FORRATT, ALEXANDER [SSNE 4146]
- FORRATT, FORAT, FORRAT, FORRATT, FORATH
- First name
- ST ANDREWS, FIFE
- Social status
Captain Alexander Forrat was the brother of both Anders and Hans Forrat, and thus likely hailed from St Andrews in Fife (information derived from data on Anders Forrat). He served as a ship's captain in Sweden between 1610-1628, although he first appears in January 1611. In May of that year he was in command of all the "galejor" and "lodjor" between Nykoping and Kalmar. That summer he captained the Lejoninnan. He was in command of 6 pinaces and 36 "lodjor" in May 1614 carrying troops from Stockholm to Narva. He was also the captain of the Orfeus which took the Dutch envoy to Lubeck in June 1616. The next year he commanded 3 ships, as well as the Hollandsfalken (which had been brought back from Denmark by Hans Foratt [SSNE 1615] in 1615) and the Jagaren on the Polish sea. He captained the Hannibal in 1618, the same year he accompanied King Gustav II Adolf in the Scepter to Germany. In 1620 he himself was the captain on the Scepter, again carrying the king to Germany.
In Svenska Sjoofficerare vol II, p.256 an incident is related where Capt Alexander Forrat and James Muir were accused of the murder of one James Logan. Logan was a relative of Muir's and newly taken on in Swedish service as an ensign. On the 30th of April 1622, Logan arrived at the house of Admiral Richard Clerk, where he met in with Muir, Forrat and Stewart. They went on to the house of Gerdt Spechts where they had a beer. There a dispute arose between Forrat and Logan over money. A fight broke out in which Forrat punched Logan, who promptly pulled a knife and put it to Captain Forrat's throat. Muir got involved and in the moments that followed, John Clerk was wounded and Logan was killed. In the trial that followed Forrat was found guilty of starting the fight, fined and ordered to have additional punishment imposed by the king. Muir was sentenced to death for killing a relative, though the text does not say whether the sentence was carried out (according to Fischer it was).
In 1623, like Hans Foratt, he was employed to spy on Danzig just a month before him in April. They both captained the Engel as part of their activity. From 1624-26 Alexander was the yard captain at Gothenburg shipyard. Alexander was then appointed captain of Solen and sent to patrol the Danzig waters. He received a degree of fame after choosing to blow himself and his ship up rather than let it be captured by a squadron of Polish ships off the coast of Danzig. James Spens [SSNE 1624], the Stuart ambassador to Sweden and Swedish resident in London, recorded the incident: "The King had left in the Danzig roads only 5 of his smallest and worst ships to prevent Danzig vessels coming out this year, for winter storms of frost and snow often lead to loss of ships in the narrow rocky waters; whereupon the Danzigers prepared 10 ships which on a night of full moon sailed out, with the subsequent fight lasting two days; during the second day the admiral's vessel was captured, whereupon his captain, a Scotsman called Forath, decided to blow it up and die courageously rather than fall into the enemy's hands; the other four, unable to endure, sailed for home". Apparently Forrat was married to a certain Miss Rutherford [SSNE 7839] who received land in donation from King Gustav II Adolf. She is probably the daughter of Colonel Patrick Rutherford [SSNE 6633] whose daughter is noted as having married 'a Forratt'. They had a daughter who married Captain Seaton (unknown which one).
The National Archives, London, SP95/II, f.201; Krigsarkivet, Biografiska Anteckningar om Officerare vid Orlogsflottan 1600-1699, p.154; Krigsarkivet, Meritforteckningar (Flottan) as captain 1611-27; A. Zettersten, Svenska Flottans Historia åren 1522-1634 (Stockholm, 1890), pp.100-101; Svenska Sjoofficerare vol. II, p.256; T. Fischer, The Scots in Sweden (Edinburgh, 1907), pp.177-179.