Brodrick, Thomas (DNB00)

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BRODRICK, THOMAS (d. 1769), vice-admiral, entered the navy about 1723. In 1739 he was a lieutenant of the Burford, Vernon's flagship at Porto Bello, and commanded the landing party which stormed the Castillo de Fierro. In recompense for his brilliant conduct Vernon promoted him to the command of the Cumberland fireship, in which he in 1741 took part in the expedition to Cartagena. On 25 March he was posted into the Shoreham frigate, and continued actively employed during the rest of that campaign, and afterwards in the expedition to Cuba [see Vernon, Edward]. After other service he returned to England in 1743, and early in the following year was appointed to the Exeter of 60 guns. In March of the following year he was appointed to the Dreadnought, which was sent out to the Leeward Islands, and continued there till after the peace in 1748. In May 1756 Brodrick was sent out to the Mediterranean in command of reinforcements for Admiral Byng, whom he joined at Gibraltar just before the admiral was ordered home under arrest. He had meantime been advanced to be rear-admiral, in which rank he served under Sir Edward Hawke till towards the close of the year, when the fleet returned home. In January 1757 he was a member of the courtmartial on Admiral Byng [see Byng, Hon. John]; and was afterwards, with his flag in the Namur, third in command in the expedition against Rochfort [see Hawke, Lord Edward]. Early in 1758 Brodrick was appointed as second in command in the Mediterranean, with his flag on board the Prince George of 90 guns. On 13 April, being then off Ushant, the Prince George caught fire, and out of a complement of nearly 800, some 250 only were saved; the admiral himself was picked up, stark naked, by a merchant-ship's boat, after he had been swimming for about an hour. Brodrick and the survivors of his ship's company were taken by the Glasgow frigate to Gibraltar, where he hoisted his flag in the St. George. In the following February he was promoted to be vice-admiral, and was shortly afterwards superseded by Admiral Boscawen, under whom he commanded during the blockade of Toulon, and in the action of 18-19 Aug., culminating in the burning or capture of the French ships in Lagos Bay [see Boscawen, Edward]. When Boscawen returned to England, Brodrick blockaded the French ships at Cadiz so closely, that even the friendly Spaniards could not resist making them the subject of insolent ridicule. They are said to have stuck up a notice in some such terms as 'For sale, eight French men-of-war. For particulars apply to Vice-admiral Brodrick.' The French ships did not stir out till the passage was cleared for them by a gale of wind, which compelled the blockading squadron to put into Gibraltar. Brodrick then returned to England. He had no further employment, and died 1 Jan. 1769 of cancer in the face.

[Charnock's Biog. Nav. v. 69; Beatson's Naval and Mil. Mem. (under date); official documents in the Public Record Office.]

J. K. L.