Jan de Baen: Portrait of Lieutenant-Admiral Willem Joseph, Baron van Gendt (1663-1672)
(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Willem Joseph van Ghent was another Dutch hero during the 17th century. Van Ghent was the founder and first commander of the Dutch Marine Corps which was founded in August 1665. To fool the enemies of The Netherlands, van Ghent was given a naval rank (first captain, later Lieutenant-Admiral) - the presence of an army colonel on a fleet would be very conspicuous. As commander of the Dutch Marines he was active during the second and third Anglo-Dutch wars. His most famous victory was during the Raid on the Medway, 19 – 24 June 1667. His marines stormed the Sheerness Fort (by that enabling the Dutch fleet to continue the operation) and captured the Royal Charles - the pride and normal flagship of the English fleet. Van Ghent was killed during the Battle of Solebay, 28 May 1672, while attacking the Royal James, flagship of Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich. Although van Ghent was killed, his troops managed to burn down the Royal James. This portrait is from 1663-1672.