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Royal Naval Biography/Forster, Matthew


MATTHEW FORSTER, Esq.
[Post-Captain of 1806.]

Son of the late Matthew Forster, Esq. who was Commissary-General-in-Chief of the West India islands, in 1780.

This officer was born at Warrenford, co. Northumberland, in Feb. 1765; and he entered the naval service as a Midshipman on board the Courageux 74, commanded by the late Lord Mulgrave, in May, 1779[1]. His first commission bears date, Nov. 22, 1790.

Mr. Forster served as senior Lieutenant of the St. Albans 64, when that ship was commanded by the late Admiral Russell, whose services we have recorded in our first volume; and he subsequently commanded several small vessels, under the orders of Lord Duncan. He obtained the rank of Commander, on the West India station, in 1802; and returned home from thence in the Plover sloop of war.

About Feb. 1805, Captain Forster was appointed to the Calypso, a fine 18-gun brig; and on the 18th July following, he received a very dangerous wound in the shoulder, whilst gallantly attacking a division of the enemy’s Hotilla, under the powerful batteries on Cape Grisnez[2].

In consequence of this wound. Captain Forster reluctantly gave up the Calypso, and came on shore with little hopes of recovery, much less of ever being able to take another command. Early in 1808, however, he found himself sufficiently convalescent to accept an appointment to the Majestic 74; bearing the flag of his old friend. Rear-Admiral Russell; and we subsequently find him in the Unicorn frigate, on the North sea station. Captain Forster obtained post rank Jan. 22, 1806; a pension of 250l. per annum was granted to him, for his wound, in Nov. 1814; and he survived, contrary to all expectation, until Jan. 12, 1824, on which day he died, at Berwick-upon-Tweed, deservedly esteemed and universally regretted.



  1. A memoir of Lord Mulgrave will be found in the Nav. Chron., v. 8., pp. 89–110.
  2. See Vol. II, pp. 131 and 888.