To Quebec, wrecked in the St Lawrence 1711
Tory hostility to Marlborough had centred on him concentrating British energies in Flanders at the expense of diversionary attacks on the French and their allies elsewhere in the world. To that end the new Tory government dispatched five regiments, among them Windress’s, to North America in 1711 to help the British colonists in the fight against their French neighbours in Canada.
The expedition reached Boston on June 24 and then sailed for Quebec at the end of the following month. However, with no local pilots available, the treacherous St Lawrence river proved hugely difficult to navigate. On the night of August 22 the ships found themselves in the midst of a great storm dangerously close to the shoals and rocks of the north shore. Nine transports and a store ship failed to anchor and were wrecked with heavy casualties among troops and crews. Thirty officers and nearly 700 men perished. Windress’s was the regiment hardest hit, losing seven officers, including two ‘originals’ from 1702, and 253 other ranks. One officer recalled sloops ‘bringing off … the scattered remains of six and twenty companies, mangled and bruised on the rocks, and naked withal, that they were not in any condition of service’. The attempt to take Quebec was abandoned and by the end of October Windress’s were back in England.