Open main menu

Royal Naval Biography/New, Thomas

[Post-Captain of 1812.]

This officer was descended from an ancient family in Wiltshire. He entered the navy in 1783, as a midshipman, on board the Hebe frigate. Captain Edward Thornbrough; and at the commencement of the French revolutionary war, we find him placed by Rear-Admiral Macbride, under whom he had served many years, in the command of an armed cutter, employed on the coast of Flanders. During the memorable siege of Nieuport, he commanded a company of seamen belonging to the naval battalion garrisoned in that place, under Captain Josias Rogers; and he subsequently received the thanks of H.R.H. the Duke of York, for his active co-operation with the army throughout the whole of that campaign.

Mr. New was next appointed acting lieutenant of the Fury sloop, Captain Frank Sotheron ; and his commission was confirmed by the Admiralty, June 8, 1794. He afterwards served in the Echo sloop, and Lion 64, on the North Sea and Channel stations. In 1796, he received the thanks of Sir Ralph Abercromby and Sir Hugh C. Christian, for rescuing two companies of the 14th regiment of foot from a sinking transport, during one of the tremendous storms which prevented those officers from clearing the British channel[1]. In 1707, Lieutenant New joined the Sans Pareil 80, bearing the flag of Lord Hugh Seymour; from which ship he was appointed acting captain of the Abergavenny 54, at Jamaica, in 1801. He subsequently commanded the Lark and Bonetta, sloops, on the same station.

The Bonetta was wrecked near Cuba, and burnt to prevent her falling into the hands of the enemy, Oct. 25, 1801. In Jan. following, Captain New was tried by a court-martial, at Port Royal, for the loss of the said sloop; when it appeared that no blame whatever was to be attached to him, as the courses steered were judicious, and gave sufficient room to avoid the shoal, as laid down in the charts; that he did his utmost to save the vessel and her stores, before she bilged and overset; and that he remained, with his officers and crew, in great distress, on a small desolate island, until taken off by the Spaniards: the court did therefore fully acquit Captain New, and the whole of his officers and ship’s company, with the exception of Lieutenant Goakman, who had charge of the deck at the time of the accident, and who was found guilty of sleeping on his watch and disobeying Captain New’s orders; in consequence of which he was sentenced to be dismissed his Majesty’s service, rendered incapable of ever serving again as an officer, mulcted of all his pay, and imprisoned two years in the Marshalsea.

At the renewal of hostilities, in 1803, Captain New was appointed regulating officer at Swansea, where he continued until his promotion to post rank, Feb. 27, 1812.

Captain New married, Nov. 19, 1803, the eldest daughter of Thomas Thomas, of Cardiff, Esq. by whom he left a large family. He died in Dec. 1824.

  1. See Vol. I. Part I.