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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. 

The James Logan murder

An incident occurred in April 1622 leading to Captain Alexander Forrat and James Muir [SSNE 1713] being accused of the murder of one James Logan [SSNE 49]. 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 [SSNE 4137] for a meal. There he met in with Muir, Forrat, John Clerk [SSNE 4159] and Simon Stewart [SSNE 1644]. 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). 

On 4 May 1622, two Scottish burgesses George Gardner [SSNE] and George Logan [SSNE], stood before the Stockholm magistrates on behalf of Agneta Jöransdotter, the widow of James Logan. She accused Captain Alexander Forrat and James Muir of the murder of her husband, James Logan on the night of 30 April at Gerdt Specht's (formerly a goldsmith) house in Norrmalm. That night Captain Forrat and Muir had been invited to Admiral Richard Clerck's [SSNE ] house, also on Norrmalm, for dinner, and James Logan arrived later on. Eventually they all moved onto Specht's house for some beer. Allegedly Captain Forrat began to harrass Logan, saying he had heard that Logan had been taken into Swedish military service (you are serving his majesty) as an ensign or a lieutenant. However, the true issue between them concerned a dispute over money owed and involved Thomas Dunker. Logan responded that Captain Forrat should turn to Captain Stuart (also present). This enraged Forrat, leading him to strike Logan, who pulled out his knife, and then Muir threw a pewter mug at the pair, which struck Captain John Clerck on the arm. Captain Forrat grabbed the mug and struck Logan on the head, leading Logan to grab the captain by the throat, thrust him to the floor and start punching him in the mouth. Logan had the knife in his hands and told the captain that if he wanted to kill him he was in a position to do so. At this point the captain apparently agreed to let things lie. But Muir, spotting the captain's servant boy, rushed over and grabbed the captain's sword from the boy, and struck Logan with it a few times. Allegedly Muir called Logan a murderer, demanding that he release the captain. Muir claimed not to remember striking Logan with the captain's sword. Muir displayed remorse before the magistrates, claiming he had no ill will towards Logan, and that he had offered to help him resolve the matter between him, Captain Forrat and Thomas Dunker. Muir claimed that Logan was his blood relative. Captain Clerck, who had intervened, stopping Muir and pleaded with Logan not to murder Forrat, ran to get the barber surgeon, but Logan bled out and died. It was a wound to an artery in the groin, probably, as the records note that Logan's trousers were ripped and blood was pouring out from the wound. Another witness saw Muir strike Logan's leg with the sword. There were at least 3 musicians, a 'skriffvare' (muster-writer?), and the lady of the house, Margareta, present as well as Captain Forrat's boy William Thomson and Captain Clerck's boy. Captain Forrat was punished for his involvement, whilst Muir was sentenced to death.

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; The James Logan murder is recorded in Stockholms tänke böcker, 1622-1623 (Stockholm, 1978), pp. 26-31, 4th May 1622. See also Svenska Sjoofficerare vol. II, p.256; T. Fischer, The Scots in Sweden (Edinburgh, 1907), pp.177-179; Alexia Grosjean, An Unofficial Alliance: Scotland and Sweden, 1569-1654 (Brill, Leiden, 2003), p.131.


Service record

Arrived 1610-01-01, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1628-11-18, as CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose NAVAL