Admiral George B. Rodney
1st Baron Rodney KB (1718-1792)
Admiral George B. Rodney was a brilliant naval strategist, an inveterate gambler, and an unscrupulous collector of the spoils of war. He will forever be remembered as the Admiral who broke the French line at the Battle of the Saints, thus safeguarding British control of the Caribbean.
By the spring of 1782, the French fleet, led by Admiral de Grasse, was voraciously eyeing the Caribbean sugar islands. However Admiral Rodney knew De Grasse’s intentions and pursued the French on April 12th. The famous Battle of the Saints began. The two fleets met on opposite courses in-line near Les Iles des Saints; but a sudden change of wind confused the French, and gaps appeared in their line. With a flash of tactical genius, Rodney ordered his ships to turn 90 degrees and break the French line. In doing so the guns on both sides of the English ships were brought to bear on the French with little risk of return fire. De Grasse could not reform his line and by late afternoon his 130 gun flagship, Ville de Paris, struck her colours giving Rodney victory and the English hegemony in the Caribbean.
The Admiral Rodney series of award-winning rums celebrates the famous naval battle and toasts the courage and valour of British sailors who “broke the line” and vanquished the French fleet.