National Treasures – Thomas Cochrane
In Thomas Cochrane Richard Thomas takes us on a journey across the world following the adventures of Thomas Cochrane. He was one of Nelson’s most successful Captains, he became an Admiral and a Lord. His exploits have inspired the writers of novels that many of us will have read.
Listen to Richard tell the full story!
Pictures and maps illustrate the talk. Please click on an icon below to open the gallery.
A childhood in Culross, Fife
Thomas is born in December 1775. He is listed as part of the crew of four Royal Navy ships by the age of five. ‘False muster’ enables him to gain seniority without going to sea even though it is illegal.
His father secures him a commission in the army, however Thomas prefers the Navy, joining as a Midshipman in 1793 aged 17, at the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars.
In 1795 he receives a promotion to Acting Lieutenant. He passes his exams a year later and becomes a full Lieutenant.
He becomes a Commander and is appointed to HMS Speedy where he has success against the French. They give him the name ‘Sea Wolf’ because of his successes.
Member of Parliament
Cochrane stands for election in Honiton in 1806. He is not elected, however he is successful in 1807 when he stands in Westminster. He allies himself with the Radicals and because he is critical of the conduct of the Napoleonic War, becomes unpopular with the Government.
The Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814
A biased court finds him guilty of fraud, because of this he is expelled from Parliament and removed from the Navy List. His constituents re-elect him!
He receives a pardon in 1832 and returns to the Navy List with the rank of Rear Admiral.
Chile and Peru
A great deal of Cochrane’s fame comes from his leadership of the Chilean Navy during the struggle for independence from Spain. To this day he is a hero of the independence struggles in South America.
Return to Europe
We hear of Cochrane’s part in the Greek struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire.
Richard then tells us about his becoming the 10th Earl of DunDonald in 1831 because his father died.
We learn that he spent much of his fortune on inventions, some of great practical use and of his appreciation of the importance of steamships.
He is restored to the Order of the Bath in 1848 and dies two years later in 1850 aged 75.
The talk ends by telling us about the effect of his exploits on the adventures Hornblower, Aubrey & Maturin, Sharpe and Flashman!
Listen to this podcast for the full story.
About this podcast:
This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given in the series National Treasures to the Farnham u3a.
The Farnham u3a site is found here.
AKM Music has licensed See you as you are for use as the theme music.
© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a 2018 – 2021