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Royal Naval Biography/Thomson, William Augustus


We first find spoken of in an official letter from the present Earl of Dundonald, addressed to Vice-Admiral (now Sir Edwnrd) Thornbrough, of which the following is an extract:

H.M.S. Pallas, 8th April, 1806.

“Sir,– Having received information, which proves correct, of the situation of two corvettes in the river of Bourdeaux, a little after dark, on the evening of the 5th, the Pallas was anchored close to the shoal of Cordovan, and it gives me satisfaction to relate that, about 3 a.m., the national corvette la Tapageuse, of fourteen long 12-pounders and ninety-five men, which had the guard, was boarded, carried, and cut out, about twenty miles above the shoals, between two heavy batteries, in spite of all resistance, by the first lieutenant (Haswell), Mr. Sutherland (the master), and Messrs. Perkyns, Crawford, and Thomson, together with the quarter-masters, and such of the seamen and marines as were fortunate enough to find place in the boats.

“The tide of flood ran strong at day-light; le Tapageuse made sail; a general alarm was given; a sloop of war followed, and an action commenced, which was continued, often within hail, till, by the same bravery by which la Tapageuse had been carried, the sloop of war, after about an hour’s firing, was compelled to sheer off, having suffered as much in the hull as la Tapageuse in the rigging.

“The conduct of the officers and men employed will be justly appreciated. With confidence I shall now beg leave to recommend them to the notice of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. * * * *


In the performance of this brilliant exploit, three men were badly wounded, but not one of the assailants was slain. Other dashing services in which Mr. Thomson participated are recorded in Vol. IV. Part I. p. 157, et seq. He was made a lieutenant on the 20th Oct. 1806; and advanced to the rank of commander, Feb. 15th, 1832.