Thomas Goodricke served as Carpenter's Mate in the Colossus at Trafalgar, 1805.
| Thomas Goodricke served as Carpenter's
Mate in the Colossus at Trafalgar, 1805. Afterwards promoted to Carpenter. Served as Carpenter in the Unite in the action with and capture of two French frigates at Pelagosa, 1811. Naval medal and two clasps. |
The Colossus was built in Deptford Dockyard in 1803, from the design of Sir John Henslow, Knight, Surveyor of the Navy, and was launched on the 23rd April 1803. In 1804 Captain James Nicoll Morris was appointed to her, and she served at the blockade of Brest in 1804-05, under Admiral Hon. William Cornwallis. She joined Vice-Admiral Collingwood's little squadron watching Cadiz until September 1805 when she then joined Lord Nelson. Under Captain Morris she was in the lee column at Trafalgar, on the 21st October 1805, her losses being more than those of any other ship in the fleet. She engaged the French 74, Swiftsure, and the Spanish 74, Bahama, which had been captured from the British on a previous occasion, from which she took surrender. Her losses in the battle amounted to forty killed and a hundred and sixty wounded, while she herself was badly damaged. Her mainmast was so damaged that, during that night, it had to be cut away. Her foremast was shot through in several places, two of her anchors and three of her boats were destroyed, and some of her guns disabled. Four of her starboard lower-deck ports had been broken away by running into the Spanish 80-gun ship Argonanta and her hull was shattered through out. Her master was killed, and fourteen other officers and her captain, wounded. An amusing story was told shortly after this action that a hen-coop on board had been damaged during the battle allowing the birds to escape the cock flew out and perched nearby the captain some say on his shoulder and crowed in full voice, much to the amusement of the crew, who cheered while they kept up the fight.
After this epic battle still under Captain Morris, she joined Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Strachan's squadron watching Rochefort in 1807-8. On the 27th December 1811, she had the misfortune to lose two of her boats in an attack on the enemy's convoy in the Basque Roads, when forty-five men and officers were captured.
In 1812, under command of Captain Thomas Alexander, she was with Captain Sir John Gore's little squadron blockading ViceAdmiral Allemand's five ships of the line in Orient, and when they escaped she took, part in the pursuit. She continued to serve with the fleet but performed no other service of any consequence, and was sadly broken up at Chatham in 1827, having earned the naval war medal with one clasp.
The Unite was built in France and originally launched as the Imperieuse she was a 5th rate wooden hulled vessel of 1040 tons 40 Guns captured from the French in 1793. The Unite is recorded in the action that lead to the capture of two French frigates at Pelagosa. In 1803, after the Napoleonic conquests in Europe, the French inaugurated the "Continental Plan" (to prevent the British from trading with mainland Europe). In 1806 an British naval detachment was sent into the Adriatic to seize the island of Lissa from the French. This was accomplished on October 2, 1806. Now under British control, goods from England flowed steadily into Lissa. From Lissa the goods were smuggled, without too much difficulty, into Croatia and Austria and then into Germany.
The British naval presence in the Adriatic was extensive. The fleet consisted of 26 warships one of which was the Unite. The crew manifests probably will include sailors from Comisa, Lissa, and other islands in the area.
The British Naval strategy in the Adriatic was to lay waste to all French military and commercial maritime traffic. They also heavily attacked any French shore facilities they could. This included forts, towns, villages, and several major cities. The sieges and battles of Dubrovnik and Kotor are especially noteworthy to military strategists.
To assist them in this plan the British used captured French commercial and naval vessels with British officers and local seamen as crews to assist them in their program. Seamen from throughout the Adriatic came to Lissa to sail on these British ships. The officers and crews of these "privateers" shared in the value of any cargo that was captured.
As all other European ports were closed to British trade, the smuggled goods were in great demand and very expensive. The citizens of Lissa became very prosperous due to a combination of trade and Naval warfare.
As a result of this prosperity, between 1808 and 1810 the population of Lissa increased threefold.This smuggling operation and naval interference caused the French fleet, under Napoleon’s hand picked Admiral Dubourdieu, to attack the port of Lissa when the British fleet was absent. On October 22, 1810 the French attacked the Port of Saint George (town of Vis) and claimed to have burned 60 merchant ships in the main harbor. The British version is that 12 vessels were lost.
When the British naval forces under Captain Hoste returned to Lissa, the French Admiral retreated to Ancona. The following year the reinforced French forces made another attempt to recapture Lissa for France. Captain Hoste’s squadron, although heavily outnumbered, won a decisive victory in which the French Admiral was killed.
The battle started at 9:00 a.m. on March 13, 1811, and by 2:30 p.m. the French fleet (what was left of it) withdrew to Lessina (Hvar).
|FRENCH FLEET||ENGLISH FLEET|
|11 Ships||4 Ships|
|284 guns||156 guns|
|2,655 men||879 men|
|5 ships lost||0 ships lost|
|220 men killed||0 men killed|
A part of the town of Lissa was known as "Engleska Luka" (The English port). The British harbor and shipyard was a rather extensive operation that rivaled the British base at Malta. There is a British Naval cemetery east of the town. At the far edge of town there are the three white sea forts built by the British. The British also established a lookout/watchtower and a small community called Queens City on the eastern peak of the island of San Andrija (now Svetac).
On April 11, 1811, the British decided to formalize their status on the island. They renamed the town of Lissa "Port Saint George." They installed a Governor, a constitution, laws of its own and a means to enforce them:
Lieutenant-Colonel George Duncan Robertson was appointed Governor
Major Slessor and Captain MacDonald were in charge of two companies. Each company contained 220 men of the 35th Regiment.
260 Swiss mercenaries were under Captain Balbier. (Capt. Balbier was appointed Chief of Police).
280 Corsicans were under Captain Gerolini.
300 Italians were of the Calabrian Corps.
The British built one massive fortress, called Fort Saint George, at the western side of the entrance to the port. This fort is well worth a visit even by the non-military minded. It is quite and edifice. Fortress Wellington was erected at the eastern side and the Fortress Bentick, as well as the fortification Robertson above a place called Svitnja Bay. The town of Lissa, now called Port Saint George, became the major British base in the Adriatic. The island at the mouth of the harbor was named "Hoste Island" and was also fortified with a round tower, a battery of guns, a small barracks and a signal station. A small watchtower was built on the little rock at the entrance to the harbor by the hill that overlooks the British cemetery. This was built entirely by the crew of the H.M.S. Milford, and was used as an example by the local British commanders to justify further building of facilities on the island.
On November 29, 1811, the British ships Active (Capt. James A. Gordon,) Alceste (Capt. Murray Maxwell,) and Unite (Capt. E. Chamberlayne) encountered the French frigates Pauline and Domone escorting the stores ship, the Persanne. The French were in transit across the Adriatic and were sighted off of Palagruza. The Domone surrendered, the Pauline escaped to Ancona, but the stores ship, Persanne, was chased and captured by the Unite.
In January 1840 she became a convict hulk at Woolwich eventually being scraped in 1858.