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This Day in History | NOW Grenada

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by John Angus Martin, A-Z of Grenada Heritage

On this day, 6 July 1779, French naval forces, under the Comte d’Estaign, engaged the British under Vice-Admiral John Bryon off Grenada, forcing the retreat of the British, and bolstering the French control of Grenada.

Notified of the invading French force under d’Estaing, Admiral Byron and the British fleet arrived along the western coast of Grenada on the morning of 6 July. They were not sure what the situation was, but as they sailed down towards St George’s they saw what appeared to be a larger French fleet emerging from the Carenage. The British probably felt that they stood a chance of beating the French and retaining Grenada.

At about 7 or 8 am the two fleets engaged each other as the British fleet. The British had hoped to force the French “to a close engagement,” but they avoided that tactic. At around noon, the British found “it impossible to continue the engagement with any possibility of success, a general cessation of firing took place.” A second engagement began around 3 pm when the French fleet returned southward, forcing the British to resume the battle until sunset. As the fleets drifted apart the British retreated, their fleet badly damaged. According to Jamieson, Grenada was the most valuable colony after Jamaica and its loss to the French had been “the most serious blow to Britain since the American rebellion had been transformed into a global war.”

Plan of the French land and naval attacks, July 1779

Official figures show that the British had 183 killed and 346 wounded, and the French had 190 killed and 759 wounded. The naval battle produced no winners, but the British had failed in retaking Grenada and forced to retreat, very badly damaged. The French couldn’t claim victory, however, though they could have had the upper hand had d’Estaing chosen to pursue Byron’s badly damaged fleet. Some historians concluded “that neither admiral distinguished himself.”

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“Admiral Byron very frightened, abandoned the island of Grenada with the French victory by Count d’Estaing”
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Naval battle off Grenada, 6 July 1779

 

Celebrations in Paris, France

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“Barrington grimaces at Admiral Byron who is beaten at the battle of Grenade in 1779”

The news of d’Estaing’s victory over the British in the Caribbean led to celebrations in France. The French had demonstrated that the British did not control the seas as they had done during the Seven Years War. James Cornwallis, in a letter to William who had barely escaped as commander of the Lion, expressed the concern the Grenada capture had produced: “Admiral Barrington is come home in very ill-humour, and represents our situation in the West Indies as truly lamentable, where we thought ourselves strongest. Upon the whole, nothing can look worse than our affairs, although we have not yet had any great loss excepting Grenada, we are every day in apprehension of some bad news, How different from the last war, when we were only accustomed to victory.”

Louis-Antoine de Bougainville

Louis-Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811), after whom Grenada’s national flower bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis) is named, took part in the capture of Grenada and the sea battle against the British in July 1779. He was the commander of the ship of the line Le Guerrier, which escaped comparatively unscathed and lost only nine men. The bougainvillea is a native plant of Brazil and was brought to France in 1768 by the explorer and botanist.

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Louis-Antoine de Bougainville

 

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The bougainvillea, Grenada’s national flower

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Caribbean & World

Tourism statement on the passing of Sir Royston Hopkin, KCMG

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The island of Grenada woke up Saturday morning to hear the sad news of the sudden passing of a famous son of the soil, Sir Royston Hopkin, KCMG.

Sir Royston was our celebrity hotelier starting his illustrious career in the hospitality industry with the purchase of Spice Island Inn over 30 years ago. He renamed it Spice Island Beach Resort, upgraded the property, added more rooms and has received numerous accolades over the years. His attention to detail, his quest for excellence and his high standards meant that Spice Island Beach Resort became one of the most prestigious hotels on the island and in the Caribbean.

Sir Royston held many roles outside of his hotel, including Director of the Grenada Board of Tourism and President of the Grenada Hotel Association (GHA). Indeed, he was a leader with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) for many years and one of the pinnacles of his career was being chosen as Caribbean Hotelier of the Year by the CHTA. In 2019, he was awarded a lifetime achievement by the Caribbean Hotel and Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS) in Miami, Florida.

The Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Dr Clarice Modeste-Curwen, awarded Sir Royston a lifetime achievement at her Tourism Awards ceremony in 2019. She stated, “He will be dearly missed by all Grenadians for his invaluable contribution to Tourism and Civil Aviation in the country. In the conduct of his business, Sir Royston, always negotiated with the country at heart and he will also be recognised for his investment in the education of young people.”

Sir Royston is survived by his wife Lady Betty Hopkin and his four children. Chairman of the GTA, Brenda Hood, stated, “We know the road will not be easy without Sir Royston at the helm, but he laid the foundation for the next generation to carry on his wonderful legacy at his hotel.”

On behalf of the Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, the Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation, the Chairman and the Board of Director and the team of the Grenada Tourism Authority, Grenada is eternally grateful for the life and contributions to Tourism and Civil Aviation of Sir Royston Hopkin, KCMG. May he rest in peace.

GTA

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Michael Bascombe says his daughter is lucky to be alive

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by Linda Straker

  • Doctors have given thumbs up on Micah’s prognosis
  • Micah is a senior at Buffalo State College of State University of New York

Michael Bascombe, father of Micah Bascombe has described his daughter as a walking miracle and lucky to be alive, following an early Sunday morning shooting in University Heights, Buffalo, New York, USA.

“She remains conscious. The doctors have given the thumbs up on her prognosis,” Bascombe said in a Facebook post on Monday, 24 February in which he updated his friends and followers. Early Sunday morning he called on friends to pray for his daughter and the family.

“She’s a walking miracle and lucky to be alive because the bullet penetrated and exited the skull just above the left eye,” he shared in the post. He had earlier posted that his daughter continues to be in high spirits, but remains in the ICU.

“When you see your baby smile, there is nothing more you can ask for,” was the message on her mother, Hazel Ann Bascombe’s Facebook page. Micah is a senior at Buffalo State College of State University of New York, studying psychology.

Bascombe is well known for his sport journalism work and is presently working in the US with the Department of Homeland Security. He said the family spent most of Monday morning with the detectives of the Gun Violence Unit of the Buffalo Police Department, the Assistant Chief of Police of the University Police Department of Buffalo State and the Dean of Students of Buffalo State. “They have been collecting evidence and interviewing people who they believe could assist in their investigations,” he said.

A report in the Sunday edition of The Buffalo News website quoted the police as saying that a 20-year-old woman was in serious condition after she was struck by gunfire just before 3 am near Bailey and Berkshire avenues. She was transported to Erie County Medical Centre.

Bascombe, who migrated with his family to the USA more than 10 years ago used the post to thank all those who prayed and continue to pray for his daughter and the family. “Thank you for the many calls and offer of support through this difficult time including some incredible folks at the Department of Homeland Security and the many family members who made the journey and gathered at her bedside with short notice,” he wrote.

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Arrests made in Soubise drug bust

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Three men have been arrested and charged in connection with the 20 December 2019 drug bust at Soubise, St Andrew, which netted 698 pounds of cannabis.

The men, Ronald Thomas, 35 years of Post Royal, St Andrew; Rol Mc Queen, 31 years of La Fortune, St Patrick, both Fishermen, and Finbar Phillip, 43 years, Mechanic of Soubise, St Andrew will appear at the Grenville Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, 25 February 2020.

Finbar Phiilip
Rol Mc Queen
Ronald Thomas

Thomas has been charged with Trafficking in a Controlled Drug, while Mc Queen and Phillip have been charged with Conspiracy to Traffic in a Controlled Drug.

One blue fishing boat with a 75 horse-power was also seized.

Police investigation continues.

Office of Commissioner of Police

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