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Royal Naval Biography/Oliver, Thomas


Obtained his first commission, and commanded the Berbice schooner, at the Leeward Islands, in 1793; was wounded while serving as a lieutenant of the Leyden 68, at the unsuccessful attack made by Lord Nelson upon the Boulogne flotilla, in the night of Aug 15th, 1801; promoted to his present rank in Jan. 1806; and appointed to the command of the Apelles sloop, on the North Sea station, about Sept. 1808. He was attached to the expedition against Walcheren, in 1809; and we subsequently find him capturing a French privateer, of 18 guns and 56 men.

Mr. James, in his Naval History, Vol. III. p. 187, gives this officer the credit of having performed a “noble exploit,” at Mariel, in the island of Cuba, April 5th, 1805; and follows up his error, by observing, in the succeeding page, that “the name of Thomas Oliver among the commanders of the year shows, that his conduct, as all similar conduct ought, excited the notice of those to whom the power belonged of dispensing rewards to the brave and meritorious.” The service in question, viz. the storming of a tower, and cutting out of two vessels, laden with sugar, was performed in the manner Mr. James has stated, but under the directions of Lieutenant James Oliver, who did not obtain the rank of commander until Dec. 4th, 1813.