Royal Naval Biography/Drury, Thomas

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Admiral of the White.

On the 14th Aug. 1781, we find an officer of this name commanding the Camelion, of 14 guns and 125 men, in action with a Dutch vessel of war, mounting 18 guns and 20 swivels. After a close and desperate conflict of half an hour, the enemy on a sudden blew up. The shock was so violent, that it forced the English crew off their legs; when the smoke cleared away, the Camelion’s top sails were observed to be on fire, and they were obliged to be cut from the yards to save the ship. A most dreadful and horrid spectacle also presented itself; many of the limbs and mangled bodies of the Dutchmen were thrown in upon her decks, and sticking in the rigging. Captain Drury sent his boats in search of any of the unfortunate crew that might have escaped; but not a soul was found alive. The Camelion was much damaged, and had 12 men wounded.

The subject of this sketch was advanced to the rank of Post-Captain, March 21, 1782; and commanded the Myrmidon, of 20 guns, on the home station, during the remainder of the American war. At the commencement of the contest with the French republic, we find him in the Fox frigate, employed at Newfoundland; and subsequently in the Flora, of 36 guns, on Channel service.

Towards the close of the year 1795, he was appointed to the Alfred, a 74-gun ship, in which he served at the reduction of St. Lucia by Sir Hugh C. Christian and Sir Ralph Abercromby[1]. During his continuance in the Alfred, Captain Drury had the good fortune to capture two of the enemy’s ships of war; la Renommee, of 44 guns; and la Favorite, 22. He was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral, April 23, 1804; Vice-Admiral, April 28, 1808; and Admiral, June 4, 1814.

Our officer has recently sustained a severe domestic affliction, in the loss of his only son, who died at Jamaica, Aug. 24, 1822, aged 23 years.