Military Wiki
Dutch ship Willem de Eerste
The ship Willem de Eerste in 1785.
Career (Dutch Republic) Dutch Navy Ensign
Name: Willem de Eerste
Laid down: 1782
Launched: 1785
Commissioned: 1785
Decommissioned: 1795
Career (Batavian Republic) Batavian Navy Ensign
Name: Brutus
Commissioned: 1795
In service: 1795
Out of service: 1813
Renamed: Braband in 1806
Career (Kingdom of the Netherlands) Dutch Royal Navy Ensign
Name: Braband
Commissioned: 1813
Decommissioned: 1820
Fate: Broken up, 1820
General characteristics
Class & type: 74-gun third rate
ship of the line
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship

Lower gundeck: 28 × 36-pounder guns
Upper gundeck: 28 × 24-pounder guns

Quarterdeck and Forecastle: 16 × 12-pounder guns

The Willem de Eerste was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the navy of the Dutch Republic, the Batavian Republic, and the Royal Netherlands Navy. The order to construct the ship was given by the Admiralty of the Meuse.[1]

The ship was commissioned in 1785. In 1795, the ship was renamed Brutus and incorporated in the Batavian Navy. On 11 October 1797 the Brutus took part in the Battle of Camperdown under Rear-Admiral Johan Bloys van Treslong. A cannon ball hit the Rear-Admiral's right arm, which had to be amputated. Brutus soon left the battle, when she couldn't reach the flagship Vryheid because the burning ship Hercules blocked the way. After the battle, on 13 October, the ship was found by the frigate HMS Endymion and was attacked. Brutus sailed deeper in the Dutch waters of the Goeree channel, where she was no longer pursued by the British vessel.[2]

In 1806, the Brutus was renamed Braband. In the years 1811-1813, the ship formed part of the French navy, but she was returned to the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1814. In 1815 she was fitted out to sail to the Dutch East Indies, but it soon became clear that her hull wasn't strong enough for the voyage, and she sailed no further than Portsmouth. The ship was eventually broken up in 1820.[3]


  1., accessdate=2014-09-13
  2. William James. The Naval History of Great Britain, Volume 2, 1797–1799 (London: R. Bentley, 1826),77.
  3., accessdate=2014-09-13

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