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Thomson - Capt John., R.N.


  "To Annoy the Enemy"

  The careers of Commander John Thomson R.N. (1751 - 1803) and of his son
Captain John Thomson R.N. (1770 - 1835)

Adam and Giles Quinan

Commander John Thomson R.N. 1751 - 1803    Captain John Thomson R.N. 1770 - 1835


As children, we often studied two oil paintings of naval officers hanging in my grandparents' dining room. One was of an elderly man with one epaulette, a hat worn sideways and a fairly plain uniform and the other was more ornately uniformed with a sword and a medal. The older man was supposed, according to family legend, to be Edward Pellew, Viscount Exmouth, who was related by marriage to the other officer, Captain John Thomson, a direct ancestor of ours. Straightforward research into the uniform depicted proved that the elderly man was only a Master and Commander at an age when Exmouth (or Sir Edward Pellew) was an Admiral. It became clear that they were both John Thomson, a father and son. One retired as a Master and Commander and the other eventually reached the rank of post captain. Their service in the Navy was entwined in the 1790s but after that the younger Thomson's career went its own way and he had interesting and not undistinguished service. The older John Thomson appears to have come to the Royal Navy from the merchant service. As such he had risen to the rank of Master, presumably because of his seamanship. He then became a commissioned officer and became the follower of a rising and successful frigate captain, Edward Pellew, which brought him further promotion and prize money.

The younger John Thomson is typical of those many British naval officers who fought for much of their lives against the King's enemies but never received much notice in the history books. Unlike his better known, but fictional, shipmate aboard Indefatigable, Horatio Hornblower, Thomson never rose to the heady ranks of Admiral. He only commanded one ship as a post captain before being put on the beach with half pay at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. His career took him to many parts of the world and he took part in a number of well known actions and campaigns. At the peak of his career, John Thomson commanded a sloop in North American waters during the war of 1812. He was a brave man; he received the Lloyds Patriotic Fund Sword as a lieutenant. This was only awarded for deeds of significant bravery. He took part in several special actions and perhaps even had a little interest in high places to help him along.

Sir Edward Pellew

Sir Edward Pellew

Commander John Thomson was born in Selkirk in the Scottish Border country in 1751. Although he spelled his surname without a P, the navy seems to have inserted one every chance it could! He had married and had moved to Leith, the port of Edinburgh, at about the age of eighteen. John Thomson Jr. was born in February 1770. (To distinguish between Thomson father and son, I will use the method the Royal Navy used when two officers had the same name, the one with more seniority is referred to as (1) and the other as (2). John Thomson (1), appears to have been in the merchant service and developed his nautical skills there. Exactly when he joined the Royal Navy is unknown but in 1793 he was Master on Nymph, a captured French 36 gun frigate, captained by Edward Pellew. The Master was the warrant officer, appointed by the Navy Office rather than the Admiralty, responsible for the navigation and sailing of the ship, so to obtain such a position John Thomson (1) had to have considerable experience and seamanship. He may also have had some naval connections as early as 1784. John Thomson (2) had already been placed on the muster roll of Nimble, a cutter, from 1784 to 1786 as a 1st Class Volunteer. Whether he actually served aboard Nimble is not known. Many young boys and men were placed on a ship's muster rolls but never actually served aboard. It was a means of acquiring the six years of sea time required to be commissioned as a lieutenant.

Nymph & Cléopâtra

Nymph & La Cléopâtra, (from the Naval Chronicle)

John Thomson (1) was with Pellew during the first important frigate action of the Revolutionary Wars. On June 19th 1793 Nymph defeated La Cléopâtra, a slightly larger French frigate with a larger crew and captured her with heavy losses on the French side and comparatively light British ones. This action was considered a great victory as it was the first significant and successful single ship action of the new war and Edward Pellew was knighted as a reward. The first lieutenant was promoted to Commander and John Thomson Sr. was promoted to Lieutenant. This was unusual, normally warrant officers did not receive commissions. The usual promotion for a Master would be a move to a larger ship with greater pay. Perhaps Thomson wanted to remain associated with Pellew, as Masters and other warrant officers, known as the Standing Officers, were appointed to a particular ship, remaining with it when it was put out of commission, and usually did not follow the captain. He certainly did not lose financially as Pellew was a lucky captain when it came to prize money. Thomson Sr. was transferred as a lieutenant with the rest of the crew of Nymph when Pellew became captain of Arethusa, a faster and stronger frigate, in December 1793.

Thomson (1) was also able to get his son aboard Arethusa as a midshipman. John Thomson (2) was then aged twenty four. This was his first recorded Royal Navy experience since his sea service on the cutter Nimble nearly eight years earlier. As the navy had been much reduced in ships and men during the intervening peace, it is probable that he had been at sea aboard merchant ships during this period. He certainly seems to have come aboard with some nautical skills.

Arethusa was attached to the Western squadron of frigates under Commodore Sir John Borlase Warren in Flora. This squadron of five frigates, Melampus, Concorde and Pellew's old command Nymph made up the balance, was based in Falmouth, the Cornish town where members of the Pellew family had lived for many years. The frigates' task was to patrol the western end of the English Channel between Ushant and Scilly, which, as the sea shanty has it, is thirty five leagues (or about a hundred nautical miles). The early days of the war when prizes were still plentiful had mostly passed and the frigates were ordered into squadrons so that they could effectively defeat French cruisers and assert command of the seas. For the most of the rest of 1794 they did this and also managed to recapture several French prizes which would have earned the Thomson family a good amount in prize money. In February 1795 Pellew took command of Indefatigable. This was a 44 gun frigate razeed from an 64 gun ship of the line. The British had found that 64 gun ships were now too light for general fleet actions and the demand for heavier frigates to match the new French frigates caused them to modify a number of 64 gun ships by removing their upper deck. In effect they were recycled as heavy frigates. This reduced the manpower needed to crew the ships and they remained powerful enough to deal with the strongest French frigate.

The crew of the Arethusa, including the two Thomsons', again followed Pellew into Indefatigable. Thomson (2) was promoted to Master's Mate at this time. This was a position for a senior midshipman, from this position there were two career paths, as a Master or as a commissioned officer. Thomson (2) seems to have tried out both paths.

Pellew was now Commodore of a small frigate squadron of his own and they spent their time patrolling the western end of the Channel and the Bay of Biscay. These waters are exposed to the Atlantic, stormy with strong tidal currents and many uncharted rocks. Indefatigable struck such an uncharted rock off Cape Finisterre in north west Spain in May 1795. The ship limped into Lisbon making twelve feet of water in an hour with the crew having to pump all the way. She had considerable damage to her keel and side but she was sufficiently repaired to sail back to Plymouth by July for more thorough repairs in dry dock.

While Pellew and Indefatigable remained in Plymouth, in October 1795, Thomson (2) was assigned to Revolutionnaire as an Acting Lieutenant under Captain Frank Cole, a long time friend of Pellew. This French ship had been captured a year earlier in October 1794 by Artois. Thomson, aboard Arethusa, was present at the end of the action. One interesting feature was that she had a furnace for heating shot. She was almost new and considered an excellent addition to the fleet.

Thomson's time as an acting lieutenant was short and it is probable he was only aboard because one of the regular complement was unable to be present or had not been replaced in a timely manner. It is an indication that he was considered suitable officer material at the age of twenty five. He returned to Indefatigable in December 1795 where he became the acting Master. He was active in the incident that earned Pellew his baronetcy. The Dutton, a hired East Indiaman, sailing with the West Indies convoy carrying four hundred troops bound for service in the West Indies, had put into Plymouth Sound in January 1796 as a result of the westerly gales. While trying to sail into a more sheltered anchorage, she ran on to a reef. The buoy marking it had drifted away in the storm. She ended up running aground below Plymouth Hoe not far from the land. A single line had been got ashore and Pellew used this to get aboard Dutton where he supervised the rescue efforts with the flat of his sword! He was very successful saving over five hundred crew, passengers and troops. Meanwhile, Thomson Jr., now acting Master of Indefatigable, and the first lieutenant took two of the ships boats to try and take off the crew and passengers but due to the strong wind and large waves, they could not get alongside Dutton and had to run for shelter.

In the early spring of 1796, Indefatigable spent several months with her squadron, trying to maintain a rebellion of royalist French in Brittany. The Bretons, or Chouans as they were known, were not in favour of the Republic and the British tried several times to encourage a full blown revolt and supplied several shiploads of arms and equipment. The blockading frigates were able to move around the area without interference and land supplies by boat on islands and isolated beaches. However, the French government eventually brought up overwhelming forces and put down the rebellions capturing most of the British supplies. As well as their attempts to fight the French ashore, in April 1796, Indefatigable and her squadron captured two French frigates, L'Unité and Virginie.

For the rest of 1796, Indefatigable was under orders to patrol the entrance to the Channel between the Lizard and Ushant. Most of the time Indefatigable was off Ushant looking for French corvettes sent out to harry British ships. Two French brig corvettes were captured in June but pickings grew slimmer as only neutral ships dared to sail. Then, after a three month drought of prizes, in September Spain became allied to France and Indefatigable and her consorts were ordered across the Bay of Biscay and captured six Spanish ships before returning. The Thomson family, while not accumulating the amount of prize money that Pellew would have earned, between them would have had two shares of the eighth set aside for the lieutenants, master (Thomson (2) was Acting Master) and the surgeon and the Captain of Marines. In his will, Thomson (1) left several properties in Leith to his wife and family which must have been bought with his considerable prize money earnings. Jane Austen in Persuasion suggests that a gentleman must be worth at least £20,000. The elder Thomson left between £6-9,000 in cash so he became at least a half gentleman, albeit of the nouveaux riches. As Pellew's lieutenants were often promoted as a compliment to Pellew's achievements, Thomson (1) was now First Lieutenant of the Indefatigable. In mid December 1796, a French fleet carrying a large number of soldiers set sail from Brest. The Indefatigable observed their exit but could not locate the rest of Sir John Colpoys' British blockading squadron to inform them of the sailing. It was later claimed that the blockading squadron had been blown off station by an easterly gale, but many believed that Colpoys had deliberately avoided battle.

The French fleet were now missing in the Atlantic and Pellew, thinking they were headed to capture Lisbon, sailed south. The French mission was, however, to land forces in Ireland to incite a rebellion against the British. Although the majority of the French ships arrived in Bantry Bay, the ship carrying both the naval and land commanders did not make the rendezvous and after a severe winter gale came up, the fleet scattered and made its way back towards Brest.

As Indefatigable and Amazon returned from looking for the French off Spain on January 13th 1797, they observed a large ship under easy sail heading for France. The two frigates steered to intercept her. Pellew did not know what ship this was but decided to press home the attack. Amazon was not able to sail as fast as Indefatigable, so Indefatigable brought the 74-gun ship of the line, Droits de l'Homme, to close action while Amazon was still several miles off. Pellew was lucky. Normally, a ship of the line would have been able to sink a frigate with a very few broadsides. But this afternoon, the sea was very rough so Droits de l'Homme was not able to keep her lower gun-ports open all the time for fear of being swamped. Her broadside was thus reduced to about the same or less than the Indefatigable's, however, she had seven hundred soldiers aboard so the musket fire was extremely heavy. After Indefatigable traded a few broadsides with Droits de l'Homme, she nearly ran aboard Indefatigable, which would have offered the opportunity for boarding. As it was, her bowsprit caught on the Indefatigable's spanker boom and damaged it.

With Droits de l'Homme large crew and contingent of troops, this could have been a disaster for the British. By now, as both leading ships had reduced sail, Amazon joined the fight. After taking some time for quick running repairs of the rigging and lines, the two British ships positioned themselves on either bow and were able to fire raking broadsides into the French with only limited retaliation. About 10.30 p.m., the French lost their mizzen mast and the frigates resumed their attack from the Droits de l'Homme quarters. Thomson (1) was slightly wounded during this phase of the battle but both the British frigates suffered remarkably light casualties. Three were killed on Amazon and only twelve wounded on the Indefatigable. Aboard Indefatigable, the main source of casualties were accidents in handling the guns in the severe conditions. The gale had raised such a sea that the deck was often awash with waves breaking over the ship.

At about 4.30 a.m. on January 14th, the moon broke through the clouds and a lookout on Indefatigable sighted land and Pellew, knowing they were running on to a lee shore, signalled Amazon to break off the engagement. Amazon had been more damaged by French fire and was unable to manoeuvre. She ran aground within ten minutes of the signal. Due to the skill of her crew, only a few men were lost and most floated ashore on rafts. Droits de l'Homme was also unable to alter course and failing in several attempts to anchor, struck a sandbank about the same time as Amazon. With the greater numbers aboard and poor organization of the rescue efforts over nine hundred of the sailors and troops aboard drowned or died of exposure. Most of the crew were stuck aboard the wreck for four or five days before rescue finally came. Pellew later inquired by letter of the French how many men had been aboard. This was not from any humanitarian motives but for financial reasons, the Navy paid "head money" for all men aboard an enemy ship that was destroyed or captured. As Indefatigable turned away, a final French broadside caused significant damage to her masts and rigging. The port main topmast shrouds were shot away and unless replaced quickly, the top mast would soon have fallen, probably taking the main mast with it. The ship would have become impossible to sail to windward and she would have been blown down on to the lee shore too. Acting Master Thomson Jr. together with an assistant master, John Gaze, who was to become one of Pellew's most faithful followers, were the two leaders who were instrumental in cutting away the top-gallant yard and clinching a hawser around the mast head to secure and save it.

Believing himself to be further north than he actually was, Pellew steered south east until land and breakers were seen ahead. They realised that they were embayed on a lee shore and all their seamanship and the excellent sailing qualities of Indefatigable would be required to extricate themselves. Indefatigable wore and sailed back north westerly. Again they wore and, sailing south easterly in the morning light they saw Droits de l'Homme "laying on her Broadside with the surf breaking over her". They spent most of the morning sailing back and forth across the bay gaining a little on each tack. Finally they cleared the south easterly point of the bay, the Penmarcks, by about three quarters of a mile and reached the safety of the open sea. As a result of this remarkable action, John Thomson (1) was promoted to Master and Commander and his son was promoted to lieutenant and both left Indefatigable and Pellew. The career of John Thomson (1) after this is unknown, but it appears that he retired from the Navy in 1801 and may have died in Leith in November 1803 or 1804, sources vary, aged about fifty three. After a temporary posting as a midshipman aboard Princess of Wales while she sailed to the West Indies in the summer of 1797, John Thomson (2) became a lieutenant on Vengeance, a frigate on the West Indies station for two years. The principal activity of the Navy's ships in the West Indies was harrying the enemy's trade with occasional attempts to capture their island possessions. Most of the trading vessels were small schooners or brigs and there was little opportunity for glory, though prize money could be considerable for a lucky ship. Thomson was apparently mentioned in despatches by Sir John Duckworth, the Admiral, but details have not yet been found. The West Indies station was also notorious for yellow fever which caused the deaths of more British sailors than all the great fleet actions of the time. As far as we know, Thomson survived unscathed this time and never succumbed during any of his various periods of service in the West Indies. In October 1799, back in Britain, Thomson was transferred to Renown. This was not the fictional Renown his former shipmate Hornblower served on! Renown was one of the ships in Rear Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren's squadron. Warren had been Commodore when Pellew had joined the Western squadron in 1793 in Arethusa. Thomson spent several years aboard her as a lieutenant while she was attached to the Channel Fleet and blockading the coast of France. Renown then sailed for the Mediterranean to join the campaign of Nelson and Lord Keith to re-open the Mediterranean to the Royal Navy. In 1798, Napoleon had landed with an army in Egypt as part of a ambitious plan to eventually invade and capture the British possessions in India. Nelson's victory at the Battle of the Nile in July 1798 isolated this army in Egypt but did not defeat it. In those days armies were accustomed to living off the land without the extensive logistical supply routes that a modern army needs. An attempt to march back through Syria was defeated but Napoleon managed to get back to France by ship leaving the army behind. In March 1801, a British army under General Abercromby was landed at Aboukir Bay, scene of the Battle of the Nile. Thomson took part as a Marine Landing officer. He was one of the officers responsible for landing the first contingent of 5500 troops from the ships. Despite coming under fire from the French on shore, the landing was successful and the French were beaten and the threat to India extinguished. Thomson was awarded the Sultan's gold medal (2nd Class) for helping to liberate the lands of the Ottoman Empire. A total of four hundred and two of these medals, in four classes, were awarded to Royal Navy officers. This medal can be seen in his portrait. During the peace of Amiens in 1802 to 1803 when many officers were put ashore on half pay, Thomson was still aboard Renown. Thomson transferred to Narcissus, a 32 gun frigate, as first lieutenant under Captain Ross Donnelly in December 1803. As first lieutenant, Thomson was given the opportunity for independent action. On the night of July 11th 1804 he was in overall command of three boats from Narcissus together with three more from Seahorse and four from Maidstone. Their aim was to cut out twelve loaded settees or sailing barges. The settees were lying moored head and stern close to the beach at La Vandour, in the Bay of Hyères near Cannes in Southern France. They were also covered by a battery of three guns on shore. While under heavy fire from the shore, Thomson and his men managed to cut out one settee and set fire to most of the rest for the loss of four killed and twenty three wounded, some severely. Despite this relative lack of success Thomson received a lot of credit. His report was forwarded to Lord Nelson by Captain Donnelly. Nelson sent it with a cover letter to the Admiralty remarking ". . the importance of this service may be but little, but the determined bravery of Lieutenants Thompson, Parker, Lumley and Moore, and the Petty Officers, Seamen and Marines employed under them could not be exceeded." The letters were printed in the London Gazette of October 6th 1804.

Thomson's bravery was acknowledged and he was awarded a £50 sword from the Lloyds Patriotic Fund. This was the equivalent to the highest modern decoration for bravery for Naval Lieutenant or Army Captains. Midshipmen were awarded £30 swords and Commanders and Army Majors and above £100 swords. There were eighty two of the £50 swords awarded between 1803 and 1809 so Thomson was in quite select company. His name would be remembered by his superiors.

Sir Home Popham

Sir Home Popham

In the autumn of 1805, a small squadron under Commodore Sir Home Popham consisting of three 64 gun ships, one 50 gun ship, two frigates, including Narcissus and two sloops, sailed with a fleet of transports containing 5000 men to the Cape of Good Hope. Their aim was to retake the Cape colony from the Dutch. It seems that a number of the officers who had experience of the landings at Aboukir Bay were selected for this attack. They arrived in January 1806 and proceeded to make an unopposed landing outside Cape Town though the South African surf caused problems and one boat load of soldiers was lost when it was upset. A light transport brig had to be beached to make a breakwater and provide a sheltered area for the landings. The Dutch colonists fought off the invaders for a few days but eventually surrendered without much loss of life.

The British naval commander, Sir Home Popham was pleased with his success . He heard reports that the inhabitants of Buenos Aires and Montevideo were so unhappy with the Spanish colonial government that they would not oppose a British army and decided, without orders, to mount an expedition to South America. In April 1806, Popham embarked over 1000 regular troops together with a small artillery detachment and a battalion of marines aboard his flotilla and sailed from Cape Town for the River Plate. Initially the expedition met with success, by July 2nd, Buenos Aires had been captured with very little fighting and almost no casualties. The British shipped home over a million dollars of gold and silver. Thomson was given acting command of Neptuno, a captured Spanish ship and was appointed Port Captain of Buenos Aires and assumed the duties of the Captain of Engineers who had been killed. This command was not to last long. He remained in Buenos Aires when the rest of the flotilla left with the re-embarked battalion of marines to blockade Montevideo. The Spanish realising how small the remaining British force was, attacked on August 10th 1806 and had recaptured the city by August 12th. Thomson became a prisoner of war and remained in Spanish hands until he was released with the rest of the British troops in October 1807.

On his return to England he was appointed to the Halifax station. Once again he was under Vice Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren. He served for almost a year as a lieutenant on Swiftsure. He was promoted to Commander in May 1809 but was not appointed to a ship until October of the same year. During this time he was acting as Warren's Flag Captain aboard San Domingo. He was then given command of an 18 gun brig, Colibri. Colibri was a French built brig, captured in 1809 by Melampus, which had been part of Pellew's western frigate squadron. War with the United States had been brewing for some time and there were many minor incidents of hostility between ships of the Royal Navy and the young US Navy. On June 28th 1812, a British ship came into Halifax with a report of being attacked by an American squadron. Thomson and Colibri were despatched to New York under a flag of truce to obtain an explanation of the matter. She arrived on July 9th and found the British ambassador and consul with a copy of the American declaration of war. They embarked on Colibri and sailed to Halifax. This was the first official knowledge the British in Halifax had that they were at war with the United States.

During the war of 1812, Colibri with other brigs were used to blockade the American coast. They were no match for the large American frigates but were well able to capture merchant shipping and the smaller privateers. The blockade was well established along the entire Atlantic coast and while the US Navy and American privateers were able attack British shipping, the Royal Navy's small brigs were able to suppress American trade. Under Thomson's command, Colibri captured seven privateers during the first two years of the war. Later in the war between March and June 1813, he took ten prizes, mostly blockade runners.

In August 1813, Colibri in company with another brig Moselle was off Charleston, South Carolina, patrolling the coast between Savannah and Charleston. There were no American ships on the high seas so, as Thomson put it in his report, ". . . to annoy the enemy . . ." they decided to go inshore and sent their boats to attack the traffic using what is now part of the Intra coastal waterway. They succeeded destroying a couple of ships and in repelling several large armed rowing boats. They proceeded south to undertake a similar exploit in Port Royal, South Carolina.

The crossing of the bar was undertaken on August 23rd, 1813. Very carefully they sent the ship's boats ahead sounding the bar and found three and half fathoms at low water in the shallowest part. The channel was buoyed and the two brigs entered the sound and anchored off the Beaufort river. From there they spent three days "annoying the enemy". This seemed principally to consist of causing the American militia to be mustered to oppose the ships and having the Americans take the trouble to construct several forts. They did not find any ships, as the Americans seem to have been well prepared for their foray. As they left the sound on August 26th 1813, following the marks left on their entry, Colibri ran hard on to a sandbank. Where there had been three and half fathoms at low water, there was now only two and half fathoms at high tide. The Charleston pilot aboard the Moselle is reported to have said that it would be impossible for Colibri to strike ground at the point she did. She immediately signalled to Moselle to anchor. Efforts were made to haul Colibri off the bank by lightening her and using the ship's boats and anchors but she was stuck fast. The wind then strengthened and veered so that she was blown harder on to the bank and eventually she rolled over on her port side and filled. The crew was transferred without loss of life to Moselle with what small part of their "cloaths" that could be salvaged. Thomson and his officers left the Colibri when only the poop remained above water. A hurricane then hit the area on August 27th, breaking Colibri into three pieces and destroying her completely, rendering any further recovery efforts pointless. The Colibri's boats were also lost in the hurricane. Moselle was able to ride out the storm and eventually by careful sounding was able to locate a passage through the sandbars to the open sea on August 29th.

As was the rule, Thomson was subject to a court martial when the Moselle rejoined the fleet in Chesapeake Bay where his admiral was based. A trial on September 3rd 1813 acquitted him and blamed the loss on the sudden unexpected build up of sand on the bar. This area is still known for significant short term movements of the sandbars, and Thomson appeared to have taken all reasonable precautions, so he was not considered blameworthy. Certainly his career was not noticeably affected by the loss of his ship, he was appointed to another sloop, Rattler, as soon as the court martial was over.

By this time the war in France was coming to an end and the war with the Americans was fairly uneventful on the southern coasts of North America where Thomson was operating. In May 1814, he went back to Britain where he was immediately appointed captain of another sloop, Chanticleer, in August 1814 and returned this time to the South American coast, patrolling off Surinam and the West Indies. In July 1815, just before the battle of Waterloo and the final defeat of Napoleon, Thomson was appointed post captain and given command of Venerable, a 74 gun ship. He commanded her as Flag Captain for Rear Admiral Sir P. Durham for less than a year before paying off in Portsmouth on May 3rd 1816. This last command was probably a means for his patrons of ensuring an improved half pay "pension" as a post captain for an officer who had served for many years but who did not have enough influence to secure a peacetime command.

Thomson wasted little time in reconnecting with the Pellew family. In Falmouth on December 19th 1816 he married Edward Pellew's niece Constantia Henrietta Spriddle, daughter of Pellew's sister, Jane Constantia Pellew, and a naval lieutenant, Henry Spriddle. Apart from the record of the birth of two daughters, Thomson's whereabouts are unknown until April 30th 1827 when he was appointed an Inspecting Commander of the Coast Guard of Ireland following a damning report about the Coast Guard service by the House of Commons. He was posted to Westport, Co. Mayo, which was then one of the foremost ports for trade and emigration to the United States. The Coast Guard officer's house may still be seen in Westport. John Thomson died in December 1835.

Main Sources

Edward Pellew, Parkinson, C. Northcote, London, 1934.
The life of Admiral Viscount Exmouth, Osler, Edward, London, 1841 (Revised Edition)
The Naval History of Great Britain, James, William, London, 1902.

Unpublished Public Record Office:
ADM 9/3/819 Memorandum of the Services of Captain John Thomson
ADM 1 5438 Minutes of Proceedings at a Court Martial (for the loss of Colibri)

Private Family Paper
A short Statement of the principle (sic) Public Services of the late Captain. John Thomson

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