

The Royal James led the Blue Squadron and attacked Willem Joseph van Ghent’s ship. She was then engaged by a number of other Dutch warships and fireships. Despite fighting several of them off and forcing Rear-Admiral Jan van Brakel’s ship to disengage, the Royal James was set on fire by the Dutch.

Admiral Haddock was wounded in the foot and seeing that the ship was doomed attempted to persuade the Earl to abandon ship. Montagu refused and Haddock jumped overboard. He survived to be picked up and transferred to another English warship. Montagu was killed in the wreck.

Haddock returned to London and attended a meeting with King Charles II. There the King bestowed a mark of favour on Haddock for his actions during the battle, taking a satin cap from his head and placing it on Haddock’s.