Portrait Medallion of Anglo-Dutch War Admiral Kortenaer, circa 1785
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Admiral Egbert Meuszoon Kortenaer (1604-1665) rose from obscurity to serve with distinction in the First and Second Anglo-Dutch Wars in the service of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. In the First Anglo-Dutch War he served as first mate in Admiral Tromp’s 56-gun flagship Brederode, and lost his right hand and eye at the Battle of Dungeness in September 1652, which proved a lost opportunity to annihilate the English home fleet. When Tromp was killed by an English sharpshooter in the Battle of Texel in July 1653, Kortenaer kept Tromp's standard raised to keep up morale and took command of his squadron to claim a strategic if not tactical victory over the English Commonwealth.
In the Battle of the Sound against the Swedes in 1658, he was flag captain of the Eendragt and beat off repeated Swedish attacks while his inexperienced commanding officer Van Wassenaer was laid low with gout. After this heroic conduct against the Swedish, Kortenaer was promoted to Vice-Admiral in May 1659 and was made a knight of the White Elephant by Frederick III of Denmark. On the eve of the Second Dutch War factional politics denied him command of the united Dutch fleet, and he was made Lieutenant-Admiral of the Admiralty of de Maze. Nevertheless a British intelligence report stated: ‘He is the best man they have’. He was fatally wounded by a cannon ball early in the Battle of Lowestoft on 13 June 1665 while in command of the van and second in overall command to the gouty Van Wassenaer.