Presented by: Jock Fyfe
Review written by: Rory O’Brien

Jock presented a well-illustrated talk on the Spanish Armada. He focussed his talk on the many people involved on both sides of the conflict. He purposely kept the description of the battle to a minimum.

Some of the main ‘players’ are as follows; King Phillip 2nd of Spain, ardent Catholic, also known as the Pope’s Policeman. Queen Elizabeth 1st of England, the ‘Virgin Queen’, roused her army with great speech before battle. Two Popes; Gregory 13th , encouraged King Phillip and Sixtus 5th stopped money being passed to King Phillip. Other lesser ‘players’ included; the Duke of Parma, Santa Cruz, Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh, Francis Walsingham and Mary Queen of Scots.

At the time Spain had the largest navy, 130 ships and the greatest Empire, including Portugal and South American colonies.

Some aspects that assisted during the battle: the design of the ships, the Spanish ships had high forecastles and quarterdecks which made them less manoeuvrable than the lower profile English ships. The English ships had ‘Cod’ keels. The English bronze cannons were more accurate than the Spanish iron cannons. The English sacrificed five of their ships as ‘Hell Burners’, i.e. the ships were filled with wood, tar and gun powder, set fire to and sailed into the Spanish fleet, causing the loss of Spanish ships and scattering the fleet.

After the battle, most of the Spanish fleet sailed north around Scotland but was then battered by North Atlantic gales with many of the ships wrecked along the Scottish and Irish coasts.