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Sir Francis Wheeler was charged with delivering a bribe to the Duke of Savoy to keep him in on England's side during the “Nine Years War.” His flag ship, HMS Sussex, was loaded with gold coins, valued at over a million British pounds, and set out on its mission in 1694. William III was on the throne but Sir Francis was a supporter of the deposed James II and planned to divert the gold and discredit William III in an attempt to have James II restored. A strong easterly wind reached gale force strength and this violent levanter put paid to this plan. HMS Sussex was despatched to a watery grave together with twelve other ships in the fleet. The dead body of Sir Francis Wheeler was found on the eastern shore of the Rock of Gibraltar, two days after the sinking. The secret funds never reached the Duke of Savoy and this disaster would remain one of the worst disasters in the history of the Royal Navy. The gold would remain locked in the hold of the sunken HMS Sussex forever, or would it?
- AuthorHouse UK, September 2011
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