27th November 1857

Admiral Thomas Le Marchant Gosselin died

Guernsey-born Admiral Thomas Le Marchant Gosselin died on 27 November 1857 after an impressive career in the navy.

Gosselin was born in St Peter Port in 1765 and was first sent to sea aged just 13. The following year, he was captured by the combined fleets of France and Spain just off Plymouth and was held in Normandy for three months.

Despite his career having had such a rough start – and at such a young age – it seems not to have put him off a life on the water.

An impressive CV

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

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. He had been appointed to the ship 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 himself promotions – first to rear admiral in 1814, to vice admiral in 1825 and, in 1841, to admiral.

Yet, as a man who clearly loved the sea, not even his increasing frailty was enough to 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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