27th November 1857

Admiral Thomas Gosselin dies in Jersey

Admiral Thomas Le Marchant Gosselin was born in Guernsey in 1765 and died on 27 November 1857 after an impressive career in the navy. He had first gone to sea aged just 13 and, a year later, was captured by the combined fleets of France and Spain just off Plymouth and was held in Normandy for three months.

This seems not to have put him off a life on the water.

Gosselin was promoted several times over the years. The first of these was his elevation to lieutenant in 1787. Six years later, he was in command of his own ship

Revenge against an old enemy

He got his revenge on the French almost 20 years after he had been held captive in Normandy, when he captured a French convoy while commanding HMS Kingfisher, to which he had been appointed in 1794.

In all, he spent almost three decades at sea in command of a variety of boats. He saw action in the waters off America, France, India and the West Indies. When ill-health eventually forced him back to dry land, he continued to earn promotions – first to rear admiral in 1814, to vice admiral in 1825 and, in 1841, to admiral. Even his increasing frailty couldn’t force him out of the navy, despite the fact that as he was not in service he was on half-pay. He remained active in his final rank until his death, aged 92, in 1857. By then he was living in Jersey where he left behind a wife, Sarah, and the son and three daughters he had had with her. His will has been retained by the National Archives at Kew.


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