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Royal Naval Biography/Grossett, Walter

[Post-Captain of 1810.]

Uncle to John Rock Grosett, Esq. M.P. for Chippenham.

This officer entered the navy, Nov. 1779, as a midshipman on board the Sandwich 90, flag-ship of Sir George B. Rodney, under whom he shortly afterwards sailed to the relief of Gibraltar, and from thence to the Leeward Islands. He was consequently present at the capture of the Caraccas convoy, the defeat and surrender of Don Juan de Langara, and three actions with Mons. de Guichen, off Martinique; in the first of which (April 17, 1780) the Sandwich had 18 men killed, and 51, including two Lieutenants, wounded[1]. We subsequently find him serving under Captain John Rodney, in the Boreas of 32 guns, Sybil 28, and Anson 64[2].

In Feb. 1784, Mr. Grosett joined the Thisbe 28, Captain George Robertson, fitting for the Newfoundland station, where he continued nearly three years. His promotion to the rank of Lieutenant took place in Oct. 1794; previous to which he had served for some time as master’s-mate of the Boyne 98, flag-ship of Sir John Jervis; and distinguished himself on many occasions, when employed ashore in cooperation with the army during the sieges of Martinique, St. Lucia, and Guadaloupe.

Lieutenant Grosett’s first appointment was to the Quebec 32, in which frigate he served under Captains Josias Rogers, James Carpenter, and John Cooke[3], on the West India and Channel stations. Previous to his departure from the Leeward Islands, he received the thanks of the President and Council of Grenada, for having “very materially contributed to the preservation of that colony, and restored it to a state of tranquillity,” by his able and gallant conduct, when commanding a detachment of about 150 seamen and marines, landed from the squadron under the orders of Captain Rogers.

£arly in 1797 Lieutenant Grosett was appointed to the Success frigate. Captain Philip Wilkinson (now Vice-Admiral Stephens); in Nov. following, to the Hector, 74, Captain Peter Aplin, then at Lisbon; in Feb. 1798 to el Mahonesa 32, Captain John Giffard; and in June, same year, to the Centaur 74, Captain John Markham.

The latter ship formed part of the squadron under Commodore Duckworth, at the reduction of Minorca, Nov. 15, 1798; and was afterwards sent to cruise on the coast of Catalonia, where she captured la Vierga de Rosario Spanish privateer, mounting 14 brass 12-pounders, with a complement of 90 men.

On the 16th Feb. 1799, the Centaur, Argo, and Leviathan, attacked the town of Cambrelles, and the Spaniards having quitted their battery, the boats were sent in under the command of Lieutenant Grosett, who dismounted the guns, burnt five settees, and brought out a similar number; laden with staves, wine, and wheat.

Shortly after the performance of this service. Lieutenant Grosett was removed to the Ville de Paris, a first rate, in which ship, successively bearing the flags of Earl St. Vincent and the Hon. William Cornwallis, he served on the Mediterranean station and off Brest, until appointed to the Royal Charlotte yatch, in May, 1801. His promotion to the rank of Commander took place Oct. 6, in the same year.

From this period Captain Grosett remained upon half-pay till Aug. 1802, when he was appointed to the Port Mahon brig, on the Guernsey station. In Mar. 1803, he was removed to the Trent 32, armed en flute, which ship, whilst under his command at Cork, successively bore the flags of Admiral Lord Gardner, Rear-Admiral William O’Brien Drury and Vice-Admirals Whitshed and Thornbrough, as commanders-in-chief on the Irish station.

Captain Grosett’s post commission bears date Oct. 21, 1810. Previous to his leaving Cork, the mayor and corporation held a special meeting for the purpose of voting him the freedom of that city: the committee of merchants also assembled and voted him their unanimous thanks for his great attention to their interests, whilst commanding the guard-ship, a period of upwards of seven years.

From the foregoing sketch it will be seen that Captain Grosett twice served under the immediate eye of Earl St. Vincent, who so highly approved of his conduct on every occasion as to present him with a medal, – a convincing proof of the esteem in which he was held by that celebrated chieftain. While in attendance upon the royal family at Weymouth, between May and Oct. 1801, the subject of this brief memoir had likewise the honor of being most graciously noticed by our late revered monarch. Since his advancement to post-rank he has not been able to obtain any employment.

Captain Grosett’s only son died at Jamaica, in 1824, aged 22: his daughter is married to W. Hudson Heaven, of Penridge House, co. Somerset, Esq.

Agents.– Messrs. Cooke, Halford and Son.

  1. See Vol. I, Part I, note † at p. 3 et seq, and note † at pp. 103–106.
  2. The Sybil was one of Admiral Rodney’s repeaters on the glorious 12th April, 1782.
  3. See Vol. II. Part I. p. 21.