Royal Naval Biography/Robinson, George

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Obtained his first commission in 1790, and lost a leg whilst serving as second lieutenant of the Thames 32, Captain James Cotes, in an action with the French frigate Uranie, of far superior force.

This combat took place on the 24th Oct. 1793, in lat. 47° 2' N. long. 7° 22' W., and was continued with great spirit on both sides, from about 10-30 a.m. until 2-20 p.m., when the enemy hauled off to the southward, making all the sail she could, and leaving the British ship in too crippled a condition to pursue her, as will be seen by the following enumeration of her damages and loss, taken from Captain Cotes’s official letter, dated at Gisors, in France, April 9th, 1795:–

The bowsprit, all three lower masts, and the main-top-mast, badly woumlod in a number of places; the bobstays, bowsprit-shrouds, jib-stay, ond haliards, all the standing and spring-stays, most of the lower and top-mast rigging, and the fore part of the mizen-top, shot away; the main-top-sail-yard cut through in the slings; the fore and main-yards rendered unserviceable, the former left hanging by the trusses alone, and nearly half way down to the deck, the latter having neither lift nor brace remaining; the courses and all the after sails completely riddled; the gangways and that part of the main-deck before the main-mast, from the waterway to the hatchways, torn up; the bitts demolished; three guns dismounted, almost every breeching and tackle carried away; the gaff obliged to be lowered, to prevent the mizen-mast going over the side; nine shot between wind and water; and 34 officers and men, out of 134, the total number, including boys, on board, killed and badly wounded.

The Thames mounted thirty-two long twelve and six-pounders, without a single carronade; her opponent twenty, eight long eighteens, twelve long eights, and four thirty-six-pounder carronades, with a complement of at least 330 men. The condition of the French ship can he judged of only from her appearance after the action had ceased, when several men were seen over her sides, busily employed in stopping shot-holes, and it was evident that all her pumps were at work.

In the course of the same day, the Thames was obliged to surrender to a French squadron, consisting of three large frigates and a corvette, under the command of Monsieur Allemand, by whom the Uranie had been sent in chase of a brig about forty-eight hours before. Previous to their being landed at Brest, the whole of the British prisoners were completely pillaged by the republican crews, over whom their officers had little or no control: it is, however, but fair to state, that the latter did all they could to mitigate the sufferings of their captives.

On the 23d June 1795, Lieutenant Robinson was promoted to the rank of commander; and in Jan. 1796, he obtained a pension of £91 5s. per annum; which, May 8th, 1816, was increased to £200.