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Captain Thomas Symonds (bapt. 10 August 1731 –1792) was a British naval captain of the American Revolutionary War.
The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.
Symonds was the second son of the Rev John Symonds, rector of Horringer, Suffolk, and his wife, Mary Spring (died 1774), daughter of Sir Thomas Spring, 3rd Baronet of Pakenham and Hon. Merelina Jermyn, daughter of Thomas Jermyn, 2nd Baron Jermyn.His elder brother was academic John Symonds (1730–1807). According to Sir William Symonds' memoirs, the boys learned young that John, as the eldest son, would inherit the family estates:
Horringer is a village and civil parish in the St Edmundsbury district of Suffolk in eastern England. It lies on the A143 about two miles south-west of Bury St Edmunds. The population in 2011 was 1055.
Sir Thomas Spring, 3rd Baronet was an English baronet and landowner.
Pakenham is a village in the English county of Suffolk. Its name can be linked to Anglo-Saxon roots, Pacca being the founder of a settlement on the hill surrounding Pakenham church, an area higher than the waters of Pakenham Fen. The discovery of many Anglo-Saxon remains, notably that of a bone-toothed comb in the old school garden in the 1950s, testify to the authenticity of the site. The village was therefore named Pacca's Ham, i.e., the home of Pacca, a name which eventually became Pakenham, The Anglo-Saxon family name later becomes "de Pakenham". Pacca's descendants continued to farm here until the Norman Conquest, 1066.
"[John and Thomas] were informed that all the property would be left to John, the eldest; and Tom was cautioned by his mother not to hang upon his brother. Being a very spirited boy, he took this injunction so much to heart that he left the house immediately, with his clothes tied in a bundle over his shoulder, and keeping his intentions to himself, trudged off to Harwich, where he was invited to try his luck at sea, by the captain of a vessel of war, who had been staying with his father. He was not heard of again until he had become a Master and Commander in the Navy, when he paid a short visit to his brother."
He entered the Royal Navy as a Lieutenant on 22 May 1755 and served on the Elizabeth, the Grafton and the Borwick (Pitcairn-Jones Naval List).
On 18 February 1762, he was appointed Commander of the sloop Albany and was ordered to join Commodore Young's squadron then blockading the estuaries of the rivers Seine and Orne, France.
The Seine is a 777-kilometre-long (483 mi) river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre. It is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as Rouen, 120 kilometres (75 mi) from the sea. Over 60 percent of its length, as far as Burgundy, is negotiable by commercial riverboats, and nearly its whole length is available for recreational boating; excursion boats offer sightseeing tours of the river banks in Paris, lined with top monuments including Notre-Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and Musée d'Orsay.
The Orne is a river in Normandy, within northwestern France. It discharges into the English Channel at the port of Ouistreham. Its source is in Aunou-sur-Orne, east of Sées. Its main tributaries are the Odon and the Rouvre.
The Albany joined that squadron on 8 July 1762.
On 13 July 1762, he was the commanding officer of a flotilla of small boats which, in a night raid, attempted to destroy landing barges moored in the river Orne. The attack failed.
The following Court-Martial found Thomas Symonds "guilty of acting in a manner not becoming to an officer". He lost command of the Albany
In 1771, he attained post rank of Captain and took command of the "Captain". In 1776 he was captain of the "Solebay" which took part in the bombardment of Fort Moultrie overlooking Charleston Harbour.
Fort Moultrie is a series of fortifications on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, built to protect the city of Charleston, South Carolina. The first fort, formerly named Fort Sullivan, built of palmetto logs, inspired the flag and nickname of South Carolina, as "The Palmetto State". The fort was renamed for the U.S. patriot commander in the Battle of Sullivan's Island, General William Moultrie. During British occupation, in 1780–1782, the fort was known as Fort Arbuthnot.
In 1780, in England, he replaced John Luttrell as captain of HMS Charon, and sailed for America with a naval force. On 13 August 1780 the "Charon" accepted after a lengthy engagement the surrender of the Comte d'Artois, a French privateer off the Irish coast. After successful anti-convoy operations on the Atlantic crossing and coastal cruising, the ship became trapped in the York River, Virginia, where Symonds took supreme command of British naval forces in America. Charon was destroyed and sunk with red-hot shot soon afterwards. At the end of the Siege of Yorktown, it was he (as the most senior naval officer present) and Cornwallis, Lieutenant General of the British Armed Forces, who signed the Articles of Capitulation on 18 October 1781. After his release as a prisoner of war he was appointed Captain of the Diadem.
Thomas Symonds died in his brother's house in Bury St Edmunds on 25 May 1792.
He is buried in Pakenham Church where there is a mural tablet to his memory and to that of his son, Jermyn John, Commander RN who was the commander of the Helena, a sloop of 14 guns which was lost with him and all his crew in a gale off the Dutch coast in October 1796 (some authorities put the loss as 3 November 1796).
Thomas Symonds married twice, first to Mary Noble who died in 1777 and who is buried in St James's church in Bury, secondly to Elizabeth Mallet..
In his Will, proved 15 June 1792, Thomas Symonds left bequests to his wife Elizabeth, to his sons Jermyn John, Thomas Edward, and John Charles and to his daughters, Mary Anne, Elizabeth, Juliana, Merelina, and Sophia
His daughter was Mary Anne Whitby, his son was William Symonds, Surveyor of the Navy, and his grandsons included William Cornwallis Symonds, Thomas Symonds, Julian Symonds, and Jermyn Symonds.
Earl of Longford is a title that has been created twice in the Peerage of Ireland.
Marquess of Bristol is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom held by the Hervey family since 1826. The Marquess's subsidiary titles are: Earl of Bristol, Earl Jermyn, of Horningsheath in the County of Suffolk (1826), and Baron Hervey, of Ickworth in the County of Suffolk (1703). The Barony of Hervey is in the Peerage of England, the Earldom of Bristol in the Peerage of Great Britain and the Earldom of Jermyn in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Earl Jermyn is used as courtesy title by the Marquess's eldest son and heir. The Marquess of Bristol also holds the office of Hereditary High Steward of the Liberty of St. Edmund. The present holder of these titles is Frederick Hervey, the 8th Marquess and 12th Earl of Bristol.
Captain William Cornwallis Symonds was a British Army officer who was prominent in the early colonisation of New Zealand.
Symonds is a surname with French, English and German origins. Notable people with the surname include:
General Charles O'Hara was a British military officer who served in the Seven Years' War, American War of Independence, and French Revolutionary War, and later served as Governor of Gibraltar. During his career O'Hara personally surrendered to both George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte.
Admiral Sir George Greville Wellesley was a Royal Navy officer. As a junior officer he took part in the capture of Acre during the Oriental Crisis in 1840 and, as Captain of HMS Cornwallis in the Baltic Fleet, he took part in the Bombardment of Sveaborg in August 1855 during the Crimean War. He went on to be Commander-in-Chief of the North America and West Indies Station and then Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Squadron but was relieved of the latter post by a court-martial after an incident in which an armoured frigate, which had been under his command at the time, ran aground at Pearl Rock off Gibraltar in July 1871. He was appointed First Naval Lord in November 1877 and in that capacity he secured a considerable increase in naval construction, for example on the Colossus class battleships, although some of these ships were of doubtful quality.
Sir Thomas Pakenham GCB, styled The Honourable from birth to 1820, was a British naval officer and politician.
Sir William Symonds CB FRS was Surveyor of the Navy in the Royal Navy from 9 June 1832 to October 1847, and took part in the naval reforms instituted by the Whig First Lord of the Admiralty Sir James Robert George Graham in 1832.
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Thomas Matthew Charles Symonds, GCB was a Royal Navy officer. He was commanding officer of HMS Arethusa which participated in the bombardment of Sevastopol during the Crimean War.
James Cranstoun, 8th Lord Cranstoun was an officer of the Royal Navy.
Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Rowley KB was a Royal Navy officer. He distinguished himself by his determination as commander of the vanguard at the Battle of Toulon in February 1744 during the War of the Austrian Succession. He went on to be Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet in August 1744 and successfully kept the Spanish and French fleets out of the Mediterranean area but was relieved of his command following criticism of his decision as presiding officer at a court-martial.
Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis KG, PC, styled Viscount Brome between 1753 and 1762 and known as The Earl Cornwallis between 1762 and 1792, was a British Army general and official. In the United States and the United Kingdom he is best remembered as one of the leading British generals in the American War of Independence. His surrender in 1781 to a combined American and French force at the Siege of Yorktown ended significant hostilities in North America. He also served as a civil and military governor in Ireland and India; in both places he brought about significant changes, including the Act of Union in Ireland, and the Cornwallis Code and the Permanent Settlement in India.
Thomas Jermyn, 2nd Baron Jermyn was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1679 until he inherited a peerage in the 1684.
Charles Cornwallis, 1st Earl Cornwallis, styled The Honourable Charles Cornwallis until 1722 and known as The Lord Cornwallis between 1722 and 1753, was a British peer.
Edward Michael Pakenham, 2nd Baron Longford was an Irish sailor and landowner.
Admiral Henry Curzon was a Royal Navy officer who held commands during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.
Mary Anne Theresa Whitby (1784–1850), née Symonds, was an English writer, landowner, and artist. She became an authority on the cultivation of silkworms, and in the 1830s reintroduced sericulture to the United Kingdom. During the 1840s, she corresponded extensively with Charles Darwin about silkworms, conducting breeding experiments to help develop his theories of natural selection.
John Symonds was an English academic, who became professor of modern history at the University of Cambridge.
Julian Frederick Anthony Symonds was a British Army officer and surveyor who carried out the first detailed survey of Palestine.