Royal Naval Biography/Dundas, Thomas

[Post-Captain of 1798.]

This officer, after commanding the Merlin sloop of war for a considerable period in the North Sea and British Channel, was promoted to the rank of Post-Captain July 9, 1798; and about the same time appointed to la Prompte of 20 guns[1]. In March 1799, he burnt a Spanish vessel of war, pierced for 26 guns, but with only 12 mounted. His next appointment was to the Solebay frigate, in which he escorted a fleet of merchantmen to the Mediterranean, from whence he returned July 2, 1802,

Towards the latter end of 1804 we find him in the Naiad frigate, making prize of a Spanish ship worth upwards of 200,000 dollars. In the same vessel he also assisted at the capture of the Fanny, a French privateer of 16 guns and 80 men, and the Superb letter of marque, of 4 guns and 20 men; the latter bound to Martinique, with a cargo of sundries. The Naiad was one of the repeaters to Lord Nelson’s fleet in the glorious battle of Trafalgar, and rendered essential service afterwards, by towing the Belleisle 74 from her perilous situation near the shoals, whither she was fast drifting. Captain Dundas subsequently commanded the Africa of 64 guns, and the Vengeur 74. He commissioned the Bulwark of 76 guns, on the 28th March 1822, and is now stationed at Plymouth.

Our officer is said to be the inventor of an inflammable ball, “applicable for besieging a town, and peculiar for its small weight, by which means it may be thrown to a great distance; and it takes fire on a very curious plan: it spreads a flame in three distinct openings, which is so strong, that the fire extends a full yard in length from the ball itself; and is so powerful, that any thing under, over, or near, cannot escape its effects[2].”

Agents.– Messrs. Cooke, Halford, and Son.

  1. La Prompte was the first ship launched by the French Republic.
  2. See Nav. Chron. v. 30. p. 487.