Royal Naval Biography/Gosselyn, Thomas Le Marchant

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Rear-Admiral of the Red.

This officer commanded the Kingfisher sloop, attached to Earl Howe’s fleet on the memorable 1st June, 1794. In the same year we find him cruizing in the North Sea. He obtained post rank, July 23, 1795, and soon after the command of the Syren frigate, in which ship he was employed on Channel service, and in escorting the trade to and from the West Indies, during the remainder of the war.

About the month of Nov. 1801, Captain Gosselyn removed into the Melampus, of 36 guns, at Jamaica, and returned to Portsmouth from that station, June 1, 1802. In the spring of 1804, he was appointed to the Argo, of 44 guns[1], and in the following summer, to the Latona, a fine frigate, stationed off Brest. On the 22d Oct. 1805, he captured the Amphion Spanish privateer, of 12 guns and 70 men. His next appointment was, about April, 1806, to the Audacious, a 74-gun ship, from which period we lose sight of him until the general promotion, June 4, 1814, when he was advanced to the rank of Rear-Admiral.

Our officer married, March 18, 1809, Sarah, eldest daughter of the late J. R. Hadsley, of Ware Priory, Herts, Esq.


(Vol. I. Part II. p. 671.)

Entered the royal navy on the 2d Aug. 1778; and served under Captain Philip Boteler, in the Actaeon 44, and Ardent 64, until the latter ship was captured by the combined fleets of France and Spain, in sight of Plymouth, Aug. 16th, 1779[2].

On his return from France, Mr. Gosselin joined the Barfleur 98, bearing the flag of Sir Samuel (afterwards Viscount) Hood, in which ship he served from Oct. 11th, 1780, until the peace of 1783. During this period he witnessed the capture of St. Eustatia, by the naval and military forces under Sir George B. Rodney and General Vaughan[3]; and was in six different actions with the French fleet under Count De Grasse, viz. off Martinique, April 29th, 1781[4]; off the Chesapeake, Sept. 5th, 1781[5]; off St. Kitts, Jan. 25th and 26th, 1782[6]; and off Guadaloupe, April 8th and 12th following, on which latter day the gallant De Grasse was compelled to surrender. On the 17th of the same month, Mr. Gosselin was present at the capture of two French 64-gun ships, a frigate, and a corvette, endeavouring to escape through the Mona passage[7]. He returned home with Lord Hood, June 26th, 1783; at which period his present Majesty was serving as a midshipman on board the Barfleur. We afterwards find Mr. Gosselin successively serving in the Carnatic 74, Captain Anthony J. P. Molloy, stationed at Plymouth; the Nautilus sloop. Captain Maurice Delgarno; the Grampus 50, bearing the broad pendant of Commodore Edward Thompson, on the coast of Africa; and the Triumph 74, and Barfleur 98, both bearing the flag of Lord Hood. His first commission bears date Dec. 1st, 1787.

In Sept. 1788, Lieutenant Gosselin was appointed to the Atalanta sloop. Captain Delgarno; and in Jan, 1789, he sailed for the East Indies, in company with a squadron under Commodore the Hon. William Cornwallis, who removed him into his own ship, the Crown 64, shortly after their arrival on that station. In Nov. 1791, he followed the commodore into the Minerva 38, and served as first lieutenant of that frigate until promoted to the command of the Dispatch armed brig, April 23d, 1793.

We next find this officer appointed. Mar. 19th, 1794, to the Kingsfisher sloop, then on the Downs station, but subsequently attached to the North Sea and Channel fleets. On the 7th June, 1795, being then in company with a squadron under Vice-Admiral Cornwallis, off Belleisle, he assisted at the capture of part of a French convoy from Bourdeaux, laden with wine and naval stores. On the 4th July following, the Vice-Admiral sent him an order to act as captain of the Brunswick 74, which appointment was confirmed on the 23d of the same month. This command he held until Oct. 1795.

Captain Gosselin’s next appointments were, April 22, 1796, to the Diamond 38; and July 25th, to the Syren 32; both on the St. Marcou station. In Mar. 1798, he was employed in convoying to the Leeward islands and Jamaica, a large fleet of merchantmen, the masters of which presented him with a valuable sword. On the 20th Aug. 1799, he was present at the surrender of Surinam to the naval and military forces under Lord Hugh Seymour and Lieutenant-General Trigge; after which he escorted another fleet to England. During the summer of 1800, he was in attendance upon King George III. at Weymouth. In Feb. 1801, he again took charge of the outward-bound West India trade; and on the 23d Oct. following, removed into the Melampus 36, at Jamaica; from whence he returned home, and was paid off, in June, 1802.

On the 2d Feb. 1804, Captain Gosselin was appointed to the Ville de Paris 110, bearing the flag of Admiral Cornwallis, then commander-in-chief of the Channel fleet, in which ship he remained until Sept. following, when he was removed to the Latona 38, and entrusted with the command of the in-shore squadron off Brest. For his services while thus employed, he received the thanks of Admirals Cornwallis, Lord Gardner, and Sir Charles Cotton. On the 4th Feb. 1806, he assumed the command of the Audacious 74.

Among the captures made by Captain Gosselin, in the Syren and Latona, were several French and Spanish privateers. One of the latter was the Amphion, of twelve guns and seventy men.

On the 19th May, 1806, the Audacious, then forming part of a squadron under Sir Richard ;. Strachan, sailed from Plymouth in pursuit of six French line-of-battle ships; and on the 8th Aug., after having cruised for some time off Madeira and the Canaries, anchored in Carlisle Bay, Barbadoes. A few days afterwards, when about eight degrees to the northward of that island, she was totally dismasted in a hurricane. In 1807, we find her attached to the Channel fleet; and in the beginning of 1808, employed in the blockade of Ferrol. She subsequently accompanied the army under Sir John Moore from the Downs to Sweden. This force came back to England under her protection in the month of July following.

In Aug. 1808, Captain Gosselin, with Sir Harry Burrard and other general officers as his guests on board the Audacious, convoyed a large body of troops to Portugal; and after their debarkation at Mariera, proceeded to the River Tagus, where he continued under the orders of Sir Charles Cotton, until the retreat of Sir John Moore to Coruna, from whence he escorted home a fleet of transports. In Jan. 1809, he received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament, for his “unremitted exertions” in embarking the army after the battle of Coruna, the official despatches relative to which were written by Lieutenant-General Sir John Hope, on board the Audacious.

Captain Gosselin resigned his command in Mar. 1809; and was prevented by ill-health from accepting a subsequent appointment to the Cressy 74. He obtained the rank of flag-officer on the 4th June, 1814; and became a Vice-Admiral in May 1825.

The subject of this memoir was married. Mar. 18th, 1809, by the Archbishop of York, to Sarah, daughter of the late Jeremiah Hadsley, Esq., of Ware Priory, Herts.