Sir Thomas Thompson, 1st Baronet

Last updated

Thomas Thompson, 1st Baronet
Sir Thomas Boulden Thompson.jpg
Born28 February 1766
Barham, Kent
Died3 March 1828 (1828-03-04) (aged 62)
Hartsbourne, Manor-Place, Hertfordshire
AllegianceUnion flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg  Kingdom of Great Britain
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Service/branchNaval Ensign of Great Britain (1707-1800).svg  Royal Navy
Years of service1778
Rank Vice-Admiral
Commands held HMS Nautilus
HMS Leander
HMS Bellona
HMS Mary
Battles/wars Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Battle of the Nile
Battle of Copenhagen
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Sir Thomas Boulden Thompson, 1st Baronet, GCB (28 February 1766 – 3 March 1828) was an officer of the Royal Navy. He served during the American Revolutionary, French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, eventually rising to the rank of Vice-Admiral. He was one of Horatio Nelson's Band of Brothers at the Battle of the Nile in 1798 and Comptroller of the Navy from 1806–1816.

Contents

Family and early life

Thompson was born in Barham, Kent on 28 February 1766. His uncle, through his mother, was Commodore Edward Thompson, and it was through this relative's influence that Thomas joined the navy in June 1778, when Edward was appointed to command the sloop HMS Hyaena. [1] He served on the Hyaena with his uncle, spending most of the time in the waters off the British Isles, before accompanying Rodney's fleet to the Relief of Gibraltar in January 1780. The Hyaena was later entrusted with carrying copies of Rodney's despatches. [1]

Thompson later moved to the West Indies, being promoted to lieutenant on 14 January 1782. He was given command of a small schooner, with which he captured a larger French privateer. [1] After the end of the American Revolutionary War, Thompson was moved onto his uncle's flagship, the 50-gun HMS Grampus. He served off the coast of Africa until his uncle's death in 1786, after which he was given command of the sloop HMS Nautilus. He remained in command for the next twelve months, before returning to Britain where she was paid off. He was promoted to post-captain on 22 November 1790. [1]

Command

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Thompson was involved in the failed attack. Ataque britanico en Santa Cruz de Tenerife.jpg
The Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Thompson was involved in the failed attack.

He spent a number of years on land without command of a ship until the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars provided employment. By late 1796 he had secured command of the fourth rate HMS Leander. He then joined the Mediterranean Fleet under John Jervis, and was assigned to the squadron under Horatio Nelson. [1] Thompson took part in Nelson's attack on Santa Cruz in July 1797. Thompson was among those leading the landing parties, under the overall direction of Nelson and Thomas Troubridge. The initial attempts to force a landing were hampered by the wind, and when the parties made a successful landing in the evening of 22 July, they came under heavy fire from the Spanish defenders. Thompson's party were able to advance and spike several of the enemy's cannon, but the British forces had become dispersed throughout the town, and were forced to negotiate a truce to allow them to withdraw. Thompson himself was wounded in the battle. [1]

Battle of the Nile

Thompson was later given command of a squadron, and carried out cruises in the Mediterranean, intercepting French and Spanish ships. [1] He returned to Gibraltar, but was ordered to sea again in June 1798 to reinforce Nelson's squadron in their hunt for the French fleet that had earlier escaped from Toulon. He was with Nelson when they located the French fleet, under the command of Vice-Admiral Brueys, moored in Aboukir Bay. In the ensuing engagement Thompson came to the assistance of HMS Culloden, which had run aground on shoals in the entrance to the bay. [1] Finding that there was nothing he could do, Thompson took Leander into the battle, despite his ship being considerably smaller than the French ships of the line. He anchored between the Franklin and Brueys' flagship the Orient, firing on them in company with HMS Defence and HMS Swiftsure until the Franklin surrendered. [1] Thompson then took the Leander to assist the British attack on the French rear. [1]

Fight with the Généreux

After the battle Thompson was joined aboard the Leander by Captain Edward Berry, and sent with Nelson's despatches to Gibraltar. [1] Whilst sailing there, they were spotted on 18 August by the Généreux, which had escaped the Battle of the Nile. The French pursued the Leander. Being a 60 gun ship to the Généreux′s 78, and still having battle damage and men wounded from the Nile, Thompson attempted to escape, but was eventually forced to come to battle. The two eventually clashed in a long running engagement, which eventually resulted in Leander being disabled and unmanageable. [1] After conferring with Berry, Thompson agreed to surrender. The Généreux had suffered 100 killed and 188 wounded, to the Leander′s 35 killed and 57 wounded. [1] Arriving on board the French ship, Berry and Thompson were almost immediately stripped of their possessions. The French went on to plunder their prize, even going so far as to steal the surgeon's equipment as he tried to attend to the wounded. [1] When Thompson protested, and reminded the French captain of how French prisoners were treated under Nelson, he received the reply 'I am sorry for it; but the fact is, that the French are expert at plunder.' [1]

Celebratory picture produced after the Battle of the Nile, entitled Captn Sir Thomas B. Thompson of the Leander Sir Thomas B. Thompson of the Leander.jpg
Celebratory picture produced after the Battle of the Nile, entitled Captn Sir Thomas B. Thompson of the Leander

Thompson was later repatriated and brought to court-martial aboard HMS Alexander at Sheerness. He was honourably acquitted for the loss of his ship, the court deciding

that his gallant and almost unprecedented defence of the Leander, against so superior a force as that of le Généreux, was deserving of every praise his country and the assembled court could give; and that his conduct, with that of the officers and men under his command, reflected not only the highest honour on himself and them, but on their country at large. [1]

Berry was also commended, and whilst being rowed back to shore after his acquittal, Thompson was given three cheers by the crews of the ships moored at Sheerness. He was subsequently knighted and awarded a pension of £200 per annum. [1]

Copenhagen

Thompson was appointed to command HMS Bellona in spring 1799, joining the fleet under Lord Bridport, off Brest. [1] He then went to the Mediterranean, sailing with the flying squadron. He was involved in the capture of three frigates and two brigs. He returned to England in autumn, and participated in the blockade of Brest, until being assigned to Sir Hyde Parker's Baltic expedition in early 1801. [1] He was present at the Battle of Copenhagen, but ran aground on shoals whilst trying to enter the bay. He continued to fire on the enemy's shore batteries, but being a stationary target was heavily damaged, having 11 killed and 63 wounded. Thompson was amongst the wounded, losing a leg. He shared in the thanks of Parliament after the battle and had his pension increased to £500. He was then appointed to command the yacht HMS Mary. [1]

Later life

Thompson's tomb, in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Greenwich ThomasThompson2.JPG
Thompson's tomb, in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Greenwich

Thompson was appointed Comptroller of the Navy in November 1806, an office he held until November 1816. He was created a baronet on 11 December 1806. On relinquishing the post of Comptroller he became Treasurer of the Royal Hospital at Greenwich, [2] succeeding the late Sir John Colpoys, and also became Director of the Chest. [1] He became Member of Parliament for Rochester in 1807, relinquishing the position in June 1818. He became a Rear-Admiral on 25 October 1809 [3] and a Vice-Admiral on 4 June 1814. [4] He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the reorganisation of that order on 2 January 1815, [5] and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 14 September 1822, and was formally invested on 21 April 1823. [1] [6] On his death three years later he was buried at the Greenwich Hospital, where his tomb monument is still visible.

Family and personal life

Thomas married Anne Raikes on 25 February 1799. [1] They had a total of five children, three boys and two girls. The two girls were named Anne and Mary. Their first son, Thomas Boulden, died young. Their second, Thomas Raikes-Trigge inherited the baronetcy. [1] He followed his father and had a career in the navy. Their third son, Thomas John, died in 1807. Sir Thomas died at the family seat of Hartsbourne, Manor-Place, Hertfordshire on 3 March 1828. [1]

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Annual Biography and Obituary for the year 1829. pp. 319–29.
  2. "No. 18381". The London Gazette . 24 July 1827. p. 1591.
  3. "No. 16309". The London Gazette . 24 October 1809. p. 1686.
  4. "The Battle of the Nile" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 December 2008.
  5. "No. 16972". The London Gazette . 4 January 1815. p. 19.
  6. "No. 17916". The London Gazette . 22 April 1823. p. 651.

Related Research Articles

Battle of the Nile Naval battle between Britain and France

The Battle of the Nile was a major naval battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the Navy of the French Republic at Aboukir Bay on the Mediterranean coast off the Nile Delta of Egypt from the 1st to the 3rd of August 1798. The battle was the climax of a naval campaign that had raged across the Mediterranean during the previous three months, as a large French convoy sailed from Toulon to Alexandria carrying an expeditionary force under General Napoleon Bonaparte. The British fleet was led in the battle by Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson; they decisively defeated the French under Vice-Admiral François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers.

HMS Vanguard was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 6 March 1787 at Deptford. She was the sixth vessel to bear the name.

HMS <i>Leander</i> (1780)

HMS Leander was a Portland-class 50-gun fourth rate of the Royal Navy, launched at Chatham on 1 July 1780. She served on the West Coast of Africa, West Indies, and the Halifax station. During the French Revolutionary Wars she participated in the Battle of the Nile before a French ship captured her. The Russians and Turks recaptured her and returned her to the Royal Navy in 1799. On 23 February 1805, while on the Halifax station, Leander captured the French frigate Ville de Milan and recaptured her prize, HMS Cleopatra. On 25 April 1805 cannon fire from Leander killed an American seaman while Leander was trying to search an American vessel off the US coast for contraband. The resulting "Leander Affair" contributed to the worsening of relations between the United States and Great Britain. In 1813 the Admiralty converted Leander to a hospital ship under the name Hygeia. Hygeia was sold in 1817.

Edward Berry British Royal Navy officer

Rear Admiral Sir Edward Berry, 1st Baronet, KCB was an officer in Britain's Royal Navy primarily known for his role as flag captain of Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson's ship HMS Vanguard at the Battle of the Nile, prior to his knighthood in 1798. He had a long and prestigious naval career and also commanded HMS Agamemnon at the Battle of Trafalgar.

French ship <i>Orient</i> (1791)

Orient was an Océan-class 118-gun ship of the line of the French Navy, famous for her role as flagship of the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798, and for her spectacular destruction that day when her magazines exploded. The event was commemorated by numerous paintings and poems.

HMS <i>Foudroyant</i> (1798)

HMS Foudroyant was an 80-gun third rate of the Royal Navy, one of only two British-built 80-gun ships of the period. Foudroyant was built in the dockyard at Plymouth Dock and launched on 31 March 1798. Foudroyant served Nelson as his flagship from 6 June 1799 until the end of June 1801.

French ship <i>Généreux</i> (1785) ship

Généreux was a French Téméraire-class 74-gun ship of the line. After capture she completed her career as part of the Royal Navy as HMS Généreux.

Thomas Louis Royal Navy officer

Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Louis, 1st Baronet was an officer of the Royal Navy who saw action during the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolutionary Wars. He was one of Horatio Nelson's "Band of Brothers" in the Mediterranean in 1798, commanding a ship at the Battle of the Nile. Later, he was second in command at the Battle of San Domingo, for which service he was made a baronet.

HMS <i>Canopus</i> (1798)

HMS Canopus was an 84-gun third rate ship of the line of the British Royal Navy. She had previously served with the French Navy as the Tonnant-classFranklin, but was captured after less than a year in service by the British fleet under Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. Having served for less than six months for the French from her completion in March 1798 to her capture in August that year, she would eventually serve for 89 years for the British.

Ralph Willett Miller Royal Navy officer

Ralph Willett Miller was an officer of the Royal Navy. He served during the American Revolutionary and the French Revolutionary Wars, eventually rising to the rank of Captain. He was one of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson's Band of Brothers at the Battle of the Nile in 1798.

Sir Thomas Bertie KSO was an English officer of the Royal Navy who served during the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

George Martin (Royal Navy officer) officer of the Royal Navy, born 1764

Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Martin was an officer of the Royal Navy who saw service during the American War of Independence, and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. During his long naval career he took part in several significant battles, for which he was awarded a number of honours and promotions; he commanded ships at Cape St Vincent and Cape Finisterre.

HMS <i>Malta</i> (1800) War ship

HMS Malta was an 80-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She had previously served with the French Navy as the Tonnant-classGuillaume Tell, but was captured in the Mediterranean in 1800 by a British squadron enforcing the blockade of Malta. Having served for less than four years for the French from her completion in July 1796 to her capture in March 1800, she would eventually serve for 40 years for the British.

Mediterranean campaign of 1798 failed French military campaign led by Napoleon Bonaparte to support the Sultanate of Mysore against Britain

The Mediterranean campaign of 1798 was a series of major naval operations surrounding a French expeditionary force sent to Egypt under Napoleon Bonaparte during the French Revolutionary Wars. The French Republic sought to capture Egypt as the first stage in an effort to threaten British India and support Tipu Sultan, and thus force Great Britain to make peace. Departing Toulon in May 1798 with over 40,000 troops and hundreds of ships, Bonaparte's fleet sailed southeastwards across the Mediterranean Sea. They were followed by a small British squadron under Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, later reinforced to 13 ships of the line, whose pursuit was hampered by a lack of scouting frigates and reliable information. Bonaparte's first target was the island of Malta, which was under the government of the Knights of St. John and theoretically granted its owner control of the Central Mediterranean. Bonaparte's forces landed on the island and rapidly overwhelmed the defenders, securing the port city of Valletta before continuing to Egypt. When Nelson learned of the French capture of the island, he guessed the French target to be Egypt and sailed for Alexandria, but passed the French during the night of 22 June without discovering them and arrived off Egypt first.

Action of 18 August 1798

The Action of 18 August 1798 was a minor naval engagement of the French Revolutionary Wars, fought between the British fourth rate ship HMS Leander and the French ship of the line Généreux. Both ships had been engaged at the Battle of the Nile three weeks earlier, in which a British fleet under Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson had destroyed a French fleet at Aboukir Bay on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. Généreux was one of only four French ships to survive the battle, while Leander had been detached from the British fleet by Nelson on 6 August. On board, Captain Edward Berry sailed as a passenger, charged with carrying despatches to the squadron under Earl St Vincent off Cadiz. On 18 August, while passing the western shore of Crete, Leander was intercepted and attacked by Généreux, which had separated from the rest of the French survivors the day before.

Siege of Malta (1798–1800)

The Siege of Malta, also known as the Siege of Valletta or the French Blockade, was a two-year siege and blockade of the French garrison in Valletta and the Three Cities, the largest settlements and main port on the Mediterranean island of Malta, between 1798 and 1800. Malta had been captured by a French expeditionary force during the Mediterranean campaign of 1798, and garrisoned with 3,000 men under the command of Claude-Henri Belgrand de Vaubois. After the British Royal Navy destroyed the French Mediterranean Fleet at the Battle of the Nile on 1 August 1798, the British were able to initiate a blockade of Malta, assisted by an uprising among the native Maltese population against French rule. After its retreat to Valletta, the French garrison faced severe food shortages, exacerbated by the effectiveness of the British blockade. Although small quantities of supplies arrived in early 1799, there was no further traffic until early 1800, by which time starvation and disease was having a disastrous effect on health, morale, and combat capability of the French troops.

The Battle of the Malta Convoy was a naval engagement of the French Revolutionary Wars fought on 18 February 1800 during the Siege of Malta. The French garrison at the city of Valletta in Malta had been under siege for eighteen months, blockaded on the landward side by a combined force of British, Portuguese and irregular Maltese forces and from the sea by a Royal Navy squadron under the overall command of Lord Nelson from his base at Palermo on Sicily. In February 1800, the Neapolitan government replaced the Portuguese troops with their own forces and the soldiers were convoyed to Malta by Nelson and Lord Keith, arriving on 17 February. The French garrison was by early 1800 suffering from severe food shortages, and in a desperate effort to retain the garrison's effectiveness a convoy was arranged at Toulon, carrying food, armaments and reinforcements for Valletta under Contre-amiral Jean-Baptiste Perrée. On 17 February, the French convoy approached Malta from the southeast, hoping to pass along the shoreline and evade the British blockade squadron.

Action of 31 March 1800

The Action of 31 March 1800 was a naval engagement of the French Revolutionary Wars fought between a Royal Navy squadron and a French Navy ship of the line off Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. By March 1800 Valletta, the Maltese capital, had been under siege for eighteen months and food supplies were severely depleted, a problem exacerbated by the interception and defeat of a French replenishment convoy in mid-February. In an effort to simultaneously obtain help from France and reduce the number of personnel maintained in the city, the naval commander on the island, Contre-amiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve, ordered his subordinate Contre-amiral Denis Decrès to put to sea with the large ship of the line Guillaume Tell, which had arrived in the port shortly before the siege began in September 1798. Over 900 men were carried aboard the ship, which was to sail for Toulon under cover of darkness on 30 March.

François-Paul Brueys dAigalliers French admiral

Vice-Admiral François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers, Comte de Brueys was the French commander in the Battle of the Nile, in which the French Revolutionary Navy was defeated by Royal Navy forces under Admiral Horatio Nelson. The British victory helped to ensure their naval supremacy throughout the Napoleonic Wars. He was also a Freemason in the La Bonne Foi lodge at Montauban.

Louis-Jean-Nicolas Lejoille French Navy officer

Louis-Jean-Nicolas Lejoille was a French Navy officer and captain.

References

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Category:Thomas Thompson at Wikimedia Commons

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Andrew Hamond
Comptroller of the Navy
1806–1816
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Martin
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Calcraft and
James Barnett
Member of Parliament for Rochester
18071818
With: John Calcraft
Succeeded by
John Calcraft and
James Barnett
Baronetage of Great Britain
New creation Baronet
(of Hartsbourne Manor)
1806–1828
Succeeded by
Thomas Thompson